History Week 6 Discussion Reading.pdf

History Week 6 Discussion Reading.pdf - History10...

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History10 Discussion Week 6 Procopius was a Byzantine civil servant and historian whose works provide important information about the reign of the Emperor Justinian. Procopius was probably born in Palestine sometime between 490 and 510. After his early education, he sought a career in civil service and migrated to Constantinople, then the center of the Roman Empire. He served on a general’s staff and was thus able to travel to Persia, Italy, and Africa, so his experience of Byzantine administration was extensive and firsthand. He had apparently returned to Constantinople by 540, but there is no trace of him thereafter. Procopius wrote several official histories during his career, of which the most important is an account of the millitary campaigns of Justinian’s reign, entitled On the Wars. He also left a description of Justinian’s public works project called The Buildings. His most famous work, however, was published after his death. This was the Secret History, a highly personal account of Justinan and the Empress Theodora. Whether Procopius’s point of view was unique or common Byzantine civil war servant remains an open question. The Buildings In our own age there has been born the Emperor Justinian, who, taking over the State when it was harassed by disorder, has not only made it greater in extent, but also much more illustrious, by expelling from it those barbarians who had from of old pressed hard upon it, as I have made clear in detail in the Books on the Wars. Indeed they say that Themistocles, the son of Neocles, once boastfully said that he did not lack the ability to make a small state large. But this Sovereign does not lack the skill to produce completely transformed states witness the way he has already added to the Roman domain many states which in his own times had belonged to others, and has created countless cities which did not exist before. And finding that the belief in God was, before his time, straying into errors and being forced to go in many directions, he completely destroyed all the paths leading to such errors, and brought it about that it stood on the firm foundation of a single faith. Moreover, finding the laws obscure because they had become far more numerous than they should be, and in obvious confusion because they disagreed with each other, he preserved them by cleansing them of the mass of their verbal trickery, and by controlling their discrepancies with the greatest firmness; as for those who plotted against him, he of his own volition dismissed the charges against them, causing those who were in want to have a surfeit of wealth, and crushing the spiteful fortune that oppressed them, he wedded the whole State to a life of prosperity. Furthermore, he strengthened the Roman domain, which everywhere lay exposed to the barbarians, by a multitude of soldiers, and by constructing strongholds he built a wall along all its remote frontiers.
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  • Spring '10
  • Santos
  • History, Justinian, Emperor Justinian

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