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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter September 11, 2020

Breaking silence in the historiography of Procopius of Caesarea

  • Charles F. Pazdernik EMAIL logo
From the journal Byzantinische Zeitschrift


Procopius employs the motif of “grieving in silence” to describe the deliberations preceding Justinian’s invasion of Vandal North Africa in 533 (Wars 3.10.7-8) and his vendetta against the urban prefect of Constantinople in 523 (HA 9.41). The particularity of Procopius’ language in these passages makes their collocation especially pronounced. The distance between the Wars and the Secret History, which represents itself breaking the silence between what the Wars can state publicly and the unvarnished truth (HA 1.1-10), may be measured by two “wise advisers” who speak when others are silent: the quaestor Proclus, warmly remembered for his probity, and the praetorian prefect John the Cappadocian, a figure universally reviled. Discontinuities between the presentation of John in the Wars and the merits of the policies he endorses problematize readers’ impressions of not only John but also the relationship between the Wars and the historical reality the work claims to represent.

Online erschienen: 2020-09-11
Erschienen im Druck: 2020-08-01

© 2020 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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