• The Secret History

  • By: Procopius
  • Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 5 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-24-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Ukemi Audiobooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (3 ratings)

Regular price: $13.64

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Publisher's Summary

The Secret History, written by the sixth-century Byzantine historian Procopius, is one of the most extraordinary and scandalous documents to have survived from the early Byzantine period.
Procopius, the leading official historian of his time, lived during the testing and indulgent time of Emperor Justinian the Great and wrote the official records of the successful wars and the grand building projects of his ruler. These were words of aggrandisement. But covertly, Procopius kept a very different record: The Secret History, a vivid, salacious and detailed account of the outrageous behaviour of Justinian and his wife, Theodora, and the equally corrupt, licentious and cruel members of the court and administration of the time.
Secrecy was a necessary precaution for Procopius to prevent a painful and untimely death, for Justinian emerges as a grasping, ruthless and unprincipled ruler who would do anything to increase his wealth and power and who would not brook opposition on any level. No-one was safe around him - he was on a par with the worst Emperors of Rome such as Caligula. Theodora was no better - Procopius portrays her as a vulgar woman of insatiable sexual appetite given to scandalous displays and equally ready to kill to satisfy her desires. Not even Belisarius, the outstanding general of the time, was free from criticism: he is shown to be in thrall to his wife, Antonina, also a woman of wild habits, keen to pursue any person or object which appealed to her without let or hindrance.
This was a time, Procopius shows, when no-one in the great capital of Constantinople was safe, a time when the rule of law could be subsumed at any time according to the whim of those in power. James Cameron Stewart reads the unabridged anonymous translation published in 1896 by The Athenian Society.
Public Domain (P)2018 Ukemi Productions Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Charles Grey on 02-28-18

A Ringing Condemnation of the Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora

Procopius’s Secret History is a gem. It’s a compact narrative of the reign of the corrupt Justinian, whom Procopius calls “a demon in human shape” and his cruel wife Theodora, written by the court historian - Procopius. It was not to be published until after the author was safely dead, as he would probably have been tortured to death for writing it. Especially remarkable is the cruelty and depravity of Theodora, who took great pleasure in torturing and killing anyone who crossed her. Justinian’s reign was characterized by chaos and turmoil, the destruction of North Africa and the depopulation of Italy, and the overrunning of Byzantium by Huns and pagan Slavs. It really was a time of decadence and decline. Procopius brings it all to life in a vivid and brisk style.

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