Justinian and His Age

Justinian and His Age

Justinian and His Age

Justinian and His Age

Excerpt

The object of this book is to put before the reader a portrait of a great emperor and an account of his age as we have it recorded by contemporary writers. The trustworthiness of the historians of antiquity is, of course, within limits, open to criticism, and scholars of the last few generations have done invaluable work in establishing and applying canons by which to test them. One unfortunate result however of such researches is that in modern histories of ancient times the stress tends to be laid on the result of minute critical study, and the general reader has often some difficulty in disinterring from this accumulation the contemporary narrative which it is intended to elucidate. It is generally agreed that the chief sources for the age of Justinian are in the main honest and truthful, and in the pages that follow I shall therefore as far as possible let these writers speak for themselves. We have some excellent works on Byzantine history in our language, notably J. B. Bury's History of the Later Roman Empire from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Justinian (A.D. 395-565)), Macmillan 1923; Norman Baynes' The Byzantine Empire, Home University Library 1925, revised 1943 (with good bibliography); the same scholar's chapters on Justinian in the Cambridge Mediaeval History, and of course the great Gibbon's Decline and Fall (the best edition Bury's, With numerous supplementary notes). For anyone who is prepared to read the accounts of Justinian in any of these works this little book of mine will be quite superfluous, provided only that he has sufficient leisure and sufficient mastery of Greek and Latin to turn up all the references to the sources that are to be found in the footnotes and bibliographies of these scholarly works. For those who cannot do so it is hoped that this account of the life work of the . . .

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