Procopius of Caesarea: Tyranny, History, and Philosophy at the End of Antiquity

By Anthony Kaldellis | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
The Secret History of Philosophy

The Sequence of Regimes Ends in Tyranny

We have examined the individual stories that constitute the introduction to the Persian War and have shown how each story foreshadows some of the main themes that Procopius intends to develop in the main body of the narrative as well as in the Secret History. Those stories are not offered as factual reporting, that is, history understood in modern sense; rather, they establish the broad framework of the ensuing conflict. The introduction to the Persian War thus reflects the fusion of literature and history that we find in all classical historiography. The difference between these two spheres, which modern historians try to keep rigidly separate, is best indicated by the need to set aside questions of source and accuracy and inquire instead about the literary function of each story, that is, to pose questions now reserved for works of fiction. Procopius’ pointed anecdotes and nuanced vocabulary, however implausible they may be from a historical point of view, frequently reveal a deeper aspect of his thought. A common grid of language binds together the Secret History and the Wars, reflecting their conceptual unity.

But what about the introduction as a whole? Does it amount to more than the sum of its parts? As we saw, it sketches the gradual decline of the Persian kings, from the virtuous Isdigerdes and the honor-loving Vararanes to the acquisitive Perozes and the violent Cavades. It consists of discreet episodes that focus on the character of each king, which they illustrate through legends, anecdotes, and, possibly, distortions of actual events. The individuals that emerge are distinctive, if not always believable from a historical point of view. But perhaps they are less important than the overall picture into which they have been integrated. This thesis has been stated well with respect to the Histories of Herodotus: “These stories begin to look as if they form part of a reasoned whole, a whole that is only presented in partial stories. They begin to reveal how Herodotus has marshaled particu-

-94-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Procopius of Caesarea: Tyranny, History, and Philosophy at the End of Antiquity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Classicism and Its DisContents 17
  • Chapter 2 - Tales Not Unworthy of Trust- Anecdotes and the Persian War 62
  • Chapter 3 - The Secret History of Philosophy 94
  • Chapter 4 - The Representation of Tyranny 118
  • Chapter 5 - God and Tyche in the Wars 165
  • Appendix 1 - Secret History 19–30 and the Edicts of Justinian 223
  • Appendix 2 - The Plan of Secret History 6–18 229
  • Abbreviations 231
  • Notes 233
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 299
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 305

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.