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Procopius and the Sixth Century by Averil Cameron

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By Averil Cameron

Initially released through Duckworth and the collage of California Press, Procopius is now on hand for the 1st time in paperback. Professor Cameron emphasises the fundamental solidarity of Procopius' 3 works and, ranging from the `minor' ones, demonstrates their intimate reference to the Wars. Procopius' writings are noticeable to include a sophisticated entire; provided that they're understood during this approach can their ancient price be competently liked. the result's a brand new overview of Procopius as a way to be significant to any destiny background of the 6th century.

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Day 1958, 50ff. 9 Above, p. 11. 12 To approach the Wars, therefore, with the assumption that it emanated from a general classical revival supported by imperial patronage is to start from unwarranted premises. 16 While the reign saw surprising accomplishment in élite circles, it also saw a diminution in the circulation of learned books. 20 The writers of Byzantine Africa are typically ecclesiastics, and the effect of Byzantine 10 See Honoré 1978, ch. 1. In the main, Procopius’ view was that Justinian’s laws demonstrated ‘meddling’ (see below, pp.

See further below, pp. 134f. and Cesa 1982. 31 See Haury 1896, 11f. On knowledge of Thucydides at Gaza see Downey 1958a, 314, n. 76; there is no reason however why Procopius should not have studied Thucydides at Caesarea. 32 See Braun etc. (n. 23), and for convenience, Averil Cameron 1964 (=1981, II), 49. Procopius’ language is a tissue of words and phrases from both writers, far more so than with Agathias, who also imitated both authors but was more of a stylist himself. THE DISCOURSE OF PROCOPIUS 39 imitation of Thucydidean language and phraseology is only the outward sign of a much deeper dependence.

But for our present purposes it is a major indicator, with the extraordinary care for prose rhythm, of the unity of Procopius’ three works as parts of one system. The texture of Procopius’ writing displays classical imitation at many different levels, from the purely linguistic, the use of a classicising Greek far removed from daily speech in the sixth century,20 to the adoption of specific incidents or events from classical works, and the deeper influence on his work of a whole conception of formal writing, comprising not only selection and arrangement but also the stance of the historian himself to his subject.

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