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(prōkō`pēəs), d. 565?, Byzantine historian, b. Caesarea in Palestine. He accompanied BelisariusBelisarius
, c.505–565, Byzantine general under Justinian I. After helping to suppress (532) the dangerous Nika riot (see Blues and Greens), he defeated (533–34) the Vandals of Africa, and captured their king.
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 on his campaigns as his secretary, and later he commanded the imperial navy and served (562) as prefect of Constantinople. His education, high connections, and public offices give his histories great value as firsthand accounts. His chief works are generally known as Procopius' History of His Own Time, dealing mainly with the wars against the Goths, Vandals, and Persians, and as the Secret History of Procopius, which is largely a scandalous and often scurrilous court chronicle. His authorship of the Secret History has been questioned, but most scholars now agree that it is an authentic work of Procopius. He also wrote On Buildings, a work in six books describing buildings erected by Justinian throughout the empire. In his polished style Procopius imitated the historians of the Greek classical period. His descriptions of social and religious customs among the barbarians are very valuable, but his histories are marred by his violent personal prejudices, e.g., in favor of Belisarius and against Empress Theodora.


See study by J. A. S. Evans (1972) and A. Cameron (1985).



Born between 490 and 507; died after 562. Byzantine writer and adviser to Belisarius; a member of the senatorial aristocracy.

Procopius took part in campaigns against the Persians, Vandals, and Ostrogoths. He glorified Justinian I in his semiofficial works Wars (eight books), completed in 553 and based on personal impressions, and On the Buildings (553–555), a description of construction during Justinian’s reign. However, he also wrote a short work, Secret History (c. 550), directed against the emperor and his wife, Theodora.

Thucydides was Procopius’ literary model, but the Secret History departed from objective exposition and made extensive use of hyperbole. Procopius’ works are an important source for the history of Byzantium and its neighboring states during the late fifth and the sixth century, as well as for the history of Slavic incursions into the Balkans.


Opera omnia, vols. 1–4. Leipzig, 1962–64.
In Russian translation:
Voina s gotami. Introductory article by Z. V. Udal’tsova. Moscow, 1950.
“Tainaia istoriia.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1938, no. 4.
“O postroikakh.” Ibid., 1939, no.4.


Udal’tsova, Z. V. “Mirovozzrenie Prokopiia Kesariiskogo.” In the collection Vizantiiskii vremennik, vol. 31. Moscow, 1971.
Rubin, B. “Prokopios von Kaisareia.” In Realencyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, vol. 23, fase. [45]. Stuttgart, 1957.
Gantar, K. “Der betrogene Justinian.” Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 1963, vol. 56, part I.


?490--?562 ad, Byzantine historian, noted for his account of the wars of Justinian I against the Persians, Vandals, and Ostrogoths
References in periodicals archive ?
As noted, Procopius testifies to the importance of Ceylon in Sasanian trade, but so far the archaeological evidence has been unimpressive.
Procopius himself stages Boethius's death within the tradition of philosophical martyrdom undergone by Socrates, Cicero, Cato, and Seneca.
What Procopius is bearing witnessing to is a trend, a process set in motion much earlier, that has moved inexorably toward increasing separation.
Procopius gives the following reasons for the withdrawal of the Romans from the Dodecaschoenus: (a) the arable land was extremely narrow, there were rocks everywhere and the tribute coming from the region was not valuable, (b) the maintenance of Roman garrisons was very expensive, and (c) the Nobadai were plundering all places in the region.
Pope Gelasius, for instance, viewed the Goths as barbarous; Boethius complains often in his Consolation about the avarice of the barbarians; and in his war narrative Procopius clearly regarded the Goths as barbaric.
According to historian Procopius, she was a beautiful and passionate woman who was "sorry that nature had constructed her in a way that she could have sex only via three orifices.
15) This Eusebius, in his Martyrs of Palestine, records that in the persecutions under Diocletian and his colleagues, the first victim was Procopius of Scythopolis in July of 303.
Furthermore, the African genera Procopius Thorell, 1899 and Pseudocorinna Simon, 1909 also feature heavily spined legs and a palpal median apophysis (Simon 1909; Ramirez et al.
Procopius (Alexis Georgoulis) prefers to be called by his nickname, Poupi.
As another source, Procopius, informs us, Valentinian was shaped most strongly by the indulgences of his mother, Placidia, with the result that he was "effeminate" not merely in the sense that he eschewed arms, but also in that he was "filled with wickedness from childhood .
In the sixth Christian century lived Procopius, a Christian magistrate of Constantinople, in the days when Justinian was Emperor and Belisarius general.