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History of the Wars, Books I and II The Persian War   By:

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History of the Wars, Books I and II The Persian War by Procopius offers an insightful and comprehensive account of the tumultuous Persian War during the Byzantine Empire. As a prominent historian and advisor to Emperor Justinian, Procopius presents a detailed narrative of the various military campaigns and political developments that shaped this significant period in history.

One of the key strengths of Procopius' work is his ability to provide a balanced perspective of the events. Unlike many historians of his time, he strives to present both the triumphs and failures of the Byzantine Empire. This even-handed approach allows readers to form a more nuanced understanding of the motivations, strategies, and consequences of the war.

The author's meticulous research and attention to detail is evident throughout the book. Procopius seamlessly weaves together firsthand accounts, letters, and other primary sources to construct a coherent and vivid narrative. His descriptions of the battles are particularly compelling; readers can practically feel the tension, smell the gunpowder, and hear the clash of steel. This level of historical accuracy and vividness creates an engaging reading experience.

Moreover, Procopius delves into the complex political context surrounding the Persian War. He exposes the power struggles and intrigues within the Byzantine court, shedding light on the impact these internal conflicts had on the outcome of the war. This aspect of the book adds a layer of depth and intrigue, making it not only a military history but also a captivating tale of political maneuvering.

One aspect that may prove difficult for some readers is the abundance of names and places unfamiliar to those without prior knowledge of the Byzantine Empire. However, Procopius does include a helpful appendix that provides explanations and clarifications, allowing readers to better navigate the intricacies of the historical events.

Overall, History of the Wars, Books I and II The Persian War stands as a remarkable and indispensable historical account of the Byzantine Empire's struggles against the Persians. Procopius' attention to detail, balanced perspective, and deep insights into the political landscape make this book a must-read for anyone interested in Byzantine history or military strategy. It is a valuable addition to the library of both scholars and casual readers alike.

First Page:


With an English Translation by H. B. Dewing

In Seven Volumes



London William Heinemann Ltd Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard University Press


First Printed 1914





BOOK II. THE PERSIAN WAR ( continued ) 259


Procopius is known to posterity as the historian of the eventful reign of Justinian (527 565 A.D.), and the chronicler of the great deeds of the general Belisarius. He was born late in the fifth century in the city of Caesarea in Palestine. As to his education and early years we are not informed, but we know that he studied to fit himself for the legal profession. He came as a young man to Constantinople, and seems to have made his mark immediately. For as early as the year 527 he was appointed legal adviser and private secretary[1] to Belisarius, then a very young man who had been serving on the staff of the general Justinian, and had only recently been advanced to the office of general. Shortly after this Justinian was called by his uncle Justinus to share the throne of the Roman Empire, and four months later Justinus died, leaving Justinian sole emperor of the Romans... Continue reading book >>

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