Procopius

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Procopius of Caesarea (Latin: Procopius Caesarensis, Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς; c. AD 500 – c. AD 565) was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History. He is commonly held to be the last major historian of the ancient world.

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Life

Before the source of his own writings, the main source for Procopius' life is an entry in the Suda,[1] a 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia that tells nothing about his early life. He was a native of Caesarea in Palaestina Prima[2] (modern Israel). He would have received a conventional élite education in the Greek classics and then rhetoric,[3] perhaps at the famous School of Gaza,[4] may have attended law school, possibly at Berytus (modern Beirut) or Constantinople,[5] and became a rhetor (barrister or advocate).[1] He evidently knew Latin, as was natural for a man with legal training.[6] In 527, the first year of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I's reign, he became the adsessor (legal adviser) for Belisarius, Justinian's chief military commander who was then beginning a brilliant career.[7]

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