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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 15 Agathias in Praefat


[Footnote

12: See the characters of Procopius and Agathias in La Mothe le Vayer, (tom. viii. p. 144--174,) Vossius, (de Historicis Graecis, l. ii. c. 22,) and Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. l. v. c. 5, tom. vi. p. 248--278.) Their religion, an honorable problem, betrays occasional conformity, with a secret attachment to Paganism and Philosophy.]

[Footnote 13: In the seven first books, two Persic, two Vandalic, and three Gothic, Procopius has borrowed from Appian the division of provinces and wars: the viiith book, though it bears the name of Gothic, is a miscellaneous and general supplement down to the spring of the year 553, from whence it is continued by Agathias till 559, (Pagi, Critica, A.D. 579, No. 5.)]

[Footnote 14: The literary fate of Procopius has been somewhat unlucky.

1. His book de Bello Gothico were stolen by Leonard Aretin, and published (Fulginii, 1470, Venet. 1471, apud Janson. Mattaire, Annal Typograph. tom. i. edit. posterior, p. 290, 304, 279, 299,) in his own name, (see Vossius de Hist. Lat. l. iii. c. 5, and the feeble defence of the Venice Giornale de Letterati, tom. xix. p. 207.)

2. His works were mutilated by the first Latin translators, Christopher Persona, (Giornale, tom. xix. p. 340--348,) and Raphael de Volaterra, (Huet, de Claris Interpretibus, p. 166,) who did not even consult the Ms. of the Vatican library, of which they

were praefects, (Aleman. in Praefat Anecdot.) 3. The Greek text was not printed till 1607, by Hoeschelius of Augsburg, (Dictionnaire de Bayle, tom. ii. p. 782.)

4. The Paris edition was imperfectly executed by Claude Maltret, a Jesuit of Toulouse, (in 1663,) far distant from the Louvre press and the Vatican Ms., from which, however, he obtained some supplements. His promised commentaries, &c., have never appeared. The Agathias of Leyden (1594) has been wisely reprinted by the Paris editor, with the Latin version of Bonaventura Vulcanius, a learned interpreter, (Huet, p. 176.)

* Note: Procopius forms a part of the new Byzantine collection under the superintendence of Dindorf.--M.]

[Footnote 15: Agathias in Praefat. p. 7, 8, l. iv. p. 137. Evagrius, l. iv. c. 12. See likewise Photius, cod. lxiii. p. 65.]

[Footnote 16: Says, he, Praefat. ad l. de Edificiis is no more than a pun! In these five books, Procopius affects a Christian as well as a courtly style.]

[Footnote 17: Procopius discloses himself, (Praefat. ad Anecdot. c. 1, 2, 5,) and the anecdotes are reckoned as the ninth book by Suidas, (tom. iii. p. 186, edit. Kuster.) The silence of Evagrius is a poor objection. Baronius (A.D. 548, No. 24) regrets the loss of this secret history: it was then in the Vatican library, in his own custody, and was first published sixteen years after his death, with the learned, but partial notes of Nicholas Alemannus, (Lugd. 1623.)]

[Footnote 18: Justinian an ass--the perfect likeness of Domitian--Anecdot. c. 8.--Theodora's lovers driven from her bed by rival daemons--her marriage foretold with a great daemon--a monk saw the prince of the daemons, instead of Justinian, on the throne--the servants who watched beheld a face without features, a body walking without a head, &c., &c. Procopius declares his own and his friends' belief in these diabolical stories, (c. 12.)]

[Footnote 19: Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c. xx.) gives credit to these anecdotes, as connected, 1. with the weakness of the empire, and, 2. with the instability of Justinian's laws.]


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