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The Wars of Justinian

The Wars of Justinian

Translated by H. B. Dewing; Revised and Modernized, with an Introduction and Notes, by Anthony Kaldellis; Maps and Genealogies by Ian Mladjov

September 2014 - 680 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth 978-1-62466-171-6
Paper 978-1-62466-170-9

Quick Overview

"At last . . . the translation that we have needed for so long: a fresh, lively, readable, and faithful rendering of Prokopios' Wars, which in a single volume will make this fundamental work of late ancient history-writing accessible to a whole new generation of students."
     —Jonathan Conant, Brown University


eBook available for $25.50. Click HERE for more information and purchasing options.

A fully-outfitted edition of Prokopios' late Antique masterpiece of military history and ethnography—for the 21st-century reader.


"At last . . . the translation that we have needed for so long: a fresh, lively, readable, and faithful rendering of Prokopios' Wars, which in a single volume will make this fundamental work of late ancient history-writing accessible to a whole new generation of students."
     —Jonathan Conant, Brown University

"[A] fluent and accurate rendering of an often complex text . . . of central importance to late Roman and Byzantine history. Prokopios will finally take his rightful place alongside historians of the ancient world such as Thucydides and Polybius."
     —John F. Haldon, Princeton University

"Kaldellis is a gifted translator and a talented historian. . . [His] introduction situates the Wars very well, summarizing the latest scholarship, much of it Kaldellis' own. Kaldellis writes with authority on the author, his writings, and the armies of Justinian; he also directs the reader to the classical authors—Thucydides, Herodotus and Xenophon—whose methods and works shaped Procopius' narrative and from which he chose templates to structure his set pieces, most famously an account of the plague of 542.
    "This is an impeccable work of the greatest value. Its many maps are superb. It will certainly be used by scholars, even those with good Greek, for its copious erudite notes, both historical and literary. Most impressive are the countless references to classical sources, making this also an elucidation of Byzantine learning in the sixth century."
     —Paul Stephenson, Radboud University Nijmegen

"Kaldellis, who is Professor of Classics at The Ohio State University, is a talented historian and translator. While acknowledging Dewing's original translation, Kaldellis has corrected some mistakes and brought much needed nuances to some passages, but has also completely adapted the text, sentence by sentence, for a modern audience. Furthermore, Kaldellis' revision not only makes the text more elegant and appealing to modern readers, but also serves pedagogical purposes, by tidying up passages that were often challenging to undergraduate--and even graduate--students. In the end, Kaldellis achieves a faithful, generally more accurate, and overall authoritative rendering of an often complex text. Prokopios' Wars of Justinian is now not only readable, it is functional.
     "The introduction is detailed and complete, while not so extensive as to overburden an already lengthy volume. Kaldellis makes a good presentation of Prokopios' Wars and the most recent scholarship surrounding it. He duly presents the author and his works, as well as the historical context in which they were produced. He offers an interesting overview of the armies of Justinian, as well as a thorough explanation of the historical context and military realities of the sixth century, which are essential to understanding Prokopios' account. Most notably, he reminds us that Prokopios shaped his narrative on the model of classical authors such as Thucydides, Herodotos, and Xenophon, a fact sometimes lost to modern readers. Kaldellis also dutifully explains his editorial practices and translation principles. The source itself is clearly edited and presented, and contains hundreds of notes, which are invaluable to understanding the more obscure passages of Prokopios' text (namely references to complex military, geographical, or political matters). The notes also point out citations from classical sources, a significant contribution to modern scholarship. The source is divided into its eight books and Kaldellis has maintained chapter separations that modern editors have traditionally used. Indicating the corresponding pages from the Loeb edition would certainly have been a convenient and welcome addition for making the transition from Dewing's original translation, which was so widely used in the past and which most likely still permeates the research notes and publications of previous scholars. Nonetheless, section numbers are embedded within the chapters which facilitates referencing.
     "Finally, added reference material and supplements embellish the volume and truly set it apart from other translations. Numerous maps, provided by Ian Mladjov, and remarkable for their scope and detail, are a necessary complement to understanding the text. The appendices complete the volume with glossaries, annotated guides to contemporary primary sources, a guide to scholarship in English, lists of rulers and genealogies, and a very detailed and extensive index, all showing the level of perfection and care that was devoted to the preparation of this work.
     "Anthony Kaldellis' rendering of Prokopios' Wars of Justinian is in many regards impeccable, not only for its modernized translation, but also for its notes, added scholarship, and detailed reference material. It is sure to be indispensable to a new generation of college and university students, and even scholars who already master Greek, who will use it for its assets and contributions beyond the translation."
     —Marc Carrier, Université de Sherbrooke, in The Medieval Review

"IAll in all, this is a volume that is specifically designed, by a master of the discipline, to inspire students to relish Late Antiquity and Byzantium. I can think of no better single translation to hook readers on the captivating world of late antique historiography and, especially, on Prokopios as its most talented exemplar."
     —Scott Johnson, Georgetown University

"This smoothly modified modernization of the classic Loeb translation brings one of the most significant texts of the early Byzantine period to a wide audience for the first time. More important then his Secret History as a source for the period, Prokopios' Wars should be central to the study of Late Antiquity."
     —Michael Kulikowski, Penn State University


About the Author:

Anthony Kaldellis is Professor of Classics, The Ohio State University.



  The Composition of Prokopios' Works
  The Armies of Justinian
  The Present Translation and Notes
  The Spelling of Names
  Note on the Formatting of the Translation

Rome, Constantinople, Environs of Constantinople, Balkans, Southern Greece, Black Sea, Caucasia, South-Western Asia, Mesopotamia, Eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea, Roman Africa, Post-Roman Gaul, Northern Italy, Southern Italy

The History of the Wars of Justinian
  Books 1-8

Appendix: Reference Matter
  Glossary of Offices and Units of Measurement
  Contemporary Sources: An Annotated Guide
  A Guide to Scholarship in English

Ruler Lists, 400-569 AD
  Emperors of the Romans (East)
  Emperors of Romans (West)
  Shahs of Iran (Sasanian empire)
  Kings of Lazike
  Kings of the Vandals (and Alans after 418)
  Kings of the Visigoths
  Kings of the Ostrogoths
  Kings of the Franks
  Kings of the Lombards

Barbarian Genealogies