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Justinian, Procopius, And Deception: Literary Lies, Imperial Politics, And The Archaeology Of Sixth-Century Greece

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Chapter Summary

Every scholar of Late Antiquity must confront the challenge posed by the deceptions of Procopius of Caesarea. For sixth-century Greece, in particular, a few paragraphs of Procopius remain at the heart of long-running debates about the end of the ancient city and its institutions, not to mention the relationship between ancient literature and archaeology. Procopius credits Justinian with constructing fortifications at Thermopylae and Corinth in his Buildings, but many archaeologists question this attribution. Procopius seems to have followed the History of the Wars by beginning to write an encomium of Justinian's construction projects in Constantinople and elsewhere in the Eastern empire: the Buildings. The archaeological evidence for closure of theaters is in fact uneven, and Justinian issued one Novel supporting theatrical performances early in his reign.

Keywords: Eastern empire; Justinian; Procopius of Caesarea; sixth-century Greece



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