The Secret History (unabridged)

Audio Sample


The Secret History

Read by David Timson


Procopius appeared to be a loyal part of the Byzantine establishment, his official writing glorifying the deeds of the Emperor Justinian (d. AD 565). However, he also produced a work that he knew could never be published within the Emperor’s lifetime: The Secret History, a vitriolic indictment of the rule of Justinian and his wife Theodora.

In The Secret History, the general Belisarius is presented as an idiot who is manipulated by his conniving wife Antonina, while the Emperor is depicted as a demon king, a dishonest and autocratic destroyer of established institutions. The Empress Theodora doesn’t escape Procopius’ invective – she is portrayed as the antithesis of the traditional Roman matron: depraved, brutal and bloodthirsty.

  • Running Time: 4 h 16 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-473-4
    Cat. no.:NA0590
    Edited by:Timothy Brown
    Translated by:Richard Atwater (updated)
    Released:October 23
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David Timson brings his rich talents and skills – a sonorous voice, rolling delivery, precise pronunciation, and clear understanding – to Procopius’s scandalous insider look at the reign of Justinian and Theodora of Byzantium (527 to 565 CE). Procopius cannot say enough bad about the royal couple, along with their warlord, Belisarius, and his wife, accusing the emperor of remorseless greed, incompetence, and betrayal, and the women of witchcraft and nymphomania. Timson takes on the persona of Procopius – cynical but affronted, censorious and mocking – and delivers the text as HE might, sneering with disapproval and relishing payback but without overdoing the portrayal. His astute take on the author and his ability to embody him add a significant extra dimension to his fine rendering of this ancient tirade.

W.M., AudioFile

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