Procopius, Buildings

LCL 343: 2-3

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Procopius of Caesarea



α΄. Οὐκ ἀρετῆς ἐπίδειξιν ποιεῖσθαι ἐθέλων, P 2οὐδὲ λόγου δυνάμει θαρσῶν, οὐδὲ χωρίων ἐπὶ τῇ ἐμπειρίᾳ φιλοτιμούμενος, ἐς τῆσδε τῆς ἱστορίας τὴν γραφὴν ὥρμηκα· ἐπεὶ οὐκ εἶχον οὐδὲν ὑφ᾿ 2οὗ ἂν παρρησίας ἐς τόδε ἀγοίμην. ἀλλά μοι πολλάκις ἔννοια γέγονεν ὁπόσων τε καὶ πηλίκων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιον ἱστορία ταῖς πόλεσι γίνεσθαι εἴωθε, παραπέμπουσά τε εἰς τοὺς ἐπιγόνους τῶν προγεγενημένων τὴν μνήμην, καὶ ἀνταγωνιζομένη τῷ χρόνῳ κρυφαῖα ποιεῖσθαι διατεινομένῳ τὰ πράγματα. καὶ τὴν μὲν ἀρετὴν εὐφημίαις ἀεὶ τῶν ἀναλεγομένων αὐτὴν ἐπαίρουσα, τῆς δὲ κακίας ἐπιλαμβανομένη διηνεκές, ταύτῃ τε ἀποκρουομένη 3τὴν αὐτῆς δύναμιν. τούτου οὖν δὴ μόνου ἐπιμελητέον ἡμῖν, ὅπως δὴ ἔνδηλα τὰ πεπραγμένα διαφανῶς ἔσται καὶ ὑφ᾿ ὅτου ἐργασθείη τῶν πάντων ἀνθρώπων. ταῦτα δέ, οἶμαι, οὐδὲ γλώσσῃ τραυλιζούσῃ τε καὶ ἰσχνοφώνῳ οὔσῃ ἀμήχανά 4ἐστι. χωρὶς δὲ τούτων εὐγνώμονας μὲν ἱστορία ἐς τοὺς εὐεργέτας ἐνδείκνυται γεγονέναι τῶν ἀρχομένων τοὺς εὖ πεπονθότας, ἐν μείζοσι δὲ


Buildings I. i

Procopius of CaesareaBuildings

Book I

i. It is not because I wish to make a display of skill, nor through any confidence in my eloquence, nor because I pride myself on my personal knowledge of many lands, that I have set about writing this record; for indeed I had no grounds for venturing so bold an intention. Yet the thought has many times occurred to me, how many and how great are the benefits which are wont to accrue to states through History, which transmits to future generations the memory of those who have gone before, and resists the steady effort of time to bury events in oblivion; and while it incites to virtue those who from time to time may read it by the praise it bestows, it constantly assails vice by repelling its influence. Wherefore our concern must be solely this—that all the deeds of the past shall be clearly set forth, and by what man, whosoever he might be, they were wrought. And this, I believe, is not an impossible task, even for a lisping and thin-voiced tongue. Apart from all this, history shews that subjects who have received benefits have proved themselves grateful toward their benefactors, and that they have repaid them with

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.procopius-buildings.1940