Readers are invited to look first at Sabidius' introduction to his translation of Book I of the 'Iliad' (see items from March 2010) for initial comments about Homer's great work. These short extracts, telling of the encounter between Achilles' bosom companion Patroclus and Zeus' mortal son, Sarpedon, demonstrate how entertwined are the considerations of the gods with the affairs of the protagonists on both sides. They also provide good examples of Homer's practice of repeating phrases, and sometimes even whole lines, which is a chacteristic of poetry which was initially orally composed. Here lines 455-457 are identical or almost identical to lines 673-675, and the same is the case in relation to lines 668-673 and lines 678-683. In this translation these lines have been italicised to highlight these similarities.
Procopius of Caesarea, is the last great Greek historian to write in the classical tradition of Herodotus, Thucydides and Polybius, and, although he wrote in the Sixth Century A.D., right at the end of the classical era, and on the cusp of the Dark Ages, he was one of the greatest of these historians. His reputation is mainly founded upon his "Histories of the Wars" of the reign of Justinian (527-565 A.D.) in eight books. Books I-VII, covering the years 527-550, were published in 550-1, and Book VIII,...