Procopius of Caesaria was the secretary to Belisarius, one of Emperor Justinian’s chief generals. In the course of following Belisarius on his campaigns to reconquer the western portions of the Roman Empire, Procopius chronicled much of those wars. He also authored several other primary source works that historians use for analyzing Emperor Justinian and his reign.

In 1620 CE though a new source by Procopius was discovered in the Vatican Archives–The Secret History.

Purporting to be a “truthful” account of Justinian’s regime, The Secret History is full of wild, fantastical improbabilities such as Justinian being able to remove his head and walk around with it at night. But there are also legitimate issues that Procopius discusses.

So, that begs the question, how do we utilize this text as an historical source?