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First edition in English. Octavo (163 x 105mm). [2], 162. Bound in contemporary calf, with double-ruled borders stamped in blind, spine rebacked in recent brown goatskin.


A very good copy, generally clean, a couple wormholes in the middle third of the book, some wear to the edges and corners of the spine recently repaired.


The first edition in English of Procopius’s Secret History, the publication of which led to a tidal wave of Secret Histories that took aim at Europe’s elites.


Procopius’s Secret History was first published in Lyon in 1623, after its manuscript was discovered by Niccolò Alamanni in the Vatican library. The book clearly had an early readership in England, as a response to Alamanni’s publication by Sir Thomas Ryves was printed in London in 1626.


It took half a century for the work to be translated into English and published in the present edition. Its translator is not known, but its publication “launched a new genre of literature” (Weinberg), in which ‘Secret Histories’ were published to reveal to hypocrisy, depravity and corruption of rulers both foreign and domestic. ESTC records 236 imprints containing “Secret History” in the title.

The Secret History Of The Court Of The Emperor Justinian

SKU: 109
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    Printed For John Barkesdale Bookbinder, Over Against The Five Bells In Newstreet, Between Fetterlane And Shooelane

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