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Bill Thayer

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Procopius: Buildings

Text and Translation on LacusCurtius

This part of my site presents a transcription of the Buildings, edited and translated into English by H[enry] B[ronson] Dewing, as printed in Vol. VII of the Loeb Classical Library edition of Procopius, published in 1940. I found myself transcribing the original Greek text as well — after having sworn I wouldn't — since I couldn't find it anywhere else online; very late in my transcription, I discovered (with mixed feelings, as may be imagined) that it's also online on Philippe Remacle's site, although possibly from a different edition.

The Author, the Manuscripts

As with most ancient authors, not that much is known of Procopius; biographical material may appear onsite by and by: for now see the Catholic Encyclopedia article. The Loeb edition gives very little information about the manuscripts, at least not in Vol. VII of its edition of Procopius, but the Introduction by H. B. Dewing is useful in other respects.

βιβλίον Book Subject



Chapter 1: Introduction; the church of S. Sophia in Constantinople


Chapters 2‑5: Other churches and buildings of Constantinople


Chapters 6‑11: Churches and buildings in and near Constantinople


Chapters 1‑11: Fortifications and cities on the Persian frontier


Chapters 1‑7: Fortifications and cities in Armenia, Tzanica, and on the shores of the Black Sea



Chapters 1‑3: Illyricum: mostly fortifications


Chapters 4‑6: Epirus, Macedonia, Dardania, Thessaly, and inner Illyricum


Chapters 7‑11: Thrace, Haemimontum, and Moesia


Chapters 1‑9: Buildings in Asia


Chapters 1‑7: North Africa, from Alexandria to Morocco

The Equestrian Statue of Justinian in the Augustaeum


The translation is now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1968 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

The small section numbers mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage. Similarly, for citation purposes, the Loeb edition pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

[image ALT: Architectural cross-section of a large domed building. It is Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and serves as an icon for my transcription of the 'Buildings' of Procopius.]
[image ALT: Architectural cross-section of a large domed building. It is Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and serves as an icon for my transcription of the 'Buildings' of Procopius.]

Depending on what part of my site you're coming from, you'll have seen one or the other of the above as the representative icon for the Buildings. The first, which I use more often, is a colorized version of the architectural drawing of the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul inserted by the Loeb editors on p15: the full-size, uncolorized, captioned original is found at its place in the text. The second, which you may have seen on my Roman Military History orientation page, emphasizes the military aspect of the Buildings, about two‑thirds of which is devoted to forts or the fortification of cities: the handsome photograph is of Zenobia on the Euphrates, and comes to this site courtesy of Jona Lendering of Livius.Org; I've inserted a large version at the appropriate place in Procopius' text.

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Site updated: 26 May 20