Friday, December 30, 2016

Procopius of Caesarea on the Earthquake in Antioch in 526 AD

There is a comment by Procopius on the earthquake at Antioch in 526 AD in this paper:

FATE, DIVINE PHTHONOS, AND THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE RECEPTION OF HERODOTEAN THEOLOGY IN EARLY AND MIDDLE BYZANTINE HISTORIOGRAPHY
by Vasiliki Zali in Histos Supplement (2015 ) pages 85-126.

Zali notes that Procopius wrote when relating the fate of the city of Antioch (2.10.4–5): 

"But I become dizzy as I write of such a great calamity and transmit it to future times, and I am unable to understand why indeed it should be the will of God to exalt on high the fortunes of a man or of a place, and then to cast them down and destroy them for no cause which we can perceive (τί ποτε ἄρα βουλοµένῳ τῷ θεῷ εἴη πράγµατα µὲν ἀνδρὸς ἢ χωρίου του ἐπαίρειν εἰς ὕψος, αὖθις δὲ ῥιπτεῖν τε αὐτὰ καὶ ἀφανίζειν ἐξ οὐδεµιᾶς ἡµῖν φαινοµένης αἰτίας). For it is wrong to say that with Him all things are not always done with reason (αὐτῷ γὰρ οὐ θέµις εἰπεῖν µὴ οὐχὶ ἅπαντα κατὰ λόγον ἀεὶ γίγνεσθαι), though he then endured to see Antioch brought down to the ground at the hands of a most unholy man, a city whose beauty and grandeur in every respect could not even so be utterly concealed".

This was taken from Dewing, H. B., tr. (1914–40) Procopius, vols. 1–5 (Cambridge, Mass.).

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