“Returns’ and ‘World History’ in Procopius

Themed journals are an interesting way for one to adapt their research to “fit” into current trends. Similar to how conferences  have a theme…that indeed many presenting scholars ‘choose’ (and I am saying that in the nicest possible way) not to follow… these themes can be interpreted very differently by different scholars. I have submitted a couple of articles for upcoming themed journals. Networks & Neighbours a journal out of Leeds has a call for papers for their July 2015 issue that  centers upon the notion of return. What follows is a brief excerpt of my part of a discussion I had with some scholars on this theme.

“Returns” are always exciting (e.g., Return of the King, Return of the Jedi!). As a Procopian scholar, Justinian’s campaigns in Italy and North Africa naturally came to mind. One can tackle that ‘return’ in a myriad of ways. I have taken on the Eastern Romans’ view of their own Romanitas versus their perception of the native Italians, but numerous other pathways could be explored. So for me this topic seems particularly stimulating since someone like Roger Scott would argue (in my mind wrongly) that Procopius was not describing a return or a reconquest but “a punishment of rebels”. Procopius with his numerous digressions on foreign places and peoples too can be seen as a world historian describing micro Romes, so perhaps one could tackle that complex topic in his writings. Though others may disagree, I love the idea of taking these themes and applying them to one’s own research. They certainly help one see their own topics from a different angle.

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