Procopius's Sibyl - the fall of Vitigis and the Ostrogoths

Author: Kovács, Tamás
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2019, vol. 24, iss. 2, pp. 113-124
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
The monumental work of Procopius on Justinian's wars includes two Sibylline oracles. As is often the case, the oracles are ambiguous; however, it is precisely this feature that helps to reveal their real meaning. As a consequence, the oracles can also aid researchers in understanding the basis of Byzantine political thought. This essay discusses the connotations of the Sibylline oracle in 537 through classical text analysis, revealing that Procopius used archaic ethnonyms and royal titles to draw a parallel between the fall of the Kingdom of Lydia and the Ostrogothic Kingdom. Using this framework, Procopius stresses that in 410, Alaric committed the original crime by abducting Galla Placidia; however, Vitigis and his wife Matasuntha were the ones who atoned for this sin in 540.
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