History or Ancient Novel?:
has been recently pointed out that the narratives that touch upon Procopius'
renunciation of his title of count, his burial of Julian, retirement to his
estates near Cappadocian Caesarea, imprisonment by Valentinian and Valens
after their accession, fantastic escape from prison, and flight to the Tauric
Cheronese all smack of the Greek novel. This paper
will examine the elements the comprise this period of Procopius's life and
attempt to verify if in fact the components of the historical accounts may
have been influenced by the genre of the ancient Greek novel. It was
after all Julian himself, the last pagan emperor and a relative of the usurper,
who cautioned that the ancient novel or fiction must be avoided. He
stated that "it would be suitable for us to handle histories composed
about real events: but we must avoid all the fictions written of old in the
style of history, love subjects and everything in fact of that type." The ancient
Greek novel by this time had reached its evolutionary height, but at the
same time it had returned to the basic historical building blocks that had
formed and given structural support to the earliest of the ancient Greek
novels (i.e. Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe and Xenophon's Ephesisaca). The
focus of this paper will be on the narratives that comprise or allude to
the post-Julian imprisonment and escape of Procopius that are found in Zosimus' New
History (4.4.3–5.2), Philostrogius' Ecclesiastical History (9.5),
and Ammianus Marcellinus' Rerum gestarum Libri (26.6.3–4).
 Lenski, Noel. 2002. Failure of Empire:
Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D..
Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London. 71.