While still at school, I somehow acquired a copy of the Folio edition of Procopius’ Secret History, which I’m ashamed to say I never read and always regarded with slight suspicion. Since I didn’t encounter Byzantine history until one particularly complex and unsuccessful week in Hilary Term of my first year at university, I’ve no idea what possessed me to buy it. Did I think it was some unusual edition of Donna Tartt’s excellent novel (one of my favourites)? At any rate, poor Procopius lingered unloved and unread on my bookshelf until, at some point in the last ten years, he was obviously consigned to the charity shop. It’s typical that, as soon as I yearn to plunge into his small-minded and salacious history, it turns out that I gave it away. After reading this book, I definitely want to go back to it.