Milman, the Reverend, declared this book "the worst book in all literature," but the translator continued, "a summary which may quietly be disregarded, since the certainly orthodox authorities at Rome thought the manuscript worth preserving all these centuries in the Vatican Library as part of the great human record."
"Here, then, is an important document covering the greater part of the sixth century of Our Lord and the pious reign of their Imperial Majesties Justinian and Theodora, by the grace of God rulers of the Holy roman Empire of the East and of the West, and Defenders of the True Faith. . . Mentioned by the lexicographer Suidas circa 1100, the loss of this valuable work to modern readers was lamented by Baronius in 1548, though the manuscript was then in his custody in the Vatican. A later and more diligent librarian one day discovered the 'Secret History,' and it was published for the first time in print in 1623, the first English translation appearing in 1674."
"Not till 1896, however, if we may believe its title page, was a "literal and complete" English translation made: this was privately printed in Athens in an edition of 255 copies, a rare monument of Victorian scholarship and deplorable style, whose obscurities of construction are not alleviated by the harsh bluntness of its vocabulary. English may be made as subtle a tongue as French or Greek, but it slips only too easily into brutality. Lately, however, one James Branch Cabell has lighted the way to an English made safe for the daintiest of readers; and perhaps it is now possible for the present translator in the most intimate of Procopius's anecdotes, to convey faithfully the original candor of the sunlit Greek with no more added nuance of veiling than, perhaps, a silken and delicately perfumed metaphor." Quoted from the "Introduction."