Whitby, The History of Simocatta (1986)
Michael Whitby, Mary Whitby, The History of Theophylact Simocatta. An English Translation with Introduction and Notes, (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1986)
Theophylact Simocatta, borne c. 585, wrote the history of the period 582-602, throughout Emperor’s Maurice twenty-year reign. His long and detailed History, the only source of the late 6th c., is an invaluable document within which two major topics dominate the narration: warfare in the Balkans, against Slavs and Avars, and on the Eastern Frontier against the Persians.
This first English translation of a Byzantine source renowned for its stylistic idiosyncrasy and obscurity, offers an annotated text to facilitate a proper evaluation of its evidence. The footnotes are excellent; a real ‘manual’ of the period. The Chorological Table, the Gazetteer and the Index of Names, pp. 237-255, plus the four maps, pp. 259-264, are also of great help. Otherwise very few would dare to read Theophylact Simocatta (whose surname means ‘snub-nosed cat’ and presumably refers to his appearance).