This chapter examines the usefulness of Procopius’ account of the siege of Rome in AD 537/538, and considers whether his literary proclivities impinged upon his accuracy. To do so, it examines Procopius’ presentation of excessive figures for the Goths, his focus on gruesome battle wounds, and considers the likelihood of Procopius knowing what he described, and whether he was physically in a position to see what happened. It closes by raising two potential issues with Procopius’ account: his questionable digression on siege machines and his focus on Belisarius and the general’s use of civilians. It concludes that Procopius provides an excellent account of the siege, that his emphasis on Belisarius is in keeping with other contemporary and near-contemporary accounts, and that his description thus makes a useful account of this siege of Rome.
This paper re-evaluates some of the conclusions reached by the contributors to the published final excavation report for the fortress of el-Lejjun in Jordan, particularly regarding its occupation in the first half of the 6th c. A.D. I argue that there was still a significant military presence, likely composed of limitanei, during that period, and that much of their food was sourced locally. This is in keeping with what we know about the provisioning of Roman frontier fortresses in other parts of the empire, and trends in the trade networks of the 6th c. East in general. Furthermore, the essay highlights the value that detailed archaeological reports have for elucidating Late Roman military logistics.