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Headword: Πρίσκος
Adler number: pi,2303
Translated headword: Priscus
Vetting Status: high
Of Emesa;[1] "he knew how to imitate other people's writing exceedingly well and was a very adept craftsman in this wickedness. The church of the Emesenes happened many years previously to have become heir to the estate of one of the prominent people. This man, a patrician by rank and Mam[m]ianus by name, was illustrious for his lineage and his abundance of wealth. Under Justinian Priscus calculated the entire resources of the aforementioned city, and if he found any who were flourishing in wealth and in a position to deal with a large loss of money, he investigated their forefathers in great detail, found their old writings and produced many documents supposedly written by them agreeing to render to Mam[m]ianus large sums of money which had been supplied to them by him by way of a deposit. The amount agreed to in the forged writings came to no less than 100 centenaria. There was also a man who had an office in the forum in those days when Mam[m]ianus was living who had a high reputation for honesty and character. This man used to notarize the writings of the citizens, personally putting a seal on each of them with his own handwriting, the sort the Romans call a tabellio. Fiendishly imitating this man's writings he gave them to those who managed the affairs of the church of the Emesenes, after they had agreed to set aside for him a certain portion of the money obtained in this fashion. But since they were impeded by a law that set a thirty-year limit to all other sorts of cases, but for a few, including all those related to mortgages, dismissed those of 40 years length, they went to Byzantium, and having offered money to the emperor Justinian, persuaded him without the least to-do to write a law, [to the effect] that the churches[2] would be excluded from the cases pertaining to them not in the proper times, but for a period of 100 years." Chapter of Justinian in force for 100 years.[3]
Greek Original:
Πρίσκος, Ἐμεσηνός: ὅσπερ ἀλλότρια γράμματα μιμεῖσθαι ὑπερφυῶς ἐξηπίστατο τεχνίτης τε ἦν περὶ τὸ κακὸν τοῦτο δεξιὸς ἄγαν. ἐτύγχανε δὲ ἡ τῶν Ἐμεσηνῶν ἐκκλησία τῶν τινὸς ἐπιφανῶν κληρονόμος γεγενημένη χρόνοις τισὶ πολλοῖς ἔμπροσθεν. ἦν δὲ οὗτος ἀνήρ, πατρίκιος μὲν τὸ ἀξίωμα, Μαμιανὸς δὲ ὄνομα, γένει λαμπρὸς καὶ περιουσίᾳ χρημάτων. ἐπὶ δὲ Ἰουστινιανοῦ ὁ Πρίσκος διαριθμησάμενος πόλεως τῆς εἰρημένης τὰς οὐσίας πάσας, εἴ τινας εὗρε πλούτῳ περιακμάζοντας, καὶ πρὸς ζημίαν χρημάτων μεγάλην διαρκῶς ἔχοντας, τούτων διερευνησάμενος ἐς τὸ ἀκριβὲς τοὺς προπάτορας, γράμμασιν αὐτῶν παλαιοῖς ἐντυχών, βιβλίδια πολλὰ ὡς παρ' ἐκείνων γεγραμμένα πεποίηται, ὁμολογούντων πολλὰ χρήματα τῷ Μαμιανῷ ἀποδώσειν ἅτε παραθήκης λόγῳ ταῦτα παρ' ἐκείνου κεκομισμένοι. τό τε ὡμολογημένον ἐν τούτοις δὴ τοῖς καταπλάστοις γραμματείοις ξυνίει οὐχ ἧσσον ἢ ἐς ρ# κεντηνάρια. καὶ ἀνδρὸς δέ τινος, ὅσπερ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀγορᾶς τηνικάδε χρόνου καθήμενος, ἡνίκα ὁ Μαμιανὸς περιῆν, δόξαν τε πολλὴν ἐπί τε ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀρετῇ ἔχων, ἅπαντα ἐπετέλει τὰ τῶν πολιτῶν γραμματεῖα, ἕκαστον αὐτῶν οἰκείοις ἐπισφαγίζων αὐτὸς γράμμασιν, ὅνπερ ταβελλίωνα καλοῦσι Ῥωμαῖοι, τὰ γράμματα δαιμονίως μιμησάμενος, τοῖς διοικουμένοις τὰ πράγματα τῆς τῶν Ἐμεσηνῶν ἐκκλησίας παρέδωκεν, ὡμολογηκόσι, μοῖραν αὐτῷ τινὰ κεῖσθαι τῶν ἐνθένδε πορισθησομένων χρημάτων. ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ νόμος ἐμποδὼν ἵστατο, τὰς μὲν ἄλλας δίκας ἁπάσας ἐς τριακοντοῦτιν παραγραφὴν ἄγων, ὀλίγας δὲ ἄττας καὶ τὰς ὑποθηκαρίας πάσας μ# ἐνιαυτῶν μήκει ἐκκρούων, ἐς Βυζάντιον ἀφικόμενοι καὶ χρήματα τῷ βασιλεῖ Ἰουστινιανῷ προέμενοι, μελλήσει οὐδεμιᾷ ἔπεισαν γράψαι νόμον, οὐ χρόνοις τὰς ἐκκλήτους τοῖς καθήκουσιν, ἀλλ' ἐνιαυτῶν ρ# πλήθει δικῶν τῶν αὐταῖς προσηκουσῶν ἀποκεκλεῖσθαι. κεφάλαιον Ἰουστινιανοῦ ρ# ἐτῶν πλήθει κρατυνόμενον.
The main part of the entry (in quotation marks) is a slightly garbled paraphrase of Procopius, Secret History 28.1-9.
[1] In Syria; Barrington Atlas map 68 grid C4.
[2] The Suda mistakenly substitutes τὰς ἐκκλήτους ('the appellate [cases]') here for Procopius' τὰς ἐκκλησίας ('the churches').
[3] The Suda or an intermediary source adds this summary sentence.
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; imagery; law; politics; religion
Translated by: William Hutton on 24 February 2013@11:36:50.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaking) on 25 February 2013@04:01:48.
Catharine Roth (betacode cosmeticule) on 25 February 2013@09:31:15.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr and note) on 8 March 2013@07:02:22.
William Hutton (tweak to note 2) on 10 March 2013@13:22:36.
William Hutton (cosmeticule) on 10 March 2013@13:23:11.
David Whitehead on 14 October 2013@06:03:54.


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