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The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, Preface

JORDANES

THE ORIGIN AND DEEDS OF THE GOTHS

551 AD

translated by Charles C. Mierow

Princeton University Press, 1915

Preface

Though it had been my wish to glide in my little boat by the shore of a peaceful coast and, as a certain writer says, to gather little fishes from the pools of the ancients, you, brother Castalius, bid me set my sails toward the deep. You urge me to leave the little work I have in hand, that is, the abbreviation of the Chronicles, and to condense in my own style in this small book the twelve volumes of the Senator on the origin and deeds of the Getae from olden time to the present day, descending through the generations of the kings.

Truly a hard command, and imposed by one who seems unwilling to realize the burden of the task. Nor do you note this, that my utterance is too slight to fill so magnificent a trumpet of speech as his. But above every burden is the fact that I have no access to his books that I may follow his thought. Still--and let me lie not--I have in times past read the books a second time by his steward's loan for a three days' reading. The words I recall not, but the sense and the deeds related I think I retain entire.

To this I have added fitting matters from some Greek and Latin histories. I have also put in an introduction and a conclusion, and have inserted many things of my own authorship. Wherefore reproach me not, but receive and read with gladness what you have asked me to write. If aught be insufficiently spoken and you remember it, do you as a neighbor to our race add to it, praying for me, dearest brother.

The Lord be with you. Amen.

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