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Headword: Ἐρύθριος
Adler number: epsilon,3100
Translated headword: Erythrios, Erythrius, Eruthrios
Vetting Status: high
He was [praetorian] prefect in the time of Zeno.[1] When he saw that the public funds were not sufficient, since he could neither stand to put a greater tax burden upon the taxpayers nor, as a generous person, do anyone wrong on account of his debts, he resigned his office, after seeking permission from Zeno for this. He brought grief to the city when he stepped aside, since he alone of those who then possessed political power had shown himself to be interested in the common good. He offered indulgences rather quickly to those who made requests, and he was completely incapable of taking vengeance on anyone who had offended him in the past. But the public funds then came into dire straits so that nothing was left over, since everything that Leo[2] had left in the public treasury at his death had quickly been emptied out by Zeno — largely through indulging his friends willy-nilly and through his inexact accounting which resulted in his failure to recognize whatever was being stolen[3] in one way or another.
Greek Original:
Ἐρύθριος, ἔπαρχος γεγονὼς ἐπὶ Ζήνωνος: ὃς ἐπεὶ μήτε τὰ κοινὰ διαρκοῦντα ἑώρα, μήτε βάρος προσθεῖναι πλεῖον τοῦ τεταγμένου τοῖς συντέλεσιν ἠνείχετο, μήτε τινα ποιεῖν πονηρόν, ὡς ὢν φιλάνθρωπος, τῶν ὀφειλομένων ἠδύνατο χάριν, αἰτησάμενος παρὰ Ζήνωνος ταύτην τῆς ἀρχῆς ἐπαύσατο. λύπην δὲ τῇ πόλει παρέσχεν, ἡνίκα ταύτην ἀπέθετο: μόνος γὰρ τῶν τελούντων τότε εἰς τὴν πολιτείαν οὗτος ἐπὶ τῷ πάντων ἀγαθῷ ἐπεφύκει, θάττους μὲν τὰς χάριτας παρέχων τοῖς αἰτουμένοις, οὐκ ἔχων δέ τινα παντάπασι τῶν πρόσθεν προσκεκρουκότων ἀμύνεσθαι. τὸ δὲ κοινὸν τότε εἰς πᾶσαν ἀπορίαν κατῆλθεν ὡς μηδὲν ἔχειν ὑπόλοιπον. ἅ τε γὰρ ἐν τῷ κοινῷ ταμιείῳ Λέων κατέλιπεν ἀποθνήσκων, ὑπὸ Ζήνωνος ταχὺ ἐκεκένωτο πάντα, πολλὰ μὲν χαριζομένου τοῖς φίλοις ὡς ἔτυχεν, οὐκ ὄντος δὲ ἀκριβοῦς, ὥστε γινώσκειν αὐτά, εἴ πη καὶ ἄλλως κλέπτοιντο.
This entry is ascribed to Malchus [mu 120], as fr.6 FHG (4.116), still 6 Cresci. For an alternative translation see Blockley, fr. 7 (2.413-14).
On Erythrius, see J.B. Bury (400-401 n. 52) at web address 1. A letter of instruction from Leo and Anthemius to Erythrius is preserved in Corpus Juris Civilis, Codex (i.e. the Justinian Code) 5.9.6; see web address 2. See also PLRE 'Erythrius 1' (web address 3).
[1] Emperor 474-491; cf. zeta 83, zeta 84.
[2] Leo I, emperor 457-474; cf. lambda 267.
[3] Baldwin (101) notes that Malchus elsewhere uses κλέμματα to refer to the ill-gotten gains of corrupt officials. However, one of the fragments that Baldwin cites has sometimes been attributed to Candidus, and so the term may not be idiosyncratic but rather a usage current at the time. The verb κλέπτοιντο here might be translated "embezzled," if indeed it had currency as a term to describe political profiteering.
Baldwin, B. 1977. “Malchus of Philadelphia.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 31: 89-107.
Blockley, R. C. 1983. The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus. 2 vols. Liverpool.
Bury, J. B. 1923. History of the Later Roman Empire. vol. 1 London (1889).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; chronology; constitution; daily life; economics; ethics; historiography; history; law; politics
Translated by: Abram Ring on 20 February 2008@12:03:54.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (tweaked headword and translation, augmented notes, added link) on 21 February 2008@00:58:30.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 21 February 2008@04:37:33.
William Hutton (More tinkering with translation, added more notes and cross-references, raised status) on 21 February 2008@06:00:37.
David Whitehead (layout) on 21 February 2008@08:01:13.
David Whitehead (cosmetics; raised status) on 30 October 2012@04:47:40.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 January 2015@23:23:07.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 31 January 2015@08:22:08.


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