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Headword: Εὐτρόπιος
Adler number: epsilon,3776
Translated headword: Eutropius
Vetting Status: high
The eunuch, minister of the emperor Theodosius.[1] And Eunapius says: "for Rufinus, as he both was or rather seemed to be a man and had enjoyed honors and met with various fortunes, seemed neither unreasonably nor improperly to resist the fortune which changed everything. But the chamberlain, a eunuch, stole away his[2] power and quaked and stormed over everything to such an extent that not only Rufinus himself[3] but even the mythical Salmoneus[4] was but a little thing compared to him, who, though a eunuch, forced his way into being a man. And, while the myths say that the Gorgon,[5] as soon as she appeared, turned those who saw her to stone, our modern experience has proved the myth to be pointless nonsense and babble." And the historian pours out much criticism about this eunuch, criticism quite worthy of his life.
Greek Original:
Εὐτρόπιος, ὁ εὐνοῦχος, ἐπίτροπος Θεοδοσίου τοῦ βασιλέως. καί φησιν Εὐνάπιος: ὁ μὲν γὰρ Ῥουφῖνος ἀνήρ τε ὢν ἢ δοκῶν καὶ ἐν ἀξιώμασι γεγονὼς καὶ ποικίλαις ὁμιλήσας τύχαις, οὐ παρὰ λόγον οὐδὲ τοῦ πρέποντος ἐκτὸς ἐδόκει κατεξανίστασθαι τῆς νεωτεριζούσης ἅπαντα τύχης. ὁ δὲ θαλαμηπόλος εὐνοῦχος παραλαβὼν τὸ ἐκείνου κράτος ἐς τοσόνδε κατέσεισεν ἅπαντα καὶ κατεβρόντησεν, ὥστε οὐ μόνον Ῥουφῖνος ἦν αὐτός, ἀλλ' ὁ τοῦ μύθου Σαλμωνεὺς μικρόν τι χρῆμα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἦν, ὅσγε ὢν εὐνοῦχος ἀνὴρ εἶναι κατεβιάζετο. καὶ οἱ μὲν μῦθοί φασι τὴν Γοργόνα φανεῖσαν ἅμα τε φαίνεσθαι καὶ τοὺς ἰδόντας μεταβάλλειν εἰς λίθον: ὁ δὲ καθ' ἡμᾶς βίος ληρόν τινα περιττὸν καὶ φλήναφον τὸν μῦθον ἀπέδειξε. καὶ πολὺν καταχέει διασυρμὸν ὁ ἱστορικὸς τουτουὶ̈ τοῦ εὐνούχου, τοῦ βίου αὐτοῦ ἐπάξιον.
Eunapius fr. 66 FHG (4.44). For Eutropius see also epsilon 3777.
[1] theta 144. In fact, this is a mistake: Eutropius served under Arcadius, not Theodosius (Blockley 1983: 145 n. 137).
[2] That is, Rufinus’ power. (For Rufinus see rho 240.)
[3] My translation here omits the ἦν which follows ̔Ρουφῖνος , an emendation which Adler attributes to the Bernhardy edition.
[4] In Greek myth, Salmoneus (sigma 56) tried to emulate Zeus by making imitating thunder and lightning. Eunapius compares Salmoneus and Eutropius for their blustering arrogance. Notice that he had already mentioned Eutropius quaking and storming, activities that would also suit Salmoneus.
[5] This is probably Medusa (mu 406), one of three Gorgons according to Greek myth. Apparently this mythical example alludes to Eutropius' alleged ugliness, for which Blockley (1983: 146 n. 138) cites Claudian, In Eutropium 1.110-37; that is, despite Eutropius' extreme ugliness, no one was ever turned to stone.
Blockley, R. C. (1981 vol. I, 1983 vol. II) The fragmentary classicising historians of the later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus, and Malchus, 2 vols., Liverpool: Francis Cairns
Rohrbacher, David (2002) The Historians of Late Antiquity, pp. 64-72 "Eunapius", Routledge
Scholz, Piotr O. (2001) Eunuchs and castrati : a cultural history, Markus Wiener Publishers
Tougher, Shaun (2002) Eunuchs in antiquity and beyond, Classical Press of Wales and Duckworth
Tougher, Shaun (2008) The Eunuch in Byzantine History and Society, Routledge
Keywords: biography; definition; ethics; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; mythology; politics
Translated by: Abram Ring on 9 October 2007@11:46:46.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (typos, status) on 9 October 2007@17:43:05.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 October 2007@03:28:27.
Abram Ring (augmented notes on Theodosius and Medusa, added Blockley's second volume to biblio.) on 25 October 2007@12:19:45.
Abram Ring (Added new bibliography) on 19 March 2009@10:11:12.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 20 March 2009@12:06:02.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 7 August 2011@04:55:49.
David Whitehead (typo; other cosmetics) on 15 November 2012@06:43:55.


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