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Headword: Εὐτρόπιος
Adler number: epsilon,3777
Translated headword: Eutropius
Vetting Status: high
The chamberlain of the emperor Arcadius.[1] There was nothing dreadful that he failed to do. He sold government offices publicly, falsely accused people with power, got rid of the leading men through exile, and brought all manner of outrageous force against the members of the Senate. Nor did he even hold himself back from alliance with foreigners, as if he was hoping to take over the position of the emperor. And once, wanting to arrest those who had taken refuge in the churches, he gave a command ordering that these people be dragged out from the altars. And, while the law had been written, yet justice followed straightway after his savagery. For, not much later Eutropius, after quarreling with the emperor, himself became a refugee and was lying under the altar, while John Chrysostom was bishop.[2] After being pulled away from there, within a night he was beheaded. Thus, then, Eutropius paid the penalty for his sin and was erased from the very list of the consuls, for Theodorus, his fellow consul, has been recorded as the only one.
[It is said that] under this Eutropius eunuchs[3] as a class increased and grew so great in number because of his importance and power that then even some of those who already had beards wanted to become eunuchs and were deprived of their life[4] along with their testicles.
Greek Original:
Εὐτρόπιος, ὁ τοῦ Ἀρκαδίου τοῦ βασιλέως πρόκοιτος: ὃς οὐδὲν τῶν δεινῶν ἀπελίμπανεν, τάς τε ἀρχὰς δημοσίᾳ πιπράσκων καὶ τοὺς τῆς δυνάμεως συκοφαντῶν ἐξορίαις τε τοὺς μεγιστᾶνας ὑποβάλλων καὶ πᾶσαν ὕβριν τοῖς τῆς συγκλήτου βουλῆς ἐπάγων. ἀλλ' οὐδὲ τῆς τῶν βαρβάρων ἀπείχετο συμμαχίας, ὡς ἂν αὐτὸς ἐλπίζων ἐς τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως μεταβαίνειν ἀξίαν. καί ποτε καὶ τοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις πεφευγότας συλλαμβάνειν βουλόμενος προὔθηκεν ἐπιτρέπων τούτους ἐκ τῶν θυσιαστηρίων ἀφέλκεσθαι. καὶ ὁ μὲν νόμος ἐγέγραπτο, δίκη δὲ εὐθέως τῆς ὠμότητος ἠκολούθει. μετ' οὐ πολὺ γὰρ προσκρούσας τῷ βασιλεῖ Εὐτρόπιος ἐν τοῖς πρόσφυξιν ἐγένετο καὶ ὑπὸ τὸ θυσιαστήριον ἔκειτο, Ἰωάννου ἐπισκοποῦντος τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου, ἐκεῖθέν τε ἀφαιρεθεὶς νυκτὸς τῆς κεφαλῆς ἀποτέμνεται. οὕτω μὲν ὁ Εὐτρόπιος δίκας τῆς ἁμαρτάδος ὑποστὰς καὶ ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ καταλόγου τῶν ὑπάτων ἠμείφθη, μόνου τοῦ συνυπατεύσαντος Θεοδώρου γεγραμμένου. ὅτι ἐπὶ τούτου τοῦ Εὐτροπίου τὸ τῶν εὐνούχων ἔθνος διὰ τὴν ἐκείνου βαρύτητα καὶ δυναστείαν ἐς τοσοῦτον ἐπέδωκε καὶ παρετάθη πλήθους, ὥστε τινὲς ἤδη καὶ τῶν γενειάδας ἐχόντων εὐνοῦχοι βουληθέντες γενέσθαι, σὺν τοῖς ὄρχεσιν καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀφῃρέθησαν.
On Eutropius, see Claudian, In Eutropium (web address 1); J.B. Bury History of the Later Roman Empire I.5.2-4 (web address 2); and already epsilon 3776.
The first paragraph of the present entry is derived from John of Antioch fr.189 FHG (4.610), now 283 Roberto. Much of it is repeated, with slight changes, at upsilon 169.
[1] Arcadius ruled 395-408. On Arcadius and Eutropius’ role in his reign, see G.B. Nathan’s De Imperatoribus Romanis article 'Arcadius' (web address 3).
[2] For John Chrysostom’s defense of Eutropius, see his two homilies on Eutropius (web address 4) and the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Chrysostom (web address 5).
[3] See epsilon 3776 for bibliography on eunuchs in the ancient world. Though often they held positions of authority in ancient households, cultural prejudices usually kept them from holding high political office. Thus it was thought scandalous that Eutropius gained the consulship.
[4] Whether ψυχή is here meant to mean 'life' or 'soul' is unclear. Perhaps both meanings are implied. See also sigma 897 which repeats this last paragraph with minor additions.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; law; medicine; politics; religion
Translated by: Abram Ring on 19 December 2007@13:32:00.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, added cross-reference) on 19 December 2007@21:35:07.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 20 December 2007@03:41:43.
Abram Ring (tweaked translation and x-ref) on 4 May 2009@14:52:54.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 15 November 2012@06:50:00.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 28 November 2014@10:25:08.
Catharine Roth (removed italics) on 29 November 2014@01:12:06.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@08:58:18.


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