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Headword: Ῥουφῖνος
Adler number: rho,240
Translated headword: Rouphinos, Rufinus
Vetting Status: high
This man lived during the reign of Theodosius[1] and was profoundly clever[2] and devious.[3] This man and Stilicho[4] were guardians of Theodosius' children.[5] Both men plundered everything,[6] since they regarded power [to consist of] wealth, and no one retained any private property unless they allowed it.[7] All trials were decided by them and a great mob raced around [seeking to discover] whether anyone owned a rich and productive piece of land anywhere; and [sc. if so] the owner was immediately under arrest, ensnared by a plausible indictment through those who had been suborned. And the injured party was done [further] injury, since the injurer was the judge. Rufinus reached this stage of immeasurably evil greed: he sold the public slaves[9] and every public law court judged in favor of Rufinus. And the mob of flatterers at his side was large. These flatterers, who just yesterday and the day before had fled from the tavern, and from cleaning the benches and sweeping the floor, and now had put on purple-bordered mantles and been pinned with gold brooches and bound tight by gold-encrusted signet-rings.[10] You may find many things [said] against Rufinus in the Chronicle of Eunapius of Sardis.[11]
Although Arcadius and Honorius held power in name, all authority and force were held by Rufinus in the East and at the will of Stilicho in the West.[12] They judged all legal matters according to their whim and he departed victorious whoever had secured the vote by bribery or whoever in some other way, such as by family connections, had gained the goodwill of the judge. Property, of the sort which made its owners be called fortunate by the mouths of all, passed into their possession.[13] Some flattered them with gifts, and by this avoided being denounced; others willingly offered their possessions to obtain power or to purchase some other means of ruining cities. With every form of knavery prevailing in the cities, wealth flowed into the possession of Rufinus and Stilicho from every direction. Poverty everywhere encroached on the households of those who once were wealthy. The Emperors understood not a thing of what was happening; but they approved only what Rufinus and Stilicho ordered. After unfathomable wealth had been collected by these men, Rufinus even dreamed of aspiring to the throne.
Greek Original:
Ῥουφῖνος: οὗτος ἐπὶ Θεοδοσίου ἦν, βαθυγνώμων ἄνθρωπος καὶ κρυψίνους. ἦσαν δὲ οὗτός τε καὶ Στελίχων ἐπίτροποι τῶν Θεο- δοσίου παίδων. ἄμφω τὰ πάντα συνήρπαζον, ἐν τῷ πλούτῳ τὸ κράτος τιθέμενοι, καὶ οὐδεὶς εἶχεν ἴδιον οὐδέν, εἰ μὴ τούτοις ἔδοξε. δίκαι τε ἅπασαι πρὸς τούτοις ἐδικάζοντο, καὶ πολὺς ἦν ὄχλος τῶν περιθεόντων, εἴ που τινὶ χωρίον ὑπάρχοι παντομιγές τε καὶ εὔκαρπον: καὶ ὁ δεσπότης εὐθὺς συνήρπαστο, κατηγορίας πεπλασμένης εὐλόγου διά τινων ὑφειμένων ἐνηδρευμένης. καὶ ὁ ἀδικούμενος ἠδικεῖτο, τοῦ ἀδικοῦντος κρίνοντος. ἐς τοῦτο δὲ ὁ Ῥουφῖνος ἐχώρησεν ἀμετροκάκου πλεονεξίας, ὥστε καὶ ἀνδράποδα δημόσια ἀπημπόλει, καὶ ὅσα δημόσια δικαστήρια Ῥουφίνῳ πάντες ἐδίκαζον. καὶ ὁ τῶν κολάκων περὶ αὐτὸν ὄχλος ἦν πολύς. οἱ δὲ κόλακες χθὲς μὲν καὶ πρώην δεδρακότες τοῦ καπηλείου καὶ τοῦ τὰ βάθρα καλλύνειν καὶ τοὔδαφος κορεῖν, ἄρτι δὲ χλαμύδας τάς τε εὐπαρύφους ἐνδεδυκότες καὶ περόναις χρυσαῖς διαπεπερονημένοι καὶ σφραγῖσι χρυσοδέτοις διεσφιγμένοι. τὰ δὲ πολλὰ κατὰ Ῥουφίνου εὕροις ἐν τῇ τοῦ Σαρδιανοῦ Εὐναπίου Χρονογραφίᾳ. ὅτι ἐπὶ Ἀρκαδίου καὶ Ὁνωρίου, τούτων ἄχρι ὀνομάτων ἐχόντων τὸ κράτος, ἡ πᾶσα ἀρχὴ καὶ δύναμις ἦν, κατὰ μὲν τὴν ἑῴαν παρὰ Ῥουφίνῳ, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἑσπέραν ἐπὶ Στελίχωνος γνώμῃ. δίκαι τε πᾶσαι παρ' αὐτοῖς κατ' ἐξουσίαν ἐκρίνοντο, καὶ ἀπήει κεκρατηκὼς ὁ χρημάτων τὴν ψῆφον ὠνούμενος πολλῶν, οἰκειότητι τὴν τοῦ δικάζοντος ἐπισπώμενος εὔνοιαν. κτήματα δέ, ὅσα τοὺς κυρίους ἐν τοῖς ἁπάντων ἐποίει στόμασιν εὐδαίμονας ὀνομάζεσθαι, μετῄει πρὸς τούτους, τῶν μὲν δωρεαῖς θεραπευόντων καὶ τούτῳ τὸ συκοφαντεῖσθαι διαφευγόντων, ἑτέρων δὲ τὰ οἰκεῖα προϊεμένων ὑπὲρ τοῦ τυχεῖν ἀρχῆς ἢ ἄλλον τινα πρίασθαι τῶν πόλεων ὄλεθρον. παντὸς δὲ εἴδους πονηρίας ταῖς πόλεσιν ἐπιπολάζοντος, ὁ μὲν ἁπανταχόθεν πλοῦτος ἐς τὴν Ῥουφίνου καὶ Στελίχωνος οἰκίαν ἐσέρρει, ἡ δὲ πενία κατὰ πάντα τόπον ἐπενέμετο τὰς τῶν πάλαι πλουτούντων οἰκίας. ᾐσθάνοντο δὲ τῶν γινομένων οἱ βασιλεῖς οὐδενός, ἀλλ' ἔγραφον μόνον, ὅσα Ῥουφῖνος ἐπέταττε καὶ Στελίχων. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἄσπετος ἦν αὐτοῖς πλοῦτος συνειλεγμένος, ἤδη καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν ἑαυτῷ μνᾶσθαι ὁ Ῥουφῖνος ὠνειροπόλει.
Flavius Rufinus: b. 350-365?; d. November 27, 395 CE; consul 392 CE. See OCD4 s.v. Rufinus(1); PLRE Rufinus 18. Seeck's entry in RE (in bibliography below) remains an indispensable collection of information about this figure.
This entry consists almost entirely of two excerpts from the (now lost) "E" text, a compilation produced during the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (913 - 959 CE), and illustrates the limitations of the Suda's method of compilation. Both excerpts ultimately derive from Eunapius' Chronicle (the first excerpt is Blockley, Eunapius fr. 62.2), with the second half of the entry being filtered through Zosimus, Nova Historia 5.1.1-4. Eunapius' Chronicle, now lost except for fragments, was an important source for Zosimus, Philostorgius, and Sozomen. He eschewed a chronological explication of history in favor of character analysis. Zosimus followed Eunapius very closely, to the point that his account of this time period is essentially an abbreviation in five books of Eunapius' fourteen. As a result, this entry only treats Rufinus' personal character and rapacity during the height of his career and obscures his political intrigues against competitors in the eastern Court and the disputes with the regent in the West, Stilicho (sigma 1032), which eventually resulted in his death.
Rufinus was a native of Gaul from the town of Elusa. Although little is known about his early life, he may have been involved in some sort of commerce (Codinus 74 = Migne Gr. 157.548-549). The date and mode of his arrival at the Eastern court are unknown. By 388, Rufinus had attained a prominent position under Theodosius (theta 144), possibly as Magister Officiorum (Libanius, Ep. 784; Symmachus, Ep. 3.81-91), a position he definitively held by 390 (Cod. Theod. 10.22.3). Rufinus encouraged the emperor Theodosius in his indiscriminate punishment of the inhabitants of Thessalonica and later played a crucial role in the emperor's reconciliation with Ambrose of Milan (Theodoret, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.18.10; Ambrose, Epistle 52). After ruthlessly disposing of several rivals at the court in Constantinople (kappa 2287), Rufinus received the high honor of sharing the consulship with Theodosius' son Arcadius in 392. When Theodosius died, in January 395 CE, Rufinus was Praefectus Praetorio Orientis and immediately became the de facto ruler of the East. His position, however, was tenuous, especially since many troops from the East remained in the West under the command of Rufinus' enemy Stilicho. In the spring of 395, Rufinus persuaded Arcadius to recall these troops. On November 27, 395, as Rufinus and Arcadius reviewed the their arrival, these troops killed Rufinus, whose body was desecrated by the inhabitants of Constantinople. Rufinus' estates were confiscated and his wife and daughter fled to Jerusalem where they lived in poverty.
Rufinus is the subject of a withering invective by the poet Claudian (kappa 2776, web address 1) but emerges as a competent, if ambitious, official in Ambrose, Symmachus, and Libanius, the last of whom promised but never executed a panegyric to Rufinus (Libanius, Epistle 1029). See Seeck in RE and Levy 1971 for analysis of these sources. A sadistic image of Rufinus appears in lambda 684, which is also copied from Zosimus (NH 5.2.2-4).
[1] Theodosius I: theta 144.
[2] beta 31.
[3] kappa 2509.
[4] General and advisor to Theodosius who became regent to Honorius and de facto ruler of the western Empire from 395 – 408 CE; see sigma 1032.
[5] viz. Flavius Arcadius, ruler of the eastern Roman Empire (383-408 CE: see OCD4 s.v. Arcadius(2)), and Honorius, who ruled the West (393 – 423 CE: see omicron 405). οὗτος - Θεοδοσίου also appears in beta 31 and gamma 287.
[6] ἄμφω - συνήρπαζον = sigma 1032.
[7] Rufinus' rapacity is well-attested in the extant sources: Claudian, In Rufinum 1.100-4, 186f., 220-2, 296, 299, 305; 2.99, 134-136, 410, 436-439, 498-501; Symmachus, Ep. 6.14.1; Hieronymus, Ep. 60.16; Zosimus, NH 5.7.6; John Lydus, De Mag. 2.10 (Levy 1971: 233).
[8] εἴ - κρίνοντος = pi 240; cf. John of Antioch fr. 188 FHG (4.610), now 281 Roberto = EV 1, 202, 19f.
[9] ἐχώρησεν - ἀπημπόλει = alpha 1562, which begins ἐς τοσοῦτον δὲ .
[10] χθὲς - διεσφιγμένοι = beta 30; καὶ περόναις - διεσφιγμένοι = pi 1362.
[11] See introduction above for Eunapius' Chronicle.
[12] The remainder of this entry is copied from Zosimus, NH 5.1.1-4. The first sentence is slightly abbreviated and rendered in simpler syntax; beginning with δύναμις the rest of the entry is identical to Zosimus.
[13] Cod. Theod. 9.4.14 and 9.42.14 confirm that Rufinus' acquisitiveness had some foundation in historical reality and was not simply a trope elaborated by hostile sources. Cod. Theod. 2.9.3 could be an attempt by Rufinus to prevent his victims from countersuing over extorted property, but this interpretation is uncertain (Levy 1971: 233).
Blockley, R.C. The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire : Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus, (Liverpool, 1981)
Fargues, P. Claudien: études sur sa poesie et son temps, (Paris, 1933): 65-76
Levy, H.L. and C. Claudianus. Claudian's In Rufinum: an Exegetical Commentary, (Detroit, 1971)
Rohrbacher, D. The Historians of Late Antiquity, (London & New York, 2002)
Seeck, O. RE: 1.1189.15-1193.35
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: agriculture; biography; children; chronology; clothing; economics; ethics; historiography; history; law; poetry; politics; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Bret Mulligan on 24 November 2003@20:06:10.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics on various levels) on 25 November 2003@08:45:27.
David Whitehead (removed a web address, at the translator's request) on 25 November 2003@09:09:28.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics in betacode) on 26 November 2003@00:15:47.
Catharine Roth (more betacode details) on 26 November 2003@00:18:17.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 6 October 2005@10:13:36.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 29 November 2005@08:14:38.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 December 2005@09:34:45.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 23 May 2007@01:19:14.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics; rased status) on 29 October 2013@08:01:47.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@10:42:27.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@11:10:52.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 12 December 2014@22:48:09.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 January 2015@01:00:11.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 January 2015@04:10:29.
Aaron Baker (Tweaked translation; added Blockley cite.) on 10 June 2015@21:52:07.
Aaron Baker (Modified translation.) on 14 June 2015@18:39:39.
Aaron Baker (More tweaking.) on 14 June 2015@18:48:29.
David Whitehead (typo) on 16 June 2015@07:50:15.


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