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Headword: Ὕπατοι
Adler number: upsilon,169
Translated headword: consuls
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] those administering the Romans' constitution; for when the constitution shook off slavery after the death of Tarquinius[1] it entrusted power to two generals holding an annual office; in the number of the men it kept at bay the fear of monarchy, and in the reduction of the power it created moderation in the protectors of commonwealth. For he who was now protected by bodywards with axes and staffs and was leading out armies understood the change after a short while and behaved moderately and democratically to those who were ruled. But if anyone used his power oppressively and arrogantly, this man could easily be stripped of his pride by the other one of the leaders, who had equal power. In this manner, therefore, the constitution, having escaped the burden of tyranny and the intemperance of democracy, elects two men as generals with full powers, naming them consuls, as some kind of guardians and advocates; the Greeks have named those ὕπατοι ["supremes"] because of the eminence of their authority.[2]
At the time of Honorius[3] and Arcadius,[4] the sons of Theodosius,[5], Eutropius,[6] the chamberlain of the king, was the first eunuch to become a consul. He travelled around the city in a chariot,[7] not failing to do anything dreadful, selling publicly government offices, falsely accusing people who had power, getting rid of the leading men through exile and bringing all manner of outrageous force against the members of the senate. Nor did he even hold himself back from alliances with foreigners, as if he was hoping to take over the position of the emperor. And, wanting to arrest those who had taken refuge in churches, he gave a command ordering these people to be dragged out of the altars. Not much later, after quarreling with the emperor and fleeing to the altar himself, he was pulled away from there.
Theodosius the Small,[8] after Antiochus the praepositus was calumniated to him, relieved him of his office and appointed him among the priests, publicly revealing this, when he published a command that a eunuch could not be enrolled among the patricians.[9]
Greek Original:
Ὕπατοι: οἱ τὴν τῶν Ῥωμαίων πολιτείαν διοικοῦντες: ἀποσεισαμένη γὰρ τὴν δουλείαν ἡ πολιτεία μετὰ θάνατον Ταρκυνίου δύο στρατηγοῖς ἐνιαυσιαίαν ἔχουσιν ἀρχὴν τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἐπέτρεψε: τῷ μὲν ἀριθμῷ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τὸν τῆς μοναρχίας διωθουμένη φόβον, τῷ δὲ συνεσταλμένῳ τῆς ἐξουσίας μετρίους τοὺς ἐν τῇ προστασίᾳ τῶν κοινῶν ἀπεργαζομένη. ὁ γὰρ νῦν ὑπὸ πελέκεσί τε καὶ ῥάβδοις δορυφορούμενος καὶ στρατοπέδων ἐξηγούμενος, τῆς μετ' ὀλίγον μεταβολῆς εἰς ἔννοιαν καθεστάμενος, μέτριόν τε καὶ δημοτικὸν παρεῖχεν ἑαυτὸν τοῖς ἀρχομένοις. εἰ δ' ἄρα τις βαρέως τε καὶ ἀλαζονικῶς χρῷτο τῇ δυναστείᾳ, ῥᾳδίως οὗτος ὑπὸ θατέρου τῶν ἡγεμόνων, ἰσοπαλῆ δύναμιν ἔχοντος, γυμνοῦται τοῦ φρονήματος. τούτῳ δὴ οὖν τῷ τρόπῳ τῆς πολιτείας φυγούσης τυραννίδος βαρύτητα καὶ δημοκρατίας ἀκολασίαν, προχειρίζεται πρώτους στρατηγοὺς αὐτοκράτορας ἄνδρας δύο, κονσούλας αὐτοὺς ὀνομάσασα, οἷα δὴ προβόλους καὶ προηγόρους τινάς: οὓς Ἕλληνες μετὰ ταῦτα διὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τῆς ἐξουσίας ὑπάτους προσηγορεύκασι. πρῶτος δὲ ὕπατος εὐνούχων ἀπεδείχθη ἐπὶ Ὁνωρίου καὶ Ἀρκαδίου, τῶν υἱῶν Θεοδοσίου, Εὐτρόπιος, ὁ πρόκοιτος τοῦ βασιλέως. ἐδιφροφορεῖτό τε διὰ τῆς πόλεως, οὐδὲν τῶν δεινῶν ἀπολιμπάνων, τὰς μὲν ἀρχὰς δημοσίᾳ πιπράσκων καὶ τούς τι δυναμένους συκοφαντῶν ἐξορίαις τε τοὺς μεγιστάνας ὑποβάλλων καὶ πᾶσαν ὕβριν τοῖς τῆς συγκλήτου βουλῆς ἐπάγων. ἀλλ' οὐδὲ τῆς τῶν βαρβάρων ἀπείχετο συμμαχίας, ὡς ἂν αὐτὸς ἐλπίζων εἰς τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως μεταβαίνειν ἀξίαν. καὶ τοὺς ἐν ἐκκλησίαις πεφευγότας συλλαμβάνειν ἐθέλων νόμον προὔθηκεν, ἐπιτρέποντα καὶ τοὺς ἐκ τῶν θυσιαστηρίων ἀφέλκεσθαι. ὃς προσκρούσας τῷ βασιλεῖ καὶ καταφυγὼν εἰς τὸ θυσιαστήριον ἐκεῖθεν ἀφῃρέθη. Θεοδόσιος δὲ ὁ μικρὸς διαβληθέντα αὐτῷ Ἀντίοχον τὸν πραιπόσιτον καθεῖλε τῆς τιμῆς καὶ δημοσιεύσας αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἱερεῦσι κατέταξε, διάταξιν ἐκφωνήσας, εὐνοῦχον ἐν τοῖς πατρικίοις μὴ τελεῖν.
The entry is in three (unequal) parts, shown by Adler's three paragraphs (followed in translation here). The first and most substantial -- cf. John of Antioch fr.37 FHG, now 70 Roberto -- gives the historical background on the institution of consuls; for a modern version see Peter Derow in OCD(4) s.v. Appended is material on the eunuch consul Eutropius and on the eunuch (but not consul!) Antiochus.
[1] Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome; tau 125 (q.v.)
[2] cf. kappa 2051.
[3] Honorius (395-423 CE), first emperor of the West after the partition of the empire; DIR entry by Ralph W. Mathisen at web address 1.
[4] Arcadius (395-408 CE), first emperor of the East after the partition of the empire; DIR entry by Geoffrey S. Nathan at web address 2.
[5] Theodosius I (379-395 CE); theta 144; DIR entry by David Woods at web address 3.
[6] On Eutropius see epsilon 3777 with notes; see also epsilon 3776.
[7] From this point on (up to ἀφῃρέθη ), the entry is an almost verbatim repetition of epsilon 3777 (q.v.); quoted from John of Antioch fr. 189 FHG, now 283 Roberto.
[8] Theodosius II (480-450 CE); son of Arcadius; DIR entry by Geoffrey S. Nathan at web address 4.
[9] See alpha 2694; also under epsilon 3604, theta 145 (with notes 11 and 12) and pi 793.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; constitution; definition; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; law; politics; religion
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 30 July 2009@08:48:29.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another x-ref; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 30 July 2009@09:25:24.
David Whitehead (augmented primary note) on 30 July 2009@09:45:57.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 30 July 2009@11:55:19.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 20 November 2013@09:40:48.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@06:29:00.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 29 November 2014@00:14:51.
David Whitehead (updated 2 refs) on 30 January 2015@05:26:46.


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