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Headword: Θεοδόσιος
Adler number: theta,145
Translated headword: Theodosius, Theodosius the Younger, Theodosios, Theodosius II
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
The younger, a Roman emperor. This man inherited his office from his father.[1] Being unwarlike and cowardly throughout his life and gaining peace by bribery rather than by force of arms, he procured many misfortunes for the Roman state. Since he was raised by eunuchs,[2] he was obedient to their every command. As a result, men chosen for positions of authority required their support and there was much turmoil in political and military affairs.[3] Since men who were able to manage serious affairs were absent, while those providing money held sway, the greediness of the eunuchs and the piratical gang of Sebastian's mercenaries threw the Hellespont and Propontis into confusion.[4] At this point the eunuchs prepared distractions to sooth Theodosius, just as children are soothed with toys, although nothing in their successful intrigues is worthy of memory. Theodosius lived to the age of 50, trafficking with certain disreputable artisans and devoting himself to the hunt. As a result, the eunuchs and Chrysaphius[5] held imperial power -- although Pulcheria[6] pursued it after her brother died.[7]
A bronze statue of Theodosius on horseback was placed in the Milion.[8] When Theodosius erected the statue, he liberally dispensed much free grain in the city.[9]
It is uncertain which Theodosius did this.[10]
After deposing Antiochus,[11] Theodosius the younger appointed his Chamberlain[12] Cyrus to the Senate and had him assume authority and occupy the two most important official positions simultaneously.[13] Marveling at such great success, Cyrus blurted out the following: 'o fortune, you do me no favors,when you smile so sweetly!'[14] At any rate he was overthrown on the grounds that he sought the imperial power and had pagan leanings.[15] After his property was confiscated, he became a bishop in Cotyaeum in Phrygia.[16] After Cyrus' downfall, Chrysaphius, also known as Zoummas,[17] ruled alone.
Greek Original:
Θεοδόσιος, βασιλεὺς Ῥωμαίων, ὁ μικρός. οὗτος διαδεξάμενος παρὰ πατρὸς τὴν ἀρχήν, ἀπόλεμος ὢν καὶ δειλίᾳ συζῶν καὶ τὴν εἰρήνην χρήμασιν οὐχ ὅπλοις κτησάμενος, πολλὰ προεξένησε κακὰ τῇ Ῥωμαίων πολιτείᾳ. ὑπὸ γὰρ τοῖς εὐνούχοις τραφεὶς πρὸς πᾶν σφίσιν ἐπίταγμα εὐπειθὴς ἦν: ὥστε καὶ τοὺς λογάδας τῆς ἐκείνων δεῖσθαι ἐπικουρίας καὶ πολλὰ νεοχμεῖσθαι ἐν τοῖς πολιτικοῖς καὶ στρατιωτικοῖς τάγμασι, μὴ παριόντων ἐς τὰς ἀρχὰς ἀνδρῶν τῶν διέπειν ταύτας δυναμένων, ἀλλὰ τῶν χορηγούντων χρυσίον, διὰ δὲ τὴν τῶν εὐνούχων πλεονεξίαν καὶ τῶν Σεβαστιανοῦ δορυφόρων πειρατικὸν συστὰν τόν τε Ἑλλήσποντον καὶ τὴν Προποντίδα διαταράξαι. ἐς τοῦτο τὰ πράγ- ματα ἀτοπίας οἱ εὐνοῦχοι παρεσκεύασαν ἀποβουκολοῦντες τὸν Θεοδόσιον, ὥσπερ τοὺς παῖδας ἀθύρμασιν, οὐδὲν ὅ τι καὶ ἄξιον μνήμης διαπράξασθαι παρεσκεύασαν: ἀλλ' εἰς ν# ἐτῶν ἡλικίαν ἐληλυθὼς διετέλεσε, βαναύσους τέ τινας μετιὼν τέχνας καὶ θήρᾳ προσκαρτερῶν: ὥστε τοὺς εὐνούχους καὶ τὸν Χρυσάφιον ἔχειν τὸ τῆς βασιλείας κράτος. ὅνπερ ἡ Πουλχερία μετῆλθε, τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ τελευτήσαντος. ὅτι ἐν τῷ Μιλίῳ Θεοδοσίου ἵστατο στήλη ἐφ' ἵππου χαλκῆ, ἣν ἀνεγείρας πολλὰ σιτηρέσια τῇ πόλει ἐχαρίσατο. ζητητέον δὲ ὁποίου Θεοδοσίου. ὅτι Θεοδόσιος ὁ μικρὸς καταλύσας Ἀντίοχον τὸν πραιπόσιτον ἐν τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις κατέταξεν. ὁ αὐτὸς Κῦρον τὸν τούτου διαδεξάμενον τὴν δυναστείαν καὶ τὰς δύο μεγίστας τῶν ἐπάρχων ἀρχὰς κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν διανύοντα χρόνον. ὃς τὴν τοσαύτην εὐπραγίαν θαυμάσας ἀπεφθέγξατο τόδε: οὐκ ἀρέσκεις μοι τύχη πολλὰ γελῶσα. καθαιρεῖται γοῦν καὶ αὐτὸς ὡς Ἕλλην καὶ βασιλείαν ἐλπίζων, καὶ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοῦ δημευθείσης γέγονεν ἐπίσκοπος ἐν Κοτυαείῳ τῆς Φρυγίας. μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον ἐδυνάστευσε μόνος Χρυσάφιος, ὁ ἐπίκλην Ζούμμας.
Notes:
April 10, 401 – July 28, 450 CE; Theodosius II was crowned Augustus on Jan. 10, 402 and died from a spinal injury suffered in a riding accident after ruling longer than any other Roman emperor (Chronicon Paschale, s.a. 450; Evagrius, Ecclesiastical History I.22; John Malalas xiv. 366-7). Interestingly, the Suda fails to mention the three most significant acts of Theodosius' reign: the publication of the Theodosian Code in 438, (begun in March 429); the founding of the University of Constantinople (Cod. Theod. 14.9.3; 15.1.53), and the fortification of Constantinople (kappa 2287). The Suda's tone and contents differ from the laudatory contemporary reports of Sozomen and Socrates Scholasticus, whose characterizations of Theodosius owe much to Eusebius’s formulation of Constantine as “pius princeps.” See OCD(4) s.v. Theodosius(3); De Imperatoribus Romanis entry by Geoffrey Nathan at web address 1.
[1] Flavius Arcadius, elder son of Theodosius I (theta 144) and ruler of the eastern Roman Empire (383-408); see OCD(4) s.v. Arcadius(2).
[2] At the death of Arcadius, Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect of the East (404-414), acted as regent but the eunuch Antiochus was charged with instructing the young prince.
[3] Priscus fr. 52 Bornmann; cf. nu 222.
[4] Count Sebastian ranks as one of the more shadowy figures of this time period, in part because of the historian Jordanes’ occasional confusion of Sebastian with Count Gainas (Clover 1979). Elements of Count Sebastian’s life are recorded by Prosper Tiro, Hydatius, Count Marcellinus, and Victor of Vita. He entered politics in 432 and briefly held the position of comes et magister utriusque militiae before being deposed by Aëtius and fleeing to Constantinople. After a plot compelled him to leave the eastern court in 435, he and a band of buccellari raided the area around Constantinople between 437 and 438, prompting Cyrus (kappa 2776) to fortify the city’s defenses. Sebastian eventually fled west and was executed by Geiseric in 440.
[5] By 441, Chrysaphius, Theodosius’ spatharius (sword-bearer) and perhaps praepositus sacri cubiculi, had set Eudocia, Theodosius’ wife, against Pulcheria, his sister, forcing the latter to withdraw from politics. In due course, Chrysaphius, assisted by the orthodox party at court, engineered the disgrace of Eudocia, who withdrew to Jerusalem in 443/4 (Theophanes, A.M. 5940; John Malalas xiv, p. 356). After her withdrawal of Eudocia, Chrysaphius dominated the disinterested Theodosius until he fell out of favor a few months before Theodosius’ death; Theophanes, A.M. 5942); for Chrysaphius, see PLRE II, pp. 295-7
[6] Aelia Pulcheria (pi 2145), Theodosius’s elder sister, became Augusta on July 4, 414, assumed the regency, and removed the eunuch Antiochus. She had taken the spectacular step of declaring her and her sisters’ devotion to virginity in 413. While her regency officially ended in 416 when Theodosius reached the age of 15, she continued to exert influence over imperial policy for years. She was instrumental in selecting Athenais (later Eudocia) as Theodosius’ wife (Theophanes A.M. 5942; Nicephorus Callistus 14.47; John of Nikiu, Chron. 87. 29-33). Pulcheria re-gained her influence in the waning months of Theodosius’ life. She died in 453.
[7] i.e. Theodosius II; since Theodosius’ only son, Arcadius, died while still very young, succession legally fell to Theodosius’ cousin Valentinian III, Emperor in the west. To avoid this unacceptable consolidation of authority, Theodosius and Pulcheria arranged for Marcian, a successful military official, to accede to the throne (John Mal. xiv.367). His succession was formalized by marrying Pulcheria.
[8] Milion (mu 1065): a gilded column set beneath a quadrifrons arch topped by statues of Constantine (kappa 2284) and Helena holding aloft a Cross. Set in the southwest corner of the Augusteion, it was the theoretical center of Constantinople (kappa 2297) and the Eastern Empire and listed distances from Constantinople to major cities in the Empire. Many emperors erected equestrian statues in its vicinity (Guilland ii.28-31).
[9] A nearly identical sentence in the seventh- or eighth-century Παραστάσεις σύντομοι Χρονικαί is a likely source for this passage (Preger 1.18); it also appears in Ps.-Codinus’s tenth-century Πάτρια Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (Preger 2.104). Unfortunately, neither text clarifies the identity of the statue.
[10] For Theodosius I 'the Great' see theta 144.
[11] Antiochus’s property was confiscated and he was compelled to become a priest of the Great Church in Constantinople. Since Pulcheria engineered the downfall of Antiochus before the start of her regency in 414 (Theophanes, A.M. 5905; Sozomen, HE 9.12-3), approximately 25 years separate the offices of Antiochus and Cyrus. John Malalas omits reference to Pulcheria’s role in Antiochus’ fall, attributing it instead to Theodosius’ anger at Antiochus’ overbearing attitude (John Mal. 361).
[12] Praepositus sacri cubiculi; freedmen in this position exerted significant influence over imperial policy and often indirectly ran the daily functions of the Empire. See Cod. Theod. vi. tit. 8.
[13] i.e. Prefect of the City (Constantinople) and Praetorian Prefect of the East. For Cyrus of Panopolis’ life, poetry, and career, see kappa 2776; for details about his extraordinary double praetorship, see kappa 2776, note 3.
[14] John Mal., 361-2; see also Chron. Pasch., s.a. 450.
[15] Greek Anthology 9.136 supposedly commemorates his exile; see kappa 2776, note 7.
[16] See kappa 2776, note 8.
[17] Variably Zstommas, Ztoumas, Tzeumas, or Tzumas in modern editions.
References:
Bury, J.B., History of the Later Roman Empire from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Justinian. Dover Publications: New York, 1978
Cameron, A.D.C., 'The Empress and the Poet: Paganism and Politics at the Court of Theodosius II' Yale Classical Studies, XXVII: Late Greek Literature, eds. J.J. Winkler, G. Williams, Cambridge, 1982, 217-289
Clover, F.M., "Count Gaïnas and Count Sebastian," American Journal of Ancient History 4, 65-76
Dunlap, J.E., "The Office of Chamberlain in the Later Roman and Byzantine Empires. Two Studies" in A.E.R. Boak and J.E. Dunlap eds, Later Roman and Byzantine Administration, Macmillan, 1924: 161-324
Greatrex, Geoffrey and Jonathan Bardill, 'Antiochus the Praepositus: A Persian Eunuch at the Court of Theodosius II,' DOP 50, 1996, 171-196
Harries, Jill D., 'Pius Princeps Theodosius II and Fifth-Century Constantinople,' in Magdalino, P., ed., New Constantines. The Rhythm of Imperial Renewal in Byzantium, 4th-13th Centuries, Aldershot, 1994, 35-44
Holum, Kenneth G., Theodosian Empresses: Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1982
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Keywords: architecture; art history; biography; children; Christianity; chronology; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; law; military affairs; poetry; politics; religion; trade and manufacture; women
Translated by: Bret Mulligan on 26 October 2003@00:23:43.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics; modified translation at one point) on 26 October 2003@01:19:59.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 26 October 2003@05:13:02.
David Whitehead (typo, pointed out by translator) on 27 October 2003@03:32:31.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 11 November 2003@00:55:44.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 3 October 2005@07:36:45.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 16 November 2005@08:29:39.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 20 November 2005@10:32:13.
David Whitehead (modified n.3) on 1 September 2009@03:16:23.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics; raised status) on 31 December 2012@06:45:27.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@06:46:08.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@06:46:50.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 28 November 2014@00:00:50.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 28 November 2014@11:56:09.

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