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Headword: Θλαδίας
Adler number: theta,389
Translated headword: gelding
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Meaning] a eunuch.[1]
"Well, he suborns the initiates of Valens[2] (I mean the phalanx of the women's quarters, who are always the smoldering ember of despicable deeds) to denounce Aetios[3] of acting against the emperor so that he might reach the pinnacle of power [...] they struggle to persuade the emperor. For the weight of promised gold was great, and coated[4] their innards; for they are clever at devising destructive actions, as long as the promise of gold is in store. For the race is insatiable and always drools after profit, and there is nothing despicable that comes to pass in the palace without their baneful influence. The emperor is persuaded by the denunciations and, induced quicker than speech toward the murder of Aetios, he eliminates him. And considering what had been done as a windfall to himself, he says to someone able to guess the secrets, 'it wasn't a good thing that I did, o so-and-so; the elimination of Aetios, I mean.' And he responds: 'Whether good or not, I do not know; but realize this: that with your left hand you have cut off your right hand.'"[5]
Greek Original:
Θλαδίας: εὐνοῦχος. ὑποβάλλει τοίνυν τοὺς Οὐάλεντος μυστικούς, τὴν γυναικωνῖτιν λέγω φάλαγγα, οἵπερ εἰσὶν ἀεὶ τῶν φαύλων πράξεων ἐμπύρευμα, κατηγορῆσαι τοῦ Ἀετίου κατὰ βασιλέως ἐμμελετᾶν, ὡς ἂν ἐπιβατεύσῃ τῆς ἐξουσίας, ἀγωνίζονται πεῖσαι τὸν βασιλέα. ἦν γὰρ βαρὺς ὁ σταθμὸς τοῦ ὑποσχεθέντος χρυσίου, ὁ ὑποσμήχων αὐτῶν τὰ ἔντοσθεν: δεινοὶ γὰρ εἰς τὸ συρράψαι βλάβας, προκειμένης χρυσίου ὑποσχέσεως. ἄπληστον γὰρ τὸ γένος καὶ πρὸς πλεονεξίαν ἀεὶ κέχηνε, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι τι τῶν φαύλων ἄνευ τῆς αὐτῶν δυστροπίας ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις τελούμενον. πείθεται ταῖς συκοφαντίαις ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ λόγου ταχύτερον πρὸς τὸν φόνον Ἀετίου κινηθεὶς τοῦτον ἀναιρεῖ. καὶ ὡς ἕρμαιον αὐτῷ τὸ πραχθὲν λογισάμενός φησι πρός τινα τὸν στοχάζεσθαι τὰ ἀπόρρητα δυνάμενον: οὐ καλῶς μοι πέπρακται ἡ τοῦ Ἀετίου, ὦ οὗτος, ἀναίρεσις; ὁ δέ φησιν: εἰ καλῶς ἢ μή, οὐκ οἶδα: γίνωσκε δέ, ὅτι τῇ λαιᾷ χειρὶ τὴν δεξιάν σου ἀπέκοψας.
Notes:
After the initial glossing of the headword (on which see n. 1 below), the main body of this entry comes from an historiographical source: Priscus fr. 62 Bornmann. (For fr. 63 see tau 635.) This fragment is not accepted as Priscan by Blockley, however, and seems in general out of character for what can be reconstructed of Priscus' acccount of this episode; cf. Blockley 1983: 68-69, and see further below.
[1] = Hesychius theta603; Synagoge theta88; Photius, Lexicon theta187. This gloss has been taken to derive from commentary to Deuteronomy 23:2 LXX, where the headword occurs (cf. sigma 897) in a prohibition against eunuchs entering the temple. See also Leviticus 22:24 LXX. In any event the headword refers originally to a eunuch whose testicles have been crushed (cf. epsilon 1474, phi 518) rather than excised. See also alpha 3929. Although the quotation that follows concerns eunuchs, neither the headword nor the more common gloss is used to refer to them within the quotation.
[2] Given the identity of the Aetius mentioned later (see next note),'Valens' (emperor 364-378; see generally omicron 764) is, as Kuster realized, a mistake for Valentinian (III, emperor 425-455; omicron 762, omicron 763), either on the part of the Suda or its source (cf. gamma 500, where the same mistake is made).
[3] Flavius Aetius (ca.390-454; Neue Pauly s.v. 'Aetius 2') was a well known military leader (magister militum) in the West, responsible for defeating the Huns at the battle of Catalaunian Plains in 451 (cf. generally under zeta 29). His renown became such that it was easy to incite the emperor's apprehensions against him and he was slain, allegedly by Valentinian's own hand, in 454. Confusion with a different Aetius who is said to have lived in the reign of Valens (alpha 571, epsilon 3598) may explain the textual difficulties described in the previous note.
[4] In place of ὑποσμήχων ('smearing', 'coating'), Kuster makes the attractive suggestion of ὑποσμύχων ('smoldering'), rending the translation, "caused their insides to smolder".
[5] Whatever the provenance of the rest of the material, this final anecdote was cited without attribution by Gibbon (in ch.35 of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), who goes on to endorse Sidonius Apollinaris' judgment (Carmen 7.359) that in murdering Aetius Valentinian was amens ('out of his mind') and something of a eunuch himself (semivir).
Reference:
Blockley, R.C. 1983. The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus. Vol. 2. Liverpool
Keywords: architecture; biography; chronology; daily life; definition; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; imagery; military affairs; poetry; politics; religion; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 24 February 2008@19:14:56.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 25 February 2008@04:49:39.
David Whitehead (more for the notes) on 25 February 2008@06:38:56.
William Hutton (modified and augmented notes, added keywords) on 25 February 2008@06:58:56.
David Whitehead (typo; another x-ref; cosmetics) on 25 February 2008@07:37:56.
David Whitehead (another x-ref; another LXX ref) on 25 February 2008@07:44:51.
William Hutton (minor tr. tweak, augmented n. 1, cosmeticule in n. 3) on 25 February 2008@08:10:49.
William Hutton (augmented notes, added bibliography and more keywords) on 25 February 2008@08:57:45.
William Hutton (corrected my own typo) on 25 February 2008@09:01:14.
David Whitehead (cosmetics; raised status) on 3 January 2013@09:58:20.
David Whitehead (typo) on 3 September 2013@05:19:37.
William Hutton (tweaked n. 1) on 3 September 2013@08:10:37.
David Whitehead (note tweaks) on 30 January 2015@03:04:34.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 28 April 2016@04:43:26.

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