Polemical poetry in late antiquity: the rise of a eunuch consul in Book 1 of Claudian's In Eutropium

Michael B. Charles, Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The article examines Claudian’s use of Stoic and Epicurean ideas to mount a vitriolic attack against Eutropius, the eunuch consul serving under the Eastern emperor Arcadius. Employed by Stilicho, the pre-eminent military commander of the Western emperor Honorius, Claudian, in book 1 of the In Eutropium, synthesizes Stoic and Epicurean tropes about bodily afflictions that reveal one's moral character. Claiming that Eutropius, a eunuch who had spent many years as a slave, is a monstrous proof of an offence committed against nature/God, Claudian’s polemic plays on the fears of his largely Christian audience about an imminent divine punishment which the split of the Empire between Theodosius’ sons confirms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-244
Number of pages18
JournalActa Classica
VolumeSupplementum XI
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Stoicism
  • Epicureanism
  • Christianity
  • Claudian
  • sexuality
  • invective
  • dynastic crisis

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