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

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, Michael Charles

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
Number of pages17
JournalActa Classica
VolumeSupplementum XI
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Stoicism
  • Epicureanism
  • Christianity
  • Claudian
  • sexuality
  • invective

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