Aelia Eudoxia Augusta

public profile

Aelia Eudoxia Augusta's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

Aelia Eudoxia Augusta

Also Known As: "Empress consort"
Birthdate: (29)
Birthplace: Constantinople,Byzantine Empire,,Turkey
Death: October 06, 404 (25-33)
Rome, Italy (miskraam)
Place of Burial: Igreja dos Santos Apóstolos, Constantinopla (Bizâncio)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Flavius Bauto, Consul 385 and Thermantia
Wife of Arcadius Eastern Roman Emperor
Mother of Flaccilla; Saint Aelia Pulcheria Augusta; Arcadia; Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor and Flavia Marina
Sister of Flavius Arbogastes, Roman General

Occupation: keizer Oost Romeinse Rijk
Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Aelia Eudoxia Augusta

Much like the later empress Theodora , Eudoxia has been the subject of a largely negative press. Zosimus ( Historia nova 5.18.8), writing almost a century after her death, records that it was widely claimed that her fourth child, the only son and heir, Theodosius II , had been fathered by one of her husband's courtiers, John; and himself goes on to describe her as "abnormally willful", stating that she ultimately served the insatiable desires of the palace eunuchs and the women who surrounded her, by whom, he alleges, she was controlled (5.24.2). In a continuation of the use of excessively emotive terms he describes her attitude towards the bishop of Constantinople at that time, John Chrysostom, as one of "hatred" (5.23.2). Philostorgius, who lived in Constantinople throughout Arcadius' reign, is slightly more positive in that he states that "the woman was not a dullard like her husband" and that "she possessed no small degree of barbarian arrogance" ( HE 11.6). Amos Eagle Elliston Ps-Martyrius, also a direct contemporary, in his funeral oration on John Chrysostom alludes to her as a second Jezebel, a captive of the devil "clothed in the insatiable power of greed and considerable wickedness" (P 478a-b).[ [2]] The overwhelming image of the empress as, at best, emotionally volatile is not helped by Socrates' allegation that, on hearing that Eudoxia was machinating to convoke a second synod against him, John Chrysostom preached a notorious sermon which began: "Again Herodias rages…again she dances, again she seeks to have the head of John on a plate" ( HE 6.18.4-5). Mike Shaw Elliston

From such tenuous roots, a variety of negative portrayals of Eudoxia have grown. At the very least, Eudoxia is usually said to have moved with fellow conspirators to take over power on the death of Eutropius. Private User At the extreme she has been characterized as "cruel, full of hatred, greedy for money and honors, hot-tempered, of a corrupt nature, with a warped conscience", totally subject to her passions, "employing in turns subterfuge and violence in order to satisfy her ambitions" - in short, all of the worst excesses that one would expect of a woman of barbarian lineage. Violet Kawai Leung Most views fall somewhere in between, but the majority include elements of "barbarian" volatility and of the notion of a power- and glory-hungry individual. Private User The few moderating views have been those of Geoffrey Nathan, who argues that Eudoxia is more notorious than her real influence upon the eastern principate warrants, Private User and Kenneth Holum, who reviews and presents the details of Eudoxia's life as empress with a dispassionate eye. Private User

When attempting to recover the historical Eudoxia it takes a great deal of care to sift fact from fiction. In particular, the sources which 'document' her relationship with John Chrysostom and with other bishops who visited Constantinople during her short life, Alan Michael Braverman reveal a side to her role as empress which has been either underestimated or overlooked. Attention to the way in which Eudoxia involved herself in ecclesiastical affairs not only restores some much-needed balance to our picture of her, but also helps to bring to light some of the motives behind the more negative of the reactions to her in the sources.


Eudoxia's Early Life

Little is known about Eudoxia's early life, other than that she was the daughter of Bauto (Philostorgius, HE 11.6), a Frank of some prominence in the western court, since he was magister militum in the early 380s under Gratian and a consul in 385. Private User Holum claims that her mother was Roman and that she was therefore only a semibarbara , but it is not clear from what source he derives that information. Private User Whatever the case, it is evident from the way she is portrayed in the sources that her "barbarian" ancestry was sufficient for the label to be used to effect against her. We next hear of her at Constantinople in the context of the household of Promotus (Zos., 5.3.2), which gives rise to the assumption that she had somehow made her way to the eastern capital after her father's death in 388. Private User Since Promotus was magister militum in the east in 386-91, with a common link with Bauto in the person of Arbogastes, Private User who succeeded Bauto as magister militum in the west, it is possible that the transition of Eudoxia from her father's household to that of Promotus may have occurred before Bauto's death and have had something to do with Promotus' elevated status in the eastern court at that time and her father's ambitions. Whatever the case, as Holum has noted, Private User Zosimus asserts that after Promotus' death in 392, his two sons either lived with or moved in the ambit of the sons ( Honorius and Aracadius ) of the emperor, Theodosius , and that one of Promotus' sons had Eudoxia with him. If this is the case, then Eudoxia was raised in close proximity to the eastern court, under the tutelage of first Promotus and then his widow, Marsa, and was well known to Arcadius before their marriage. In support of a privileged upbringing and perhaps also the possibility that she was being groomed as a vehicle for her father's or foster-father's ambitions, is the information that Eudoxia had access to education, since we are told that her former tutor Pansophius was consecrated bishop of Nicomedia in 402 (Soz., HE 8.6.6).

Why Eudoxia was Arcadius' bride of choice, and why the wedding was conducted on 27 April 395, scarcely three months after the death of his father on 17 January of that year and well before Theodosius' body had arrived back in Constantinople for burial, are open to debate, but best explained by either the desire of the grand chamberlain Eutropius to wrest control of the young emperor away from Rufinus, the praetorian prefect of the east and appointed guardian, or the desire of the young emperor himself to take control of his own life. Adam Herzl Zadikoff Several factors lead to this conclusion. Rufinus was distracted on the death of Theodosius by Stilicho's attempt to take control of both east and west; Promotus and Rufinus had been bitter enemies and it had been Rufinus who had engineered Promotus' downfall (Zos., 4.51); and Rufinus had a daughter of marriageable age through whom he intended to secure his control over Arcadius . Under these conditions, whatever the motivation, Arcadius' selection of and swift marriage to a wife from the household of Promotus would have been a slap in the face to the ambitions of Rufinus. To soften the story and to account for Arcardius 'choice of Eudoxia as a bride over the daughter of Rufinus, it is alleged that Eudoxia was of extraordinary beauty and that Eutropius manipulated Arcadius into favoring her by showing him a portrait (Zos. 5.3), but it is unlikely that this is more than a convenient fiction, especially so when we consider that they had known each other for some six or seven years.

Eudoxia's role at court

It is only after her rise to the position of empress, namely in the nine and a half years between 27 April, 395 and her premature death on 6 October, 404 that we have an opportunity to observe Eudoxia at work, and then only in a very piecemeal way. From the point of view of her role as a Roman matron and as the vehicle for securing the Theodosian dynasty, Eudoxia was a model consort. Once she fell pregnant in late 396, she produced children with increasing rapidity. Out of seven pregnancies, five children survived infancy (Flaccilla b. 17 June, 397; Pulcheria b. 19 January, 399; Arcadia b. 3 April, 400; Theodosius II b. 10 April, 401; and Marina b. 10 February, 403). Bev Zadikoff If ps-Martyrius is to be believed, two pregnancies (due late in 403 and late in 404, respectively) ended not in miscarriages, as previously supposed, but stillbirths, the second leading to the death of the empress from hemorrhaging and infection. David Ivor Zadikoff

The precise nature of Eudoxia's role in political affairs is more difficult to assess. It is probable that her fecundity gave her considerable standing at court. It is also clear that in the progress of events the rise to dominance of the Gothic general Gainas, the dismissal of Eutropius from office in late July or early August 399, the latter's execution in mid-September or later in 399, Private User and the subsequent proclamation of Eudoxia as Augusta on 9 January, 400 are connected and were defining points in the lives of both Eudoxia and her husband. Who was behind the move to have the honorific title bestowed on her, however, and what it meant in effect, are matters of dispute. Private User In terms of her standing within the eastern capital and provinces her elevation to Augusta did result in a real and documentable change in status. Eudoxia was now permitted to wear the paludamentum of purple and the imperial diadem. From the time of her elevation until her death coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze by the eastern mints. These bore images of her clothed as an Augusta , with the cognomen Aelia, and on the obverse a picture of a disembodied hand reaching down to crown her with a wreath. As Holum has pointed out, the cognomen and the image of the hand of God were all carefully selected iconographic tools designed to cement her place in the Theodosian succession and to promote the divine origins of her coronation. Private User In addition to the minting of coins, not long after the proclamation official images of Eudoxia ( laureatae ), requiring a public reception similar to those of a male Augustus, were circulated throughout the provinces and within a few years had reached Italy and the western court, leading to a letter of criticism to Arcadius from Honorius .Private User The silver statue of Eudoxia erected on a porphyry column and marble base in the Forum Augusteum of Constantinople by the urban prefect Simplicius in late 403, Samantha Pearline Zadikoff is an example of support in at least inner eastern imperial circles for the public promotion of the empress as Augusta .

The image of Eudoxia as the symbolic partner in a divinely instituted imperium , that was so carefully and widely cultivated at a public level, however, can not be thought to reflect the workings of the eastern principate in practice. Whatever the speculation at the time about her private role in court intrigue and in the twin exiles of John Chrysostom, Eudoxia had no legislative capacity, no imperium in any concrete sense, and there are no grounds for thinking that within the political sphere of the palace she ever overtly moved beyond the constraints imposed upon her. In line with Nathan's argument regarding Arcadius' activities during the years 400-404, it would be a mistake to see her as a partner in power. On the other hand, the sources do suggest that it is valid to view her as n onetheless powerful by virtue of her role as a conduit to the emperor's favors. Peggy Sue Pearline Whether Eudoxia was manipulated by others in this regard, as Zosimus alleges, or whether she used her position to manipulate for her own ends those who sought her assistance, is difficult to determine.

Eudoxia as patron of the Nicene church

Where we do see Eudoxia exercising independent authority is not in the political realm but the ecclesiastical. Holum has noted her patronage of the nighttime anti-Arian processions instigated in Constantinople by the Nicene bishop, to which she contributed at her own expense silver crosses with candles and the services of one of her eunuchs, Brison, as choirmaster. Rodrick Pearline Her role in the spectacular public events surrounding the importation of new martyrs' remains to Constantinople is also significant. Private User On at least one occasion she persuaded Arcadius to stay home on the initial day of the celebrations, instead drawing all eyes to herself by solemnly following the coffin throughout the night, divested of her Augustal clothing and bodyguards, and participating prominently in the vigil at the martyrium. Kathleen Burke We see the same focus on the empress as the half of the imperial couple concerned with religious affairs in the events surrounding John Chrysostom's return to Constantinople after his first brief exile. Eudoxia is the sole imperial representative in the public adventus ceremony played out on the Bosporus, where again she is seen exhibiting her piety ( eusebeia ) prominently in the midst of the populace. Private

The impression that Eudoxia seized the model of the emperor as patron of the church that had been established by Constantine and then, on her elevation to Augusta , moved to detach the role from Arcadius and to appropriate it for herself, creating an identity which allowed her to operate by divine mandate at her husband's side, yet on her own cognizance, is reinforced by other events. Palladius ( Dial . 8) and Sozomen ( HE 8.8) are both clear that, when the "Origenist" monks from Egypt appeal directly to Eudoxia for assistance, it is she who decrees that a synod be convoked and Theophilus, the bishop of Alexandria, be called to answer his case before it. Palladius adds that she was well informed as to the circumstances of the monks' case before they approached her. Neither expresses any surprise at the authority of her actions. Again, at the time of the dispute between John Chrysostom and Severian of Gabala, it is Eudoxia who appeals to John to reconcile himself with Severian and who then forces his hand by recalling Severian to Constantinople from Chalcedon (Socr., HE 6.11; Soz., HE 8.10). It is also telling that in the months prior to John's second and final exile, when bishops who supported his cause were attempting to sway imperial opinion, it is to Eudoxia that appeals were addressed, not her husband (Palladius, Dial . 9).


Assessment

When the sources present an empress, on the one hand, as totally manipulated, and, on the other, as the machinator in various plots, while at the same time playing on conventional stereotypes of the barbarian woman, it sends up a flag of warning. Eudoxia exhibits many of the same qualities (piety, humility, fecundity) as her predecessor Flaccilla, who like her was a barbara , was honored with the title Augusta , and saw her imperial image disseminated on coins and other media throughout the provinces. Private User Yet the two have received a markedly different reception. This requires some explanation. Eudoxia became exposed as a target on two fronts. The first was her proclamation as Augusta only six months into her third pregnancy, before she had borne a male heir for the principate. It is possible that the subsequent birth of a daughter led people to question the appropriateness of the move and contributed to the rumor, when she finally bore a son in her fourth pregnancy, that he had been fathered elsewhere. The second front was her adoption of the role of patron of the imperially favored (i.e. Nicene) church. While her guiding hand on this front enabled her to help direct the development of the dynastic religion for her husband and children, it left her dangerously exposed to criticism by those who objected to the directions in which she bestowed her largesse and to the content of her decisions. It is in this light that we should view the charges that she was "arrogant", that she "hated" the bishop of Constantinople and actively sought his downfall, and that she had embarked upon a "war against the church". Her contribution to ecclesiastical affairs at Constantinople, and throughout the eastern provinces via the bishops who sought her patronage when visiting the capital, needs acknowledgment. It is also probable that, through establishing a model for the engagement of imperial women of the east at a high level in the ecclesiastical sphere, she paved the way for her daughter, Pulcheria.


Aelia Eudoxia (wife of Arcadius)

Wendy Mayer

Australian Catholic University

Much like the later empress Theodora , Eudoxia has been the subject of a largely negative press. Zosimus ( Historia nova 5.18.8), writing almost a century after her death, records that it was widely claimed that her fourth child, the only son and heir, Theodosius II , had been fathered by one of her husband's courtiers, John; and himself goes on to describe her as "abnormally willful", stating that she ultimately served the insatiable desires of the palace eunuchs and the women who surrounded her, by whom, he alleges, she was controlled (5.24.2). In a continuation of the use of excessively emotive terms he describes her attitude towards the bishop of Constantinople at that time, John Chrysostom, as one of "hatred" (5.23.2). Philostorgius, who lived in Constantinople throughout Arcadius' reign, is slightly more positive in that he states that "the woman was not a dullard like her husband" and that "she possessed no small degree of barbarian arrogance" ( HE 11.6). Amos Eagle Elliston Ps-Martyrius, also a direct contemporary, in his funeral oration on John Chrysostom alludes to her as a second Jezebel, a captive of the devil "clothed in the insatiable power of greed and considerable wickedness" (P 478a-b).[ [2]] The overwhelming image of the empress as, at best, emotionally volatile is not helped by Socrates' allegation that, on hearing that Eudoxia was machinating to convoke a second synod against him, John Chrysostom preached a notorious sermon which began: "Again Herodias rages…again she dances, again she seeks to have the head of John on a plate" ( HE 6.18.4-5). Mike Shaw Elliston

From such tenuous roots, a variety of negative portrayals of Eudoxia have grown. At the very least, Eudoxia is usually said to have moved with fellow conspirators to take over power on the death of Eutropius. Private User At the extreme she has been characterized as "cruel, full of hatred, greedy for money and honors, hot-tempered, of a corrupt nature, with a warped conscience", totally subject to her passions, "employing in turns subterfuge and violence in order to satisfy her ambitions" - in short, all of the worst excesses that one would expect of a woman of barbarian lineage. Violet Kawai Leung Most views fall somewhere in between, but the majority include elements of "barbarian" volatility and of the notion of a power- and glory-hungry individual. Private User The few moderating views have been those of Geoffrey Nathan, who argues that Eudoxia is more notorious than her real influence upon the eastern principate warrants, Private User and Kenneth Holum, who reviews and presents the details of Eudoxia's life as empress with a dispassionate eye. Private User

When attempting to recover the historical Eudoxia it takes a great deal of care to sift fact from fiction. In particular, the sources which 'document' her relationship with John Chrysostom and with other bishops who visited Constantinople during her short life, Alan Michael Braverman reveal a side to her role as empress which has been either underestimated or overlooked. Attention to the way in which Eudoxia involved herself in ecclesiastical affairs not only restores some much-needed balance to our picture of her, but also helps to bring to light some of the motives behind the more negative of the reactions to her in the sources.


Eudoxia's Early Life

Little is known about Eudoxia's early life, other than that she was the daughter of Bauto (Philostorgius, HE 11.6), a Frank of some prominence in the western court, since he was magister militum in the early 380s under Gratian and a consul in 385. Private User Holum claims that her mother was Roman and that she was therefore only a semibarbara , but it is not clear from what source he derives that information. Private User Whatever the case, it is evident from the way she is portrayed in the sources that her "barbarian" ancestry was sufficient for the label to be used to effect against her. We next hear of her at Constantinople in the context of the household of Promotus (Zos., 5.3.2), which gives rise to the assumption that she had somehow made her way to the eastern capital after her father's death in 388. Private User Since Promotus was magister militum in the east in 386-91, with a common link with Bauto in the person of Arbogastes, Private User who succeeded Bauto as magister militum in the west, it is possible that the transition of Eudoxia from her father's household to that of Promotus may have occurred before Bauto's death and have had something to do with Promotus' elevated status in the eastern court at that time and her father's ambitions. Whatever the case, as Holum has noted, Private User Zosimus asserts that after Promotus' death in 392, his two sons either lived with or moved in the ambit of the sons ( Honorius and Aracadius ) of the emperor, Theodosius , and that one of Promotus' sons had Eudoxia with him. If this is the case, then Eudoxia was raised in close proximity to the eastern court, under the tutelage of first Promotus and then his widow, Marsa, and was well known to Arcadius before their marriage. In support of a privileged upbringing and perhaps also the possibility that she was being groomed as a vehicle for her father's or foster-father's ambitions, is the information that Eudoxia had access to education, since we are told that her former tutor Pansophius was consecrated bishop of Nicomedia in 402 (Soz., HE 8.6.6).

Why Eudoxia was Arcadius' bride of choice, and why the wedding was conducted on 27 April 395, scarcely three months after the death of his father on 17 January of that year and well before Theodosius' body had arrived back in Constantinople for burial, are open to debate, but best explained by either the desire of the grand chamberlain Eutropius to wrest control of the young emperor away from Rufinus, the praetorian prefect of the east and appointed guardian, or the desire of the young emperor himself to take control of his own life. Adam Herzl Zadikoff Several factors lead to this conclusion. Rufinus was distracted on the death of Theodosius by Stilicho's attempt to take control of both east and west; Promotus and Rufinus had been bitter enemies and it had been Rufinus who had engineered Promotus' downfall (Zos., 4.51); and Rufinus had a daughter of marriageable age through whom he intended to secure his control over Arcadius . Under these conditions, whatever the motivation, Arcadius' selection of and swift marriage to a wife from the household of Promotus would have been a slap in the face to the ambitions of Rufinus. To soften the story and to account for Arcardius 'choice of Eudoxia as a bride over the daughter of Rufinus, it is alleged that Eudoxia was of extraordinary beauty and that Eutropius manipulated Arcadius into favoring her by showing him a portrait (Zos. 5.3), but it is unlikely that this is more than a convenient fiction, especially so when we consider that they had known each other for some six or seven years.

Eudoxia's role at court

It is only after her rise to the position of empress, namely in the nine and a half years between 27 April, 395 and her premature death on 6 October, 404 that we have an opportunity to observe Eudoxia at work, and then only in a very piecemeal way. From the point of view of her role as a Roman matron and as the vehicle for securing the Theodosian dynasty, Eudoxia was a model consort. Once she fell pregnant in late 396, she produced children with increasing rapidity. Out of seven pregnancies, five children survived infancy (Flaccilla b. 17 June, 397; Pulcheria b. 19 January, 399; Arcadia b. 3 April, 400; Theodosius II b. 10 April, 401; and Marina b. 10 February, 403). Bev Zadikoff If ps-Martyrius is to be believed, two pregnancies (due late in 403 and late in 404, respectively) ended not in miscarriages, as previously supposed, but stillbirths, the second leading to the death of the empress from hemorrhaging and infection. David Ivor Zadikoff

The precise nature of Eudoxia's role in political affairs is more difficult to assess. It is probable that her fecundity gave her considerable standing at court. It is also clear that in the progress of events the rise to dominance of the Gothic general Gainas, the dismissal of Eutropius from office in late July or early August 399, the latter's execution in mid-September or later in 399, Private User and the subsequent proclamation of Eudoxia as Augusta on 9 January, 400 are connected and were defining points in the lives of both Eudoxia and her husband. Who was behind the move to have the honorific title bestowed on her, however, and what it meant in effect, are matters of dispute. Private User In terms of her standing within the eastern capital and provinces her elevation to Augusta did result in a real and documentable change in status. Eudoxia was now permitted to wear the paludamentum of purple and the imperial diadem. From the time of her elevation until her death coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze by the eastern mints. These bore images of her clothed as an Augusta , with the cognomen Aelia, and on the obverse a picture of a disembodied hand reaching down to crown her with a wreath. As Holum has pointed out, the cognomen and the image of the hand of God were all carefully selected iconographic tools designed to cement her place in the Theodosian succession and to promote the divine origins of her coronation. Private User In addition to the minting of coins, not long after the proclamation official images of Eudoxia ( laureatae ), requiring a public reception similar to those of a male Augustus, were circulated throughout the provinces and within a few years had reached Italy and the western court, leading to a letter of criticism to Arcadius from Honorius .Private User The silver statue of Eudoxia erected on a porphyry column and marble base in the Forum Augusteum of Constantinople by the urban prefect Simplicius in late 403, Samantha Pearline Zadikoff is an example of support in at least inner eastern imperial circles for the public promotion of the empress as Augusta .

The image of Eudoxia as the symbolic partner in a divinely instituted imperium , that was so carefully and widely cultivated at a public level, however, can not be thought to reflect the workings of the eastern principate in practice. Whatever the speculation at the time about her private role in court intrigue and in the twin exiles of John Chrysostom, Eudoxia had no legislative capacity, no imperium in any concrete sense, and there are no grounds for thinking that within the political sphere of the palace she ever overtly moved beyond the constraints imposed upon her. In line with Nathan's argument regarding Arcadius' activities during the years 400-404, it would be a mistake to see her as a partner in power. On the other hand, the sources do suggest that it is valid to view her as n onetheless powerful by virtue of her role as a conduit to the emperor's favors. Peggy Sue Pearline Whether Eudoxia was manipulated by others in this regard, as Zosimus alleges, or whether she used her position to manipulate for her own ends those who sought her assistance, is difficult to determine.

Eudoxia as patron of the Nicene church

Where we do see Eudoxia exercising independent authority is not in the political realm but the ecclesiastical. Holum has noted her patronage of the nighttime anti-Arian processions instigated in Constantinople by the Nicene bishop, to which she contributed at her own expense silver crosses with candles and the services of one of her eunuchs, Brison, as choirmaster. Rodrick Pearline Her role in the spectacular public events surrounding the importation of new martyrs' remains to Constantinople is also significant. Private User On at least one occasion she persuaded Arcadius to stay home on the initial day of the celebrations, instead drawing all eyes to herself by solemnly following the coffin throughout the night, divested of her Augustal clothing and bodyguards, and participating prominently in the vigil at the martyrium. Kathleen Burke We see the same focus on the empress as the half of the imperial couple concerned with religious affairs in the events surrounding John Chrysostom's return to Constantinople after his first brief exile. Eudoxia is the sole imperial representative in the public adventus ceremony played out on the Bosporus, where again she is seen exhibiting her piety ( eusebeia ) prominently in the midst of the populace. Private

The impression that Eudoxia seized the model of the emperor as patron of the church that had been established by Constantine and then, on her elevation to Augusta , moved to detach the role from Arcadius and to appropriate it for herself, creating an identity which allowed her to operate by divine mandate at her husband's side, yet on her own cognizance, is reinforced by other events. Palladius ( Dial . 8) and Sozomen ( HE 8.8) are both clear that, when the "Origenist" monks from Egypt appeal directly to Eudoxia for assistance, it is she who decrees that a synod be convoked and Theophilus, the bishop of Alexandria, be called to answer his case before it. Palladius adds that she was well informed as to the circumstances of the monks' case before they approached her. Neither expresses any surprise at the authority of her actions. Again, at the time of the dispute between John Chrysostom and Severian of Gabala, it is Eudoxia who appeals to John to reconcile himself with Severian and who then forces his hand by recalling Severian to Constantinople from Chalcedon (Socr., HE 6.11; Soz., HE 8.10). It is also telling that in the months prior to John's second and final exile, when bishops who supported his cause were attempting to sway imperial opinion, it is to Eudoxia that appeals were addressed, not her husband (Palladius, Dial . 9).


Assessment

When the sources present an empress, on the one hand, as totally manipulated, and, on the other, as the machinator in various plots, while at the same time playing on conventional stereotypes of the barbarian woman, it sends up a flag of warning. Eudoxia exhibits many of the same qualities (piety, humility, fecundity) as her predecessor Flaccilla, who like her was a barbara , was honored with the title Augusta , and saw her imperial image disseminated on coins and other media throughout the provinces. Private User Yet the two have received a markedly different reception. This requires some explanation. Eudoxia became exposed as a target on two fronts. The first was her proclamation as Augusta only six months into her third pregnancy, before she had borne a male heir for the principate. It is possible that the subsequent birth of a daughter led people to question the appropriateness of the move and contributed to the rumor, when she finally bore a son in her fourth pregnancy, that he had been fathered elsewhere. The second front was her adoption of the role of patron of the imperially favored (i.e. Nicene) church. While her guiding hand on this front enabled her to help direct the development of the dynastic religion for her husband and children, it left her dangerously exposed to criticism by those who objected to the directions in which she bestowed her largesse and to the content of her decisions. It is in this light that we should view the charges that she was "arrogant", that she "hated" the bishop of Constantinople and actively sought his downfall, and that she had embarked upon a "war against the church". Her contribution to ecclesiastical affairs at Constantinople, and throughout the eastern provinces via the bishops who sought her patronage when visiting the capital, needs acknowledgment. It is also probable that, through establishing a model for the engagement of imperial women of the east at a high level in the ecclesiastical sphere, she paved the way for her daughter, Pulcheria.

Bibliography:

For the sake of completeness a number of older works have been included. Those of von Hahn-Hahn, Seeck and Holum represent the few in which Eudoxia has been examined in her own right. More frequently she has been depicted in terms of her "conflict" with the bishop John Chrysostom. The chapter devoted to her by Holum remains the most complete study to date.

Dacier, H., Saint Jean Chrysostome et la femme chrétienne au IV esiècle de l'église grecque , Paris, 1907, 45-116.

Funk, F.X., "Johannes Chrysostomus und der Hof von Konstantinopel", Theologische Quartalschrift 57 (1875) 449-80

Hahn-Hahn, I. von, Eudoxia die Kaiserin. Ein Zeitgemälde aus dem 5. Jahrhundert , Mainz, 1866.

Holum, K., Theodosian Empresses. Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity , Berkeley, 1982, 48-78.

Ludwig, F., Der hl. Johannes Chrysostomus in seinem Verhältnis zum byzantinischen Hof , Braunsberg, 1883.

Mayer, W., "Constantinopolitan Women in Chrysostom's Circle", Vigiliae Christianae 53 (1999) 265-88.

Seeck, O., art. "Eudoxia. 1)", Pauly-Wissowa 6 (1909) coll. 917-25.

Van Ommeslaeghe, F., "Jean Chrysostome en conflit avec l'impératrice Eudoxie. Le dossier et les origines d'une légende", Analecta Bollandiana 97 (1979) 131-59.

Notes:

Amos Eagle EllistonThe Greek term for "woman" used by Philostorgius ( to gynaion ) has a patronizing, even contemptuous ring.

PrivatePs-Martyrius has recently been identified as Cosmas, a deacon who had been baptized by John Chrysostom and who was an ardent supporter of his cause. The funerary speech itself has been dated to the winter of 407/8, making it a critical witness to events at Constantinople in the years 398-407. See T.D. Barnes, "The Funerary Speech for John Chrysostom ( BHG 3871 = CPG 6517)", Studia Patristica 37 (2001) 328-45, who provides a translation of the passages in which Cosmas (Ps-Martyrius) describes with relish the still-birth suffered by Eudoxia at the time of each of Chrysostom's exiles (336-7). It is noteworthy that he uses the same term as Philostorgius for "the woman", when referring to Eudoxia, which Barnes translates as "the hag". For Ps-Martyrius Eudoxia is the instigator of a war against the church (P 524b), which Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, joins as co-conspirator.

Mike Shaw EllistonSocrates says that the sermon simply incited the empress to even greater anger, thus reinforcing the image that the alleged sermon provokes.

Private UserSee most recently R.C. Blockley, "The Dynasty of Theodosius", in A. Cameron and P. Garnsey (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History XIII. The Late Empire A.D. 337-425 , Cambridge, 1998, 116: "The empress Eudoxia, in alliance with members of the senatorial élite, moved to take over power…"; and 117: "Eudoxia and her allies dominated the government of the east for the next four years".

Violet Kawai LeungH. Dacier, Saint Jean Chrysostome et la femme chrétienne au IV esiècle de l'église grecque , Paris, 1907, 47: "Eudoxie, cruelle, haineuse, avide d'argent et d'honneurs, âme emportée, nature viciée, conscience dévoyée…"; and 58: "Nous l'avons dit, depuis qu'elle était impératrice, Eudoxie n'obéissait qu'à ses passions: injuste, cruelle, elle était femme à ne reculer devant rien pour la satisfaction de ses appétits, employant tour à tour la ruse et la violence pour satisfaire ses ambitions". In adopting this view she builds on the scholarship of Amédée Thierry and Aimé Puech before her.

Private UserC. Baur, John Chrysostom and His Time II. Constantinople , eng. trans., Westminster MD, 1960, 32 describes her as possessed of "a vivacious, sanguine temperament" and proceeds to damn her with faint praise: "Eudoxia was not without good qualities. At the side of an upright man, she might have become a distinguished empress. But natural strength of character was lacking in her, and as far as guiding the Emperor was concerned, she was as yet too young, too inexperienced and, above all, too feminine. Her credulity, and her hasty passionate disposition were soon made the most of, by all sorts of tale-bearing and insinuations" (33). This view that her pairing with a "weak" emperor brought out her vanity and ambitions can be seen in F.X. Funk, "Johannes Chrysostomus und der Hof von Konstantinopel", Theologische Quartalschrift 57 (1875) 458: "An der Seite eines schwachen und beschränkten Gatten, der stets das Bedürfnis empfand, von Andern geleitet zu werden, mußte sie selbst die Herrschaft an sich ziehen, wenn sie nicht unter dem Befehl eines Dritten stehen wollte, und es war ihr nicht genug, die oberste Leitung der Geschäfte thatsächlich in ihrer Hand zu haben, sie wollte auch rechtlich und gesetzlich Herrscherin sein, vertauschte darum mit Beginn des Jahres 400 ihren seitherigen Titel Nobilissima mit dem Titel Augusta und ließ, um gleich dem Kaiser die Huldigung und Berehrung des Volkes in ihrem Bildniß entgegen zu nehmen, ihre Statue in den Provinzen des Reiches umherführen." J.N.D. Kelly, Golden Mouth. The Story of John Chrysostom - Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop , London, 1995, 110, who presents a less emotive view, follows Philostorgius in stating that she outstripped Arcadius in intelligence and therefore quickly dominated him, and in the use of adjectives like "volatile" and "impulsive" (272), and "vivacious and strong-willed" (110). Cf. J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz, Barbarians and Bishops. Army, Church, and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom , Oxford, 1990, who calls her "passionate and easily offended" (196) and "extremely strong-willed and at the same time hypersensitive" (202).

Private User Arcadius , DIR: "While there were several events in which she played a crucial part, they were not terribly important moments during Arcardius' reign". Liebeschuetz, Barbarians , 196-202 also downgrades her role.

Private User Theodosian Empresses. Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity , Berkeley, 1982, 48-78.

Alan Michael BravermanIn particular, Palladius' Dialogue ; the church histories of Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret; and the Life of Porphyry by Mark the Deacon.

Private User PLRE I, 159-60 s.v. Flavius Bauto.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 52.

Private UserHolum, loc. cit.; Seeck, "Eudoxia. 1)", Pauly-Wissowa 6 (1909) 917.

Private User PLRE I, 750-1 s.v. Flavius Promotus. The careers of Bauto and Promotus have many points in common and are markedly similar.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 52 n. 18.

Adam Herzl ZadikoffThe second view is proposed by Nathan, Arcadius.

Bev Zadikoff For sources for the names and dates see the documentation provided in PLRE II, 410 s.v. Aelia Eudoxia 1. The eldest, Flaccilla, died before 408, since she is not mentioned among the children who survived their father (Soz., HE 9.1).

David Ivor ZadikoffSee n. 2 above.

Private UserRegarding the dates see W. Mayer, "'Les homélies de s. Jean Chrysostome en juillet 399'. A second look at Pargoire's sequence and the chronology of the Novæ homiliæ (CPG 4441)", Byzantinoslavica 60/2 (1999) 285-6 and literature.

Private UserOn the questions of the initiative and timing see Alan Cameron in A. Cameron and J. Long with L. Sherry, Barbarians and Politics at the Court of Arcadius , Berkeley, 1993, 170-3, who argues that it was the praetorian prefect ( praefectus praetorio per orientem ) Aurelian, who, with the courtiers Saturninus and John, had formed a power bloc and was attempting to use Eudoxia to exert his influence over Arcadius. Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 67, had argued against this possibility on the grounds that Gainas was in control of Constantinople and Aurelian and his associates already in exile at the time. He went on to propose that the initiative may have come from Eudoxia herself. Cameron's carefully revised chronology of events, however, which places the exile of Aurelian, Saturninus and John only in April 400 (ibid., xii), undercuts Holum's arguments. Holum's alternative suggestion (69) that the court promoted Eudoxia in response to Gainas in an attempt to rouse public support for the eastern principate at a time of crisis likewise falters on the chronology, but otherwise bears some merit.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 65-6.

Private User Coll. Avell . 38.1. Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 66-7.

Samantha Pearline Zadikoff Socr., HE 6.18; Soz., HE 8.20. Regarding the inscription at the base of the statue see J. Gottwald, "La statue de l'impératrice Eudoxie a Constantinople", Échos d'Orient 10 (1907) 274-6. Both Socrates and Sozomen describe the public festivities that accompanied the erection of the statues as the final straw in the strained relationship between Eudoxia and the bishop, John Chrysostom.

Peggy Sue PearlineFor examples see W. Mayer, "Constantinopolitan Women in Chrysostom's Circle", Vigiliae Christianae 53 (1999) 284-5.

Rodrick PearlineSocr., HE 6.8 (Eudoxia provided silver crosses and tapers; her eunuch led the chanting); Soz., HE 8.8 (no mention that Eudoxia provided the silver crosses, but says that her eunuch was appointed to regulate the processions, pay costs and prepare hymns). Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 54.

Private UserHolum, Theodosian Empresses , 55-8.

Kathleen Burke The events are recorded in encomiastic terms by John Chrysostom, Hom. dicta postquam reliquiae martyrum .

PrivateJohn Chrysostom, Sermo post reditum a priore exsilio 2, where he dwells at length on her role in swaying the emperor and at the same time using her private resources to keep his whereabouts secret and his enemies at bay. At the close of the homily he styles her as "mother of the churches, feeder of monks, patroness of saints, staff of beggars". Cf. Soz., HE 8.18, who appears to have had access to the sermon, and who adds that Eudoxia sent her personal eunuch Brison to fetch John and then housed him on his return at her own suburban estate, Marianae. If the Life of Porphyry by Mark the Deacon is accepted as a valid source, then Eudoxia's securing of an edict permitting destruction of the Marneion at Gaza is an example of her exercise of ecclesiastical patronage beyond the confines of Constantinople. She is alleged to have provided thirty-two marble columns for the Christian church to be built on the site. See Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 54-6.

Private User See Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 22-44, 53-8.

Copyright (C) 2002, Wendy Mayer. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

Spouses

1Flavius Arcadius Roman Emperor of the East

Birth1 May 377

Death27 Apr 408

FatherTheodosius I "The Great" (347-395)

MotherAelia Flavia Flaccilla (~352-385)

MarriageApr 395

ChildrenTheodosius II (401-450)


Her father was last mentioned as Roman Consul with Arcadius in 385. He was already deceased in 388. According to Zosimus, Eudoxia entered started her life in Constantinople as a household member of Promotus, magister militum of the Eastern Roman Empire. She is presumed to have been orphaned at the time of her arrival Her entry into the household of Promotus may indicate a friendship of the two magisters or a political alliance.

Promotus died in 391. According to Zosimus, he was survived by his widow Marsa and two sons who were raised alongside the sons and co-emperors of Theodosius I. Said sons were Arcadius and his younger brother Honorius. Zosimus asserts that Eudoxia lived alongside one of the surviving sons in Constantinople. She is therefore assumed to have already been acquainted with Arcadius during his years as junior partner to his father. Zosimus reports that Eudoxia was educated by Pansophius. Her former tutor was promoted to bishop of Nicomedia in 402. Wendy Mayer considers Eudoxia to have been groomed as a vehicle for the ambitions of her foster family.

On 17 January 395, Theodosius I succumbed to death by oedema in Milan. Arcadius succeeded him in the Eastern Roman Empire and Honorius in the Western Roman Empire. Arcadius was effectively placed under the control of Rufinus, Praetorian prefect of the East. Rufinus reportedly intended to marry his daughter to Arcadius and establish his own relation to the Theodosian dynasty. Bury considers that "once the Emperor's father-in‑law he [Rufinus] might hope to become an Emperor himself."

However Rufinus was distracted by a conflict with Stilicho, magister militum of the West. The wedding of Eudoxia to Arcadius was orchestrated by Eutropius, one of the eunuch officials serving in the Great Palace of Constantinople. The marriage took place on 27 April 395, without the knowledge or consent of Rufinus. For Eutropius it was an attempt to increase his own influence over the emperor and hopefully ensure the loyalty of the new empress to himself. Rufinus had been an enemy of Promotus and the surviving household of the magister militum, inncluding Eudoxia, might have been eager to undermine him. Arcadius himself may have been motivated in asserting his own will over that of his regent. Zosimus reports that Arcadius was also influenced by the extraordinary beauty of his bride but this considered doubtful by later scholars. Arcadius was approximately eighteen years old and Eudoxia may be presumed to be of an equivalent age.

In the decade between her marriage and her death, Eudoxia gave birth to five surviving children. A contemporary source known as pseudo-Martyrius also reports two stillbirths. The writer is considered to be Cosmas, supporter of John Chrysostom who attributed both events to punishment for the two exiles of John. Zosimus alleges that her son Theodosius was widely rumored to be the result of her affair with a courtier. Zosimus' account of her life is generally hostile to Eudoxia and the accuracy of his tale is doubtful.

She and Gainas, the new magister militum, are considered to have played a part in the stripping of all offices and subsequent execution of Eutropius in 399. However the extent and nature of her involvement are disputed. Nevertheless, she seems to have increased her personal influence following his demise. On 9 January 400, Eudoxia was officially given the title of an Augusta. She was then able to wear the purple paludamentum representing imperial rank and was depicted in Roman currency Official images of her in the manner similar to a male Augustus also went in circulation. Her brother-in-law Honorius would later complain to Arcadius about them reaching his own court.

The extent of her influence at matters of court and state has been a matter of debate among historians. Philostorgius considers her to be more intelligent than her husband but comments on her "barbarian arrogance". Zosimus considers her strong-willed but ultimately manipulated by eunuchs at court and the women of her environment. Barbarians and Bishops: Army, Church, and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom (1990) by J. W. H. G. Liebeschuetz considers her influence overestimated in primary sources while The Cambridge Ancient History XIII. The Late Empire A.D. 337-425 (1998) reports her dominating the government between 400 and her death in 404.

In 403, Simplicius, Prefect of Constantinople, erected a statue dedicated to her on a column of porphyry and a base of marble. Arcadius renamed the town of Selymbria (Silivri) Eudoxiopolis after her, though this name did not survive.


Reference: http://familytrees.genopro.com/318186/jarleslekt/default.htm?page=toc_families.htm


Aelia Eudoxia (wife of Arcadius)

Wendy Mayer

Australian Catholic University

Much like the later empress Theodora , Eudoxia has been the subject of a largely negative press. Zosimus ( Historia nova 5.18.8), writing almost a century after her death, records that it was widely claimed that her fourth child, the only son and heir, Theodosius II , had been fathered by one of her husband's courtiers, John; and himself goes on to describe her as "abnormally willful", stating that she ultimately served the insatiable desires of the palace eunuchs and the women who surrounded her, by whom, he alleges, she was controlled (5.24.2). In a continuation of the use of excessively emotive terms he describes her attitude towards the bishop of Constantinople at that time, John Chrysostom, as one of "hatred" (5.23.2). Philostorgius, who lived in Constantinople throughout Arcadius' reign, is slightly more positive in that he states that "the woman was not a dullard like her husband" and that "she possessed no small degree of barbarian arrogance" ( HE 11.6). Amos Eagle Elliston Ps-Martyrius, also a direct contemporary, in his funeral oration on John Chrysostom alludes to her as a second Jezebel, a captive of the devil "clothed in the insatiable power of greed and considerable wickedness" (P 478a-b).[ [2]] The overwhelming image of the empress as, at best, emotionally volatile is not helped by Socrates' allegation that, on hearing that Eudoxia was machinating to convoke a second synod against him, John Chrysostom preached a notorious sermon which began: "Again Herodias rages…again she dances, again she seeks to have the head of John on a plate" ( HE 6.18.4-5). Mike Shaw Elliston

From such tenuous roots, a variety of negative portrayals of Eudoxia have grown. At the very least, Eudoxia is usually said to have moved with fellow conspirators to take over power on the death of Eutropius. Private User At the extreme she has been characterized as "cruel, full of hatred, greedy for money and honors, hot-tempered, of a corrupt nature, with a warped conscience", totally subject to her passions, "employing in turns subterfuge and violence in order to satisfy her ambitions" - in short, all of the worst excesses that one would expect of a woman of barbarian lineage. Violet Kawai Leung Most views fall somewhere in between, but the majority include elements of "barbarian" volatility and of the notion of a power- and glory-hungry individual. Private User The few moderating views have been those of Geoffrey Nathan, who argues that Eudoxia is more notorious than her real influence upon the eastern principate warrants, Private User and Kenneth Holum, who reviews and presents the details of Eudoxia's life as empress with a dispassionate eye. Private User

When attempting to recover the historical Eudoxia it takes a great deal of care to sift fact from fiction. In particular, the sources which 'document' her relationship with John Chrysostom and with other bishops who visited Constantinople during her short life, Alan Michael Braverman reveal a side to her role as empress which has been either underestimated or overlooked. Attention to the way in which Eudoxia involved herself in ecclesiastical affairs not only restores some much-needed balance to our picture of her, but also helps to bring to light some of the motives behind the more negative of the reactions to her in the sources.


Eudoxia's Early Life

Little is known about Eudoxia's early life, other than that she was the daughter of Bauto (Philostorgius, HE 11.6), a Frank of some prominence in the western court, since he was magister militum in the early 380s under Gratian and a consul in 385. Private User Holum claims that her mother was Roman and that she was therefore only a semibarbara , but it is not clear from what source he derives that information. Private User Whatever the case, it is evident from the way she is portrayed in the sources that her "barbarian" ancestry was sufficient for the label to be used to effect against her. We next hear of her at Constantinople in the context of the household of Promotus (Zos., 5.3.2), which gives rise to the assumption that she had somehow made her way to the eastern capital after her father's death in 388. Private User Since Promotus was magister militum in the east in 386-91, with a common link with Bauto in the person of Arbogastes, Private User who succeeded Bauto as magister militum in the west, it is possible that the transition of Eudoxia from her father's household to that of Promotus may have occurred before Bauto's death and have had something to do with Promotus' elevated status in the eastern court at that time and her father's ambitions. Whatever the case, as Holum has noted, Private User Zosimus asserts that after Promotus' death in 392, his two sons either lived with or moved in the ambit of the sons ( Honorius and Aracadius ) of the emperor, Theodosius , and that one of Promotus' sons had Eudoxia with him. If this is the case, then Eudoxia was raised in close proximity to the eastern court, under the tutelage of first Promotus and then his widow, Marsa, and was well known to Arcadius before their marriage. In support of a privileged upbringing and perhaps also the possibility that she was being groomed as a vehicle for her father's or foster-father's ambitions, is the information that Eudoxia had access to education, since we are told that her former tutor Pansophius was consecrated bishop of Nicomedia in 402 (Soz., HE 8.6.6).

Why Eudoxia was Arcadius' bride of choice, and why the wedding was conducted on 27 April 395, scarcely three months after the death of his father on 17 January of that year and well before Theodosius' body had arrived back in Constantinople for burial, are open to debate, but best explained by either the desire of the grand chamberlain Eutropius to wrest control of the young emperor away from Rufinus, the praetorian prefect of the east and appointed guardian, or the desire of the young emperor himself to take control of his own life. Adam Herzl Zadikoff Several factors lead to this conclusion. Rufinus was distracted on the death of Theodosius by Stilicho's attempt to take control of both east and west; Promotus and Rufinus had been bitter enemies and it had been Rufinus who had engineered Promotus' downfall (Zos., 4.51); and Rufinus had a daughter of marriageable age through whom he intended to secure his control over Arcadius . Under these conditions, whatever the motivation, Arcadius' selection of and swift marriage to a wife from the household of Promotus would have been a slap in the face to the ambitions of Rufinus. To soften the story and to account for Arcardius 'choice of Eudoxia as a bride over the daughter of Rufinus, it is alleged that Eudoxia was of extraordinary beauty and that Eutropius manipulated Arcadius into favoring her by showing him a portrait (Zos. 5.3), but it is unlikely that this is more than a convenient fiction, especially so when we consider that they had known each other for some six or seven years.

Eudoxia's role at court

It is only after her rise to the position of empress, namely in the nine and a half years between 27 April, 395 and her premature death on 6 October, 404 that we have an opportunity to observe Eudoxia at work, and then only in a very piecemeal way. From the point of view of her role as a Roman matron and as the vehicle for securing the Theodosian dynasty, Eudoxia was a model consort. Once she fell pregnant in late 396, she produced children with increasing rapidity. Out of seven pregnancies, five children survived infancy (Flaccilla b. 17 June, 397; Pulcheria b. 19 January, 399; Arcadia b. 3 April, 400; Theodosius II b. 10 April, 401; and Marina b. 10 February, 403). Bev Zadikoff If ps-Martyrius is to be believed, two pregnancies (due late in 403 and late in 404, respectively) ended not in miscarriages, as previously supposed, but stillbirths, the second leading to the death of the empress from hemorrhaging and infection. David Ivor Zadikoff

The precise nature of Eudoxia's role in political affairs is more difficult to assess. It is probable that her fecundity gave her considerable standing at court. It is also clear that in the progress of events the rise to dominance of the Gothic general Gainas, the dismissal of Eutropius from office in late July or early August 399, the latter's execution in mid-September or later in 399, Private User and the subsequent proclamation of Eudoxia as Augusta on 9 January, 400 are connected and were defining points in the lives of both Eudoxia and her husband. Who was behind the move to have the honorific title bestowed on her, however, and what it meant in effect, are matters of dispute. Private User In terms of her standing within the eastern capital and provinces her elevation to Augusta did result in a real and documentable change in status. Eudoxia was now permitted to wear the paludamentum of purple and the imperial diadem. From the time of her elevation until her death coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze by the eastern mints. These bore images of her clothed as an Augusta , with the cognomen Aelia, and on the obverse a picture of a disembodied hand reaching down to crown her with a wreath. As Holum has pointed out, the cognomen and the image of the hand of God were all carefully selected iconographic tools designed to cement her place in the Theodosian succession and to promote the divine origins of her coronation. Private User In addition to the minting of coins, not long after the proclamation official images of Eudoxia ( laureatae ), requiring a public reception similar to those of a male Augustus, were circulated throughout the provinces and within a few years had reached Italy and the western court, leading to a letter of criticism to Arcadius from Honorius .Private User The silver statue of Eudoxia erected on a porphyry column and marble base in the Forum Augusteum of Constantinople by the urban prefect Simplicius in late 403, Samantha Pearline Zadikoff is an example of support in at least inner eastern imperial circles for the public promotion of the empress as Augusta .

The image of Eudoxia as the symbolic partner in a divinely instituted imperium , that was so carefully and widely cultivated at a public level, however, can not be thought to reflect the workings of the eastern principate in practice. Whatever the speculation at the time about her private role in court intrigue and in the twin exiles of John Chrysostom, Eudoxia had no legislative capacity, no imperium in any concrete sense, and there are no grounds for thinking that within the political sphere of the palace she ever overtly moved beyond the constraints imposed upon her. In line with Nathan's argument regarding Arcadius' activities during the years 400-404, it would be a mistake to see her as a partner in power. On the other hand, the sources do suggest that it is valid to view her as n onetheless powerful by virtue of her role as a conduit to the emperor's favors. Peggy Sue Pearline Whether Eudoxia was manipulated by others in this regard, as Zosimus alleges, or whether she used her position to manipulate for her own ends those who sought her assistance, is difficult to determine.

Eudoxia as patron of the Nicene church

Where we do see Eudoxia exercising independent authority is not in the political realm but the ecclesiastical. Holum has noted her patronage of the nighttime anti-Arian processions instigated in Constantinople by the Nicene bishop, to which she contributed at her own expense silver crosses with candles and the services of one of her eunuchs, Brison, as choirmaster. Rodrick Pearline Her role in the spectacular public events surrounding the importation of new martyrs' remains to Constantinople is also significant. Private User On at least one occasion she persuaded Arcadius to stay home on the initial day of the celebrations, instead drawing all eyes to herself by solemnly following the coffin throughout the night, divested of her Augustal clothing and bodyguards, and participating prominently in the vigil at the martyrium. Kathleen Burke We see the same focus on the empress as the half of the imperial couple concerned with religious affairs in the events surrounding John Chrysostom's return to Constantinople after his first brief exile. Eudoxia is the sole imperial representative in the public adventus ceremony played out on the Bosporus, where again she is seen exhibiting her piety ( eusebeia ) prominently in the midst of the populace. Private

The impression that Eudoxia seized the model of the emperor as patron of the church that had been established by Constantine and then, on her elevation to Augusta , moved to detach the role from Arcadius and to appropriate it for herself, creating an identity which allowed her to operate by divine mandate at her husband's side, yet on her own cognizance, is reinforced by other events. Palladius ( Dial . 8) and Sozomen ( HE 8.8) are both clear that, when the "Origenist" monks from Egypt appeal directly to Eudoxia for assistance, it is she who decrees that a synod be convoked and Theophilus, the bishop of Alexandria, be called to answer his case before it. Palladius adds that she was well informed as to the circumstances of the monks' case before they approached her. Neither expresses any surprise at the authority of her actions. Again, at the time of the dispute between John Chrysostom and Severian of Gabala, it is Eudoxia who appeals to John to reconcile himself with Severian and who then forces his hand by recalling Severian to Constantinople from Chalcedon (Socr., HE 6.11; Soz., HE 8.10). It is also telling that in the months prior to John's second and final exile, when bishops who supported his cause were attempting to sway imperial opinion, it is to Eudoxia that appeals were addressed, not her husband (Palladius, Dial . 9).


Assessment

When the sources present an empress, on the one hand, as totally manipulated, and, on the other, as the machinator in various plots, while at the same time playing on conventional stereotypes of the barbarian woman, it sends up a flag of warning. Eudoxia exhibits many of the same qualities (piety, humility, fecundity) as her predecessor Flaccilla, who like her was a barbara , was honored with the title Augusta , and saw her imperial image disseminated on coins and other media throughout the provinces. Private User Yet the two have received a markedly different reception. This requires some explanation. Eudoxia became exposed as a target on two fronts. The first was her proclamation as Augusta only six months into her third pregnancy, before she had borne a male heir for the principate. It is possible that the subsequent birth of a daughter led people to question the appropriateness of the move and contributed to the rumor, when she finally bore a son in her fourth pregnancy, that he had been fathered elsewhere. The second front was her adoption of the role of patron of the imperially favored (i.e. Nicene) church. While her guiding hand on this front enabled her to help direct the development of the dynastic religion for her husband and children, it left her dangerously exposed to criticism by those who objected to the directions in which she bestowed her largesse and to the content of her decisions. It is in this light that we should view the charges that she was "arrogant", that she "hated" the bishop of Constantinople and actively sought his downfall, and that she had embarked upon a "war against the church". Her contribution to ecclesiastical affairs at Constantinople, and throughout the eastern provinces via the bishops who sought her patronage when visiting the capital, needs acknowledgment. It is also probable that, through establishing a model for the engagement of imperial women of the east at a high level in the ecclesiastical sphere, she paved the way for her daughter, Pulcheria.

Bibliography:

For the sake of completeness a number of older works have been included. Those of von Hahn-Hahn, Seeck and Holum represent the few in which Eudoxia has been examined in her own right. More frequently she has been depicted in terms of her "conflict" with the bishop John Chrysostom. The chapter devoted to her by Holum remains the most complete study to date.

Dacier, H., Saint Jean Chrysostome et la femme chrétienne au IV esiècle de l'église grecque , Paris, 1907, 45-116.

Funk, F.X., "Johannes Chrysostomus und der Hof von Konstantinopel", Theologische Quartalschrift 57 (1875) 449-80

Hahn-Hahn, I. von, Eudoxia die Kaiserin. Ein Zeitgemälde aus dem 5. Jahrhundert , Mainz, 1866.

Holum, K., Theodosian Empresses. Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity , Berkeley, 1982, 48-78.

Ludwig, F., Der hl. Johannes Chrysostomus in seinem Verhältnis zum byzantinischen Hof , Braunsberg, 1883.

Mayer, W., "Constantinopolitan Women in Chrysostom's Circle", Vigiliae Christianae 53 (1999) 265-88.

Seeck, O., art. "Eudoxia. 1)", Pauly-Wissowa 6 (1909) coll. 917-25.

Van Ommeslaeghe, F., "Jean Chrysostome en conflit avec l'impératrice Eudoxie. Le dossier et les origines d'une légende", Analecta Bollandiana 97 (1979) 131-59.

Notes:

Amos Eagle EllistonThe Greek term for "woman" used by Philostorgius ( to gynaion ) has a patronizing, even contemptuous ring.

PrivatePs-Martyrius has recently been identified as Cosmas, a deacon who had been baptized by John Chrysostom and who was an ardent supporter of his cause. The funerary speech itself has been dated to the winter of 407/8, making it a critical witness to events at Constantinople in the years 398-407. See T.D. Barnes, "The Funerary Speech for John Chrysostom ( BHG 3871 = CPG 6517)", Studia Patristica 37 (2001) 328-45, who provides a translation of the passages in which Cosmas (Ps-Martyrius) describes with relish the still-birth suffered by Eudoxia at the time of each of Chrysostom's exiles (336-7). It is noteworthy that he uses the same term as Philostorgius for "the woman", when referring to Eudoxia, which Barnes translates as "the hag". For Ps-Martyrius Eudoxia is the instigator of a war against the church (P 524b), which Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, joins as co-conspirator.

Mike Shaw EllistonSocrates says that the sermon simply incited the empress to even greater anger, thus reinforcing the image that the alleged sermon provokes.

Private UserSee most recently R.C. Blockley, "The Dynasty of Theodosius", in A. Cameron and P. Garnsey (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History XIII. The Late Empire A.D. 337-425 , Cambridge, 1998, 116: "The empress Eudoxia, in alliance with members of the senatorial élite, moved to take over power…"; and 117: "Eudoxia and her allies dominated the government of the east for the next four years".

Violet Kawai LeungH. Dacier, Saint Jean Chrysostome et la femme chrétienne au IV esiècle de l'église grecque , Paris, 1907, 47: "Eudoxie, cruelle, haineuse, avide d'argent et d'honneurs, âme emportée, nature viciée, conscience dévoyée…"; and 58: "Nous l'avons dit, depuis qu'elle était impératrice, Eudoxie n'obéissait qu'à ses passions: injuste, cruelle, elle était femme à ne reculer devant rien pour la satisfaction de ses appétits, employant tour à tour la ruse et la violence pour satisfaire ses ambitions". In adopting this view she builds on the scholarship of Amédée Thierry and Aimé Puech before her.

Private UserC. Baur, John Chrysostom and His Time II. Constantinople , eng. trans., Westminster MD, 1960, 32 describes her as possessed of "a vivacious, sanguine temperament" and proceeds to damn her with faint praise: "Eudoxia was not without good qualities. At the side of an upright man, she might have become a distinguished empress. But natural strength of character was lacking in her, and as far as guiding the Emperor was concerned, she was as yet too young, too inexperienced and, above all, too feminine. Her credulity, and her hasty passionate disposition were soon made the most of, by all sorts of tale-bearing and insinuations" (33). This view that her pairing with a "weak" emperor brought out her vanity and ambitions can be seen in F.X. Funk, "Johannes Chrysostomus und der Hof von Konstantinopel", Theologische Quartalschrift 57 (1875) 458: "An der Seite eines schwachen und beschränkten Gatten, der stets das Bedürfnis empfand, von Andern geleitet zu werden, mußte sie selbst die Herrschaft an sich ziehen, wenn sie nicht unter dem Befehl eines Dritten stehen wollte, und es war ihr nicht genug, die oberste Leitung der Geschäfte thatsächlich in ihrer Hand zu haben, sie wollte auch rechtlich und gesetzlich Herrscherin sein, vertauschte darum mit Beginn des Jahres 400 ihren seitherigen Titel Nobilissima mit dem Titel Augusta und ließ, um gleich dem Kaiser die Huldigung und Berehrung des Volkes in ihrem Bildniß entgegen zu nehmen, ihre Statue in den Provinzen des Reiches umherführen." J.N.D. Kelly, Golden Mouth. The Story of John Chrysostom - Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop , London, 1995, 110, who presents a less emotive view, follows Philostorgius in stating that she outstripped Arcadius in intelligence and therefore quickly dominated him, and in the use of adjectives like "volatile" and "impulsive" (272), and "vivacious and strong-willed" (110). Cf. J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz, Barbarians and Bishops. Army, Church, and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom , Oxford, 1990, who calls her "passionate and easily offended" (196) and "extremely strong-willed and at the same time hypersensitive" (202).

Private User Arcadius , DIR: "While there were several events in which she played a crucial part, they were not terribly important moments during Arcardius' reign". Liebeschuetz, Barbarians , 196-202 also downgrades her role.

Private User Theodosian Empresses. Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity , Berkeley, 1982, 48-78.

Alan Michael BravermanIn particular, Palladius' Dialogue ; the church histories of Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret; and the Life of Porphyry by Mark the Deacon.

Private User PLRE I, 159-60 s.v. Flavius Bauto.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 52.

Private UserHolum, loc. cit.; Seeck, "Eudoxia. 1)", Pauly-Wissowa 6 (1909) 917.

Private User PLRE I, 750-1 s.v. Flavius Promotus. The careers of Bauto and Promotus have many points in common and are markedly similar.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 52 n. 18.

Adam Herzl ZadikoffThe second view is proposed by Nathan, Arcadius.

Bev Zadikoff For sources for the names and dates see the documentation provided in PLRE II, 410 s.v. Aelia Eudoxia 1. The eldest, Flaccilla, died before 408, since she is not mentioned among the children who survived their father (Soz., HE 9.1).

David Ivor ZadikoffSee n. 2 above.

Private UserRegarding the dates see W. Mayer, "'Les homélies de s. Jean Chrysostome en juillet 399'. A second look at Pargoire's sequence and the chronology of the Novæ homiliæ (CPG 4441)", Byzantinoslavica 60/2 (1999) 285-6 and literature.

Private UserOn the questions of the initiative and timing see Alan Cameron in A. Cameron and J. Long with L. Sherry, Barbarians and Politics at the Court of Arcadius , Berkeley, 1993, 170-3, who argues that it was the praetorian prefect ( praefectus praetorio per orientem ) Aurelian, who, with the courtiers Saturninus and John, had formed a power bloc and was attempting to use Eudoxia to exert his influence over Arcadius. Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 67, had argued against this possibility on the grounds that Gainas was in control of Constantinople and Aurelian and his associates already in exile at the time. He went on to propose that the initiative may have come from Eudoxia herself. Cameron's carefully revised chronology of events, however, which places the exile of Aurelian, Saturninus and John only in April 400 (ibid., xii), undercuts Holum's arguments. Holum's alternative suggestion (69) that the court promoted Eudoxia in response to Gainas in an attempt to rouse public support for the eastern principate at a time of crisis likewise falters on the chronology, but otherwise bears some merit.

Private User Theodosian Empresses , 65-6.

Private User Coll. Avell . 38.1. Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 66-7.

Samantha Pearline Zadikoff Socr., HE 6.18; Soz., HE 8.20. Regarding the inscription at the base of the statue see J. Gottwald, "La statue de l'impératrice Eudoxie a Constantinople", Échos d'Orient 10 (1907) 274-6. Both Socrates and Sozomen describe the public festivities that accompanied the erection of the statues as the final straw in the strained relationship between Eudoxia and the bishop, John Chrysostom.

Peggy Sue PearlineFor examples see W. Mayer, "Constantinopolitan Women in Chrysostom's Circle", Vigiliae Christianae 53 (1999) 284-5.

Rodrick PearlineSocr., HE 6.8 (Eudoxia provided silver crosses and tapers; her eunuch led the chanting); Soz., HE 8.8 (no mention that Eudoxia provided the silver crosses, but says that her eunuch was appointed to regulate the processions, pay costs and prepare hymns). Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 54.

Private UserHolum, Theodosian Empresses , 55-8.

Kathleen Burke The events are recorded in encomiastic terms by John Chrysostom, Hom. dicta postquam reliquiae martyrum .

PrivateJohn Chrysostom, Sermo post reditum a priore exsilio 2, where he dwells at length on her role in swaying the emperor and at the same time using her private resources to keep his whereabouts secret and his enemies at bay. At the close of the homily he styles her as "mother of the churches, feeder of monks, patroness of saints, staff of beggars". Cf. Soz., HE 8.18, who appears to have had access to the sermon, and who adds that Eudoxia sent her personal eunuch Brison to fetch John and then housed him on his return at her own suburban estate, Marianae. If the Life of Porphyry by Mark the Deacon is accepted as a valid source, then Eudoxia's securing of an edict permitting destruction of the Marneion at Gaza is an example of her exercise of ecclesiastical patronage beyond the confines of Constantinople. She is alleged to have provided thirty-two marble columns for the Christian church to be built on the site. See Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 54-6.

Private User See Holum, Theodosian Empresses , 22-44, 53-8.

Copyright (C) 2002, Wendy Mayer. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.


Noteringar

Dotter till Bauto av Frankerna.

Dog i samband med missfall.

view all 12

Aelia Eudoxia Augusta's Timeline

375
375
Constantinople,Byzantine Empire,,Turkey
397
June 17, 397
Age 22
399
January 19, 399
Age 24
Constantinople
400
April 3, 400
Age 25
401
April 10, 401
Age 26
Constantinople, Turkey
403
February 12, 403
Age 28
404
October 6, 404
Age 29
Rome, Italy
October 12, 404
Age 29
Igreja dos Santos Apóstolos, Constantinopla (Bizâncio)
????
wife of, Arcadius, I, Emperor