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Originally named Athenais, Eudocia was the daughter of Leontius, a teacher of rhetoric. She was born in Athens (Evagrius Scholasticus Historia ecclesiastica 1.20) and probably followed her father in his career move to Alexandria, before returning to Athens, where Leontius was elected to the chair of rhetoric in 415ce with the help and intervention of Olympiodorus of Thebes (Olympiodorus fr. 28 FHG). Details of Eudocia’s life are complicated by the novelistic embellishments of the chroniclers (exemplified in Joannes Malalas 272-8 Thurn) and contemporary polemics persisting in later sources,1 but a basic narrative seems secure. Eudocia’s classical education (reported by Malalas 273 Thurn; Phot. Bibl. 183; Tzetz. Chil. 10.48–54) is evident in the nature of her literary output, her use of traditional poetic language, and her classical versification, which reveal formal training despite occasional inconsistencies and non-classical usages. Athenais converted to Christianity and changed her name to Eudocia before her marriage to Theodosius II on 7 June 421.

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Theodore John Cadoux and M. T. Griffin

Poppaea Sabina, daughter of T. Ollius (d. 31 ce), and named after her maternal grandfather C. Poppaeus Sabinus (consul 9 ce, governor of Moesia 12–35), was married first to Rufrius Crispinus, prefect of the praetorians under Claudius, by whom she had a son later killed by *Nero. By 58, during her second marriage, to the future emperor *Otho, she became mistress of Nero (so Tac.Ann. 13.45 f.; another version in Hist. 1.13). It was allegedly at her instigation that Nero murdered *Iulia Agrippina in 59 and in 62 divorced, banished, and executed *Claudia Octavia. Nero now married Poppaea, who bore a daughter Claudia in 63; both mother and child received the surname Augusta, but the child died at four months. Through Poppaea's influence, her native *Pompeii became a colony (see also oplontis). *Josephus, who secured a favour from her in Rome, apparently attests to her Jewish sympathies (though the word θεοσεβής is problematic), but she actually did the Jews a disservice in securing her friend's husband, *Gessius Florus, the procuratorship (see procurator) of *Judaea in 64 (Vit.

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Pulcheria was a Roman empress in the early to mid-5th century ce, one of the sisters of the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II (408–450). Pulcheria spent her entire life in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and its suburbs where she was a prominent public figure. She has been described as being influential in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and as a significant founder of churches in Constantinople. Following the death of the childless Theodosius in 450, Marcian (450–457) became emperor and then married Pulcheria. Aged 55, Pulcheria died in Constantinople in July 453. Many ancient and modern interpretations of Pulcheria’s life rely heavily on later source material, with the result that she was more influential in historiography from the 6th century onward than in her own lifetime. She is portrayed very differently by two contemporary historians, Sozomen and Socrates Scholasticus. In Sozomen’s account, she is represented as managing the Roman Empire in the early part of Theodosius’ reign. Socrates Scholasticus, however, omits her from his history. These two different perspectives probably relate to conflict between Pulcheria and Eudocia, Theodosius’ wife from 421.

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Constantina, born in c. 320, was the eldest daughter of Constantine I. She was married twice, first in 335 to her cousin Hannibalianus, whose death in 337 left her widowed, and second in 351 to another cousin, Gallus Caesar. Between her marriages, she resided in Rome, founding the church of St. Agnes on the Via Nomentana, where she would be buried in an adjacent mausoleum after her death in 354. Constantina was an active political player in the early 350s. In 350, she intervened against the usurpation of Magnentius through proclaiming the magister militum Vetranio Caesar to her brother Constantius, and she exerted influence on her husband Gallus when the couple resided in Antioch from 351 to 354. Constantina was venerated as a saint in Rome in the 7th century.Flavia Constantina’s name is recorded with this variant of her cognomen on two inscriptions erected during her lifetime in Rome (CIL VI 40790; ILCV 1768 = ICUR VIII 20752; for the full texts see below, .

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