Classica et Christiana, 17/2, 2022 / 443

Pavel-Flavian CHILCOȘ (Centrul de Studii Clasice și Creștine, Facultatea de Istorie, Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iași)
Abolitio memoriae în antichitatea târzie – continuitate sau ruptură? Condamnarea la uitare a eunucului Eutropius

Keywords: Eutropius, social disgrace, sanctions, Latin and Greek lite­rary sources, Roman law sources.

Abstract: Abolitio memoriae in late antiquity continuity or discontinuity? The condemnation of the eunuch Eutropius to oblivion. This article analyses the manner in which the condemnation of the eunuch Eutropius to oblivion was implemented, the sanctions decided against him, and the perception of his personality, starting from the imperial edict of August 399. For a better understanding of the phenomenon, the works of ancient authors who wrote about Eutropius’ deeds were also consulted. The decree announced the confiscation of his entire fortune, which became part of the imperial treasury. His social degradation was also accentuated, with the eunuch being stripped of his social honors and his name removed from the list of consuls. In the same vein, it was stated that he was stripped of the rank of patrician, as well as the other minor functions he held. Further, all his achievements and decisions were annulled, so that none of the members of society could remember or complain about the way in which the protagonist of the edict had desecrated the office of consul, which, in the Roman understanding, was a divine gift. At the same time, it was ordered that all his iconographic representations (statues, portraits) be destroyed, regardless of their material (bronze, marble, pigments), in all cities, both in public and private places, so that these effigies would not pollute the view of the citizens. Ultimately, it was decided that Eutropius should be exiled to Cyprus, where he would be placed under the strict supervision of guards. In conjunction with the analysis of Eutropius’ condemnation to oblivion, the article also highlights other episodes in the history of Roman society (1st-4th centuries) in which similar sanctions, related to the phenomenon of abolitio memoriae, were applied to certain principes.


DOI: 10.47743/CetC-2022-17.2.443