Eutropius Criticism - Essay

W. Den Boer (essay date 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Eutropius" in Some Minor Roman Historians, E. J. Brill, 1972, pp. 114-72.

[In the following excerpt, Den Boer examines the possible source materials for Eutropius's works, what his histories reveal about ancient topography and chronology, and his attitudes toward Roman politics, especially domination of the barbarians, deification of emperors, and Constantine's conversion.]

Eutropius the Man

There are many gaps in our knowledge of Eutropius which will be impossible to fill. Modern scholars tend to identify him with a number of high-ranking officials of the same name who worked between the years 360 and 390. Caution must still,...

(The entire section is 21497 words.)

H. W. Bird (essay date 1986)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Eutropius on Numa Pompilius and the Senate," The Classical Journal, Vol. 81, No. 3, February-March, 1986, pp. 243-48.

[In this essay, Bird contends that the Breviarium's treatment of Roman rulers reveals that "what was primarily important for Eutropius was how they interacted with the senate."]

Eutropius was the Emperor Valens' magister memoriae in A.D. 369/370 and had accompanied the Emperor Julian on the ill-fated expedition against the Persians in 363. His Breviarium of Roman history from Rome's foundation to the death of Jovian in 364, written in clear, unaffected Latin, quickly become popular. It was soon translated into Greek and in...

(The entire section is 2886 words.)

Harry Bird (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Eutropius: In Defence of the Senate," Cahiers des Études anciennes, No. 20, 1987, pp. 63-72.

[In the following essay, Bird explores Eutropius's treatment of Roman governments as a response to the then-strained relations between the Emperor Valentinian and the senate.]

When Eutropius was composing his Breviarium of Roman history in ca. A.D. 369 he held senatorial rank'. It seems likely that he had attained this status ten years or so earlier when Constantius II promoted him to the post of magister epistularum2. His rank is important because it would significantly affect his point of view and one of the main political issues of...

(The entire section is 3538 words.)

H. W. Bird (essay date 1988)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Eutropius: His Life and Career," Echos du Monde Classique/Classical Views, Vol. 32, n.s., No. 7, 1988, pp. 51-60.

[In the essay that follows, Bird attempts to reconstruct the details of Eutropius's life, particularly his career as a Roman administrator.]

In spite of the confident assertions of many modern scholars,1 what we know for certain about the life and career of Eutropius, the author of the once popular Breviarium ab urbe condita, is extremely limited. What follows, therefore, is a considered, but tentative, reconstruction.

Eutropius, like his contemporary and fellow-abbreviator, Sextus Aurelius Victor, was born soon...

(The entire section is 3879 words.)

H. W. Bird (essay date 1990)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Structure and Themes in Eutropius's Breviarium," The Classical Bulletin, Vol. 66, Nos. 3-4, 1990, pp. 87-92.

[In the following essay, Bird contends that Livy 's Epitome provided Eutropius with a model by which to organize the book-divisions and themes of the Breviarium.]

When Eutropius came to write his abridged history of Rome in A.D. 369 he must have had a plan of composition, some idea of how long he wished to make his work, which sources he would utilize. He may even have discussed some of the particulars with his emperor, Valens, as the first words of the proemium seem to indicate, and the emperor's suggestions would not have been lightly...

(The entire section is 3475 words.)