From A.D. 395 to 404, Claudian was the court poet of the Western Roman Empire, ruled by Horius. In 399 the eunuch Eutropius, the grand chamberlain and power behind the Eastern Roman throne of Horius's brother Arcadius, became consul. The poem In Eutropium is Claudian's brilliantly nasty response. In it he vilifies Eutropius and calls on Horius's general, Stilicho, to redeem this disgrace to Roman hor. In this literary and historical study, Jacqueline Long argues that the poem was, in both intent and effect, political propaganda: Claudian exploited traditional prejudices against eunuchs to make Eutropius appear ludicrously alien to the ideals of Roman greatness. Long sets In Eutropium within the context of Greek and Roman political vituperation and satire from the classical to the late antique period. In addition, she demonstrates that the poem is an invaluable, if biased, source of historical information about Eutropius's career. Her analysis draws on modern propaganda theory and on reader response theory, thereby bringing a fresh perspective to the political implications of Claudian's work. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital techlogy to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
Jacqueline Long, assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin, is coauthor of Barbarians and Politics at the Court of Arcadius.