Eudocia

, a Roman empress (wife to Theodosius the younger), whose proper name was Athenais, was the daughter of Leontius, an Athenian philosopher, and born about the year 400. Her father took such care of her education, that she became at length so accomplished in learning, that, at his death, he left his whole estate to his two sons, except an hundred pieces of gold, which he bequeathed to his daughter, with this declaration, that “her own good fortune would be sufficient for her.” This compliment, however, did not satisfy her, and having gone to law with her brothers, without success, she carried her cause to Constantinople, where she was recommended to Pulcheria, sister of the emperor Theodosius the younger, and became her favourite. In the year 421 she embraced Christianity, and changed her name from Athenais to Eudocia 3 and the same year was married to the emperor, through the powerful recommendation of his sister; by which event her father’s prophecy appeared to be fulfilled. Amidst all the grandeurof her new situation, she still continued to lead a very studious and philosophic life, spending much of her time in reading and writing; and lived very happily till the year 445, when an apparently trifling accident exposed her to the emperor’s jealousy. The emperor, it is said, having sent her an apple of an extraordinary | size, she sent it to Paulinus, whom she respected on ac­"count of his learning. Paulinus, not knowing from whom it came, presented it to the emperor who, soon after seeing the empress, asked her what she had done with it. She, being apprehensive of raising suspicions in her husband, if she should tell him that she had given it to Paulinus, very unwisely declared that she had eaten it, which excited a suspicion of her intimacy with Paulinus, that seemed to be confirmed by her confusion on his producing the apple. He also put Paulinus to death. Upon this she went to Jerusalem, where she spent many years in building and adorning churches, and in relieving the poor. It is said that even when here, the jealousy of Theodosius pursued her, and that hearing she visited the priest Severus and the deacon John, he sent Saturninus with orders to put them both to death. Eudocia was so irritated at this barbarous persecution, that she for once stained the purity of her own life, by procuring Saturninus to be murdered. Dupin says, she did not return while the emperor lived; but Cave tells us, that she was reconciled to him, returned to Constantinople, and continued with him till his death; after which, she went again to Palestine, where she spent the remainder of her life in pious works. She died about A. D. 460; and, as Cave says, upon her death-bed, took a solemn oath, by which she declared herself entirely free from any stains of unchastity.

She wrote several pieces in prose and verse of the latter sort, 1 An heroic poem, mentioned by Socrates, upon the victory gained by her husband Theodosius over the Persians. 2. A paraphrase of the eight first books of the Bible and, 3. A history of the martyrs Cyprian and Justina, in heroic metre likewise of the former kind, 4. A paraphrase upon the prophecies of Daniel and Zecharias, which, according to Photius, must rather be deemed a translation, and a strict one; for he says, that she adheres closely to the sacred text, without adding, diminishing, or changing any thing. Cave tells us also, that she finished and digested the Centones Homerici, or the life of Jesus Christ, in heroic verses, taken from Homer, which were begun by Pelagius, a patrician. This was printed under the title “Homerici centones, Virgiliani centones, Nonni paraphrasis evangelii Joannis,” Gr. & Lat. H. Stephanus, Io78, 16mo. It is also in the Bibl. Patrum. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Cave, vol. I. Dupin. Bio Unir. art. Alhenais. Saxii Onom.
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