Eutropius, Flavius

, an Italian sophist, according to Snidas, but probably a Greek by birth, wrote a compendious history of Roman affairs, divided into ten books, from the foundation of the city to the reign of Valens, to whom it was dedicated: that is, to A. D. 364. He was secretary to Constantine the Great, and afterwards served as a soldier under Julian the Apostate, whom he attended in his unfortunate expedition against the Persians. It appears, too, that he bore the offices of Proconsul, and Praetorian Praefect. There have been two opinions about his religion, some supposing him to have been a Christian, others a heathen. The former ground their opinion chiefly upon a passage, where he speaks of Julian as a persecutor of Christians: “Nimius Religionis Christianas insectator, perinde tamen ut cruore abstineret;” a persecutor of the Christian religion, yet abstaining from sanguinary methods. But it is more probable that he was an heathen, not only from his situation and character under Julian, but from the testimony of Nicephorus Gregoras, who declares him to have been “of the same age and sect” with that emperor. Vossius thinks that he might be neither Christian nor heathen; and seems inclined to rank him with many ethers of his times, who hesitated between the two religions, without embracing either. A passage in some editions of his history, in which he speaks of Jesus Christ as our God and Lord, is acknowledged to be spurious. The best editions of Eutropius, are those of Havercarnp, 1729, and ofVerheyk, published at Leyden in 1762, in 8vo, with every useful illustration. At the end of the tenth book, he promises another historical work, or rather a continuation of this; and he tells us, that he “must raise his style, and double his diligence, when he enters upon the reign of | such respectable and illustrious princes as Valens and VaJentian:” but death, probably, prevented the execution of his purpose. There are two Greek versions of this short history of Eutropius, one by Capito Lycius, and another by Paeanias, both ancient. There is a French translation by the abbé Lezeau but no good one in English. Eutropius has long been one of our most common school-books but as his style is not of the first purity, some eminent teachers have lately discontinued the use of his history. 1


Vossius de Hist. Lat. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. —Saxii Onomast.