Eutropius (consul)

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Bust of a Eutropius (probably not the Eutropius of this article) from Ephesus, dated to c. 450, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Eutropius (died 399) was a fourth-century Eastern Roman official.

He began his career as a eunuch in the palace of Theodosius I. After Theodosius' death in 395 he successfully arranged the marriage of the new emperor, Arcadius, to Aelia Eudoxia, having blocked an attempt by Arcadius' chief minister, Rufinus, to marry the young and weak-willed emperor to his daughter. After Rufinus' assassination that same year, Eutropius rose in importance in the imperial court, and he soon became Arcadius' closest advisor. His ascension to power was assisted by his defeat of a Hun invasion in 398. The next year he became the first eunuch to be appointed a consul. But his enemies Gaïnas, the leader of the imperial army's Gothic mercenaries, and Eudoxia, the empress he had created, engineered his downfall the very year he became a consul.

After Eutropius's fall from power, John Chrysostom's pleas kept him alive for a short time; he was eventually executed before the year ended.

During his rise to the consulship, Eutropius earned a reputation for cruelty and greed. He may also have played a role in the assassination of his predecessor Rufinus.

References

  • J.B. Bury (1923). History of the Later Roman Empire: see chapters Stilicho and Eutropius (A.D. 396‑397) and Fall of Eutropius and the German Danger in the East (A.D. 398‑400). A full account.
  • Claudian, in Eutropium. Book I, Book II.
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus IV,
Flavius Eutychianus
Consul of the Roman Empire
399
with Flavius Mallius Theodorus
Succeeded by
Aurelianus,
Flavius Stilicho I
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