:"For the Byzantine officer, see also Eutropius (Byzantine official) (396-397). For the Saint, see Saint Eutropius."


Not much is known about the early life of Eutropius because there are no written text that document his life. Simply Eutropius, should not be confused for Eutropius of Valencia or Saint Eutropius. He was known for being the historian for the emperor of Valens between 364-378AD, when he wrote “"Breviariun ab Urbe condita"” which translated to the History of Rome. The original text was latin, then translated to Greek in 380AD by Paeanius. He served in the senior post of Secretary of State for General Petitions, under the Emperor Valens. There is not any works that describe Eutropius other than how he was seen through the eyes of others, which describe him briefly as a half-man. This meant that at some point in his life he had his testes removed, which meant he was a eunuch, we assume this explained his feminine traits that described him. Eutropius is known for being along side Emperor Valens on his successful expeditions to Britian and Gaul between 364-378AD. He was officially named a “magister memoriae” while under Valens.


Eutropius was a polytheist historian for Emperor Julian in the late 4th century, for the expedition against Persia in 363AD, this is the only total incontestable evidence of Eutropius’ life and career. He held office of secretary at Constantinpole which is named after the Roman Emperor Constantine I, which during the Middle Ages was the biggest and most beautiful city in Europe. Julian or Julian the Apostata was known for being a non religious leader that wanted to drive out religion to create a non bias empire. During 362AD he prompted a law that all religions were equal before law. During the expedition against the Sassanid Empire Julian was wounded after he charged into battle without wearing and armor. He died from a spear wound to the liver. After his fatality Jovian was named emperor after Julians death. While Jovian made peace with the Persians and headed back to Constantinpole where shortly before he suffered shortening of breath and later died. Then Valentian needing help patch up a broken Rome, hired Valens as co-emperor, which divided the empire from east to west. Eutropius now a historian for the Emperor Valens dedicates his writings, “"Breviariun ab Urbe condita"” to him in the later 4th century.

The downfall of Eutropius was that he had opposition that was left behind from the confussion of the death of Juilan. Procopius was a major influence in the eventual execution of Eutropius, as he was the leader of the army when Julian was killed; he was not present when the new ruler was named, this lead to tension between Valens, Eutropius mentor and Procopius. There was much controversy in Rome at the time, because religion was becoming open since the rule of Julian. As an Arian ruler Valens put down Procopius’ revolt at the beginning of his reign as Roman ruler, and introduced Catholic as the official faith of Rome. He later went to war against the Goths who supported Procopius’ revolt. Gainas was a Goth leader that served in eastern Rome, and it was his influence that would cause Eutropius to loose his power in the Secretart of State. It is not exactly clear why he was exiled to Cyprus, but the recording of his death is unknown in historical text.


Eutropius wrote a ten-book summary of Roman history entitled "Historiæ romanæ breviarium" between the years of 350 and 370AD. This is the only known writing by Eutropius


The importance of ancient text is known to be quite valuable, although Eutropius text is known to be quite simple in Latin, it was often used as a childrens book. It was extremely important to know the development of Rome from beginning to end. Eutropius recorded the important conflict between non-catholic views and pagean beliefs. Being a neunuch in a strong catholic empire Eutropius was like a superintendent of records under the rule of Valens. Eutropius does make some errors in his writings that are only concluded from other sources that acknowledge the proper dates and times. The only factual evidence is known through his text that explained the history of Rome which was “"Breviariun ab Urbe condita"” that explained his life and career briefly. It might be said that Eutropius writings later sought to influence Ammianus, Jerome and even Augustine. This is extremely important because these authors contributed major text that we use to piece together history in the 4th century and onward. Some of Eutropius’ text and pieces of his book are highly uncertain because some historians that wrote at the same period have controversial dates and writings that conflict with Eutropius. Emperor Valens hired another “magister memoriae”, but it is uncertain as to why he would have to historians writing at the same period of time. Some opinions think that another historian was hired because the initial writing of Eutropius was too long, and needed to be shortened.


Primary/Secondary Sources

Eutropius. "The Breviarium ab urbe condita" of Eutropius, The Right Honourable Secretary of State for General Petitions, Dedicated to Lord Valens, Gothicus Maximus and Perpetual Emperor. Trans. H. W. Bird. (1993)

"History of the later Roman Empire", by J.B. Bury (DG 311 B98. v.2 c.2), Dover Publications Inc. New York


• The Fall of Eutropius, by Michael Dewar. • Sources: The Classical Quarterly Vol. 40 No.2 pp. 582-584• JSTOR

• Eutropius, by William Barr.• Sources: The Classical Review Vol. 48 No.1 pp. 37-38• JSTOR

• Review of Eutropius, by Roger Rees• Sources: The Classical Review Vol. 48 No.1 pp. 65-67• JSTOR

• Eutropius V. C. "Magister Memoriae?", by R.W. Burgess• Sources: Classical Philiology Vol. 96 No. 1 pp. 76-81• JSTOR

• Eutropius Breviarium ab Urbe Condita, by Th. Mommsen• Sources: Hermes Vol. 1 No. 4 pp.468• JSTOR

• Eutropius, by Peter K. Marshall• Sources: The Classical Review Vol. 51 No. 2 pp. 271-272• JSTOR

External links

*Eutropius, " [ Abridgement of Roman History] ", John Selby Watson (translator), (1853) (from [ Forum Romanum] ; both Latin text and English translation)
*Eutropius, " [ Abridgement of Roman History] ", John Selby Watson (translator), (1886) (from [ The Tertullian Project] ; only English translation)
*Eutropius, " [ Eutropii Breviarium] " (from The Latin Library; only Latin text)
*Eutropius, " [ Eutropi Breviarium ab urbe condita cum versionibus graecis et Pauli Landolfique additamentis] ", Ed. Droysen, Hans. (from [ Monumenta Germaniae Historica Digital] ; Image files include the preface, Greek and Latin text, critical apparatus, appendices and indices



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