Theodosius II and Pulcheria as Depicted by Sozomen (Revisiting the chronology of Historia Ecclesiastica)

Alexandrova Tatiana L.

The paper analyzes the fi gure of the Christian emperor in Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History. The author compares analogous evidence of Eusebius of Caesarea and Socrates, which leads her to some important conclusions. Firstly, this ‘Constantinian’ image roots in the Platonic ideal of philosopher-ruler. Secondly, there is a shift of emphasis in Sozomen’s version: in the introduction the ideal ruler is Theodosius II, but in Book 9 of the extant version the sacral role of the monarch is in fact given to the Emperor’s sister Pulcheria, while Theodosius’ reign is crossed out of history in a strange way. Compared with some other contemporary evidence of Pulcheria’s personality and considered against the background of the political situation in the last years of Theodosius’ life, all these details allow the author to assume that such a version could have been created after Theodosius’ death and Pulcheria’s coming to power.

Keywords: christianity, Sozomen, Theodosius II, Pulcheria, Eudocia, Constantine the Great, Helena, philosopher-ruler, platonic virtues

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