TDISH: The Barbarian Queen

On April 27, 395, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, Arcadius married Aelia Eudoxia, the beautiful daughter of a Frankish general.  Despite having a “civilized” Roman mother, Eudoxia’s father, Bauto, was known as little better than a barbarian and his daughter inherited some of these barbarous characteristics.  Despite these traits, Arcadius married the young beauty and brought her to the capital, Constantinople.

As Empress Consort, Eudoxia grew into one of the most powerful women in the history of the Eastern Empire, especially in the realm of religion.  She supported the faction of the Christian Church that adopted the Nicene Creed, but she soon came into conflict with the patriarch of Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom.  John eschewed the traditional expectations of the patriarch and refused to show obeisance to the elites of the city.  His brand of Christianity played very well to the common people, but not so well to the halls of power.

As is so often the case, those closest to power came out on top.  Eudoxia had much more of her husband’s ear than John ever could.  In the end, she and her powerful friends succeeded in arranging to have the patriarch exiled from the city.  Not too bad for a barbarian.

Featured Image: “John Chrysostom Confronts the Empress.” by Jean-Paul Laurens – [1], Public Domain.
Bury, J.B. History of the Later Roman Empire. MacMillan & Co, 1923.
Schraf, Philip. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson Publishing, 1996.

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