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Eudocia: The Making of a Homeric Christian

2008, PhD, University of Cincinnati, Arts and Sciences : Classics.
With over 3,400 lines of poetry and no single monograph dedicated to her literary productions, Aelia Eudocia is an understudied poet. This project, the first of its kind, explores Eudocia's three poems as a unified whole and demonstrates how they exemplify the literary and cultural concerns of the fifth century. Since her poems are each apparently unique, I approach them first in isolation and tease out their social background, literary dependencies, and possible interpretive strategies for them before painting a broader picture of Eudocia's literary contribution. The first of her surviving poems is a seventeen line epigraphic poem from the bath complex at Hammat Gader, which acclaims the bath's furnace for its service to the structure's clients but, at the same time, illustrates the religious competition that surrounded late antique healing cults, of which therapeutic springs were part. Next is the Homeric cento, which borrows and reorders lines from the Iliad and Odyssey to retell parts of the biblical narrative. Eudocia's attempt at this bizarre genre underscores the interplay between the Homeric poems, and the classical culture they represent, and the biblical story, with its theology and ethics. Last is the Martyrdom of Saint Cyprian, the first verse hagiography of its kind, which, because of the disparate sources available to Eudocia, is divided into two sections. The first part relates the conversion of Cyprian, an Antiochene magician, a story, I suggest, that depends on the Christian apocrypha, particularly for the development of its heroine, Justa. The second part recounts, in a speech by Cyprian himself, how he learned magic and why he converted. This section provides a glimpse into the ways late antique Christians understood paganism and the rhetoric they used to limit its hold in the later Roman empire. The big picture of Eudocia's poetry is that of a corpus, which uses Homeric language to convey fifth century, Christian concerns, and of a poet who can aptly be called a Homeric Christian.
Peter van Minnen, PhD (Committee Chair)
William Johnson, PhD (Committee Member)
Susan Prince, PhD (Committee Member)
321 p.

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SOWERS, BRIAN. "Eudocia: The Making of a Homeric Christian." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2008. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 15 Nov 2018.

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SOWERS, BRIAN "Eudocia: The Making of a Homeric Christian." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2008.


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