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Political and cultural actions of empress Eusebia in the testimonies of Juliano and Amiano Marecelino (4th century)

Grant number: 19/27604-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Margarida Maria de Carvalho
Grantee:Thaís de Almeida Rodrigues
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil


The present research has as its time frame the 4th century, located in Late Antiquity, covering the years of rule of the Roman emperor Constantius II (337-361 AD). In this period marked by border disturbances and the emergence of many usurpers in the Empire, we sought to study the political and cultural actions of the Roman Empress Eusebia (352/3-360 AD) on behalf of Julian, the cousin of Constantius II. She was the Emperor's second or third wife and, in that moment of instability, visualized the importance of appointing a family member as Caesar. In 354, Eusebia interceded before Constantius II to prevent Julian's execution and then sent him to Athens to continue his studies, presenting him with books and supporting his appointment as Caesar, which contradicted the court's wishes and influenced the political rise of his brothers as consuls. For the empress's beneficial actions to her advantage, Julian dedicated a panegyric to her, something unusual for a woman at the time, describing her as essentially virtuous. Eusebia was also one of the few women portrayed by the military Amiano Marcelino in his Res Gestae, who, unlike Juliano, introduced her in two ways: as virtuous and as manipulative. We will therefore analyze the theme through the Panegyric to Eusebia, written by Julian the Apostate as Caesar, and from books XIV to XXV of the Res Gestae of Amiano. We hypothesize that the empress enjoyed some political prestige in the imperial court of Constantius II, although she held no official office, to the point of choosing important leaders, such as her brothers and Julian, for the warlike and administrative composition of the Roman government, it is possible that their measurements had a certain scope.

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