EUTROPIUS, Roman administrator and historian, probably from Bordeaux, who accompanied the emperor Julian the Apostate on his ill-fated Persian expedition in 363. He later rose to the rank of praefectus praetorio (Illyrici) under Gratian and Theodosius (380-81) and was consul (posterior) with Valentinian II in 387 despite the fact that he was almost certainly a pagan and remained so under the successors of Julian.
Eutropius wrote a Latin Breviarium of Roman history down to the death of Jovian in 363 that contains accounts of the eastern policies and the campaigns against the Parthians and the Sasanians of the Roman emperors Trajan (8.3), Hadrian (8.6), Verus (8.10), Septimius Severus (8.18), Aurelian (9.13), Carus (9.18), Galerius (9.24-25), and Julian (10.16). The narrative is extremely brief, and there is little that cannot be found in the writings of historians like Ammianus Marcellinus, Orosius, or Zosimus. The Breviarium was translated into Greek by Paenius in about 380 and was much used by other Roman chroniclers.
Editions and translations include M. Rat, tr. and text, Eutrope: Abrégé de l’histoire Romaine, Paris, n.d.; C. Santini, Eutropi Breviarium ab urbe condita, Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana, Leipzig, 1979.
J. S. Watson, tr., “Eutropius’s Abridgement of Roman History,” in Justin, Nepos and Eutropius, London, 1910, pp. 451-535.
M. H. Dodgeon and S. N. C. Lieu, eds. and trs., The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, AD 226-363, London, 1991 (includes sections in translation relevant to the early Sasanian period).
The only full-scale study of Eutropius in English is W. den Boer, Some Minor Roman Historians, Leiden, 1972.
(Samuel N. C. Lieu)
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: January 20, 2012
This article is available in print.
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