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B. P. Sowers, Eudocia: The Making of a Homeric Christian

B. P. Sowers, Eudocia: The Making of a Homeric Christian

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Dissertation, Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of Cincinnati 2008
Dissertation, Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of Cincinnati 2008

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Published by: diadass on Oct 08, 2010
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11/27/2012

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iiEUDOCIA: THE MAKING OF A HOMERIC CHRISTIANA dissertation submitted to theDivision of Research and Advanced Studiesof the University of Cincinnatiin partial fulfillment of therequirements for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)in the Department of Classicsof the College of Arts and Sciences2008 byBrian Patrick SowersB.A., University of Evansville, 2001M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2006Committee Chair: Peter van Minnen
 
iii
ABSTRACT
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 exemplifythe literary and cultural concerns of the fifth century. Since her poems are eachapparently 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 sametime, illustrates the religious competition that surrounded late antique healing cults, of which therapeutic springs were part. Next is the Homeric cento, which borrows andreorders lines from the
 Iliad 
and
Odyssey
to retell parts of the biblical narrative. Eudocia'sattempt at this bizarre genre underscores the interplay between the Homeric poems, andthe 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. Thefirst 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 magicand why he converted. This section provides a glimpse into the ways late antiqueChristians understood paganism and the rhetoric they used to limit its hold in the later 
 
ivRoman empire. The big picture of Eudocia's poetry is that of a corpus, which usesHomeric language to convey fifth century, Christian concerns, and of a poet who canaptly be called a Homeric Christian.

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