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    Eudocia, Advocate For Hellenism

    Aelia Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II (Augusta, AD 423-450). AV solidus (21mm, 4.44 gm, 5h). Constantinople, AD 443. AEL EVDO-CIA AVG, pearl-diademed and draped bust of Eudocia right, nimbate Manus Dei (hand of God) reaching down from above / IMP · XXXXII COS - XVII PP, Constantinopolis enthroned left, holding globus cruciger in right hand and scepter cradled in left arm, shield by throne, star in left field, COMOB in exergue. RIC X, 289. Depeyrot 84/4. Very rare! Well struck, with a detailed portrait and reverse. NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5.

    Aelia Eudocia started life as Athenais, a legendary beauty born in Antioch to a prominent Pagan professor of rhetoric. Having absorbed Greek philosophy from childhood, she became an accomplished poet, prose writer and orator in her own right. When her father died, her two brothers seized control of his estate and cut her out of almost any inheritance. She traveled to Constantinople in AD 420 to seek redress from the Emperor Theodosius II. It so happened the scholarly young emperor was in the market for a wife and he was immediately smitten with Athenais. His sister, Pulcheria, insisted that she convert to Christianity before any marriage, terms that she readily accepted, taking the name Eudocia upon her conversion. The new Empress immediately became an advocate for universal education and tolerance, particularly toward Jews and other persecuted sects. She also sought to blend Classical Hellenism and Christianity. This placed her at odds with many powerful interests, including Pulcheria, who began to denigrate the sincerity of her conversion. To prove her devotion, Eudocia made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in AD 438, but soon after returning she was accused of adultery and banished from the court. Theodosius still had affection for her, however, and the terms were not severe. She was able to retire to Jerusalem where she continued her writing and charitable work until her death in AD 460. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2015
    17th-22nd Thursday-Tuesday
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