410: Honorius, his Rooster, and the Eunuch (Procop. Vand. 1.2.25–26)

Kovács, Tamás (2020) 410: Honorius, his Rooster, and the Eunuch (Procop. Vand. 1.2.25–26). GRAECO-LATINA BRUNENSIA, 25 (2). pp. 131-148. ISSN 1803-7402 (print); 2336-4424 (online)

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (198kB) | Preview


In his Wars (De Bellis), Procopius shares an extraordinary tale about Emperor Honorius, who allegedly heard about the plunder of Rome from his poultry keeper. First, Honorius misunderstood the report because he also had a huge rooster that bore the same name as that of the city. Therefore, the central element of the tale is the misunderstanding between the emperor and his eunuch about the name “Rome.” However, the structural features of Procopius’ work – the rooster and its keeper together – form a narrative in which a fowl and Rome were not two entities but one. The possibility of being a monarch ruling over the Eastern and the Western sides of the empire, his aim guarded by the keeper, could have worried Honorius. This paper aims to reveal the historical event behind Procopius’ tale and its circumstances, that is, a meeting in mid-January 409 when Rome’s first siege was reported to Honorius by Terentius, who had taken an active part in securing the emperor’s prospective reign. It was in vain because Honorius was blinded by the possibility of becoming a monarch from the moment when he received the report of Arcadius’ death.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World / történelem > D2 Ancient History / ókor története > D25 History of ancient Rome / Római Birodalom
P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > PA Classical philology / klasszika-filológia > PA20 Latin / latin filológia
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2021 18:52
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2023 07:23

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item