The paper examines some epigrams attributed to Empress Eudocia (ca. 401‒460 AD) in her biographical context and draws largely upon the survived sources, mainly upon Life of St. Melania by Gerontius, the contemporary of the Empress and the eyewitness of many crucial events. The paper attempts to ﬁnd connections between Empress Eudocia’s ﬁrst pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the epigrams as well as to clarify the date of this pilgrimage. The spring of 438 may be regarded as the most likely period, which however should have been rather limited in time, namely to April and June. Comparing the texts of the epigrams with the data from some other sources makes it possible to relate the epigrams to some events of Eudocia’s life that are known to us. This allows us to reconstruct the route that the Empress was following and to suppose that the reason for the pilgrimage was thanksgiving to God for the marriage of Eudocia’s daughter, Eudoxia. Besides, the pilgrimage was also intended to coincide with church festivities organised by Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem dissembled by anti-Chalcedonian authors who hated the name of his. Although there is no suﬃcient evidence in the sources that the heir to the throne, Prince Arcadius II, was already born in this period of time, there is a possibility that he was born at the end of 438 or at the beginning of 439 AD. The authentic epigram by Eudocia from Hamat-Gadar could be written during the ﬁ rst pilgrimage. The spuria epigram, narrating ‘the healing story’ can be regarded as correlating with the Greek version of Gerontius’s story (but not with the Latin one, nor with the story retold by Symeon the Metaphrast). It also correlates with the dates of Eudocia’s stay in Palestine, and therefore could be authentic. Other epigrams which are usually considered as ‘spuria’ may also belong to Eudocia but the evidence is insuﬃ cient for any deﬁ nite conclusions.
Empress Eudocia, epigrams, pilgrimage, authorship, dating, Gerontius, Melania, St. Stephen, Theodosius II, Arcadius II, Juvenal (the bishop of Jerusalem), Hamat-Gader, Paphlagonia, late ancient literature, Byzantian literature, Christianity
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