Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Gibbon Chapter XXXII: Arcadius, St John Chrysostom, and Theodosius II

This is an extraordinary chapter in its portrayal of gender roles. We start off with Gibbon railing at length against the eunuchs, who he seems to have a particular problem with; then we have the unfeminine behaviour of two generations of imperial women mixing it up with religion and leadership, first Eudoxia's successful attacks on Chrysostom (where Gibbon comes down on Chrysostom's side; he may not like bishops but he likes women less), then the zealotry of Pulcheria and her sisters Arcadia and Marina, vowed to virginity but ostentatious in their devotion. This is all the fault of Arcadius, who is insufficiently manly to discharge the duties of emperor adequately.
Tags: gibbon
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