410: Honorius, his rooster, and the eunuch (Procop. Vand. 1.2.25–26)

Název: 410: Honorius, his rooster, and the eunuch (Procop. Vand. 1.2.25–26)
Zdrojový dokument: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2020, roč. 25, č. 2, s. 131-148
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Článek

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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.