Numismatic and History Discussions > History and Archeology

The learned poetess, the Empress Eudocia


Joe Sermarini:
Following quoted from:
In the excavations of 1979/1980, there were uncovered at the baths of Hammat-Gader, a number of interesting inscriptions, a few of them reflecting the cultural and literary atmosphere of the city.
Text and historical background in: Leah di Segni, 'The Greek Inscriptions of Hammat-Gader' in: Y. Hirschfield: The Roman Thermae at Hammat-Gader- Final Report (Jerusalem, 1997), 228-233.
South-west of the large pool (137K), was found a marble slab inscribed with a poem in Homeric verse ascribed in its heading to the learned poetess, the Empress Eudocia. The latter had formerly been the wife of Theodosius II and her image appears on gold coins. However, by the year 443/2 A.D., the emperor's sister conspired to bring about Eudocia's exile to Jerusalem, where the Empress spent the remainder of her life in religious works until her death in 460 A.D. She was later made a saint whose image appears in icons.
The inscription at Gadara transcribes a poem by her in praise of the baths and giving thanks for their medical services. Its fragmentary end closes either with a description of the statues around the pools, or a list of the patrons who paid for its reconstruction.

+ Eudocia Augusta +
I have seen many infinite wonders in my lifetime
but who, O noble Furnace, could in so many tongues describe
your vigour since at birth, one is but a mortal and a nobody. Yet rather,
justice demands that you be called a a new Ocean of Heat
or Paean (the Healer), a begetter and doner of sweet streams.
From you, is born a countless wave both on this side and on that -
on the one, hot - on the other, cold - and also a medium one -
pouring forth your beauty into four fourfold springs.
Behold an Indian and her matron, Repentinus, Saint Elias,
Behold Antoninus Pius, Fresh Galatia - and she herself,
Good Health. Behold, a large luke-warm pool and a small one,
as well as a very pearl, the old Furnace, and one more Indian
and her matron, the Steadfast Monastery and the Patriarch's ...
By your strong vigour the sick ...(are cured?)
But I will sing of the God who is famed for his skill....
for the benefit of men ....
text in: di Segni, op. cit. 228-233; trans. M. Luz

Thought it was intersting, as is the rest of the website.  

Awesome, thanks Joe! Nice to have statements by empresses, let alone poetry! Goes nicely with the alleged statement by Julia Domna "Civilisation is hot water" too. :D
                                          LordBest. 8)          

Any idea what her reference to Antoninus Pius is about?  Did he have anything to do with healing mineral springs?  Interesting inscription and web page.


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