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In Her Own Words

In Her Own Words

The Life and Poetry of Aelia Eudocia

Brian P. Sowers

ISBN 9780674987371

Publication date: 01/26/2021

In Her Own Words: The Life and Poetry of Aelia Eudocia is the first full-length study to examine Eudocia’s writings as a unified whole and to situate them within their wider fifth-century literary, social, and religious contexts. Responsible for over 3,000 lines of extant poetry, Eudocia is one of the best-preserved ancient female poets. Because she wrote in a literary mode frequently suppressed by proto-orthodox (male) leaders, much of her poetry does not survive, and what does survive remains understudied and underappreciated. This book represents a detailed investigation into Eudocia’s works: her epigraphic poem in honor of the therapeutic bath at Hammat Gader, her Homeric cento—a poetic paraphrase of the Bible using lines from Homer—and her epic on the fictional magician-turned-Christian, Cyprian of Antioch.

Reading her poetry as a whole and in context, Eudocia emerges as an exceptional author representing three unique late-antique communities: poets interested in preserving and transforming classical literature; Christians whose religious views positioned them outside and against traditional power structures; and women who challenged social, religious, and literary boundaries.


  • In Her Own Words complements existing historical and generic studies of Eudocia’s poetry and forges new territory in situating her corpus as a whole in context, synthesizing style and themes across her works, and offering the first English translation of her Martyrdom of Cyprian…Eudocia emerges as an impressive rhetor and diplomat…The absence of women’s writing in late antiquity is more keenly felt when even a small selection can elicit such depth about one of the women whose writing we do have.

    —Amy Hughes, Journal of Early Christian Studies


  • Brian P. Sowers is Assistant Professor of Classics at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Book Details

  • 232 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Center for Hellenic Studies