The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

The victims of Rufinus

T. D. Barnesa1

a1 University of Toronto

Claudian's poem In Rufinum is a historical epic with at least two unusual features: the first book contains many of the standard elements of a formal invective, and the two books were composed and recited some eighteen months apart, since Book One celebrates the death of Rufinus on 27 November 395 as a very recent event (i, pr. 15 ff.), while the preface to Book Two refers explicitly to Stilicho's expedition to Greece in 397. The interval in composition is matched by a gap in content: Book One treats Rufinus' career down to 393, with some forward references to 395, explicitly marked as such (especially lines 321/2: Hunnorum laturus opem, quos adfore bello norat), while the narrative of Book Two begins from the death of Theodosius on 17 January 395 (ii. 1 ff.) and ends with the lynching of Rufinus on 27 November 395. Claudian thus omits any account of Rufinus' activities during the campaign of Theodosius against Eugenius in 394 and the emperor's last months in Italy. Claudian's careful chronological ordering of his material is deliberate, but since it has been obscured in recent discussions of the In Rufinum, it needs to be reinstated.