Pulcheria, daughter of emperor Arcadius
Pulcheria (2), Sept. 10, daughter of the emperor Arcadius and sister
and guardian of Theodosius II. She practically ruled the eastern empire for
many years. For her secular history see D. of G. and R. Biogr. She was
only two years older than her brother, whose education she superintended, having
been born Jan. 19, 399. She was declared Augusta and empress July 4, 414, and
at once entrusted with the management of affairs. She was learned and vigorous,
could speak and write Latin and Greek, personally investigated the affairs of
state, directed much attention to religion, and brought up her brother in the
strictest orthodoxy (Soz. H. E. iv. 1). She was a correspondent of St.
Cyril during the Nestorian controversy, and two letters are still extant from
him written in 430, requesting her assistance (see Mansi, iv. 618–883). In 450
she had a long correspondence with pope Leo and his archdeacon Hilarius on the
subject of Eutyches and the Monophysite heresy. We possess also an epistle of
hers addressed to the Palestinian monks and another to one Bessa, abbess of
a convent at Jerusalem, both in defence of the council of Chalcedon. Bishops
and clergy from every part of the empire appealed to her and on every subject.
Theodoret (Ep. 43) wrote in 445 about the taxation of his episcopal city
of Cyrrhus; the clergy of Ephesus, in 448, concerning the episcopate of Bassianus.
She had in early life taken a vow of virginity in conjunction with her sisters
Arcadia and Marina. In 450 she was obliged to assume the government of the empire,
and feeling herself incompetent for the task married Marcian, an eminent general.
She reigned till her death, Feb. 18, 453. She convoked and assisted at the fourth
general council of Chalcedon. Her devotion to the culture of relics was very
great. She transported to Constantinople those of St. Chrysostom with great
pomp in 438, and of the 40 martyrs of Sebaste in 446 (Soz. H. E. ix.
2). Ceillier (viii. 471, 533, x. 20, 67, 213–226) gives fully her religious
history. Hefele's Councils (Clark's trans. t. iii.) gives details of
her action against Nestorius and Eutyches.