Julian the Apostate

Julian the Apostate

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Julian "the Apostate" commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer.

A member of the Constantinian dynasty
Constantinian dynasty
The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus to the death of Julian in 363. It is named after its most famous member, Constantine the Great who became the sole ruler of the empire in 324...

, he was made Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

over the western provinces, by Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 in 355, where he campaigned successfully against the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

 and Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Argentoratum - despite being outnumbered. In 360 he was acclaimed Augustus by his soldiers, sparking a civil war between Julian and Constantius. However, Constantius died before the two could face each other in battle, naming Julian as his rightful successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

. Though initially successful, Julian was mortally wounded in battle and died shortly after.

Julian was a man of unusually complex character: he was "the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters". He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire and it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman values in order to save it from "dissolution". He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

 at the cost of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. His rejection of Christianity in favour of Neoplatonic
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 caused him to be called Julian the Apostate
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 (Ἀποστάτης, or Transgressor: Παραβάτης) by the church. He was the last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty
Constantinian dynasty
The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus to the death of Julian in 363. It is named after its most famous member, Constantine the Great who became the sole ruler of the empire in 324...

, the empire's first Christian dynasty.

Early life


Flavius Claudius Julianus, born in May or June 332 or 331 in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, was the son of Julius Constantius (consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 in 335), half brother of Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, and his second wife, Basilina
Basilina
Basilina was the wife of Julius Constantius and the mother of Roman Emperor Julian, who in her honour gave the name Basilinopolis to a city in Bithynia .- Biography :...

, a woman of Greek origin. Both were Christians. His paternal grandparents were Western Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

 and his second wife, Flavia Maximiana Theodora
Flavia Maximiana Theodora
Flavia Maximiana Theodora was the stepdaughter of Maximian. Her parents were Flavius Afranius Hannibalianus and wife, divorced before 283, Eutropia, later wife of Maximian. Theodora's father was consul in 292, and praetorian prefect under Diocletian...

. His maternal grandfather was Julius Julianus
Julius Julianus
Julius Julianus was a politician of the Roman Empire, related to the Constantinian dynasty.- Life :He served Licinius as praetorian prefect from at least spring 315 to September 324, until Constantine I definitively defeated Licinius...

, praetorian prefect of the East under emperor Licinius
Licinius
Licinius I , was Roman Emperor from 308 to 324. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I...

 from 315 to 324 and consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 after 325. The name of Julian's maternal grandmother is unknown.

In the turmoil after the death of Constantine in 337, in order to establish himself as sole emperor, Julian's zealous Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Christian cousin Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 led a massacre of Julian's family. Constantius II ordered the murders of many descendants from the second marriage of Constantius Chlorus and Theodora, leaving only Constantius and his brothers Constantine II
Constantine II (emperor)
Constantine II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 340. Co-emperor alongside his brothers, his short reign saw the beginnings of conflict emerge between the sons of Constantine the Great, and his attempt to exert his perceived rights of primogeniture ended up causing his death in a failed invasion of...

 and Constans I
Constans
Constans , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 350. He defeated his brother Constantine II in 340, but anger in the army over his personal life and preference for his barbarian bodyguards saw the general Magnentius rebel, resulting in Constans’ assassination in 350.-Career:Constans was the third and...

, and their cousins, Julian and Gallus
Constantius Gallus
Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus , commonly known as Constantius Gallus, was a member of the Constantinian dynasty and Caesar of the Roman Empire . Gallus was consul three years, from 352 to 354.- Family :...

 (Julian's half-brother), as the surviving males related to Emperor Constantine. Constantius II, Constans I, and Constantine II were proclaimed joint emperors, each ruling a portion of Roman territory. Julian and Gallus were excluded from public life and given a strictly Arian Christian education.

Initially growing up in Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

, raised by his maternal grandmother, at the age of seven he was under the guardianship of Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Nicomedia was the man who baptised Constantine. He was a bishop of Berytus in Phoenicia, then of Nicomedia where the imperial court resided in Bithynia, and finally of Constantinople from 338 up to his death....

, the semi-Arian Christian Bishop of Nicomedia, and taught by Mardonius, a Gothic
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 eunuch, whom Julian wrote warmly of later. After Eusebius died in 342, both Julian and Gallus were exiled to the imperial estate of Macellum in Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

. Here Julian met the Christian bishop George of Cappadocia
George of Cappadocia
Georgius , commonly called of Cappadocia ; Arian intruding bp. of Alexandria . He was born, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, at Epiphania in Cilicia , and, if so, must have been Cappadocian only by descent. Gregory Nazianzen describes him as not purely free-born Georgius (4), commonly called of...

, who lent him books from the classical tradition. At the age of 18, the exile was lifted and he dwelt briefly in Constantinople and Nicomedia
Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

.

He became a lector
Lector
Lector is a Latin term for one who reads, whether aloud or not. In modern languages the word has come to take various forms, as either a development or a loan, such as , , and . It has various specialized uses:...

, a minor office in the Christian church, and his later writings show a detailed knowledge of the Bible, likely acquired in his early life. (Looking back on his life in 362, Julian wrote, in his thirty-first year, that he had spent twenty years in the way of Christianity and twelve in the true way, i.e., the way of Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

.)

Julian studied Neoplatonism in Asia Minor in 351, at first under Aedesius
Aedesius
Aedesius was a Neoplatonist philosopher and mystic born of a noble Cappadocian family.-Career:He migrated to Syria, attracted by the lectures of Iamblichus, of whom he became a follower. According to Eunapius, he differed from Iamblichus on certain points connected with theurgy and magic...

, the philosopher, and then Neoplatonic theurgy
Theurgy
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself.- Definitions :*Proclus...

 from Aedesius' student, Maximus of Ephesus
Maximus of Ephesus
Maximus of Ephesus was a Neoplatonist philosopher. He is said to have come from a rich family, and exercised great influence over the emperor Julian, who was commended to him by Aedesius. He pandered to the emperor's love of magic and theurgy, and by judicious administration of the omens won a...

. He was summoned to Constantius' court in Mediolanum
Mediolanum
Mediolanum, the ancient Milan, was an important Celtic and then Roman centre of northern Italy. This article charts the history of the city from its settlement by the Insubres around 600 BC, through its conquest by the Romans and its development into a key centre of Western Christianity and capital...

 (Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

) in 354 and kept there for a year; in the summer and fall of 355, he was permitted to study in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. While there, Julian became acquainted with two men who later became both bishops and saints: Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age...

 and Basil the Great
Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor . He was an influential 4th century Christian theologian...

; in the same period, Julian was also initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

, which he would later try to restore.

Constantine II died in 340 when he attacked his brother Constans. Constans in turn fell in 350 in the war against the usurper
Roman usurper
Usurpers are individuals or groups of individuals who obtain and maintain the power or rights of another by force and without legal authority. Usurpation was endemic during roman imperial era, especially from the crisis of the third century onwards, when political instability became the rule.The...

 Magnentius
Magnentius
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a usurper of the Roman Empire .-Early life and career:...

. This left Constantius II as the sole remaining emperor. In need of support, in 351 he made Julian's half-brother, Gallus
Constantius Gallus
Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus , commonly known as Constantius Gallus, was a member of the Constantinian dynasty and Caesar of the Roman Empire . Gallus was consul three years, from 352 to 354.- Family :...

, Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

 of the East, while Constantius II himself turned his attention westward to Magnentius, whom he defeated decisively that year. In 354 Gallus, who had imposed a rule of terror over the territories under his command, was executed. Julian was summoned to court, and held for a year, under suspicion of treasonable intrigue, first with his brother and then with Claudius Silvanus
Claudius Silvanus
Claudius Silvanus was a Roman general of Frankish descent, usurper in Gaul against Emperor Constantius II for 28 days in 355.- Origin and career :...

; he was cleared, in part because the Empress Eusebia
Eusebia (empress)
Eusebia was the second wife of Emperor Constantius II. Main sources for the knowledge about her life are Julian's panegyric "Speech of Thanks to the Empress Eusebia" in which he thanks her for her assistance, as well as several remarks by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus.-Family:The primary...

 intervened on his behalf, and he was sent to Athens. (Julian expresses his gratitude to the empress Eusebia in his third oration.)

Caesar in Gaul


After dealing with the rebellions of Magnentius and Sylvanus, Constantius felt he needed a permanent representative in Gaul. In 355, Julian was summoned to appear before the emperor in Mediolanum and on 6 November was made Caesar of the West, marrying Constantius' sister, Helena. Constantius, after his experience with Gallus, intended his representative to be more a figurehead than an active participant in events, so he packed Julian off to Gaul with a small retinue and Constantius' prefects in Gaul would keep him in check. Julian, however, had other ideas, taking every opportunity to involve himself in the affairs of Gaul. In the following years Julian learned how to lead and then run an army, through a series of campaigns against the Germanic tribes that had settled on both sides of the Rhine.

Campaigns against the Germanic tribes



In 356 during his first campaign he led an army to the Rhine, engaged the barbarians and won back several towns that had fallen into Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 hands, including Colonia Agrippina (Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

). With success under his belt he withdrew for the winter to Gaul, distributing his forces to protect various towns, and choosing the small town of Senon
Senon
Senon is a commune in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.-See also:*Communes of the Meuse department*...

 near Verdun to await the spring. This turned out to be a tactical error, for he was left with insufficient forces to defend himself when a large contingent of Franks besieged the town and Julian was virtually held captive there for several months, until his general Marcellus deigned to lift the siege. Relations between Julian and Marcellus seem to have been poor. Constantius accepted Julian's report of events and Marcellus was replaced as magister equitum by Severus.

The following year saw a combined operation planned by Constantius to regain control of the Rhine from the Germanic tribes that had spilt across the river onto the west bank. From the south his magister peditum Barbatio
Barbatio
Barbatio was a Roman general of the infantry under the command of Constantius II. Previously he was a commander of the household troops under Gallus Caesar, but he arrested Gallus under the instruction of Constantius, thereby ensuring his promotion on the death of Claudius Silvanus...

 was to come from Milan and amass forces at Augst
Kaiseraugst
Kaiseraugst is a municipality in the district of Rheinfelden in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland. It is named for the Ancient Roman city of Augusta Raurica whose ruins are situated nearby...

 (near the Rhine bend), then set off north with 25,000 soldiers; Julian with 13,000 troops would move east from Durocortorum (Reims
Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

). However, while Julian was in transit, a group of Laeti
Laeti
Laeti, the plural form of laetus, was a term used in the late Roman Empire to denote communities of barbari permitted to, and granted land to, settle on imperial territory on condition that they provide recruits for the Roman military...

 attacked Lugdunum
Lugdunum
Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul. The city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus. It served as the capital of the Roman province Gallia Lugdunensis. To 300 years after its foundation Lugdunum was the most important city to the west part of Roman...

 (Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

) and Julian was delayed in order to deal with them. This left Barbatio unsupported and deep in Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

 territory, so he felt obliged to withdraw, retracing his steps. Thus ended the coordinated operation against the Germanic tribes.

With Barbatio safely out of the picture, King Chnodomarius
Chnodomarius
Chnodomarius, also Chnodomar, cognate to the Germanic Gundmar, was the king of an Alamannic canton in what is now south-west Germany, near the Rhine from sometime before 352 till 357...

 led a confederation of Alamanni forces against Julian and Severus at the of Battle of Argentoratum. The Romans were heavily outnumbered and during the heat of battle a group of 600 horsemen on the right wing deserted, yet, taking full advantage of the limitations of the terrain, the Romans were overwhelmingly victorious. The enemy was routed and driven into the river. King Chnodomarius was captured and later sent to Constantius in Milan. Ammianus
Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

, who was a participant in the battle, portrays Julian in charge of events on the battlefield and describes how the soldiers, because of this success, acclaimed Julian attempting to make him Augustus
Augustus (honorific)
Augustus , Latin for "majestic," "the increaser," or "venerable", was an Ancient Roman title, which was first held by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus , and subsequently came to be considered one of the titles of what are now known as the Roman Emperors...

, an acclamation he rejected, rebuking them. He later rewarded them for their valor.

Rather than chase the routed enemy across the Rhine, Julian now proceeded to follow the Rhine north, the route he followed the previous year on his way back to Gaul, but at the Moguntiacum (Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

) bridge he crossed over and made a sudden foray into Alamanni territory, where Roman forces had not been seen for many years, forcing three kings to submit. This action showed the Alamanni that Rome was once again present and active in the area. On his way back to winter quarters in Paris he dealt with a band of Franks that had taken control of some abandoned forts along the Meuse River
Meuse River
The Maas or Meuse is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea...

.

In 358, Julian gained victories over the Salian Franks
Salian Franks
The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living north of the limes in the area above the Rhine. The Merovingian kings responsible for the conquest of Gaul were Salians. From the 3rd century on, the Salian Franks appear in the historical records as...

 on the Lower Rhine
Lower Rhine
The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands.Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The main branch is called the Waal which flows from Nijmegen to meet the river Meuse; after which it is called Merwede...

, settling them in Toxandria
Toxandria
Toxandria is the classical name for a region between the Meuse and the Scheldt rivers in the Netherlands and Belgium. The name is also spelled Taxandria...

 in the Roman Empire, north of today's city of Tongeren, and over the Chamavi, who were expelled back to Hamaland
Hamaland
Hamaland is a non-administrative region in the east of the Netherlands that is named after the Frankish Chamavi-tribe. It is located east of the river IJssel and south of Salland and Twente . Hamaland and the Chamavi were in Late antiquity ruled by independent kings...

.

Taxation and administration


At the end of 357 Julian, with the prestige of his victory over the Alamanni to give him confidence, prevented a tax increase by the Gallic praetorian prefect Florentius
Florentius (prefect)
Florentius was a Roman praetorian prefect under the Caesar Julian and later a consul, before falling from grace when Julian became emperor.- Life :...

 and personally took charge of the province of Belgica Secunda
Gallia Belgica
Gallia Belgica was a Roman province located in what is now the southern part of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, northeastern France, and western Germany. The indigenous population of Gallia Belgica, the Belgae, consisted of a mixture of Celtic and Germanic tribes...

. This was Julian's first experience with civil administration. Properly it was a role that belonged to the praetorian prefect. However, Florentius and Julian often clashed over the administration of Gaul. Julian's first priority, as Caesar and nominal ranking commander in Gaul, was to drive out the barbarians who had breached the Rhine frontier. However, he sought to win over the support of the civil population, which was necessary for his operations in Gaul and also to show his largely Germanic army the benefits of Imperial rule. He therefore felt it was necessary to rebuild stable and peaceful conditions in the devastated cities and countryside. For this reason, Julian clashed with Florentius over the latter's support of tax increases, as mentioned above, and Florentius's own corruption in the bureaucracy.

Constantius attempted to maintain some modicum of control over his Caesar, which explains his removal of Julian's close adviser Saturninius Secundus Salutius
Salutius
Saturninius Secundus Salutius was a career Roman official who was a native of Gaul. He was a quaestor when he became a member of Julian's staff, while the latter was Caesar in Gaul. Salutius was well versed in Greek philosophy and rhetoric and won the respect of Julian. It was probably through his...

 from Gaul. His departure stimulated the writing of Julian's oration, "Consolation Upon the Departure of Salutius".

Rebellion in Paris



In the fourth year of Julian's stay in Gaul, the Sassanid Emperor
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

, invaded Mesopotamia and took the city of Amida
Diyarbakır
Diyarbakır is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey...

 after a 73-day siege. In February 360, Constantius II ordered more than half of Julian's Gallic troops to his eastern army, the orders by-passing Julian and going directly to the military commanders. Although Julian at first attempted to expedite the order, it provoked an insurrection by troops of the Petulantes
Petulantes
Petulantes was an auxilia palatina of the Late Roman army.- History :The Petulantes were of Germanic origin, and it is possible they fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge for Emperor Constantine I...

, who had no desire to leave Gaul. According to the historian Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

, the army officers were those responsible for distributing an anonymous tract expressing complaints against Constantius as well as fearing for Julian's ultimate fate. Notably absent at the time was the prefect Florentius, who was usually never far from Julian's side, though now he was kept busy organizing supplies in Vienne and away from any strife that the order could cause. Julian would later blame him for the arrival of the order from Constantius. Ammianus Marcellinus even suggested that the fear of Julian gaining more popularity than himself caused Constantius to send the order on the urging of Florentius.

The troops proclaimed Julian Augustus in Paris, and this in turn led to a very swift military effort to secure or win the allegiance of others. Although the full details are unclear, there is evidence to suggest that Julian may have at least partially stimulated the insurrection. If so, he went back to business as usual in Gaul, for, from June to August of that year, Julian led a successful campaign against the Attuarian Franks. In November, Julian began openly using the title Augustus even issuing coins with the title, sometimes with Constantius, sometimes without. He celebrated his fifth year in Gaul with a big show of games.

In the spring of 361, Julian led his army into the territory of the Alamanni, where he captured their king, Vadomarius. (Julian claimed that Vadomarius had been in league with Constantius encouraging him to raid the borders of Raetia
Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

.) Julian then divided his forces, sending one column to Raetia, one to northern Italy and the third he led down the Danube on boats. His forces claimed control of Illyricum and his general, Nevitta, secured the pass of Succi into Thrace. He was now well out of his comfort zone and on the road to civil war. (Julian would state in late November that he set off down this road "because, having been declared a public enemy, I meant to frighten him [Constantius] merely, and that our quarrel should result in intercourse on more friendly terms...")

However, in June, forces loyal to Constantius captured the city of Aquileia
Aquileia
Aquileia is an ancient Roman city in what is now Italy, at the head of the Adriatic at the edge of the lagoons, about 10 km from the sea, on the river Natiso , the course of which has changed somewhat since Roman times...

 on the north Adriatic coast, an event which threatened to cut Julian off from the rest of his forces, while Constantius's troops marched towards him from the east. Aquileia was subsequently besieged by 23,000 men loyal to Julian. All Julian could do was sit it out in Naissus, the city of Constantine's birth, waiting for news and writing letters to various cities in Greece justifying his actions (of which only the letter to the Athenians has survived in its entirety). Civil war was avoided only by the death on November 3 of Constantius, who, in his last will, recognized Julian as his rightful successor.

The new emperor and his administration



On December 11, 361, Julian entered Constantinople as sole emperor and, despite his rejection of Christianity, his first political act was to preside over Constantius' Christian burial, escorting the body to the Church of the Apostles
Church of the Apostles
Church of the Apostles can refer to:Movements*The early church of the apostles.Buildings*the "Upper Room" of , the original Christian meeting place of the 1st century Apostles, possibly under the Cenacle of Jerusalem....

, where it was placed alongside that of Constantine. This act was a demonstration of his lawful right to the throne. He is also now thought to have been responsible for the building of Santa Costanza
Santa Costanza
Santa Costanza is a 4th century church in Rome, Italy, on the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city, still under its ancient name. According to the traditional view, it was built under Constantine I as a mausoleum for his daughter Constantina who died in 354 AD...

 on a Christian site just outside Rome as a mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 for his wife Helena and sister-in-law Constantina
Constantina
Constantina , and later known as Saint Constance, was the eldest daughter of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and his second wife Fausta, daughter of Emperor Maximian...

.

The new Emperor rejected the style of administration of his immediate predecessors. He blamed Constantine for the state of the administration and for having abandoned the traditions of the past. He made no attempt to restore the tetrarchal
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 system begun under Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

. Nor did he seek to rule as an absolute autocrat. His own philosophic notions led him to idealize the reigns of Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 and Marcus Aurelius. In his first panegyric
Panegyric
A panegyric is a formal public speech, or written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and discriminating eulogy, not expected to be critical. It is derived from the Greek πανηγυρικός meaning "a speech fit for a general assembly"...

 to Constantius, Julian described the ideal ruler as being essentially primus inter pares
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

("first among equals"), operating under the same laws as his subjects. While in Constantinople therefore it was not strange to see Julian frequently active in the Senate, participating in debates and making speeches, placing himself at the level of the other members of the Senate.

He viewed the royal court of his predecessors as inefficient, corrupt, and expensive. Thousands of servants, eunuchs, and superfluous officials were therefore summarily dismissed. He set up the Chalcedon tribunal
Chalcedon tribunal
Shortly after the death of Roman emperor Constantius II, his successor Julian the Apostate held a tribunal at the city of Chalcedon, which was then a suburb of Constantinople...

 to deal with the corruption of the previous administration under the supervision of magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

Arbitio
Arbitio
Arbitio was a Roman general and Consul who lived in the middle of the 4th century.- In the Reign of Constantius II :...

. Several high-ranking officials under Constantius including the chamberlain Eusebius were found guilty and executed. (Julian was conspicuously absent from the proceedings, perhaps signaling his displeasure at their necessity.) He continually sought to reduce what he saw as a burdensome and corrupt bureaucracy within the Imperial administration whether it involved civic officials, the secret agents, or the imperial post service.

Another effect of Julian's political philosophy was that the authority of the cities was expanded at the expense of the imperial bureaucracy as Julian sought to reduce direct imperial involvement in urban affairs. For example, city land owned by the imperial government was returned to the cities, city council members were compelled to resume civic authority, often against their will, and the tribute in gold by the cities called the aurum coronarium was made voluntary rather than a compulsory tax. Additionally, arrears of land taxes were cancelled.

While he ceded much of the authority of the imperial government to the cities, Julian also took more direct control himself. For example, new taxes and corvée
Corvée
Corvée is unfree labour, often unpaid, that is required of people of lower social standing and imposed on them by the state or a superior . The corvée was the earliest and most widespread form of taxation, which can be traced back to the beginning of civilization...

s had to be approved by him directly rather than left to the judgement of the bureaucratic apparatus. Julian certainly had a clear idea of what he wanted Roman society to be, both in political as well as religious terms. The terrible and violent dislocation of the 3rd century meant that the Eastern Mediterranean had become the economic locus of the Empire. If the cities were treated as relatively autonomous local administrative areas, it would simplify the problems of imperial administration, which as far as Julian was concerned, should be focused on the administration of the law and defense of the empire's vast frontiers.

In replacing Constantius's political and civil appointees, Julian drew heavily from the intellectual and professional classes, or kept reliable holdovers, such as the rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

ian Themistius
Themistius
Themistius , named , was a statesman, rhetorician, and philosopher. He flourished in the reigns of Constantius II, Julian, Jovian, Valens, Gratian, and Theodosius I; and he enjoyed the favour of all those emperors, notwithstanding their many differences, and the fact that he himself was not a...

. His choice of consuls for the year 362 was more controversial. One was the very acceptable Claudius Mamertinus
Claudius Mamertinus
Claudius Mamertinus was an official in the Roman Empire. In late 361 he took part in the Chalcedon tribunal to condemn the ministers of Constantius II, and in 362, he was made consul as a reward by the new Emperor Julian; on January 1 of that year he delivered a panegyric in Constantinople by way...

, previously the Praetorian
Praetorian
Praetorian is an adjective derived from the ancient Roman office of praetor. It may refer to:*Praetorian Guard, a special force of skilled and celebrated troops serving as the personal guard of Roman Emperors...

 Prefect of Illyricum
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was one of four praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium , and, after 379, Thessalonica...

. The other, more surprising choice was Nevitta
Nevitta
Nevitta was a military leader and official in the Roman Empire. His career is closely linked to that of Flavius Claudius Julianus, the Caesar Julian. He was master of the cavalry and in 362 served as consul.-Life:...

, Julian's trusted Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 general. This latter appointment made overt the fact that an emperor's authority depended on the power of the army. Julian's choice of Nevitta appears to have been aimed at maintaining the support of the Western army which had acclaimed him.

Clash with the Antiochenes


After five months of dealings at the capital, Julian left Constantinople in May and moved to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, arriving in mid-July and staying there for nine months before launching his fateful campaign against Persia in March 363. Antioch was a city favored by splendid temples along with a famous oracle of Apollo in nearby Daphne, which may have been cause for him choosing to reside there. It had also been used in the past as a staging place for amassing troops, a purpose which Julian intended to follow.

His arrival on 18 July was well received by the Antiochenes, though it coincided with the celebration of the Adonia, a festival which marked the death of Adonis
Adonis
Adonis , in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions. The Greek , Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, "lord", which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old...

, so there was wailing and moaning in the streets—not a good omen for an arrival.

Julian soon discovered that wealthy merchants were causing food problems, apparently by hoarding food and selling it at high prices. He hoped that the curia would deal with the issue for the situation was headed for a famine. When the curia did nothing, he spoke to the city's leading citizens, trying to persuade them to take action. Thinking that they would do the job, he turned his attention to religious matters.

He tried to resurrect the ancient oracular spring of Castalia at the temple of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 at Daphne. After being advised that the bones of 3rd-century martyred bishop Babylas were suppressing the god, he made a public-relations mistake in ordering the removal of the bones from the vicinity of the temple. The result was a massive Christian procession. Shortly after that, when the temple was destroyed by fire, Julian suspected the Christians and ordered stricter investigations than usual. He also shut up the chief Christian church of the city, before the investigations proved that the fire was the result of an accident.

When the curia still took no substantial action in regards to the food shortage, Julian intervened, fixing the prices for grain and importing more from Egypt. Then landholders refused to sell theirs, claiming that the harvest was so bad that they had to be compensated with fair prices. Julian accused them of price gouging
Price gouging
Price gouging is a pejorative term referring to a situation in which a seller prices goods or commodities much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a crime that applies in some of the United States during civil emergencies...

 and forced them to sell. Various parts of Libanius' orations may suggest that both sides were justified to some extent while Ammianus blames Julian for "a mere thirst for popularity".

Julian's ascetic lifestyle was not popular either, since his subjects were accustomed to the idea of an all-powerful Emperor who placed himself well above them. Nor did he improve his dignity with his own participation in the ceremonial of bloody sacrifices. As David S. Potter says:
He then tried to address public criticism and mocking of him by issuing a satire ostensibly on himself, called Misopogon
Misopogon
The Misopogon, or Beard-Hater, is a satirical essay on philosophers by the Roman Emperor Julian. It was written in Koine Greek. The satire was written in Antioch in February of March 363, not long before Julian departed for his fateful Persian campaign....

 or "Beard Hater". There he blames the people of Antioch for preferring that their ruler have his virtues in the face rather than in the soul.

Even Julian's intellectual friends and fellow pagans were of a divided mind about this habitude of talking to his subjects on an equal footing: Ammianus Marcellinus saw in that only the foolish vanity of someone "excessively anxious for empty distinction", whose "desire for popularity often led him to converse with unworthy persons"

On leaving Antioch he appointed Alexander of Heliopolis as governor, a violent and cruel man whom the Antiochene Libanius
Libanius
Libanius was a Greek-speaking teacher of rhetoric of the Sophist school. During the rise of Christian hegemony in the later Roman Empire, he remained unconverted and regarded himself as a Hellene in religious matters.-Life:...

, a friend of the emperor, admits on first thought was a "dishonourable" appointment. Julian himself described the man as "undeserving" of the position, but appropriate "for the avaricious and rebellious people of Antioch".

The Persian campaign


Julian's rise to Augustus was the result of military insurrection eased by Constantius's sudden death. This meant that, while he could count on the wholehearted support of the Western army which had aided his rise, the Eastern army was an unknown quantity originally loyal to the Emperor he had risen against, and he had tried to woo it through the Chalcedon Tribunal. However, to solidify his position in the eyes of the eastern army, he needed to lead its soldiers to victory and a campaign against the Persians offered such an opportunity.

An audacious plan was formulated whose goal was to lay siege on the Sassanid capital city of Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

 and definitively secure the eastern border. Yet the full motivation for this ambitious operation is, at best, unclear. There was no direct necessity for an invasion, as the Sassanids sent envoys in the hope of settling matters peacefully. Julian rejected this offer. Ammianus states that Julian longed for revenge on the Persians and that a certain desire for combat and glory also played a role in his decision to go to war.


Into enemy territory


On 5 March 363, despite a series of omens against the campaign, Julian departed from Antioch with about 80,000–90,000 men, and headed north toward the Euphrates. En route he was met by embassies from various small powers offering assistance, none of which he accepted. He did order the Armenian king Arsaces
Arshak II
Arshak II or Arsaces II, was the son of King Tiran and was himself king of Armenia from 350 to 367.- Reign :In the early years of Arshak's reign, he found himself courted by the empires of Rome and Persia, both of which hope to win Armenia to their side in the ongoing conflicts between them...

 to muster an army and await instructions. He crossed the Euphrates near Hierapolis and moved eastward to Carrhae
Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

, giving the impression that his chosen route into Persian territory was down the Tigris. For this reason it seems he sent a force of 30,000 soldiers under Procopius
Procopius (usurper)
Procopius was a Roman usurper against Valens, and member of the Constantinian dynasty.- Life :According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Procopius was a native and spent his youth in Cilicia, probably in Corycus. On his mother's side, Procopius was related, a maternal cousin, to Emperor Julian, since...

 and Sebastianus further eastward to devastate Media in conjunction with Armenian forces. This was where two earlier Roman campaigns had concentrated and where the main Persian forces were soon directed. Julian's strategy lay elsewhere, however. He had had a fleet built of over 1,000 ships at Samosata in order to supply his army for a march down the Euphrates and of 50 pontoon ships to facilitate river crossings. Procopius and the Armenians would march down the Tigris to meet Julian near Ctesiphon. Julian's ultimate aim seems to have been "regime change" by replacing king Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

 with his brother Hormisdas.

After feigning a march further eastward, Julian's army turned south to Circesium
Circesium
Circesium was an ancient city in Osrhoene, corresponding to the modern city of Buseira, in the region of Deir ez-Zor in Syria, at the confluence of the Khabur River with the Euphrates.- History :...

 at the confluence of the Khabur
Khabur River
The Khabur River , , , ) is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory. Although the Khabur originates in Turkey, the karstic springs around Ra's al-'Ayn are the river's main source of water. Several important wadis join the Khabur north of Al-Hasakah, together creating...

 ("Abora") and the Euphrates arriving at the beginning of April. Passing Dura
Dura-Europos
Dura-Europos , also spelled Dura-Europus, was a Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman border city built on an escarpment 90 m above the right bank of the Euphrates river. It is located near the village of Salhiyé, in today's Syria....

 on April 6, the army made good progress, bypassing towns after negotiations or besieging those which chose to oppose him. At the end of April the Romans captured the fortress of Pirisabora, which guarded the canal approach from the Euphrates to Ctesiphon on the Tigris. As the army marched toward the Persian capital, the enemy broke the dikes which crossed the land, turning it into marshland, so the army's progress was slowed.

Ctesiphon


By mid-May, the army had reached the vicinity of the heavily fortified Persian capital, Ctesiphon, where Julian partially unloaded some of the fleet and had his troops ferried across the Tigris by night. Before the gates of the city the Romans defeated the Persians (Battle of Ctesiphon
Battle of Ctesiphon (363)
The Battle of Ctesiphon took place on May 29, 363 between the armies of Roman Emperor Julian and the Sassanid King Shapur II outside the walls of the Persian capital Ctesiphon...

), driving them back into the city.

Although the undeniable tactical success left the Roman army in control of the battlefield, the Persian capital was not taken, the main Persian army was still at large and approaching, while the Romans lacked a clear strategical objective. In the council of war which followed, Julian's generals persuaded him not to mount a siege against the city, given the impregnability of its defenses and the fact that Shapur would soon arrive with a large force. Julian not wanting to give up what he had gained and probably still hoping for the arrival of the column under Procopius and Sebastianus, set off east into the Persian interior, ordering the destruction of the fleet. This proved to be a hasty decision, for they were on the wrong side of the Tigris with no clear means of retreat and the Persians had begun to harass them from a distance, burning any food in the Romans' path. A second council of war on 16 June 363 decided that the best course of action was to lead the army back to the safety of Roman borders, not through Mesopotamia, but northward to Corduene
Corduene
Corduene was an ancient region located in northern Mesopotamia and modern day Kurdish inhabited south east Turkey. It was a province of the Greater Armenia. It was referred to by the Greeks as Karduchia and by both the Greeks and Romans as Corduene...

.

Death



During the withdrawal Julian's forces suffered several attacks from Sassanid forces. In one such engagement on 26 June 363, the indecisive Battle of Samarra
Battle of Samarra
The Battle of Samarra took place 26 June 363, after the invasion of Sassanid Persia by the Roman Emperor Julian. A major skirmish, the fighting was indecisive but Julian was killed in the battle...

 near Maranga, Julian was wounded when the Sassanid army raided his column. In the haste of pursuing the retreating enemy, Julian chose speed rather than caution, taking only his sword and leaving his coat of mail. He received a wound from a spear that reportedly pierced the lower lobe of his liver, the peritoneum and intestine
Intestine
In human anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine...

s. The wound was not immediately deadly. Julian was treated by his personal physician, Oribasius
Oribasius
Oribasius or Oreibasius was a Greek medical writer and the personal physician of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate. He studied at Alexandria under physician Zeno of Cyprus before joining Julian's retinue. He was involved in Julian's coronation in 361, and remained with the emperor until...

 of Pergamum, who seems to have made every attempt to treat the wound. This probably included the irrigation of the wound with a dark wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, and a procedure known as gastrorrhaphy, the suturing of the damaged intestine. On the third day a major hemorrhage occurred and the emperor died during the night. As Julian wished, his body was buried outside Tarsus
Tarsus (city)
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 2.75 million...

, though it was later removed to Constantinople.

In 364, Libanius stated that Julian was assassinated by a Christian who was one of his own soldiers; this charge is not corroborated by Ammianus Marcellinus or other contemporary historians. John Malalas
John Malalas
John Malalas or Ioannes Malalas was a Greek chronicler from Antioch. Malalas is probably a Syriac word for "rhetor", "orator"; it is first applied to him by John of Damascus .-Life:Malalas was educated in Antioch, and probably was a jurist there, but moved to...

 reports that the supposed assassination was commanded by Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor . He was an influential 4th century Christian theologian...

. Fourteen years later, Libanius said that Julian was killed by a Saracen (Lakhmid) and this may have been confirmed by Julian's doctor Oribasius who, having examined the wound, said that it was from a spear used by a group of Lakhmid auxiliaries in Persian service. Later Christian historians propagated the tradition that Julian was killed by Saint Mercurius
Saint Mercurius
Great-martyr Mercurius was a Christian saint and martyr. Born Philopater in the city of Eskentos in Cappadocia, Eastern Asia Minor, his original name means "lover of the Father"...

. Julian was succeeded by the short-lived Emperor Jovian who reestablished Christianity's privileged position throughout the Empire.

Libanius says in his epitaph of the deceased emperor (18.304) that "I have mentioned representations (of Julian); many cities have set him beside the images of the gods and honour him as they do the gods. Already a blessing has been besought of him in prayer, and it was not in vain. To such an extent has he literally ascended to the gods and received a share of their power from him themselves." However, no similar action was taken by the Roman central government, which would be more and more dominated by Christians in the ensuing decades.

Considered apocryphal is the report that his dying words were νενίκηκάς με, Γαλιλαῖε, or Vicisti, Galilaee ("You have won, Galilean
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

"), supposedly expressing his recognition that, with his death, Christianity would become the Empire's state religion. The phrase introduces the 1866 poem Hymn to Proserpine
Hymn to Proserpine
"Hymn to Proserpine" is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1866. The poem is addressed to the goddess Proserpina, the Roman equivalent of Persephone....

, which was Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He invented the roundel form, wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica...

's elaboration of what a philosophic pagan might have felt at the triumph of Christianity.

Tomb


As he had requested, Julian's body was buried in Tarsus. It lay in a tomb outside the city, across a road from that of Maximinus Daia.

But we learn from Zonaras that at some "later" date his body was exhumed and reburied in or near the Church of the Holy Apostles
Church of the Holy Apostles
The Church of the Holy Apostles , also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian church built in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom among the great churches of the capital...

 in Constantinople, where Constantine and the rest of his family lay. His sarcophagus is listed as standing in a "stoa" there by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The church was demolished by the Ottoman Turks after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Today a sarcophagus of porphyry is identified as his and stands in the grounds of the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.

Beliefs


Julian's personal religion was both pagan and philosophical; he viewed the traditional myths as allegories, in which the ancient gods were aspects of a philosophical divinity. The chief surviving sources are his works To King Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

and To the Mother of the Gods
Great Mother
The Great Mother refers to the concept of the mother goddess, including:*Great Mother, in the Mahayana and Vajrayana refers to Prajnaparamita, and the wisdom of the Madhyamaka...

, which were written as panegyric
Panegyric
A panegyric is a formal public speech, or written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and discriminating eulogy, not expected to be critical. It is derived from the Greek πανηγυρικός meaning "a speech fit for a general assembly"...

s, not theological treatises.

While there are clear resemblances to other forms of Late Antique religion, it is controversial as to which variety it is most similar to. He learned theurgy
Theurgy
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself.- Definitions :*Proclus...

 from Maximus of Ephesus
Maximus of Ephesus
Maximus of Ephesus was a Neoplatonist philosopher. He is said to have come from a rich family, and exercised great influence over the emperor Julian, who was commended to him by Aedesius. He pandered to the emperor's love of magic and theurgy, and by judicious administration of the omens won a...

, a student of Iamblichus; his system bears some resemblance to the Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 of Plotinus
Plotinus
Plotinus was a major philosopher of the ancient world. In his system of theory there are the three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His teacher was Ammonius Saccas and he is of the Platonic tradition...

; Polymnia Athanassiadi has brought new attention to his relations with Mithraism
Mithraism
The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The name of the Persian god Mithra, adapted into Greek as Mithras, was linked to a new and distinctive imagery...

, although whether he was initiated into it remains debatable; and certain aspects of his thought (such as his reorganization of paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 under High Priests, and his fundamental monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

) may show Christian influence. Some of these potential sources have not come down to us, and all of them influenced each other, which adds to the difficulties.

According to one theory (that of G.W. Bowersock
Glen Bowersock
Glen Warren Bowersock is a contemporary American scholar of the ancient world and the history of ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East.-Biography:...

 in particular), Julian's paganism was highly eccentric and atypical because it was heavily influenced by an esoteric approach to Platonic philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 sometimes identified as theurgy and also Neoplatonism. Others (Rowland Smith, in particular) have argued that Julian's philosophical perspective was nothing unusual for a "cultured" pagan of his time, and, at any rate, that Julian's paganism was not limited to philosophy alone, and that he was deeply devoted to the same gods and goddesses as other pagans of his day.

Because of his Neoplatonist background Julian accepted the creation of humanity as described in Plato's Timaeus. Julian writes, "when Zeus was setting all things in order there fell from him drops of sacred blood, and from them, as they say, arose the race of men." Further he writes, "they who had the power to create one man and one woman only, were able to create many men and women at once...." His view contrasts with the Christian belief that humanity is derived from the one pair, Adam and Eve. Elsewhere he argues against the single pair origin, indicating his disbelief, noting for example, "how very different in their bodies are the Germans and Scythians from the Libyans and Ethiopians."

The Christian historian Socrates Scholasticus
Socrates Scholasticus
Socrates of Constantinople, also known as Socrates Scholasticus, not to be confused with the Greek philosopher Socrates, was a Greek Christian church historian, a contemporary of Sozomen and Theodoret, who used his work; he was born at Constantinople c. 380: the date of his death is unknown...

 was of the opinion that Julian believed himself to be Alexander the Great "in another body" via transmigration
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 of souls, "in accordance with the teachings of Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

 and Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

".
Like Pythagoras, Julian was a vegetarian.

Restoration of Paganism and tolerance of the cults




After gaining the purple, Julian started a religious reformation of the state, which was intended to restore the lost strength of the Roman state. He supported the restoration of Hellenistic
Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion is any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire . There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: the Greek gods continued to be worshiped, and the...

 paganism as the state religion. His laws tended to target wealthy and educated Christians, and his aim was not to destroy Christianity but to drive the religion out of "the governing classes of the empire — much as Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 was driven back into the lower classes by a revived Confucian mandarinate in 13th century China
Culture of the Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a culturally rich and sophisticated age for China. There was blossoming of and advancements in the visual arts, music, literature, and philosophy...

."

He restored pagan temples which had been confiscated since Constantine's time, or simply appropriated by wealthy citizens; he repealed the stipends that Constantine had awarded to Christian bishops, and removed their other privileges, including a right to be consulted on appointments and to act as private courts. He also reversed some favors that had previously been given to Christians. For example, he reversed Constantine's declaration that Majuma, the port of Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, was a separate city
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

. Majuma had a large Christian congregation while Gaza was still predominantly pagan.

On 4 February 362
362
Year 362 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Mamertinus and Nevitta...

, Julian promulgated an edict to guarantee freedom of religion. This edict proclaimed that all the religions were equal before the law, and that the Roman Empire had to return to its original religious eclecticism, according to which the Roman state did not impose any religion on its provinces. Practically however, it had as its purpose the restoration of paganism at the expense of Christianity.


Juventinus and Maximus
The Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Roman Catholic Churches retell a story concerning two of Julian's bodyguards who were Christian. When he came to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, he prohibited the veneration of the relics. The two bodyguards opposed the edict, and were executed at Julian's command. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches remember them as saints Juventinus
Saint Juventinus
Saint Juventinus or Juventius was a member of the imperial guard of Emperor Julian.Before starting his campaign against the Sassanid Empire, Julian issued an edict that prohibited the veneration of the relics in Antioch...

 and Maximus.

Since the persecution of Christians by past Roman Emperors had seemingly only strengthened Christianity, many of Julian's actions were designed to harass and undermine the ability of Christians to organize resistance to the re-establishment of paganism in the empire. Julian's preference for a non-Christian and non-philosophical view of Iamblichus' theurgy seems to have convinced him that it was right to outlaw the practice of the Christian view of theurgy and demand the suppression of the Christian set of Mysteries.

In his School Edict Julian required that all public teachers be approved by the Emperor; the state paid or supplemented much of their salaries. Ammianus Marcellinus explains this as intending to prevent Christian teachers from using pagan texts (such as the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, which was widely regarded as divinely inspired) that formed the core of classical education: "If they want to learn literature, they have Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 and Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

: Let them go back to their churches and expound on them", the edict says. This was an attempt to remove some of the power of the Christian schools which at that time and later used ancient Greek literature in their teachings in their effort to present the Christian religion as being superior to paganism. The edict was also a severe financial blow, because it deprived Christian scholars, tutors and teachers of many students.

In his Tolerance Edict of 362, Julian decreed the reopening of pagan temples, the restitution of confiscated temple properties, and the return from exile of dissident Christian bishops. The latter was an instance of tolerance of different religious views, but it may also have been seen as an attempt by Julian to foster schisms and divisions between different Christian sects, since conflict between rival Christian sects was quite fierce.

His care in the institution of a pagan hierarchy in opposition to that of the Christians was due to his wish to create a society in which every aspect of the life of the citizens was to be connected, through layers of intermediate levels, to the consolidated figure of the Emperor — the final provider for all the needs of his people. Within this project, there was no place for a parallel institution, such as the Christian hierarchy or Christian charity.

Charity



Because Christian charities
Charitable organization
A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization . It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A...

 were open to all, including pagans, it put this aspect of the Roman citizens lives out of the control of the Imperial authority and under that of the Church. Thus Julian envisioned the institution of a Roman philanthropic system, and cared for the behaviour and the morality of the pagan priests, in the hope that it would mitigate the reliance of pagans on Christian charity:

Church martyrs


Although Julian was responsible for temporarily stopping factional struggles between Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 and Athanasian Christians, the following martyrs have traditionally been dated to his reign:
  • Artemius
    Artemius
    Artemius , known as Challita in the Maronite tradition, was a general of the Roman Empire, dux Aegypti . He is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church, with the name of Artemius of Antioch,...

    , Arian administrator beheaded for maladministration
  • Saint Basil of Ancyra
    Basil of Ancyra
    Basil of Ancyra, was a Christian priest in Ancyra, Galatia during the fourth century. Very meager information about his life is preserved in a metaphrastic work: “Life and Deeds of the Martyred Priest Basil.” He fought against the pagans and the Arians...

    , Athanasian executed in persecutions of Julian
  • Cyril of Heliopolis
  • Dometius of Persia
    Dometius of Persia
    Saint Dometius the Persian is venerated as a Christian martyr and saint. According to tradition, he was martyred by lapidation during the reign of Julian the Apostate with two companions...

  • Saint Dorotheus of Tyre
    Dorotheus of Tyre
    Saint Dorotheus bishop of Tyre is traditionally credited with an Acts of the Seventy Apostles , who were sent out according to the Gospel of Luke 10:1....

    , exiled to Thrace
    Thrace
    Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

     and there allegedly martyred
  • Saint Eupsychios of Caesarea
  • Saint Gemellus of Ancyra
    Gemellus of Ancyra
    Saint Gemellus of Ancyra is venerated as a Christian martyr and saint. According to tradition, he was martyred by crucifixion at Ancyra , in Asia Minor, during the reign of Julian the Apostate.He was a native of Paphlagonia....

    , allegedly executed by crucifixion for criticising the emperor,
  • John and Paul
    John and Paul
    For the musical partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, see Lennon/McCartneyJohn and Paul are saints in the Roman Catholic Church. They were martyred at Rome on 26 June. They should not be confused with the famous apostles of the same name...

    , martyred under unknown conditions.
  • Saints Manuel, Savel and Ishmael, Persian envoys to the court of Julian, allegedly executed by beheading for criticising the emperor
  • St. Carina with her husband, Melasippus, and their 13 year old son, Antoninus. Feast day: November 7th. Arrested on account of their Christian Faith, Martyr Carina with Melasippus died under torture. Antoninus was beheaded. They suffered at Ancyra in Phrygia in 363.

Attempt to rebuild the Jewish Temple


In 363, not long before Julian left Antioch to launch his campaign against Persia, in keeping with his effort to foster religions other than Christianity, he ordered the Temple rebuilt. A personal friend of his, Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

, wrote this about the effort:
The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of 363
Galilee earthquake of 363
The Galilee earthquake of 363 was a severe earthquake that shook the Galilee and nearby regions in 363 CE.-Impact:* Tzippori was severely damaged.* Nabratein and the Nabratein synagogue were destroyed....

, and to the Jews' ambivalence about the project. Sabotage is a possibility, as is an accidental fire. Divine intervention was the common view among Christian historians of the time. Julian's support of Jews
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, coming after the hostility of many earlier Emperors, caused Jews to call him Julian the Hellene.

Works


Julian wrote several works in Greek, some of which have come down to us.
Budé Date Work Comment Wright
I 356/7 Panegyric In Honour Of Constantius Written to reassure Constantius that he was on side. I
II ~June 357 Panegyric In Honour Of Eusebia Expresses gratitude for Eusebia's support. III
III 357/8 The Heroic Deeds Of Constantius Indicates his support of Constantius, while being critical. (Sometimes called "second panegyric to Constantius".) II
IV 359 Consolation Upon the Departure of Salutius
Salutius
Saturninius Secundus Salutius was a career Roman official who was a native of Gaul. He was a quaestor when he became a member of Julian's staff, while the latter was Caesar in Gaul. Salutius was well versed in Greek philosophy and rhetoric and won the respect of Julian. It was probably through his...

Grapples with the removal of his close advisor in Gaul. VIII
V 361 Letter To The Senate And People of Athens An attempt to explain the actions leading up to his rebellion.
VI early 362 Letter To Themistius
Themistius
Themistius , named , was a statesman, rhetorician, and philosopher. He flourished in the reigns of Constantius II, Julian, Jovian, Valens, Gratian, and Theodosius I; and he enjoyed the favour of all those emperors, notwithstanding their many differences, and the fact that he himself was not a...

 The Philosopher
Response to an ingratiating letter from Themistius, outlining J.'s political reading
VII March 362 To The Cynic Heracleios
Heraclius the Cynic
Heraclius was a Cynic philosopher, against whom the emperor Julian wrote in his seventh oration. Julian relates how Heraclius delivered an allegorical fable before him, in which Heraclius took upon himself the part of Jupiter, and gave the emperor that of the god Pan...

Attempt to set Cynics straight regarding their religious responsibilities. VII
VIII ~March 362 Hymn To The Mother Of The Gods A defense of Hellenism and Roman tradition. V
IX ~May 362 To the Uneducated Cynics Another attack on Cynics who he thought didn't follow the principles of Cynicism. VI
X December 362 The Caesars Satire describing a competition between Roman emperors as to who was the best. Strongly critical of Constantine.
XI December 362 Hymn To King Helios Attempt to describe the Roman religion as seen by Julian. IV
XII early 363 Misopogon
Misopogon
The Misopogon, or Beard-Hater, is a satirical essay on philosophers by the Roman Emperor Julian. It was written in Koine Greek. The satire was written in Antioch in February of March 363, not long before Julian departed for his fateful Persian campaign....

, Or, Beard-Hater
Written as a satire on himself, while attacking the people of Antioch for their shortcomings.
362/3 Against the Galilaeans
Libri tres contra Galileos
Libri tres contra Galileos was a Greek polemical essay written by the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus, commonly known as Julian the Apostate, during his short reign...

Polemic against Christians, which now only survives as fragments.
362 Fragment Of A Letter To A Priest Attempt to counteract the aspects that he thought were positive in Christianity.
359–363 Letters Both personal and public letters from much of his career.
? Epigrams Small number of short verse works.
  • Budé indicates the numbers used by Athanassiadi given in the Budé edition (1963 & 1964) of Julian's Opera.
  • Wright indicates the oration numbers provided in W.C.Wright's edition of Julian's works.

----
The religious works contain involved philosophical speculations, and the panegyrics to Constantius are formulaic and elaborate in style.

The Misopogon
Misopogon
The Misopogon, or Beard-Hater, is a satirical essay on philosophers by the Roman Emperor Julian. It was written in Koine Greek. The satire was written in Antioch in February of March 363, not long before Julian departed for his fateful Persian campaign....

(or "Beard Hater") is a light-hearted account of his clash with the inhabitants of Antioch after he was mocked for his beard and generally scruffy appearance for an Emperor. The Caesars is a humorous tale of a contest between some of the most notable Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, and also interestingly Alexander the Great. This was a satiric attack upon the recent Constantine, whose worth, both as a Christian and as the leader of the Roman Empire, Julian severely questions.

One of the most important of his lost works is his Against the Galileans, intended to refute the Christian religion. The only parts of this work which survive are those excerpted by Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries...

, who gives extracts from the three first books in his refutation of Julian, Contra Julianum. These extracts do not give an adequate idea of the work: Cyril confesses that he had not ventured to copy several of the weightiest arguments.

These have been edited and translated several times since the Renaissance, most often separately; but all are translated in the Loeb Classical Library
Loeb Classical Library
The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

 edition of 1913, edited by Wilmer Cave Wright.

In fiction

  • In 1847, the German controversial theologian David Friedrich Strauss published in Mannheim
    Mannheim
    Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

     the pamphlet Der Romantiker auf dem Thron der Cäsaren ("A Romantic on the Throne of the Caesars"), in which Julian was satirised as "an unworldly dreamer, a man who turned nostalgia for the ancients into a way of life and whose eyes were closed to the pressing needs of the present". In fact, this was a veiled criticism of the contemporary King Frederick William IV of Prussia
    Frederick William IV of Prussia
    |align=right|Upon his accession, he toned down the reactionary policies enacted by his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a constitution at some point, but he refused to enact a popular legislative assembly, preferring to work with the aristocracy through "united committees" of...

    , known for his romantic dreams of restoring the supposed glories of feudal Medieval society.
  • Julian's life inspired the play Emperor and Galilean
    Emperor and Galilean
    Emperor and Galilean is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. Although it is one of the writer’s lesser known plays, on several occasions Henrik Ibsen called Emperor and Galilean his major work...

    by Henrik Ibsen
    Henrik Ibsen
    Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

    .
  • Julian's life and reign were the subject of the novel The Death of the Gods (Julian the Apostate) (1895) in the trilogy of historical novels entitled "Christ and Antichrist" (1895–1904) by the Russian Symbolist
    Russian Symbolism
    Russian symbolism was an intellectual and artistic movement predominant at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. It represented the Russian branch of the symbolist movement in European art, and was mostly known for its contributions to Russian poetry.-Russian symbolism in...

     poet, novelist and literary theoretician Dmitrii S. Merezhkovskii
    Dmitry Merezhkovsky
    Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky, , 1865, St Petersburg – December 9, 1941, Paris) was a Russian novelist, poet, religious thinker, and literary critic. A seminal figure of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry, regarded as a co-founder of the Symbolist movement, Merezhkovsky – with his poet wife Zinaida...

    .
  • The opera Der Apostat (1924) by the composer and conductor Felix Weingartner
    Felix Weingartner
    Paul Felix von Weingartner, Edler von Münzberg was an Austrian conductor, composer and pianist.-Biography:...

     is about Julian.
  • In 1945 Nikos Kazantzakis
    Nikos Kazantzakis
    Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer and philosopher, celebrated for his novel Zorba the Greek, considered his magnum opus...

     authored the tragedy Julian the Apostate in which the emperor is depicted as an existentialist hero committed to a struggle which he knows will be in vain. It was first staged in Paris in 1948.
  • Julian was the subject of a detailed, carefully researched novel, Julian
    Julian (historical novel)
    Julian by Gore Vidal is a work of historical fiction written primarily in the first person dealing with the life of the Roman emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus, , who reigned 360-363 CE.-Novel:...

    (1964), by Gore Vidal
    Gore Vidal
    Gore Vidal is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality...

    , describing his life and times. It is notable for, among other things, its scathing critique of Christianity.
  • Julian appeared in Gods and Legions, by Michael Curtis Ford
    Michael Curtis Ford
    Michael Curtis Ford is an American historical novelist, writing novels about Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. He has worked variously as a laborer, a ski patrolman, a musician, a consultant, a banker, a Latin teacher, and a translator. He holds degrees in Economics and Linguistics and lives in...

     (2002). Julian's tale was told by his closest companion, the Christian saint Caesarius, and accounts for the transition from a Christian philosophy student in Athens to a pagan Roman Augustus of the old nature.
  • Julian's letters are an important part of the symbolism of Michel Butor
    Michel Butor
    -Life and work:Michel Marie François Butor was born in Mons-en-Barœul. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1947. He has taught in Egypt, Manchester, Salonika, the United States, and Geneva...

    's novel La Modification
    La Modification
    Second Thoughts is a novel by Michel Butor. It is the author's most famous work.-Plot summary:The plot is quite straightforward: a middle-aged man takes the train in Paris to visit his lover, Cécile - whom he has not informed of his arrival - in Rome. They have met in secret once a month for the...

    .
  • The fantasy alternate history The Dragon Waiting
    The Dragon Waiting
    The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History is a fantasy novel by John M. Ford, published in 1983. It won the 1984 World Fantasy Award.-Plot summary:...

    by John M. Ford
    John M. Ford
    John Milo "Mike" Ford was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet.Ford was regarded as an extraordinarily intelligent, erudite and witty man. He was a popular contributor to several online discussions...

    , while set in the time of the Wars of the Roses
    Wars of the Roses
    The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

    , uses the reign of Julian as its point of divergence
    Point of divergence
    In discussion of counterfactual history, a divergence point , also referred to as a departure point or point of divergence , is a historical event with two possible postulated outcomes...

    . His reign not being cut short, he was successful in disestablishing Christianity and restoring a religiously eclectic societal order which survived the fall of Rome and into the Renaissance
    Renaissance
    The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

     Characters in the novel refer to him as "Julian the Wise".
  • Julian's rise and fall, as narrated by his physician Oribasius, are portrayed in Who Killed Apollo and Julian Augustus, a novel (2006) by Reynold Spector, based on a Greek manuscript the author discovered.
  • Julian's life served as the basis for the novella Julian: A Christmas Story
    Julian: A Christmas Story
    Julian: A Christmas Story is a dystopian speculative fiction novella written by Robert Charles Wilson.-Synopsis:Julian is told from the perspective of teenager Adam Hazzard, who lives in the rural town of Williams Ford, in the state of Athabaska in 2172, at a time when technology has regressed to...

    by Robert Charles Wilson
    Robert Charles Wilson
    Robert Charles Wilson is an American-Canadian science fiction author.Wilson was born in the United States in California, but grew up near Toronto, Ontario. Apart from another short period in the early 1970s spent in Whittier, California, he has lived most of his life in Canada, and in 2007 he...

    , which was nominated for a Hugo Award
    Hugo Award
    The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

     in 2007.
  • Julian appears in Warrior Nun Areala
    Warrior Nun Areala
    Warrior Nun Areala is a manga-style American comic book character created by Ben Dunn and published by Antarctic Press. First appearing in Ninja High School #38 , she has since appeared in her own comic books beginning with Warrior Nun Areala Vol. 1 #1 in December 1994...

    as supervillain Julian Salvius. There he is portrayed as having survived into modern times and as seeking revenge against the Church for having been cursed by the Christians.

Julian's writings


English translations available on the web:
The Greek text and English translations of Julian's writings are available in
  • Wright, W.C., The Works of the Emperor Julian, Loeb Classical Library
    Loeb Classical Library
    The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

    , Harvard University Press, 1913/1980, 3 Volumes. Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, at the Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...


About Julian

  • Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

    , Res Gestae, Libri XV-XXV (books 15–25). See J.C. Rolfe, Ammianus Marcellinus, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass., 1935/1985. 3 Volumes.
  • Claudius Mamertinus
    Claudius Mamertinus
    Claudius Mamertinus was an official in the Roman Empire. In late 361 he took part in the Chalcedon tribunal to condemn the ministers of Constantius II, and in 362, he was made consul as a reward by the new Emperor Julian; on January 1 of that year he delivered a panegyric in Constantinople by way...

    , "Gratiarum actio Mamertini de consulato suo Iuliano Imperatori", Panegyrici Latini
    Panegyrici Latini
    The Panegyrici Latini or Latin Panegyrics is a collection of twelve ancient Roman panegyric orations. The authors of most of the speeches in the collection are anonymous, but appear to have been Gallic in origin. Aside from the first panegyric, composed by Pliny the Younger in 100 CE, the other...

    , panegyric delivered in Constantinople in 362, also as a speech of thanks at his assumption of the office of consul of that year
  • Gregory Nazianzen, Orations, "First Invective Against Julian", "Second Invective Against Julian". Both transl. C.W. King, 1888.
  • Libanius
    Libanius
    Libanius was a Greek-speaking teacher of rhetoric of the Sophist school. During the rise of Christian hegemony in the later Roman Empire, he remained unconverted and regarded himself as a Hellene in religious matters.-Life:...

    , Monody — Funeral Oration for Julian the Apostate. Transl. C.W. King, 1888.

Secondary sources

  • Roberts, Walter E., and Michael DiMaio, "Julian the Apostate (360–363 A.D.)", De Imperatoribus Romanis (2002)
  • Athanassiadi, Polymnia. Julian. An Intellectual Biography Routledge, London, 1992. ISBN 0-415-07763-X
  • Bowersock, Glen Warren. Julian the Apostate. London, 1978. ISBN 0-674-48881-4
  • Browning, Robert. The Emperor Julian, London, 1975.
  • Dodgeon, Michael H. & Samuel N.C. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars AD 226–363, Routledge, London, 1991. ISBN 0-203-42534-0
  • Drinkwater, John F., The Alamanni and Rome 213–496 (Caracalla to Clovis), OUP Oxford 2007. ISBN 0199295689
  • Hunt, David. "Julian". In The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 13 (Averil Cameron & Peter Garnsey editors). CUP, Cambridge, 1998. ISBN 0-521-30200-5
  • Lascaratos, John and Dionysios Voros. 2000 Fatal Wounding of the Byzantine Emperor Julian the Apostate (361–363 A.D.): Approach to the Contribution of Ancient Surgery. World Journal of Surgery 24: 615–619
  • Lenski, Noel Emmanuel Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century AD UC Press: London, 2003
  • Lieu, Samuel N.C. & Dominic Montserrat
    Dominic Montserrat
    Dominic Alexander Sebastian Montserrat was a British egyptologist and papyrologist.- Life :Montserrat studied Egyptology at Durham University and received his PhD in Classics at University College London, specializing in Greek, Coptic and Egyptian Papyrology. From 1992 to 1999 he taught Classics...

    : editors, From Constantine to Julian: A Source History Routledge: New York, 1996. ISBN 0-203-42205-8
  • Murdoch, Adrian. The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World, Stroud, 2005, ISBN 0-7509-4048-4
  • Potter, David S. The Roman Empire at Bay AD 180–395, Routledge, New York, 2004. ISBN 0-415-10058-5
  • Ridley, R.T., "Notes on Julian's Persian Expedition (363)", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 22, No. 2, 1973, pp. 317–330
  • Rohrbacher, David. Historians of Late Antiquity. Routledge: New York, 2002. ISBN 0-415-20459-3
  • Rosen, Klaus. Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 2006.
  • Smith, Rowland. Julian's gods: religion and philosophy in the thought and action of Julian the Apostate, London, 1995. ISBN 0-415-03487-6
  • Veyne, Paul. L'Empire Gréco-Romain. Seuil, Paris,2005. ISBN 2-02-057798-4


See also

  • Libri tres contra Galileos
    Libri tres contra Galileos
    Libri tres contra Galileos was a Greek polemical essay written by the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus, commonly known as Julian the Apostate, during his short reign...

  • Anbar, the ancient town of Perisabora destroyed by Julian in 363.
  • Diodore of Tarsus
  • Itineraries of the Roman emperors, 337–361
    Itineraries of the Roman emperors, 337–361
    This article chronicles the attested movements of the fourth-century Roman emperors Constantine II , Constantius II , Constans, Gallus, and Julian the Apostate from 337 to 361 CE. It does not cover the imperial usurpers of the period, including Magnentius, Vetranio, Claudius Silvanus, and Poemenius...


External links