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For the Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, see Julian II of Antioch. Julian the Apostate, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363, as well as a notable philosopher and author in Greek. 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 he english language teachers – best choice for Saint Petersburg that it was necessary to restore the Empire’s ancient Roman values and traditions in order to save it from dissolution.
In the turmoil after the death of Constantine in 337, in order to establish himself and his brothers, Julian’s zealous Arian cousin Constantius II appears to have led a massacre of most of Julian’s close relatives. He became a lector, 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. Julian studied Neoplatonism in Asia Minor in 351, at first under Aedesius, the philosopher, and then Neoplatonic theurgy from Aedesius’ student, Maximus of Ephesus. Constantine II died in 340 when he attacked his brother Constans. Constans in turn fell in 350 in the war against the usurper Magnentius.
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This left Constantius II as the sole remaining emperor. 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. The following year saw a combined operation planned by Constantius to regain control of the Rhine from the Germanic peoples who had spilt across the river onto the west bank. With Barbatio safely out of the picture, King Chnodomarius led a confederation of Alamanni forces against Julian and Severus at the Battle of Argentoratum.
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. Rhine in an expedition that penetrated deep into what is today Germany, and forced three local kingdoms to submit. In 358, Julian gained victories over the Salian Franks on the Lower Rhine, settling them in Toxandria in the Roman Empire, north of today’s city of Tongeren, and over the Chamavi, who were expelled back to Hamaland. 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 and personally took charge of the province of Belgica Secunda. Constantius attempted to maintain some modicum of control over his Caesar, which explains his removal of Julian’s close adviser Saturninius Secundus Salutius from Gaul. His departure stimulated the writing of Julian’s oration, “Consolation Upon the Departure of Salutius”.
19th century depiction of Julian being proclaimed Emperor in Paris at the Thermes de Cluny, standing on a shield in the Frankish manner, in February 360. In the fourth year of Julian’s stay in Gaul, the Sassanid Emperor, Shapur II, invaded Mesopotamia and took the city of Amida after a 73-day siege. 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 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.
Julian then divided his forces, sending one column to Raetia, one to northern Italy and the third he led down the Danube on boats. However, in June, forces loyal to Constantius captured the city of Aquileia on the north Adriatic coast, an event that 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. The Church of the Holy Apostles, where Julian brought Constantius II to be buried. 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, where it was placed alongside that of Constantine. 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 system begun under Diocletian. Nor did he seek to rule as an absolute autocrat. He viewed the royal court of his predecessors as inefficient, corrupt, and expensive. Thousands of servants, eunuchs, and superfluous officials were therefore summarily dismissed. 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.
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 corvées 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. In replacing Constantius’s political and civil appointees, Julian drew heavily from the intellectual and professional classes, or kept reliable holdovers, such as the rhetorician Themistius. His choice of consuls for the year 362 was more controversial. After five months of dealings at the capital, Julian left Constantinople in May and moved to Antioch, 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 one reason for his choosing to reside there.
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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, 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 at Daphne.
After being advised that the bones of 3rd-century 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. 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 and forced them to sell. 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. He was supposed to be interested in what interested his people, and he was supposed to be dignified. He then tried to address public criticism and mocking of him by issuing a satire ostensibly on himself, called Misopogon 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.
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Even Julian’s intellectual friends and fellow pagans were of a divided mind about this habit 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, 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”. 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. An audacious plan was formulated whose goal was to lay siege on the Sassanid capital city of Ctesiphon 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. Euphrates arriving at the beginning of April. 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. The Romans gained a tactical victory over the Persians before the gates of the city, driving them back into the city. 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 near Maranga, Julian was wounded when the Sassanid army raided his column.
Ammianus Marcellinus or other contemporary historians. 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. Christianity would become the Empire’s state religion. Porphyry sarcophagi outside the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. 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. However, chronicler Zonaras says that at some “later” date his body was exhumed and reburied in or near the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, where Constantine and the rest of his family lay. While there are clear resemblances to other forms of Late Antique religion, it is controversial as to which variety it is most similar. Julian’s paganism was highly eccentric and atypical because it was heavily influenced by an esoteric approach to Platonic philosophy sometimes identified as theurgy and also Neoplatonism.
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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. The diet of Julian is said to have been predominantly vegetable-based. 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 polytheism as the state religion. 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.
On 4 February 362, 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. The edict was seen as an act of favor toward the Jews, in order to upset the Christians. Coptic icon showing Saint Mercurius killing Julian. 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.
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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. Julian’s popularity among the people and the army during his brief reign suggest that he might have brought paganism back to the fore of Roman public and private life. In fact, during his lifetime, neither pagan nor Christian ideology reigned supreme, and the greatest thinkers of the day argued about the merits and rationality of each religion. Even so, Julian’s short reign did not stem the tide of Christianity.
The emperor’s ultimate failure can arguably be attributed to the manifold religious traditions and deities that paganism promulgated. The communal festivals that involved sacrifice and feasting, which once united communities, now tore them apart—Christian against pagan. Civic leaders did not even have the funds, much less the support, to hold religious festivals. After witnessing the reign of two emperors bent on supporting the Church and stamping out paganism, it is understandable that pagans simply did not embrace Julian’s idea of proclaiming their devotion to polytheism and their rejection of Christianity. Many chose to adopt a practical approach and not support Julian’s public reforms actively for fear of a Christian revival. However, this apathetic attitude forced the emperor to shift central aspects of pagan worship.
Indeed, this development of a pagan order created the foundations of a bridge of reconciliation over which paganism and Christianity could meet. Despite this inadvertent reconciliation of paganism to Christianity, however, many of the Church fathers viewed the emperor with hostility, and told stories of his supposed wickedness after his death. The fact that Christian charities were open to all, including pagans, put this aspect of Roman citizens’ lives out of the control of Imperial authority and under that of the Church. 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. Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of 363. Although there is contemporary testimony for the miracle, in the Orations of St.
Gregory Nazianzen, this may be taken to be unreliable. Julian wrote several works in Greek, some of which have come down to us. Written to reassure Constantius that he was on side. Indicates his support of Constantius, while being critical. Sometimes called “second panegyric to Constantius”. Grapples with the removal of his close advisor in Gaul. An attempt to explain the actions leading up to his rebellion.
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Response to an ingratiating letter from Themistius, outlining J. Attempt to set Cynics straight regarding their religious responsibilities. A defense of Hellenism and Roman tradition. Another attack on Cynics who he thought didn’t follow the principles of Cynicism. Satire describing a competition between Roman emperors as to who was the best.
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Attempt to describe the Roman religion as seen by Julian. Written as a satire on himself, while attacking the people of Antioch for their shortcomings. Polemic against Christians, which now only survives as fragments. Attempt to counteract the aspects that he thought were positive in Christianity. Both personal and public letters from much of his career. Small number of short verse works.
Wright indicates the oration numbers provided in W. The religious works contain involved philosophical speculations, and the panegyrics to Constantius are formulaic and elaborate in style. Antioch after he was mocked for his beard and generally scruffy appearance for an Emperor. 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, who gives extracts from the three first books in his refutation of Julian, Contra Julianum. Loeb Classical Library edition of 1913, edited by Wilmer Cave Wright. In 1681 Lord Russell – an outspoken opponent of King Charles II of England and his brother The Duke of York – got his chaplain to write a Life of Julian the Apostate. Julian’s life inspired the play Emperor and Galilean by Henrik Ibsen. Russian Symbolist poet, novelist and literary theoretician Dmitrii S. In 1945 Nikos Kazantzakis 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.
Gore Vidal, describing his life and times. It is notable for, among other things, its scathing critique of Christianity. 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’s novel La Modification. The fantasy alternate history The Dragon Waiting by John M. As with all Roman Emperors, Julian appears in the Paradox Interactive game Crusader Kings II. Ammianus says that there were 35,000 Alamanni, Res Gestae, 16.
Julian died the night of the same day that he was wounded. First recorded by Theodoret in the 5th century. Not dealt with in Athanassiadi, or dated by Bowersock, but reflects a time when Julian was emperor, and he had other issues to deal with later. Lacombrade, with French translations of all the principal works except Against the Galilaeans, which is only preserved in citations in a polemic work by Cyril. Tougher, 12, citing Bouffartigue: L’Empereur Julien et la culture de son temps p. Morris “Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol.
Greek and Latin authors, 800 B. Rome in the Ancient World – From Romulus to Justinian. Glanville Downey, “Julian the Apostate at Antioch”, Church History, Vol. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The Routledge companion to medieval warfare. Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire volume 1, pp. 44, citing Julian to the Alexandrians, Wright’s letter 47, of November or December 362.
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Twelve would be literal, but Julian is counting inclusively. Letter 47: To the Alexandrians”, translated by Emily Wilmer Cave Wright, v. The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. Eusebia of Julian’s panegyric is a literary creation and that she was doing the bidding of her husband in bringing Julian around to doing what Constantius had asked of him. Most sources give the town as Sens, which is well into the interior of Gaul.
Woods, “On the ‘Standard-Bearers’ at Strasbourg: Libanius, or. 9, commented by Veyne, L’Empire Gréco-Romain, p. Julian, Letter to the Athenians, 282C. In a private letter to his Uncle Julian, in W. The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome: A Comprehensive Guide, pp. Socrates of Constantinople, Historia ecclesiastica, 3.
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Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay, pp. Commented by Veyne, L”Empire Gréco-Romain, p. See Letter 622 by Libanius: “That Alexander was appointed to the government at first, I confess, gave me some concern, as the principal persons among us were dissatisfied. Zosimus, Historia Nova, book 3, chapter 12.
210, using the higher estimate of 83,000. David S, Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay, p. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, p. Potter, Rome in the ancient world, p. Approach to the Contribution of Ancient Surgery. 34 he states that the Book of Ceremonies of Constantine Porphyrogenitus gives a list of tombs, ending with: “43. In this stoa, which is to the north, lies a cylindrically-shaped sarcophagus, in which lies the cursed and wretched body of the apostate Julian, porphyry or Roman in colour.
The emperor’s study of Iamblichus and of theurgy are a source of criticism from his primary chronicler, Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, 22. Julian, “Letter to a Priest”, 292. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, iii, 21. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 22.