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Julian ( la, Flavius Claudius Julianus; grc-gre, Ἰουλιανός ; 331 – 26 June 363) was
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
from 361 to 363, as well as a notable
philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...

philosopher
and author in Greek. His rejection of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
, and his promotion of
Neoplatonic Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonism, Platonic philosophy that emerged in the second century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and Hellenistic religion, religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encap ...
Hellenism in its place, caused him to be remembered as Julian the Apostate in Christian tradition. Julian was a member of the
Constantinian dynasty The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican R ...
; his father
Julius Constantius Julius Constantius (died September 337) was a politician of the Roman Empire and a member of the Constantinian dynasty The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus Constantiu ...
was a half-brother of Emperor
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
. After Constantine died in 337, his sons had many of their relatives executed to prevent rival claims to the throne. Julian's father was one of those murdered on their orders, but Julian and his half-brother
Constantius Gallus Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus (326–354) was a statesman and ruler in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíō ...
were spared. The orphaned princes spent much of their lives under the control of their cousin, Emperor
Constantius II Flavius Julius Constantius ( grc-gre, Κωνστάντιος; 7 August 317 – 3 November 361), known as Constantius II, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). ...

Constantius II
.''Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity'', "Julian the Apostate", p. 839 However, Constantius II allowed Julian to freely pursue an education in the Greek-speaking east, to the result that Julian became unusually cultured for an emperor of his time. In 354, the emperor executed Julian's brother Gallus. Julian himself was imprisoned, but he was spared at the request of Empress Eusebia. In 355, Constantius II summoned Julian to court and appointed him to rule
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
. Despite his inexperience, Julian showed unexpected success in his new capacity, defeating and counterattacking
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
raids across the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
and encouraging the ravaged provinces' return to prosperity. In 360, he was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers at
Lutetia The Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christ ...
(Paris), sparking a civil war with Constantius. However, Constantius died before the two could face each other in battle, and named Julian as his successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian Empire
. The campaign was initially successful, securing a victory outside
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. However, he did not attempt to besiege the capital. Julian instead moved into Persia's heartland, but he soon faced supply problems and was forced to retreat northwards while being ceaselessly harassed by Persian skirmishes. During the
Battle of Samarra The Battle of Samarra took place in June 363, during the invasion of the Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially know ...
, Julian was mortally wounded under mysterious circumstances. He was succeeded by
Jovian Jovian is the adjectival form of Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element wit ...
, a senior officer in the imperial guard, who was obliged to cede territory, including
Nisibis Nusaybin (; '; ar, نُصَيْبِيْن, translit=Nuṣaybīn; syr, ܢܨܝܒܝܢ, translit=Nṣībīn), historically known as Nisibis () or Nesbin, is a city in Mardin Province Mardin Province ( tr, Mardin ili, ku, Parêzgeha Mêrdînê, ...
, in order to save the trapped Roman forces. 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 believed that it was necessary to restore the Empire's ancient Roman values and traditions in order to save it from dissolution. He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy, and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the expense of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. His attempt to build a
Third Temple The Third Temple ( he, בית המקדש השלישי, translit=Beit haMikdash haShlishi, ) is used in reference to a hypothetical rebuilt third Temple in Jerusalem, which would succeed both the original Solomon's Temple (built under Solomon ...
in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
was probably intended to harm Christianity rather than please
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
. Julian also forbade the Christians from teaching and learning classical texts.


Life


Early life

Flavius Claudius Julianus was born at
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
in 331, the son of
Julius Constantius Julius Constantius (died September 337) was a politician of the Roman Empire and a member of the Constantinian dynasty The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus Constantiu ...
,
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
in 335 and half-brother of the emperor
Constantine Constantine most often refers to: * Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Born in Naissus, Dacia Mediterra ...

Constantine
, by his second wife, Basilina, a woman of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
origin. Both of his parents were Christians. Julian's paternal grandparents were the emperor
Constantius Chlorus Flavius Valerius Constantius "Chlorus" ( – 25 July 306), also called Constantius I, was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεί ...
and his second wife,
Flavia Maximiana Theodora Flavia Maximiana Theodora (c. 275 – before 337) was a Roman empress, wife of Constantius Chlorus Flavius Valerius Constantius "Chlorus" ( – 25 July 306), also called Constantius I, was a Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the rule ...
. His maternal grandfather was Julius Julianus,
Praetorian Prefect of the East The praetorian prefecture of the East, or of the Orient ( la, praefectura praetorio Orientis, el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία τῶν πραιτωρίων τῆς ἀνατολῆς) was one of four large praetorian prefecture The praeto ...
under the emperor
Licinius Licinius (; la, Valerius Licinianus Licinius ; (Ancient Greek Λίκινιος) (c. 265 – 325) was Roman emperor from 308 to 324. For most of his reign he was the colleague and rival of Constantine I, with whom he co-authored the Edict of M ...
from 315 to 324, and consul ''suffectus'' in 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 and his brothers, Julian's zealous
Arian Arianism is a Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius Arius (; grc-koi, Ἄρειος, ; 250 or 256–336) was a Cyrenaic The Cyrenaics or Kyrenaics ( grc, Κυρηναϊκοί; ''Kyrēnaïkoí'') were a sensual hedonist Greek ...
cousin
Constantius II Flavius Julius Constantius ( grc-gre, Κωνστάντιος; 7 August 317 – 3 November 361), known as Constantius II, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). ...

Constantius II
appears to have led a massacre of most of Julian's close relatives. Constantius II allegedly ordered the murders of many descendants from the second marriage of Constantius Chlorus and Theodora, leaving only Constantius and his brothers Constantine II and
Constans I Flavius Julius Constans ( 320 – 350), sometimes called Constans I, was Roman emperor from 337 to 350. He held the imperial rank of ''Caesar (title), Caesar'' from 333, and was the youngest son of Constantine the Great. After his father's dea ...

Constans I
, and their cousins, Julian and
Constantius Gallus Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus (326–354) was a statesman and ruler in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíō ...
(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, were strictly guarded in their youth, and given a Christian education. They were likely saved by their youth and at the urging of the Empress Eusebia. If Julian's later writings are to be believed, Constantius would later be tormented with guilt at the massacre of 337. Initially growing up in
Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, ...
, raised by his maternal grandmother, at the age of seven Julian was under the guardianship of
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...
, the semi-Arian Christian Bishop of Nicomedia, and taught by Mardonius, a
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
eunuch A eunuch ( ) is a man A man is an adult male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot ...
, about whom he later wrote warmly. After Eusebius died in 342, both Julian and Gallus were exiled to the
imperial estate An Imperial State or Imperial Estate ( la, Status Imperii; german: Reichsstand, plural: ') was a part of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex o ...
of Macellum in
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
. Here Julian met the Christian bishop George of Cappadocia, 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 (; el, Νικομήδεια, ''Nikomedeia''; modern İzmit İzmit () is a district and the central district of Kocaeli Province, Kocaeli province, Turkey. It is located at the Gulf of İzmit in the Sea of Marmara, about east of Is ...
. He became a
lector Lector is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it bec ...

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. Julian's conversion from Christianity to paganism happened at around the age of 20. Looking back on his life in 362, Julian wrote that he had spent twenty years in the way of Christianity and twelve in the true way, i.e., the way of
Helios Helios; Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeol ...

Helios
. Julian began his study of
Neoplatonism Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...
in Asia Minor in 351, at first under
Aedesius Aedesius ( grc-gre, Αἰδέσιος, died 355 AD) was a Neo-Platonism, Neoplatonist philosopher and mystic born of a noble Cappadocian family. Career Aedesius was born into a wealthy Cappadocian family, but he moved to Syria, where he was appren ...
, the philosopher, and then Aedesius' student Eusebius of Myndus. It was from Eusebius that Julian learned of the teachings of Maximus of Ephesus, whom Eusebius criticized for his more mystical form of Neoplatonic
theurgy Theurgy (; ) describes the practice of ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including ...
. Eusebius related his meeting with Maximus, in which the theurgist invited him into the temple of
Hecate Hecate or Hekate, , ; grc-dor, Ἑκάτᾱ, Hekátā, ; la, Hecatē or . is a goddess in ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folk ...

Hecate
and, chanting a hymn, caused a statue of the goddess to smile and laugh, and her torches to ignite. Eusebius reportedly told Julian that he "must not marvel at any of these things, even as I marvel not, but rather believe that the thing of the highest importance is that purification of the soul which is attained by reason." In spite of Eusebius' warnings regarding the "impostures of witchcraft and magic that cheat the senses" and "the works of conjurers who are insane men led astray into the exercise of earthly and material powers", Julian was intrigued, and sought out Maximus as his new mentor. According to the historian
Eunapius Eunapius ( el, Εὐνάπιος; fl. 4th–5th century AD) was a Greece, Greek sophist and historian of the 4th century AD. His principal surviving work is the ''Lives of Philosophers and Sophists'' ( grc-gre, Βίοι Φιλοσόφων καὶ ...
, when Julian left Eusebius, he told his former teacher "farewell, and devote yourself to your books. You have shown me the man I was in search of." Constantine II died in 340 when he attacked his brother Constans. Constans in turn fell in 350 in the war against the usurper
Magnentius Magnus Magnentius (c. 303 – 11 August 353) was a usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted ...
. This left Constantius II as the sole remaining emperor. In need of support, in 351 he made Julian's half-brother, Gallus,
caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
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 Constantius' court in
Mediolanum Mediolanum, the ancient city where Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a pop ...
(
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
) in 354, and held for a year, under suspicion of treasonable intrigue, first with his brother and then with
Claudius Silvanus Silvanus (died 7 September 355) was a Roman general of Frankish descent, usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power, often but not always in a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a p ...
; he was cleared, in part because Empress Eusebia intervened on his behalf, and he was permitted to study in Athens (Julian expresses his gratitude to the empress in his third oration). While there, Julian became acquainted with two men who later became both bishops and saints:
Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nazianzus ( el, Γρηγόριος ὁ Ναζιανζηνός, ''Grēgorios ho Nazianzēnos''; c. 329''Liturgy of the Hours'' Volume I, Proper of Saints, 2 January. – 25 January 390), also known as Gregory the Theologian or Greg ...

Gregory of Nazianzus
and
Basil the Great Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great ( grc, Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, ''Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas''; cop, Ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲓⲟⲥ; 330 – January 1 or 2, 379), was an East Roman b ...

Basil the Great
. In the same period, Julian was also initiated into the
Eleusinian Mysteries The Eleusinian Mysteries ( el, Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια, Eleusínia Mystḗria) were initiations held every year for the Cult (religious practice), cult of Demeter and Persephone based at the Panhellenic Sanctuary of Eleusis in ancien ...
, which he would later try to restore.


Caesar in Gaul

After dealing with the rebellions of Magnentius and Silvanus, Constantius felt he needed a permanent representative in
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

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, assuming his prefects in Gaul would keep Julian in check. At first reluctant to trade his scholarly life for war and politics, Julian eventually took every opportunity to involve himself in the affairs of Gaul. In the following years he learned how to lead and then run an army, through a series of campaigns against the
Germanic tribes This list of ancient Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Socie ...
that had settled on both sides of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...
.


Campaigns against Germanic kingdoms

During his first campaign in 356, Julian led an army to the Rhine, where he engaged the inhabitants and recovered several towns that had fallen into
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
hands, including
Colonia Agrippina ''Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium'' was the Roman colony A Roman colonia (plural ''coloniae'') was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of ...
(
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
). 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 near
Verdun Verdun (, , , ; official name before 1970 ''Verdun-sur-Meuse'') is a city in the Meuse (department), Meuse departments of France, department in Grand Est, northeastern France. It is an arrondissement of the department. Verdun is the biggest ...

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 The , in English Master of the Horse or Master of the Cavalry, was a Roman magistrate appointed as lieutenant to a Roman dictator, dictator. His nominal function was to serve as commander of the Roman cavalry in time of war, but just as a dictato ...
'' by Severus. 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. From the south his ''
magister peditum 300px, The original command structure of the Late Roman army, with a separate ''magister equitum'' and a ''magister peditum'' in place of the later overall ''magister militum'' in the command structure of the army of the Western Roman Empire. (L ...
''
Barbatio Barbatio (died AD 359) was a Ancient Rome, Roman general of the infantry (Magister Peditum = Master of Foot) under the command of Constantius II. Previously he was a commander of the household troops (''protectores domestici'') under Gallus Caesar, ...
was to come from Milan and amass forces at
Augst Augst (Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard German, High German, or more precisely Standard High German (german: Standarddeutsch, , or, in Switzerland, ), is the standardized variety of the German language The Germ ...

Augst
(near the Rhine bend), then set off north with 25,000 soldiers; Julian with 13,000 troops would move east from
Durocortorum Durocortorum was the name of the city Reims Reims ( , also , ; also spelled Rheims in English, Dutch: Riemen) is the most populous city in the Marne (department), Marne department, in the Grand Est region of France. Its population in 2013 ...
(
Rheims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French of . The city lies northeast of Paris on the river, a tributary of the . Founded by the , Reims became a major city in the . Reims later played a promin ...

Rheims
). However, while Julian was in transit, a group of
Laeti Laeti , the plural form of laetus , was a term used in the late Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can ...
attacked
Lugdunum Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum (; modern Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german ...
(
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

Lyon
) and Julian was delayed in order to deal with them. This left Barbatio unsupported and deep in
Alamanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in anci ...
territory, so he felt obliged to withdraw, retracing his steps. Thus ended the coordinated operation against the Germanic peoples. With Barbatio safely out of the picture, King
ChnodomariusChnodomar (latinized Chnodomarius) was the king of an Alamannic canton in what is now south-west Germany, near the Rhine from sometime before 352 till 357. He seems to have had a recognized position among the other Alamanni. Early career Chnodoma ...
led a confederation of Alamanni forces against Julian and Severus at the
Battle of Argentoratum The Battle of Strasbourg, also known as the Battle of Argentoratum, was fought in 357 between the Western Roman army under the ''Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who played ...

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.Cambridge Ancient History, v.13, p. 51.
Ammianus Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius'' ...
, 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 Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...
, 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. At
Moguntiacum Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...
(
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
), however, he crossed the Rhine in an expedition that penetrated deep into what is today Germany, and forced three local kingdoms 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 who had taken control of some abandoned forts along the river
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
. In 358, Julian gained victories over the
Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
on the
Lower Rhine The Lower Rhine (german: Niederrhein; kilometres 660 to 1,033 of the river Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ad ...
, settling them in
Toxandria Texandria (also Toxiandria; later Toxandria, Taxandria), is a region mentioned in the 4th century AD and during the Middle Ages. It was situated in the southern part of the modern Netherlands and in the northern part of present-day Belgium, currentl ...
in the Roman Empire, north of today's city of
Tongeren Tongeren (; french: Tongres ; german: Tongern ; li, Tóngere ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Sci ...

Tongeren
, and over the Chamavi, who were expelled back to
Hamaland Hamaland (also Hameland) was a medieval Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Franks, Frankish noble family founded by Charles Martel with origins in the ...

Hamaland
.


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 and personally took charge of the province of ''
Belgica Secunda Gallia Belgica ("Belgic Gaul") was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire located in the north-eastern part of Roman Gaul, in what is today primarily northern France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, along with parts of the Netherlands and Ge ...
''. This was Julian's first experience with civil administration, where his views were influenced by his liberal education in Greece. 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 ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
frontier. 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. Julian 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 from Gaul. His departure stimulated the writing of Julian's oration, "Consolation Upon the Departure of Salutius".Athanassiadi, p. 69.


Rebellion in Paris

In the fourth year of Julian's stay in Gaul, the Sassanid emperor,
Shapur II Shapur II ( pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩 ; New Persian: , ''Šāpur'', 309 – 379), also known as Shapur the Great, was the tenth Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings (Shahanshah) of Iran. The List of longest-reigning monarchs, longest ...
, invaded Mesopotamia and took the city of
AmidaAmida can mean : Places and jurisdictions * Amida (Mesopotamia), now Diyarbakır, an ancient city in Asian Turkey; it is (nominal) seat of : ** the Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Amida ** the Latin titular Metropolitan see of Amida of the Roman ...

Amida
after a 73-day siege. In February 360, Constantius II ordered more than half of Julian's Gallic troops to join his eastern army, the order 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 ''
PetulantesImage:Petulantes seniores shield pattern.svg, 150px, Shield of the ''Petulantes seniores'', an ''auxilia palatina'' unit under the command of the ''magister peditum''. Pattern according to ''Notitia Dignitatum''. ''Petulantes'' was an ''auxilia palat ...
'', who had no desire to leave Gaul. According to the historian
Zosimus Zosimus, Zosimos, or Zosimas may refer to: People * John Zosimus (Ioane-Zosime), 10th-century Georgian monk and hymnist * Pope Zosimus Pope Zosimus was the bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418. He was born in Meso ...
, 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 seldom 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 Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

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 Vadomarius (german: Vadomar) was an Alemanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribes * * * on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caraca ...
. Julian claimed that Vadomarius had been in league with Constantius, encouraging him to raid the borders of
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, firs ...

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. 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 onstantiusmerely, 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 ( , , ; fur, Olee / / / / ;Bilingual name of ''Aquileja – Oglej'' in: vec, Aquiłeja / ) is an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
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.J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 89 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).''Cambridge Ancient History'' v. 13, p. 60. Civil war was avoided only by the death on 3 November of Constantius, who, in his last will, is alleged by some sources to have recognized Julian as his rightful successor.


Empire and administration

On 11 December 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 , 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 is a 4th-century church in Rome, Italy, on the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city. It is a round building with well preserved original layout and mosaics. It has been built adjacent to a horseshoe-shaped church, n ...
on a Christian site just outside Rome as a
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 people. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type ...

mausoleum
for his wife Helena and sister-in-law
Constantina Constantina (also named ''Constantia'' and ''Constantiana''; b. after 307/before 317 – d. 354), and later known as Saint Constance, was the eldest daughter of Roman emperor Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constan ...
. 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 Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
. Nor did he seek to rule as an absolute autocrat. His own philosophic notions led him to idealize the reigns of
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
and
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a vari ...

Marcus Aurelius
. In his first
panegyric A panegyric ( or ) is a formal public speech, or (in later use) written verse, delivered in high praise of a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness ...
to Constantius, Julian described the ideal ruler as being essentially ''
primus inter pares ''Primus inter pares'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or ...
'' ("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 tribunalShortly after the death of Roman emperor Constantius II Flavius Julius Constantius ( grc-gre, Κωνστάντιος; 7 August 317 – 3 November 361), known as Constantius II, was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Em ...
to deal with the corruption of the previous administration under the supervision of ''
Magister Militum (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic ...
''
Arbitio Flavius Arbitio (floruit, fl. 354–366) was a Roman general and Consul who lived in the middle of the 4th century. In the Reign of Constantius II He was a general of Constantine I and reached the highest military positions in the Roman army unde ...
. 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, secret agents or the imperial postal 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. This was a key reform reducing the power of corrupt imperial officials, as the unpaid taxes on land were often hard to calculate or higher than the value of the land itself. Forgiving back taxes both made Julian more popular and allowed him to increase collections of current taxes. 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 () is a form of unpaid, forced labour Unfree labour, or forced labour, is any work relation, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will with the threat of destitution, detention, ...

corvée
s had to be approved by him directly rather than left to the judgment 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 () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
ian
Themistius Themistius ( grc-gre, Θεμίστιος ; 317 – c. 388 AD), nicknamed Euphrades, (eloquent), was a statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party i ...
. His choice of consuls for the year 362 was more controversial. One was the very acceptable
Claudius MamertinusClaudius Mamertinus (fl. mid-late 4th century AD) 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 Roman consul, consul as a reward by the new ...
, previously the
Praetorian prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
of
Illyricum Illyricum may refer to: * Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of peopl ...
. The other, more surprising choice was
NevittaNevitta ( 357–363) was a Roman military leader and official in the Roman Empire. His career is closely linked to that of the emperor Julian (emperor), Julian. He was magister militum, master of the cavalry and in 362 served as consul. Life Nevitta ...
, Julian's trusted
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
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 on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
, 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. 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, ; derived from the word ''ʼadōn'', meaning "lord"., ''Etymological Dictionary of Greek'', Brill, 2009, p. 23. was the mortal lover of the goddess in . In 's first-century AD telling of the myth, he was conceived after Aphrodite curs ...

Adonis
, so there was wailing and moaning in the streets—not a good omen for an arrival.Bowersock, p. 96. 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, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

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. 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 occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics ...
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.
David Stone Potter David Stone Potter (born 1957) is the Francis Kelsey, Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Greek and Latin in Ancient History at The University of Michigan. Potter is a ...
said after nearly two millennia: He then tried to address public criticism and mocking of him by issuing a satire ostensibly on himself, called
Misopogon The Misopogon, or ''Beard-Hater'', is a satirical essay on philosophers by the Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαί ...

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. Julian's 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 Libanius ( grc-gre, Λιβάνιος, ; c. 314 – 392 or 393) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, 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".


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 tribunalShortly after the death of Roman emperor Constantius II Flavius Julius Constantius ( grc-gre, Κωνστάντιος; 7 August 317 – 3 November 361), known as Constantius II, was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Em ...
. 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 Sassanid Persians offered such an opportunity. An audacious plan was formulated whose goal was to lay siege on the Sassanid capital city of
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

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. 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 65,000–83,000, or 80,000–90,000 men (the traditional number accepted by
Gibbon Gibbons () are ape Apes (Hominoidea ) are a branch of Old World tailless simians native to Africa and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern sub ...

Gibbon
is 95,000 effectives total), and headed north toward the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
. En route he was met by embassies from various small powers offering assistance, none of which he accepted. He did order the Armenian King
ArsacesArsaces or Arsakes (Grecized form of Iranian ''Arsh(a)k'') is the eponymous Greek form of the dynastic name of the Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in an ...

Arsaces
to muster an army and await instructions. He crossed the Euphrates near
Hierapolis Hierapolis ( grc, Ἱεράπολις, lit. "Holy City") was an ancient Greek city located on hot springs in Greco-Roman culture, classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and currently compr ...
and moved eastward to , giving the impression that his chosen route into Persian territory was down the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of the Armenian Highlands through the Syrian Desert, Syrian and Arabian Deserts, and empti ...

Tigris
. For this reason it seems he sent a force of 30,000 soldiers under
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
and Sebastianus further eastward to devastate
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
in conjunction with Armenian forces.Bowersock, ''Julian the Apostate'', p. 110. This was where two earlier Roman campaigns had concentrated and where the main Persian forces were soon directed.David S, Potter, ''The Roman Empire at Bay'', p. 517. Julian's strategy lay elsewhere, however. He had had a fleet built of over 1,000 ships at
Samosata Samsat ( tr, Samsat, ku, Samîsad) is a small town and district in the Adıyaman Province Adıyaman Province ( tr, , ku, ) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives f ...

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 ( pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩 ; New Persian: , ''Šāpur'', 309 – 379), also known as Shapur the Great, was the tenth Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings (Shahanshah) of Iran. The List of longest-reigning monarchs, longest ...
with his brother Hormisdas. After feigning a march further eastward, Julian's army turned south to
Circesium Circesium ( syc, ܩܪܩܣܝܢ '), known in Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration wit ...
at the confluence of the
Abora Abora is the name of an ancestral solar deity of La Palma La Palma (), also San Miguel de La Palma, is the most north-westerly island of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Can ...
(Khabur) and the Euphrates arriving at the beginning of April. Passing Dura on 6 April, 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 Sassanids broke the dikes which crossed the land, turning it into
marshland A marsh is a that is dominated by rather than species.Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and stre ...

marshland
, slowing the progress of the Roman army.


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. The Romans gained a tactical victory over the Persians before the gates of the city, driving them back into the city.Cambridge Ancient History, p. 75. However, the Persian capital was not taken. The main Persian army was still at large and approaching, while the Romans lacked a clear strategic objective. In the council of war which followed, Julian's generals persuaded him not to mount a
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...

siege
against the city, given the impregnability of its defences 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, in the Romans' path. Julian had not brought adequate siege equipment, so there was nothing he could do when he found that the Persians had flooded the area behind him, forcing him to withdraw. 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 Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...
, but northward to
Corduene Corduene ( hy, Կորճայք, translit=Korchayk; ; ) was an ancient historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece ...
.Dodgeon & Lieu, ''The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars'', p. 205.


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 The Battle of Samarra took place in June 363, during the invasion of the Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially know ...
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 The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, d ...

intestine
s. The wound was not immediately deadly. Julian was treated by his personal physician,
Oribasius Oribasius or Oreibasius ( el, Ὀρειβάσιος; c. 320 – 403) was a Greek medical writer and the personal physician of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate Julian ( la, Flavius Claudius Julianus; grc-gre, Ἰουλιανός; 331 – ...
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 is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flow ...

wine
, 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, though it was later moved 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 Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius' ...
or other contemporary historians.
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
reports that the supposed assassination was commanded by
Basil of Caesarea Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great ( grc, Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, ''Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas''; cop, Ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲓⲟⲥ; 330 – January 1 or 2, 379), was an East Roman ...

Basil of Caesarea
. Fourteen years later, Libanius said that Julian was killed by a
Saracen file:Erhard Reuwich Sarazenen 1486.png, upright 1.5, Late 15th century German woodcut depicting Saracens Saracens () were primarily Arab Muslims, but also Turkish people, Turks, Persian people, Persians or other Muslims as referred to by Christian ...
(
Lakhmid The Lakhmids ( ar, اللخميون) referred to in Arabic as al-Manādhirah () or Banu Lakhm () was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pron ...

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 Mercurius ( cop, Ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲡⲁⲧⲏⲣ Ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲓⲟⲥ; d. AD 250) was a Christian saint and a martyr A martyr ( Greek: μάρτυς, ''mártys'', "witness"; stem μαρτυρ-, ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecu ...
. Julian was succeeded by the short-lived Emperor
Jovian Jovian is the adjectival form of Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element wit ...
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 , or ("You have won,
Galilean Generically, a Galilean (; he, גלילי; grc, Γαλιλαίων; la, Galilaeos) is an inhabitant of Galilee, a region of Israel surrounding the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret).The New Testament notes that the Apostle Saint Peter, Peter's accent ...

Galilean
"), supposedly expressing his recognition that, with his death,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
would become the Empire's state religion. The phrase introduces the 1866 poem '' Hymn to Proserpine'', which was
Algernon Charles Swinburne Algernon Charles Swinburne (5 April 1837 – 10 April 1909) was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as '' Poems and Ballads'', and contributed to the famous Encyclopædia Brit ...
's elaboration of what a philosophic pagan might have felt at the triumph of Christianity. It also ends the Polish Romantic play ''The Undivine comedy'' written in 1833 by .


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. However, chronicler
ZonarasJoannes or John Zonaras ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Zōnarâs''; fl. 12th century) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces d ...
says that at some "later" date his body was exhumed and reburied in or near the
Church of the Holy Apostles The Church of the Holy Apostles ( el, , ''Agioi Apostoloi''; tr, Havariyyun Kilisesi), also known as the ''Imperial Polyándreion'' (imperial cemetery), was a Greek Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Ortho ...

Church of the Holy Apostles
in Constantinople, where Constantine and the rest of his family lay. His sarcophagus is listed as standing in a "stoa" there by
Constantine Porphyrogenitus Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus Traditionally, born in the purple (sometimes "born to the purple") was a category of members of royal family, royal families born during the reign of their parent. This notion was later loosely expanded to include ...
. The church was demolished by the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe an ...
after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Today a sarcophagus of porphyry, believed by Jean Ebersolt to be Julian's, stands in the grounds of the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.


Religious issues


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; Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeol ...

Helios
'' and ''To the Mother of the Gods'', which were written as
panegyric A panegyric ( or ) is a formal public speech, or (in later use) written verse, delivered in high praise of a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness ...
s, not theological treatises. As the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire, Julian's beliefs are of great interest for historians, but they are not in complete agreement. He learned
theurgy Theurgy (; ) describes the practice of ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including ...
from Maximus of Ephesus, a student of
Iamblichus Iamblichus (; grc-gre, Ἰάμβλιχος ; Safaitic Safaitic ( ''Ṣafāʾiyyah'') is a variety of the South Semitic script used by the nomads of the basalt desert of southern Syria and northern Jordan, the so-called Ḥarrah, to carve ro ...

Iamblichus
; his system bears some resemblance to the Neoplatonism of
Plotinus Plotinus (; grc-gre, Πλωτῖνος, ''Plōtînos'';  – 270 CE) was a major Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surround ...

Plotinus
; Polymnia Athanassiadi has brought new attention to his relations with
Mithraism Mithraism, also known as the Mithraic mysteries, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Ro ...
, although whether he was initiated into it remains debatable; and certain aspects of his thought (such as his reorganization of
paganism Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
under High Priests, and his fundamental
monotheism Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
) 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
Glen Bowersock Glen Warren Bowersock (born January 12, 1936 in Providence, Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the List of U.S. states by area, s ...
in particular), 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''. 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 Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

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 of Constantinople ( grc-gre, Σωκράτης ὁ Σχολαστικός; 380 – after 439), also known as Socrates Scholasticus, was a 5th-century Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Gree ...
was of the opinion that Julian believed himself to be
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
"in another body" via
transmigration of souls Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the Philosophy, philosophical or Religion, religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or physical body, body after ...
, "in accordance with the teachings of
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
and Plato". The diet of Julian is said to have been predominantly vegetable-based.


Restoration of state paganism

After gaining the
purple Purple is any of a variety of color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to t ...
, Julian started a religious reformation of the empire, which was intended to restore the lost strength of the Roman state. He supported the restoration of
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
polytheism 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
Chinese Buddhism Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism has shaped Chinese culture in a wide variety of areas including art, politics, literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings speci ...

Chinese Buddhism
was driven back into the lower classes by a revived
Confucian Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC ...

Confucian
mandarinate in 13th century China."Brown, Peter, ''The World of Late Antiquity'', W. W. Norton, New York, 1971, p. 93. 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 Maiuma or Maiumas was an ancient town at the site of present-day Rimal Rimal or Remal ( ar, حي الرمال, , sands) is an upscale neighborhood in Gaza City located from the city center. Situated along the coastline, it has been considered th ...
, the port of
Gaza Gaza may refer to: Places Palestine * Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea ** Gaza City, a city in the Gaza Strip ** Gaza Governorate, a governorate in the Gaza Strip United States * Gaza, Iowa, an ...
, was a separate
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

city
. Majuma had a large Christian congregation while Gaza was still predominantly pagan. 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. Since the
persecution of Christians The persecution of Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...
by past Roman Emperors had seemingly only strengthened Christianity, many of Julian's actions were designed to harass Christians and undermine their ability to organize resistance to the re-establishment of paganism in the empire.Julian, ''Epistulae'', 52.436A ff. Julian's preference for a non-Christian and non-philosophical view of
Iamblichus Iamblichus (; grc-gre, Ἰάμβλιχος ; Safaitic Safaitic ( ''Ṣafāʾiyyah'') is a variety of the South Semitic script used by the nomads of the basalt desert of southern Syria and northern Jordan, the so-called Ḥarrah, to carve ro ...

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 The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'', which was widely regarded as divinely inspired) that formed the core of classical education: "If they want to learn literature, they have Luke and
Mark Mark may refer to: Currency * Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bo ...
: Let them go back to their churches and expound on them", the edict says. This was an attempt to remove some of the influence 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 also dealt a severe financial blow to many Christian scholars, tutors and teachers, as it deprived them of 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 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.Se
Roberts and DiMaio


Paganism's shift under Julian

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. Most importantly for the pagan cause, though, Rome was still a predominantly pagan empire that had not wholly accepted Christianity. 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. Most pagans sought religious affiliations that were unique to their culture and people, and they had internal divisions that prevented them from creating any one ‘pagan religion.’ Indeed, the term pagan was simply a convenient appellation for Christians to lump together the believers of a system they opposed. In truth, there was no Roman religion, as modern observers would recognize it.Jonathan Kirsch, God against the Gods (New York: Penguin Group, 2004), 9. Instead, paganism came from a system of observances that one historian has characterized as “no more than a spongy mass of tolerance and tradition.” This system of tradition had already shifted dramatically by the time Julian came to power; gone were the days of massive sacrifices honoring the gods. 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. Julian found the financial base that had supported these ventures (sacred temple funds) had been seized by his uncle Constantine to support the Christian Church.Scott Bradbury, "Julian's Pagan Revival and the Decline of Blood Sacrifice," Phoenix 49 (1995): 352. In all, Julian's short reign simply could not shift the feeling of inertia that had swept across the Empire. Christians had denounced sacrifice, stripped temples of their funds, and cut priests and magistrates off from the social prestige and financial benefits accompanying leading pagan positions in the past. Leading politicians and civic leaders had little motivation to rock the boat by reviving pagan festivals. Instead, they chose to adopt the middle ground by having ceremonies and mass entertainment that were religiously neutral. 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. Julian's attempts to reinvigorate the people shifted the focus of paganism from a system of tradition to a religion with some of the same characteristics that he opposed in Christianity. For example, Julian attempted to introduce a tighter organization for the priesthood, with greater qualifications of character and service. Classical paganism simply did not accept this idea of priests as model citizens. Priests were elites with social prestige and financial power who organized festivals and helped pay for them. Yet Julian's attempt to impose moral strictness on the civic position of priesthood only made paganism more in tune with Christian morality, drawing it further from paganism's system of tradition. Indeed, this development of a pagan order created the foundations of a bridge of reconciliation over which paganism and Christianity could meet. Likewise, Julian's persecution of Christians, who by pagan standards were simply part of a different cult, was quite an un-pagan attitude that transformed paganism into a religion that accepted only one form of religious experience while excluding all others—such as Christianity. In trying to compete with Christianity in this manner, Julian fundamentally changed the nature of pagan worship. That is, he made paganism a religion, whereas it once had been only a system of tradition.


Juventinus and Maximus

Many of the Church fathers viewed the emperor with hostility, and told stories of his supposed wickedness after his death. A sermon by Saint
John Chrysostom John Chrysostom (; gr, Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος; 14 September 407) was an important Early Church Father The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential ...
, entitled ''On Saints
Juventinus and Maximinus Saints Juventinus (or Juventius) and Maximinus (died 29 January 363) were members of the Herculians, imperial guard of Julian the Apostate, Emperor Julian. Their feast day is 25 January. Before starting his campaign against the Sassanid Empire, Ju ...
,'' tells the story of two of Julian's soldiers at Antioch, who were overheard at a drinking party, criticizing the emperor's religious policies, and taken into custody. According to John, the emperor had made a deliberate effort to avoid creating martyrs of those who disagreed with his reforms; but Juventinus and Maximinus admitted to being Christians, and refused to moderate their stance. John asserts that the emperor forbade anyone from having contact with the men, but that nobody obeyed his orders; so he had the two men executed in the middle of the night. John urges his audience to visit the tomb of these martyrs.


Charity

The fact that Christian
charities A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the Wor ...
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. 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, saying: ''"These impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also; welcoming them into their agapae, they attract them, as children are attracted, with cakes."''


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 oppose Christianity, he allowed Jews to rebuild their Temple. The point was that the rebuilding of the Temple would invalidate Jesus’ prophecy about its destruction in 70, which Christians had cited as proof of Jesus' truth. But fires broke out and stopped the project. A personal friend of his,
Ammianus Marcellinus Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius' ...
, wrote this about the effort: The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the
Galilee earthquake of 363 The Galilee earthquake of 363 was a pair of severe earthquakes that shook the Galilee and nearby regions on May 18 and 19. The maximum perceived intensity for the events was estimated to be VII (''Very strong'') on the Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karni ...
. Although there is contemporary testimony for the miracle, in the Orations of St. Gregory Nazianzen, this may be taken to be unreliable. Other possibilities are accidental fire or deliberate sabotage. Divine intervention was for centuries a common view among Christian historians, Se
"Julian and the Jews 361–363 CE"
(Fordham University, The Jesuit University of New York) an

and it was seen as proof of Jesus’ divinity. Julian's support of
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...
caused Jews to call him "Julian the Hellene".


Works

Julian wrote several works in Greek, some of which have come down to us. * 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 The Misopogon, or ''Beard-Hater'', is a satirical essay on philosophers by the Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαί ...

Misopogon
'' (or "Beard Hater") is a light-hearted account of Julian's 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 notable Roman emperors: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and Constantine, with the competition also including 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, 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.


Problems regarding authenticity

Julian's works have been edited and translated several times since the Renaissance, most often separately; but many are translated in the Loeb Classical Library edition of 1913, edited by Wilmer Cave Wright. Wright mentions, however, that there are many problems surrounding Julian's vast collection of works, mainly the letters ascribed to Julian. The collections of letters existing today are the result of many smaller collections, which contained varying numbers of Julian's works in various combinations. For example, in Laurentian Library, Laurentianus 58.16, the largest collection of letters ascribed to Julian was found, containing 43 manuscripts. The origins of many letters in these collections are unclear. :nl:Joseph Bidez, Joseph Bidez and Franz Cumont, François Cumont compiled the different collections in 1922 and arrived at a total of 284 items. 157 of these were considered genuine, and 127 were regarded as spurious. This contrasts starkly with Wright's earlier mentioned collection, which contains only 73 items which are considered genuine, along with 10 apocryphal letters. Michael Trapp notes, however, that when comparing Bidez and Cumont's work with Wright's, Bidez and Cumont regard as many as sixteen of Wright's genuine letters as spurious. Which works can be ascribed to Julian is thus very much up to debate. The problems surrounding a collection of Julian's works are exacerbated by the fact that Julian was a motivated writer, which means it is possible that many more letters could have circulated despite his short reign. Julian himself attests to the large number of letters he had to write in a letter that is itself likely to be genuine. Julian's religious agenda gave him even more work than the average emperor as he sought to instruct his newly-styled pagan priests and dealt with discontented Christian leaders and communities. An example of him instructing his pagan priests is found in a fragment in the Vossianus MS., inserted in the Letter to Themistius. Additionally, Julian's hostility towards the Christian faith inspired vicious counteractions by Christian authors, as in
Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nazianzus ( el, Γρηγόριος ὁ Ναζιανζηνός, ''Grēgorios ho Nazianzēnos''; c. 329''Liturgy of the Hours'' Volume I, Proper of Saints, 2 January. – 25 January 390), also known as Gregory the Theologian or Greg ...

Gregory of Nazianzus
' invectives against Julian. Christians no doubt suppressed some of Julian's works as well. This Christian influence is still visible in Wright's much smaller collection of Julian's letters. She comments that some letters are suddenly cut off when the contents become hostile towards Christians and believes this to be the result of Christian censorship. Notable examples appear in the ''Fragment of a letter to a Priest'' and the ''letter to High-Priest Theodorus.''


In popular culture


Literature

* In 1681 William Russell, Lord Russell, Lord Russell, an outspoken opponent of King Charles II of England and his brother James II, The Duke of York, got his chaplain to write a ''Life of Julian the Apostate''. This work made use of the Roman Emperor's life in order to address contemporary English political and theological debates – specifically, to reply to the conservative arguments of George Hickes (divine), Dr Hickes's sermons, and defend the lawfulness of resistance in extreme cases. * In 1847, the controversial German theologian David Friedrich Strauss published in Mannheim 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, known for his romantic dreams of restoring the supposed glories of feudal Medieval society. * Julian's life inspired the play ''Emperor and Galilean'' by Henrik Ibsen. * The late nineteenth century English novelist George Gissing read an English translation of Julian's work in 1891 * 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 Symbolism, Russian Symbolist poet, novelist and literary theoretician Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Dmitrii S. Merezhkovskii. * The opera ''Der Apostat'' (1924) by the composer and conductor Felix Weingartner is about Julian. * 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. * Julian was the subject of a novel, ''Julian (historical novel), Julian'' (1964), by Gore Vidal, 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 (2002). Julian's tale was told by his closest companion, the Christian saint Caesarius of Nazianzus, 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. Ford, while set in the time of the Wars of the Roses, uses the reign of Julian as its point of divergence. 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. Characters in the novel refer to him as "Julian the Wise". *The dystopian speculative fiction novel by Robert Charles Wilson, ''Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America,'' parallels the life of Julian with the titular character as the hereditary president of an oligarchic future United States of America who tries to restore science and combat the fundamentalist Christianity that has taken over the country.


Film

* An Italian movie treatment of his life, ''Giuliano l'Apostata'', was released in 1919.


Street named

'Julian Way' is a main thoroughfare in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
named for the Emperor. It was given that name during the Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate period, and then changed to King David Street with the creation of the State of Israel.


See also

*Against the Galilaeans *Anbar (town), Peroz-Shapur, the ancient town of Perisabora destroyed by Julian in 363 *Diodorus of Tarsus *Itineraries of the Roman emperors, 337–361 *List of Byzantine emperors


Notes


References


Citations


Ancient sources

*
Ammianus Marcellinus Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius' ...
, ''Res Gestae'', Libri XV-XXV (books 15–25). See J.C. Rolfe, ''Ammianus Marcellinus'', Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass., 1935/1985. 3 Volumes. * Ammianus Marcellinus, ''The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus During the Reigns of the Emperors Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinian, and Valens.'' Translated by C. D. Yonge. Full text at Internet Archive a
The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus During the Reigns of the Emperors Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinian, and Valens
Gutenberg etext# 28587. * iarchive:julianemperorco01juligoog, ''Julian the emperor: containing Gregory Nazianzen's two Invectives and Libanius' Monody : with Julian's extant theosophical works.'', Translated by C.W. King. George Bell and Sons, London, 1888. At the Internet Archive *
Claudius MamertinusClaudius Mamertinus (fl. mid-late 4th century AD) 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 Roman consul, consul as a reward by the new ...
, "''Gratiarum actio Mamertini de consulato suo Iuliano Imperatori''", ''Panegyrici Latini'', 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
,

. Both transl. C.W. King, 1888. *
Libanius Libanius ( grc-gre, Λιβάνιος, ; c. 314 – 392 or 393) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...

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


Modern sources

* * Baker-Brian, Nicholas; Tougher, Shaun. (2012). ''Emperor and Author: The Writings of Julian the Apostate.'' The Classical Press of Wales. Swansea. . http://www.classicalpressofwales.co.uk/emperor_author.htm * * *Dodgeon, Michael H. & Samuel N.C. Lieu, ''The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars AD 226–363'', Routledge, London, 1991. *Drinkwater, John F., ''The Alamanni and Rome 213–496 (Caracalla to Clovis)'', OUP Oxford 2007. *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 *Murdoch, Adrian. ''The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World'', Stroud, 2005, * *Potter, David S. ''The Roman Empire at Bay AD 180–395'', Routledge, New York, 2004. *Ridley, R.T., "Notes on Julian's Persian Expedition (363)", ''Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte'', Vol. 22, No. 2, 1973, pp. 317–330 * *Smith, Rowland. ''Julian's gods: religion and philosophy in the thought and action of Julian the Apostate'', London, 1995. *Veyne, Paul. ''L'Empire Gréco-Romain''. Seuil, Paris, 2005. *


Further reading

* *García Ruiz, María Pilar, "Julian's Self-Representation in Coins and Texts." In ''Imagining Emperors in the Later Roman Empire'', Ed. D.W.P. Burgersdijk and A.J. Ross. Leiden. Brill. 2018. 204–233. . *Gardner, Alice, ''Julian Philosopher and Emperor and the Last Struggle of Paganism Against Christianity,'' G.P. Putnam's Son, London, 1895. . Downloadable a
Julian, philosopher and emperor
*Hunt, David. "Julian". In ''The Cambridge Ancient History'', Volume 13 (Averil Cameron & Peter Garnsey editors). CUP, Cambridge, 1998. * *Lenski, Noel Emmanuel ''Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century AD'' University of California Press: London, 2003 *Lieu, Samuel N.C. & Dominic Montserrat: editors, ''From Constantine to Julian: A Source History'' Routledge: New York, 1996. *Neander, August, ''The Emperor Julian and His Generation, An Historical Picture,'' translated by G.V. Cox, John W. Parker, London, 1859. . Downloadable a
The Emperor Julian and his generation
*Rendall, Gerald Henry, ''The Emperor Julian: Paganism and Christianity with Genealogical, Chronological and Bibliographical Appendices,'' George Bell and Sons, London, 1879. . Downloadable a
The Emperor Julian
*Rohrbacher, David. ''Historians of Late Antiquity''. Routledge: New York, 2002. *Rosen, Klaus. ''Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser''. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 2006.


External links

*

Two laws by Constantius II, while Julian was Caesar.
Imperial Laws and Letters Involving Religion
some of which are by Julian relating to Christianity.

Saint Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum.

Article by Adam J. Bravo.

Review by Thomas Banchich.
Excerpt from by Adrian Murdoch, ''The Last Pagan''
at the California Literary Review.
The Julian Society
A society of pagans who admire Julian.

by Gerald Henry Rendall
Julian the Apostate
why he was important, and his place in world history, by Andrew Selkirk * ''Letters'' in ''Epistolographi graeci'', R. Hercher (ed.), Parisiis, editore Ambrosio Firmin Didot, 1873
pp. 337–391

Entry
in ''The Encyclopedia of Ancient History'', * {{Authority control Julian (emperor), 331 births 363 deaths 4th-century Roman consuls 4th-century Roman emperors 4th-century writers Late-Roman-era pagans Claudii Constantinian dynasty Converts to pagan religions from Christianity Critics of Christianity Critics of the Catholic Church Flavii Greek-language writers Julian's Persian expedition Neoplatonists Pagan restorations People of the Roman–Sasanian Wars Persecution of Christians Roman emperors killed in battle Roman philhellenes Roman-era students in Athens