Thursday, June 26, 2014

JULIAN ~ 331/332 ~ June 26, 363 C.E.

Flavius Claudius Julianus, known also as Julian or Julian the Apostate (331/332– 26 June 363), was Roman Emperor (Caesar, November 355 to February 360; Augustus, February 360 to June 363), last of the Constantinian dynasty. Julian was a man of "unusually complex character": he was "the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters".

Julian was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire and it was his desire to bring the empire back to its ancient Roman values in order to save it from "dissolution". He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the cost of Christianity. His rejection of Christianity in favor of Neo-Platonic paganism caused him to be called Julian the Apostate by the church, as Edward Gibbon wrote:

“The triumph of the party which he deserted and opposed has fixed a stain of infamy on the name of Julian; and the unsuccessful apostate has been overwhelmed with a torrent of pious invectives, of which the signal was given by the sonorous trumpet of Gregory Nazianzen.”

In 363, after a reign of only 19 months as absolute ruler of the Roman Empire, Julian died in Persia during a campaign against the Sassanid Empire.


Gore Vidal wrote a marvelous novel entitled "Julian." It's one of my all time favorites. I have an autographed first edition, I had him sign when he spoke at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco just before the 2000 election. When asked whom he suppported, Gore Vidal stated that he had to go with family and support his distant cousin Al Gore.

1 comment:

abhas@numismatology said...

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Titian in the Frari (Venezia)