Julian the Apostate

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Julian the Apostate

(Flavius Claudius Julianus), 331?–363, Roman emperor (361–63), nephew of Constantine I; successor of Constantius II. He was given an education that combined Christian and Neoplatonic ideas. He and his half-brother Gallus were sent (c.341) to Cappadocia. When Gallus was appointed caesar (351), Julian was brought back to Constantinople. After Gallus had been put to death, Julian was called from the quiet of a scholar's life and made (355) caesar. Sent to Gaul, he was unexpectedly successful in combating the Franks and the Alemanni and was popular with his soldiers. When Constantius, fearing Julian, ordered him (360) to send soldiers to assist in a campaign against the Persians, Julian obeyed, but his soldiers mutinied and proclaimed him augustus. He accepted the title, but Constantius refused to yield the western provinces to him. Before the two could meet in battle to decide the claim, Constantius died, naming Julian as his successor. Sometime in the course of his studies, Julian abandoned Christianity. Although as emperor he issued an edict of religious toleration, he did try unsuccessfully to restore paganism; the result was much confusion since Christianity was rent by the quarrel over Arianism. His short reign was just, and he was responsible for far-reaching legislation. During a campaign against the Persians, he was killed in a skirmish. He was succeeded by JovianJovian
(Flavius Claudius Jovianus) , c.331–364, Roman emperor (363–64). The commander of the imperial guard under Julian the Apostate in his Persian campaign, Jovian was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers when Julian was killed.
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. Julian was a writer of some merit, and his works have been translated into English by W. C. Wright (3 vol., 1913–24).


See G. W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate (1978); P. Athanassiadi-Fowden, Julian and Hellanism (1981).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Julian the Apostate


(full name, Flavius Claudius Julianus Apostata). Born A.D. 331; died A.D. 363. Roman emperor (361–363). Nephew of Constantine the Great.

Although Julian was raised by the bishop Eusebius, his spiritual development was strongly influenced by the eunuch Mardonius, an enthusiastic admirer of Hellenic culture; thus, Julian became a secret adherent of paganism in his youth. In 355, Emperor Constantius appointed him to the position of Caesar

Table 2. Number of days elapsed before the start of each month of a four-year interval
YearJan.0Feb.0Mar.0Apr.0May 0June 0July 0Aug.0Sept.0Oct.0Nov. 0Dec.O
0 ...............0316091121152182213244274305335
1 ...............366397425456486517547578609639670700
2 ...............731762790821851882912943974100410351065
3 ...............109611271155118612161247127713081339136914001430

and made him governor of Gaul. In 360, the Gallic legions who had rebelled against an order from Constantius proclaimed Julian their emperor (Augustus), and when Constantius died in 361, Julian became the autocratic ruler of the Roman Empire.

Julian expanded the rights of the municipal curiae, lowered taxes, reduced the palace staff, and refused the privilege of a luxurious, expensive court. As emperor and with the support of part of the intelligentsia, he openly declared himself to be an adherent of paganism. He reformed the pagan religion on the basis of Neoplatonism, issued two edicts against Christianity, and restored pagan temples.

Julian was the author of a number of works—treatises, speeches, and letters—directed against Christians. His actions aroused the hatred of the Christian clergy, who nicknamed him the Apostate (Apostata). After Julian’s death (from wounds incurred in a battle against the Persians on the Tigris River), the anti-Christian edicts were repealed by Emperor Jovian, and the persecution of Christians was ended.


In Russian translation:
“Pis’ma.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1970, nos. 1–3.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Julian the Apostate

(331–363) Roman emperor, educated as a Christian but renounced Christianity when he became emperor. [Rom. Hist.: Benét, 533]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
I should explain that Julian Comstock is the Julian the Apostate figure in this novel.
One can almost hear him speak Edward's muttered line from Swinburne, "Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean" (GS 251), although Edward's meaning would be much closer to Julian the Apostate's putative dying words, "Vicisti Galilaee." Edward's own dying statement to Dowell is more prosaic: "So long, old man, I must have a bit of rest, you know" (GS 256), as is one of Scobie's last remarks: "I just want to stop giving pain," a sentiment that could just as well come from Edward (HM 295).
The chosen thema is 'Vicistis malignum' of 1 John 2:13, and the preacher explains malignum in his usual fourfold way: you, he begins (i.e., the two saints commemorated), overcame the evil one - first, Julian the Apostate; second, the world with its greed; third, the devil with his deceit; and fourth, the body with its evil desire.
Vidal returned to writing novels with Julian (1964), a sympathetic fictional portrait of Julian the Apostate, the 4th-century pagan Roman emperor who opposed Christianity.
The work is to be dated to the era between the Mishnah and the Talmud, and there may be a connection with the attempt to rebuild the temple during the reign of Julian the Apostate. A Bodleian manuscript is chosen as the codex optimus for the Hebrew text, but there is also a weighty critical apparatus based on other manuscripts and Genizah fragments and the appendices, plates, indices, and bibliography constitute a wealth of additional material.
Martin Luther King, Jr., a forceful treatment of the civil rights movement; Candy, a sex farce by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg; and Julian by Gore Vidal, a novel about the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate.
Born at Singidunum (Beograd) about 331, the son of Varronianus, the comes domesticus (head of the imperial household); prefect of the imperial guard to Emperor Julian the Apostate during his expedition against Persia; following Julian's death (June 26, 363), Jovianus was acclaimed emperor after the praetorian prefect Salutius Secundus declined the honor; he quickly made peace with the Persians, surrendering to them the lands annexed in Diocletian's time, together with the cities of Singara (Al Badi) and Nisibis (Nusaybin), and so extricated his army intact; when he reached Roman territory he restored Christianity and forbade pagan practices; on his way to Constantinople he fell ill and died at Dadastana on the Galatian-Bithynian border (north of Ankara) (February 17, 364).
It was followed by Emperor and Galilean (1873), a historical play in two parts on Julian the Apostate. Pillars of Society (1877) deals with the shady acts of a wealthy and hypocritical businessman.
Because of this image, the holiday has turned into the day of the horse breeder and horse races.Another story suggests Theodore foiled a plan by Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, who wanted to mock Christians by making them them eat food stained with the blood of animals that had been sacrificed to Pagan idols.
[The study] steers a wide path between the two rather obsessional subjects of the emperor Julian the Apostate's adhesion to Hellenic religion until his death in 363 and the emperor Justinian the Great's supposed final suppression of pagan cult in 529." The author also states that this work is not about paganism or Christianity, but rather it is an in-depth investigation of the radical transformation that occurred in Greek cities and in the hinterlands--the cultural and religious context for this transformation and the dynamics, personalities and behaviors of leaders and intellectuals, and occurrences among the people.
The author traces the influence, reception, and diffusion of this motif since the Socratic-Platonic dialogues (chapter two), through Hellenistic and Roman culture, focusing on Plutarch (chapter three), through Marcus Aurelius (chapter four), and Julian the Apostate (chapter five).
Drinkwater, `The "Pagan Underground", Constantius II's "Secret Service", and the Survival, and the Usurpation of Julian the Apostate', in C.