Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Julian (Flavius Claudius Julianus), a Roman emperor known in history as "Julian the Apostate," was born at Constantinople in 331. His father, Julius Constantius, the brother of Constantine, was put to death, together with most of his kinsmen, by the sons of Constantine in 337. Julian and his brother Gallus were alone spared, the fate of the latter also being deferred for the time only. Julian was brought up a Christian, but under the influence of the rhetoricians soon became a philosophical pagan. His youth was spent in retirement at different places in Asia Minor, but after the execution of Gallus in 354 he was confined at Milan. By the favour of the Empress Eusebia he was allowed to go thence to pursue his studies at Athens, and in the same year, 355, he was summoned to Milan, married to Helena, sister of Constantius, and appointed governor of Gaul, with the title of Caesar. In the administration of that province the young student showed remarkable and unexpected powers. The Alemanni were defeated at Strasburg, and the other invaders of Gaul were subdued, the cities they had laid waste were rebuilt, and the burdens of taxation were lightened as much as was possible. So successful had been Julian's administration that the jealousy of the Emperor Constantius was awakened. When, however, an attempt was made to weaken him by the withdrawal of some of his best legions, the army of Paris resisted, and forced Julian to accept the title of Augustus. The troops now advanced towards Constantinople to fight the matter out with Constantius; but in the following year he died, and Julian was sole emperor. He had previously declared his adherence to the old religion, and now issued an edict of toleration. Nevertheless, he indirectly favoured the worship of the old gods to the full extent of his power. The soldiers, on taking the oath of allegiance to the emperor, were at the same time obliged to throw incense upon the altar. While at Constantinople in 361-2 the emperor swept away many abuses. He then proceeded to Antioch, whence he was to start on his campaign against the Persians. Here he was unpopular, and was lampooned by the city wits, to whom he replied by a curious satire on their effeminacy, in which he handles his own character with great freedom. After passing the winter at Tarsus he marched through Mesopotamia, and after defeating the Persian army near Ctesiphon, crossed the Tigris. He was now induced by treacherous promises to march into the desolate interior in the midst of the hot season. His army was surrounded by the Persians, many of whose attacks were repulsed, but in one of them (June, 363) Julian was mortally wounded, and is said to have died crying - "Vicisti Galilaee!" He is also described by Ammianus Marcellinus as addressing his officers in a noble Socratic speech. Julian was at once a soldier, a student, and an administrator. He had something both of the Greek and the Roman in his temperament. He had the rhetorical turn of the former, and the private and civic virtues of the days of the republic; but he had little dignity, and his philosophy was largely mingled with superstition. He was particularly addicted to the practice of divination. Christian writers, like Gregory Nazianzen and Chrysostom, denounced him with great ferocity, but his love of truth and the purity of his life have been judged by cooler heads to have been unimpeachable. Julian's chief work, his treatise against the Christians, is lost, but his Letters, Orations, and Satires are extant.