Definitions for julian the apostate

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The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Julian the Apostate

    Roman emperor for 18 months, from 361 to 363; was born at Constantinople, his father being a half-brother of Constantine the Great, on whose death most of Julian's family were murdered; embittered by this event, Julian threw himself into philosophic studies, and secretly renounced Christianity; as joint emperor with his cousin from 355 he showed himself a capable soldier, a vigorous and wise administrator; on becoming sole emperor he proclaimed his apostasy, and sought to restore paganism, but without persecuting the Church; though painted in blackest colours by the Christian Fathers, he was a lover of truth, chaste, abstinent, just, and affectionate, if somewhat vain and superstitious; he was killed in an expedition against Persia; several writings of his are extant, but a work he wrote against the Christians is lost (331-363).


  1. Julian

    Julian, also known as Julian the Apostate, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363, as well as a notable philosopher and author in Greek. A member of the Constantinian dynasty, Julian became Caesar over the western provinces by order of Constantius II in 355 and in this role campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Argentoratum despite being outnumbered. In 360 in Lutetia he was proclaimed Augustus by his soldiers, sparking a civil war between Julian and Constantius. Before the two could face each other in battle, however, Constantius died, after naming Julian as his rightful successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the Sassanid Empire. Though initially successful, Julian was mortally wounded in battle and died shortly thereafter. 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 it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman values in order to, as he saw it, save it from dissolution.

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