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Julian II  Roman Emperor 361-363 A.D.
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   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".

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Julian II Authentic Ancient Coins for Sale to Buy  Julian II Coins to Buy of Apostate Emperor at Online Coin Shop
Authentic Ancient Coin of:

Julian II 'the Apostate' - Roman Caesar: 355-361 A.D. - Emperor: 361-363 A.D. -
Bronze AE1 Thessalonica mint: 361-363 A.D.
Reference: RIC 225.
 . DN FL C IVLIANVS P F AVG. pearl-diademed, draped, & cuirassed bust right.
SECVRITAS REIPVB, bull standing right; palm branch-TESA-palm branch in ex.

* Numismatic Note: Julian II represented pagan traditions of the Romans. That is why he placed his astrological symbol of Taurus on his coin. This is a unique type by the ancient Celts of Gaul or Britain imitating contemporary Roman coinage. It is interesting to note that the portraiture and motifs were imitated well, but the legends were often blundered as many times they did not know the Latin language.

Flavius Claudius Julianus, known also as Julian, Julian the Apostate or Julian the Philosopher (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".

File:Julien l'Apostat, Musée de Cluny.JPG

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 favour of Neo-Platonic paganism caused him to be called Julian the Apostate by the church, as Edward Gibbon wrote:

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.

Flavius Claudius Julianus, born in May or June 332 or 331 in Constantinople, was the son of Julius Constantius (consul in 335), half brother of Emperor Constantine I, and his second wife, Basilina, both Christians. His paternal grandparents were Western Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus and his second wife, Flavia Maximiana Theodora. His maternal grandfather was Julius Julianus, praetorian prefect of the East under emperor Licinius from 315 to 324 and consul after 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 as sole emperor, Julian's zealous Arian Christian cousin Constantius II led a massacre of Julian's family. Constantius II 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, and their cousins, Julian and Gallus (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 and given a strictly Arian Christian education.

Initially growing up in Bithynia, raised by his maternal grandmother, at the age of seven he was under the guardianship of Eusebius of Nicomedia, the semi-Arian Christian Bishop of Nicomedia, and taught by Mardonius, a Gothic eunuch, whom Julian wrote warmly of later. After Eusebius died in 342, both Julian and Gallus were exiled to the imperial estate of Macellum in Cappadocia. 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.

He became a 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. (Looking back on his life in 362, Julian wrote, in his thirty-first year, that he had spent twenty years in the way of Christianity and twelve in the true way (ie the way of Helios).)

Julian studied Neoplatonism in Asia Minor in 351, at first under Aedesius, the philosopher, and then Neoplatonic theurgy from Aedesius' student, Maximus of Ephesus. He was summoned to Constantius' court in Milan in 354 and kept there for a year; in the summer and fall of 355, he was permitted to study in Athens. While there, Julian became acquainted with two men who later became both bishops and saints: Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil the Great; in the same period, Julian was also initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, which he would later try to restore.

Constantine II died in 340 when he attacked his brother Constans. Constans in turn fell in 350 in the war against the usurper Magnentius. This left Constantius II as the sole remaining emperor. In need of support, in 351 he made Julian's half-brother, Gallus, Caesar 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 court, and held for a year, under suspicion of treasonable intrigue, first with his brother and then with Claudius Silvanus; he was cleared, in part because the Empress Eusebia intervened on his behalf, and he was sent to Athens. (Julian expresses his gratitude to the empress Eusebia in his third oration.)

 Caesar in Gaul

After dealing with the rebellions of Magnentius and Sylvanus, Constantius felt he needed a permanent representative in Gaul. Julian was thus summoned to appear before the emperor in Mediolanum (Milan) and, on 6 November 355, he was made Caesar of the West and married 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 and Constantius' prefects in Gaul would keep him in check. Julian, however, had other ideas, taking every opportunity to involve himself in the affairs of Gaul. In the following years Julian learned how to lead and then run an army, through a series of campaigns against the Germanic tribes that had settled on both sides of the Rhine.

 Campaigns against the Germanic tribes

In 356 during his first campaign he led an army to the Rhine, engaged the barbarians and won back several towns that had fallen into Frankish hands, including Colonia Agrippina (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 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. There seem to have been poor relations between Julian and Marcellus. Constantius accepted Julian's report of events and Marcellus was replaced as magister equitum by Severus.

The following year saw a combined operation planned by Constantius to regain control of the Rhine from the Germanic tribes that had spilt across the river onto the west bank. From the south his magister peditum Barbatio was to come from Milan and amass forces at Augst (near the Rhine bend), then set off north with 25,000 soldiers; Julian with 13,000 troops would move east from Reims. However, while Julian was in transit, a group of Laeti attacked Lyon ("Lugdunum") and Julian was delayed in order to deal with them. This left Barbatio unsupported and deep in Alamanni territory, so he felt obliged to withdraw, retracing his steps. Thus ended the coordinated operation against the Germanic tribes.

With Barbatio safely out of the picture, king Chnodomarius led a confederation of Alamanni forces against Julian and Severus in a battle that took place in the vicinity of Strasbourg. 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. Ammianus, 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, 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, but at the Mainz bridge he crossed over and made a sudden foray into Alamanni territory, where Roman forces had not been seen for many years, forcing three kings 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 that had taken control of some abandoned forts along the Meuse River.

In 358, Julian gained victories over the Salian Franks on the Lower Rhine, settling them in Toxandria in the Roman Empire, north of today's city of Tongeren, and over the Chamavi, who were expelled back to 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. This was Julian's first experience with civil administration. 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 frontier. However, 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. He 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".

 Rebellion in Paris

In the fourth year of Julian's stay in Gaul, the Sassanid Emperor, Shapur II, invaded Mesopotamia and took the city of Amida after a 73-day siege. In February 360, Constantius II ordered more than half of Julian's Gallic troops to his eastern army, the orders 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 Petulantes, who had no desire to leave Gaul. Notably absent at the time was the prefect Florentius, who was usually never 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 emperor in 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. (Julian claimed that Vadomarius had been in league with Constantius encouraging him to raid the borders of 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 [Constantius] merely, and that our quarrel should result in intercourse on more friendly terms...")

However, in June, forces loyal to Constantius captured the city of Aquileia on the north Adriatic coast, an event which 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. 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). Civil war was avoided only by the death on November 3 of Constantius, who, in his last will, recognized Julian as his rightful successor.

 The new emperor and his administration

On December 11, 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 Church of the Apostles, where it was placed alongside that of Constantine. This act was a demonstration of his lawful right to the throne.

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. Nor did he seek to rule as an absolute autocrat. His own philosophic notions led him to idealize the reigns of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. In his first panegyric to Constantius, Julian described the ideal ruler as being essentially primus inter pares ("first among peers"), 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 all the members of the senate and thus embodying the first among peers.

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 tribunal to deal with the corruption of the previous administration under the supervision of magister militum Arbitio. 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, the secret agents, or the imperial post 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.

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 corvées had to be approved by him directly rather than left to the judgement 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 rhetorician Themistius. His choice of consuls for the year 362 was more controversial. One was the very acceptable Claudius Mamertinus, previously the Praetorian Prefect of Illyricum. The other, more surprising choice was Nevitta, Julian's trusted 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 Antiochenes

After five months of dealings at the capital, Julian left Constantinople in May and moved to Antioch, 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 cause for him 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, so there was wailing and moaning in the streets—not a good omen for an arrival.

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 at Daphne. After being advised that the bones of 3rd-century martyred 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 and forced them to sell. Various parts of Libanius' orations may suggest that both sides were justified to some extent[44][45] 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. As David S. Potter says:

They expected a man who was both removed from them by the awesome spectacle of imperial power, and would validate their interests and desires by sharing them from his Olympian height (...) He was supposed to be interested in what interested his people, and he was supposed to be dignified. He was not supposed to leap up and show his appreciation for a panegyric that it was delivered, as Julian had done on January 3, when Libanius was speaking, and ignore the chariot races.

He then tried to address public criticism and mocking of him by issuing a satire ostensibly on himself, called 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.

 The Persian Campaign

Julian's rise to Augustus—it should be remembered—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 Tribunal. 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 Persians offered such an opportunity.

An audacious plan was formulated whose goal was to lay siege on the Sassanid capital city of 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.

After gaining the purple, Julian started a religious reformation of the state, which was intended to restore the lost strength of the Roman State. He supported the restoration of Hellenic paganism 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 Buddhism was driven back into the lower classes by a revived Confucian mandarinate in 13th century China."

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, the port of Gaza, was a separate 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. Practically however, it had as its purpose the restoration of paganism at the expense of Christianity.

Coptic icon showing Saint Mercurius killing Julian. According to a tradition, Saint Basil (an old school-mate of Julian) had been imprisoned at the start of Julian's Sassanid campaign. Basil prayed to Mercurius to help him, and the saint appeared in a vision to Basil, claiming to have speared Julian to death.

 

Juventinus and Maximus

The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches retell a story concerning two of Julian's bodyguards who were Christian. When he came to Antioch, he prohibited the veneration of the relics. The two bodyguards opposed the edict, and were executed at Julian's command. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches remember them as saints Juventinus and Maximus.

Since the persecution of Christians by past Roman Emperors had seemingly only strengthened Christianity, many of Julian's actions were designed to harass and undermine the ability of Christians to organize resistance to the re-establishment of paganism in the empire. Julian's preference for a non-Christian and non-philosophical view of 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, 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: Let them go back to their churches and expound on them", the edict says. This was an attempt to remove some of the power 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 was also a severe financial blow, because it deprived Christian scholars, tutors and teachers of many 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 seen as 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.

 Charity

Because Christian charities were beneficial to all, including pagans, it put this aspect of the Roman citizens lives out of the control of the 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:

Julian's Column in Ankara, built on the occasion of the emperor's visit to the city in 362

 

“““

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.

Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. See their love-feasts, and their tables spread for the indigent. Such practice is common among them, and causes a contempt for our gods.

 Church martyrs

Although Julian was responsible for temporarily stopping factional struggles between Arian and orthodox Christians, the following martyrs have traditionally been dated to his reign:

 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 foster religions other than Christianity, he ordered the Temple rebuilt. A personal friend of his, Ammianus Marcellinus, wrote this about the effort:

Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt.

The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of 363, and to the Jews' ambivalence about the project. Sabotage is a possibility, as is an accidental fire. Divine intervention was the common view among Christian historians of the time. Julian's support of Jews, coming after the hostility of many earlier Emperors, meant that Jews called him Julian the Hellene.

e time. Julian's support of Jews, coming after the hostility of many earlier Emperors, meant that Jews called him Julian the Hellene.

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