The Emperor Julian


By Robert Browning, Published in 1976



Julian is called by Christians “The Apostate” because they believe he converted from Christianity to Paganism. He himself, as attested to in private letters between him and the Rhetorician Libanius, had Christianity forced on him as a child by his cousin Constantius II, who was a zealot Christian and would have not tolerated a pagan relative, but Julian had never really accepted any religion until his reading of the Homeric poems, some of the most important texts for the Greek religion. After this conversion to Hellenism he devoted his life to protecting and restoring the fame and security of this more ancient tradition as well as other religious traditions such as Judaism from Christian persecution. After gaining the purple, Julian started a religious reformation of the state, which, in his intentions, was to give back its lost strength to the Roman State. He supported the restoration of the old Roman faith, based on polytheism. Julian reduced the influence of Christian bishops in public offices. The lands taken by the Church were to be returned to their original owners, and the bishops lost the privilege to travel for free, at expenses of the State. .

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