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Old September 7th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #1

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Caesars by Julian the Apostate


Julian: Caesars - translation

The Emperor Julian writes about a dinner party with the Gods who set up a contest between past Emperors of Rome. It's interesting to see how a Roman Emperor viewed his predecessors. I was shocked that Octavian was considered a monster, and I laughed at how Caligula got such short, sharp treatment; Zeus is warned that Julius Caesar might be after his domains; Caracalla is turned away at the door and his seat is offered to Alexander the Great who is used as the measure for everyone else. I just found this and found it very amusing.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Caracalla View Post
Julian: Caesars - translation

The Emperor Julian writes about a dinner party with the Gods who set up a contest between past Emperors of Rome. It's interesting to see how a Roman Emperor viewed his predecessors. I was shocked that Octavian was considered a monster, and I laughed at how Caligula got such short, sharp treatment; Zeus is warned that Julius Caesar might be after his domains; Caracalla is turned away at the door and his seat is offered to Alexander the Great who is used as the measure for everyone else. I just found this and found it very amusing.
Not to mention the harsh treatment on Constantinus I and his sons, the dire criticism on Jesus' doctrine, and Julianus' own explicit assumption of Mithraism as the last guest...
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Old September 7th, 2011, 02:21 PM   #3

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Extremely interesting (and funny) stuff, I'm deeply pleased its survived to the present.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #4

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Not to mention the harsh treatment on Constantinus I and his sons, the dire criticism on Jesus' doctrine, and Julianus' own explicit assumption of Mithraism as the last guest...
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As for Constantinus, he could not discover among the gods the model of his own career, but when he caught sight of Pleasure, who was not far off, he ran to her. She received him tenderly and embraced him, then after dressing him in raiment of many colours and otherwise making him beautiful, she led him away to Incontinence. There too he found Jesus, who had taken up his abode with her and cried aloud to all comers: "He that is a seducer, he that is a murderer, he that is sacrilegious and infamous, let him approach without fear! For with this water will I wash him and will straightway make him clean. And though he should be guilty of those same sins a second time, let him but smite his breast and beat his head and I will make him clean again."
That is pretty damning, isn't it?

Did Julian have a thing for Marcus Aurelius? The guy could do no wrong!
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Old September 7th, 2011, 04:35 PM   #5

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Here is a version with footnotes.
Julian - "The Caesars" aka "Symposium" aka "Kronia" (361 CE)


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Originally Posted by Caracalla View Post
That is pretty damning, isn't it?

Did Julian have a thing for Marcus Aurelius? The guy could do no wrong!
A philosopher Emperor was perhaps Julian's model. Marcus wins the door prize.
Notice the appearance of Jesus after Constantine ....


Quote:

  • As for Constantine, he could not discover among the gods
    the model of his own career, but when he caught sight of
    Pleasure, who was not far off, he ran to her. She received
    him tenderly and embraced him, then after dressing him in
    raiment of many colours and otherwise making him beautiful,
    she led him away to Incontinence.

    There too he found Jesus, who had taken up his abode with





    her and cried aloud to all comers:

    • "He that is a seducer, he that is a murderer,
      he that is sacrilegious and infamous,
      let him approach without fear!
      For with this water will I wash him
      and will straightway make him clean.

      And though he should be guilty
      of those same sins a second time,
      let him but smite his breast and beat his head
      and I will make him clean again."
    To him Constantine came gladly, when he had conducted his
    sons forth from the assembly of the gods. But the avenging
    deities none the less punished both him and them for their
    impiety, and extracted the penalty for the shedding of the
    blood of their kindred, [96] until Zeus granted them a respite
    for the sake of Claudius and Constantius. [97]
"As for thee", Hermes said to me, "I have granted
you the knowledge of thy father Mithras. Do thou keep
his commandments, and thus secure for thyself a cable
and sure anchorage throughout thy life, and when thou
must depart from the world that canst with good hopes
adopt him as thy guardian god."



And his name is Emperor Julian, not Emperor Julian the Apostate. (See the WIKI wars) The term "Apostate" was applied by his detractors after his death. On the other foot do we still call Christians "Galilaeans" as Julian legislated?

For those who want to call Julian "Apostate" then perhaps the longer term "Apostate under House Arrest" is more appropriate. It is arguable that Julian was a christian only by the status of his House Arrest. The House that arrested him and killed his family and incarcerated him for many years was a "Christian House Arrest".

Compare Ammianus's obituaries to Constantius and Julian. Did Ammianus bother to declare that Julian was an "Apostate" from "the plain and simple religion of the Christians"?

Last edited by Kookaburra Jack; September 7th, 2011 at 04:55 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 05:52 PM   #6

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Was Nerva really that well regarded? I had no idea.

And why does Claudius Gothicus get all the credit while Aurelian is just called a murderer?
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Old September 7th, 2011, 06:04 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
And his name is Emperor Julian, not Emperor Julian the Apostate. (See the WIKI wars) The term "Apostate" was applied by his detractors after his death.
I put Julian the Apostate for simplicity sake because that is how he is more commonly known. The more I read about him the more I like him so I'm certainly not a detractor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixi666
Was Nerva really that well regarded? I had no idea.

And why does Claudius Gothicus get all the credit while Aurelian is just called a murderer?
I'd be interested to know if Julian's views on previous emperors were a widespread view throughout the empire, or wheather this was his own personal perspective of them. Obviously some of them - Marcus Aurelius and Constantine - are personal perspectives, but I do wonder on some of the older characters.

I love the bitch fight between Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, particularly Alexander's put down of Pompey the Great.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #8

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Here are links to scans of the first two volumes of the Loeb translation of Julian's work.

Vol I: The works of the Emperor Julian ... - Google Books
Vol II: The works of the Emperor Julian ... - Google Books

Unfortunately I was unable to locate a scan of volume III.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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That is pretty damning, isn't it?

Did Julian have a thing for Marcus Aurelius? The guy could do no wrong!
It was pure political propaganda; aside from the natural empathy of Julianus with the other paradigmatic philosopher-emperor, absolutely all the emperors after Commodus consider Marcus Aurelius as the ultimate link of their legitimacy, in one way or the other.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 08:04 PM   #10
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Was Nerva really that well regarded? I had no idea.

And why does Claudius Gothicus get all the credit while Aurelian is just called a murderer?
More or less the same story here; the deliberate and careful Manichean pinpointing of almost all of Julianus' predecessors was easily explained in political (fundamentally propagandistic) terms.

Nerva was another node between previous dynasties, an indispensable legitimacy link for later rulers.

Claudius II was oficially claimed as the purported (quite likely false) origin of the Constantinian dynasty of which Julianus did belong to; Aurelianus was presented as the perfid usurper that treacherouly displaced Claudius' dynasty by the murder of Quintillus.
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