Defending Julian from opinions based on an uncritical evaluation of sources

May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
#1
When people (even self professed "historians") with an uncritical mind rely steadfastly upon Christian sources from 4th and 5th centuries in order to denigrate Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus then it is rather inevitable that a profound folly attends their written opinions. Suddenly the tumultuous political events concerning church and state, bishops and Emperor, and the future stability of the Roman Empire are left for the Christian sources to explain. Invariably these sources glorify the rise of Constantine's imperial Christendom and demonise its political opponents.

Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire
JULIAN.
§ I.

Justice is often done at last. Two or three authors, either venal or fanatical, eulogize the cruel and effeminate Constantine as if he had been a god, and treat as an absolute miscreant the just, the wise, and the great Julian. All other authors, copying from these, repeat both the flattery and the calumny. They become almost an article of faith. At length the age of sound criticism arrives; and at the end of fourteen hundred years, enlightened men revise the cause which had been decided by ignorance. In Constantine we see a man of successful ambition, internally scoffing at things divine as well as human. He has the insolence to pretend that God sent him a standard in the air to assure him of victory. He imbrues himself in the blood of all his relations, and is lulled to sleep in all the effeminacy of luxury; but he is a Christian — he is canonized.

Julian is sober, chaste, disinterested, brave, and clement; but he is not a Christian — he has long been considered a monster.​

Julian has been demonised by the Christian regime ever since he legally altered the name of their assembly to the assembly of the Galilaeans. He wrote three books that shook the Christian world, and threatened its standing in the empire. These books were burnt by the Christians. What was the thesis of the Emperor Julian in these three books "Against the Christians"?

    • It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind
      the reasons by which I was convinced that
      the fabrication of the Galilaeans
      is a fiction of men composed by wickedness.
      Though it has in it nothing divine,
      by making full use of that part of the soul
      which loves fable and is childish and foolish,
      it has induced men to believe
      that the monstrous tale is truth.

Julian was far from being unintelligent. That's why his books were burnt, and his writings and letters mutilated by the Christian state of the 4th and 5th centuries. His written opinions and his legal actions represented a great danger to their prestige and standing. The Christian sources demonise Julian.

I repeat, when people (even self professed "historians") with an uncritical mind rely steadfastly upon Christian literary sources in order to paint a bad picture of Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus then it is rather inevitable that a profound folly attends their written opinions.


Julian the Apostate being intelligent? Very unlikely unless one learns his history from some Edward Gibberish works who polished the actions of Julian the Apostate who actually failed not just as religious reformer, but also culturally and militarily.

Julian combined a branch of polytheism with variety of different Pagan traditions that he put himself outside the mainstream of contemporary belief in such a way that his effort of reopening temples and appointing cult leaders across his empire was a failure when he found out that his reception by pagans was “as best lukewarm” as the Roman historian, David Potter, states in “Rome in the Ancient World” in page 288. - Taking into consideration that Julian and the pagans were majority in his reign while the Christians were still a minority, then his ineptitude as a religious reformer is quite embarrassing.

As a politician he was also not quite wise. He only became sole emperor because Constantius II died unexpected, and Potter also notes that “perhaps more serious than his religious policy was the fact that he mixed badly with society” giving his actions in Antioch where he lacked the ability to participated in the common entertainments of his people like chariot racing for example, or his botched handling of grain shortage around the city due to his army. He even alienated powerful groups within the bureaucracy in Antioch, and just after the death of Constantius II he ordered trials and execution of some leading officials despite many (including Ammianus) thought were treated unjustly.

He is, as far as I know, the only Roman emperor who ordered a ban on learning towards the Christians. Which stupid emperor apart from Julian the Apostate does such thing?

He also showed signs of being mentally ill or perhaps just a little bit retarded. David Potter notes: “Beyond this, Julian's appointees to various offices raises questions in people's mind. A contemporary orator says that he employed his prophetic powers to make these appointments, with the result that people who were expected to get them did not. (…)” :lol:

And this not to mention his disastrous campaign in Persia where he entered enemy area without proper knowledge of the geography and without bringing proper siege-equipment. The results were disaster: he found out that the Persians entrenched themselves in fortress in safety since Julian could not siege them, and not to mention that the Persians then flooded the area behind him with the Tigris River, and thus Julian and his army was trapped in the territory of the enemy. And the rest is history: He took a hasty decision to move his hungry and exhausted army up the Tigris River where the Persians easily could follow after and slowly harassing him and then that dumbass died when he was wounded, and the Roman Empire was forced to cede some areas to the Persians.

Here a Persian marble where the Persians stand on his body and the Shah on his face:

View attachment 15688


What a pathetic erratic stupid inept loser Julian was. And all this happened in his paltry 1 and half year. Yes, in such a short reign he managed to ban the learning, failed to restore Paganism despite the pagans were a majority and even abused the military capacity of the Roman Empire. In only 1 and half year. Very inteligent of him. :lol:
 
Likes: Tammuz

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,669
Blachernai
#4
Why is the fourth century always about the triumph of Christianity and not the triumph of the bureaucractization of the Roman state?
 
#5
It is a shame he wasn’t successful. We would see Christianity like we see manicheanism today. Just a page in a book
I'm not sure he could have stemmed the tide of Christianity. While the support for Christianity by Constantine and his sons had given the religion a serious advantage, the failure of the Tetrarchs to legislate with success against the religion shows that there were limits to how much an emperor's regime could successfully counter cultural trends.
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#6
Voltaire lived in 1700’s and during that time it was common to use historical myths such that Galileo was tortured in a Catholic dungeon or that a Great Library was destroyed in 391 to use them as criticism in their contemporary time.

The students of history and scholars of Roman history at universities hardly take accounts of Christians (or Pagans for the sake) without considering what their intentions are.

Also, a lot of other Roman/Byzantine leaders also actually have wrote books on various topics without being such an inept emperor as Julian, and I doubt that lack of works from him is due to his enemy have burned his works as many works, even in Chinese history or in Pagan Roman that failed to preserve previous works, was common since it was what they considered “useful” that was preserved. – Why should such an inept, and probably mentally ill, ruler such of Julian have wrote something useful?

Julian the apostate was definitely inept and not intelligent, and my impression as an educated historian and even as an atheist is that many share that opinion unless one learns his history from dubious (and outdated) secondary sources such of Gibbon or Voltaire.

Here a satire I have made that illustrate his achievements:

Julian the not so smart emperor.jpg

:lol::lol::lol:
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,139
Portugal
#7
I repeat, when people (even self professed "historians") with an uncritical mind rely steadfastly upon [word removed] literary sources in order to paint a bad picture of...
I removed the word Christians to comment this:

Any person, any historian, any self professed historian, that uses uncritically any source to study the past isn’t doing a good job, isn’t doing a historian job. Criticizing source is essential in the historical method.

my impression as an educated historian…
Curious formulation.
 
Likes: sparticulous
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#8
Curious formulation.
It takes 6 semesters (3 years if you don’t fail) to receive a Bachelor's degree as historian. Not only does one receive lessons in basic world and national history, but also in source criticism, scientific theory and literature-searching. Then one will become an “educated historian” or a “trained historian”.

So not clear what you mean.
 
Feb 2019
259
California
#9
Voltaire lived in 1700’s and during that time it was common to use historical myths such that Galileo was tortured in a Catholic dungeon or that a Great Library was destroyed in 391 to use them as criticism in their contemporary time.

The students of history and scholars of Roman history at universities hardly take accounts of Christians (or Pagans for the sake) without considering what their intentions are.

Also, a lot of other Roman/Byzantine leaders also actually have wrote books on various topics without being such an inept emperor as Julian, and I doubt that lack of works from him is due to his enemy have burned his works as many works, even in Chinese history or in Pagan Roman that failed to preserve previous works, was common since it was what they considered “useful” that was preserved. – Why should such an inept, and probably mentally ill, ruler such of Julian have wrote something useful?

Julian the apostate was definitely inept and not intelligent, and my impression as an educated historian and even as an atheist is that many share that opinion unless one learns his history from dubious (and outdated) secondary sources such of Gibbon or Voltaire.

Here a satire I have made that illustrate his achievements:

View attachment 15815 The logic here is not particularly impressive. You assert that Julian was stupid because why again? Because he believed in the old gods (as did every genius who ever lived before JC)? Because he wasn't taken in by the Christian's idiocy? I'm not saying you are wrong, just that you have provided zero evidence. And it's pretty funny to me how you look down on Voltaire and Gibbon, two of the greatest people (first) and historians (second) who ever lived.....yes I know appeal to authority can be a logical fallacy, but remind me---who are you again?

:lol::lol::lol:
 
Feb 2019
259
California
#10
Sorry gents, I meant the above as a reply, thus:


View attachment 15815 The logic here is not particularly impressive. You assert that Julian was stupid because why again? Because he believed in the old gods (as did every genius who ever lived before JC)? Because he wasn't taken in by the Christian's idiocy? I'm not saying you are wrong, just that you have provided zero evidence. And it's pretty funny to me how you look down on Voltaire and Gibbon, two of the greatest people (first) and historians (second) who ever lived.....yes I know appeal to authority can be a logical fallacy, but remind me---who are you again?
 

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