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Julian an

a judge.

the royal seat of Agamemnon,80 and had given to Macedonia a race of kings and conquerors. 81 The laborious administration of military and civil affairs, which

were multiplied in proportion to the extent of the empire, orator and exercised the abilities of Julian; but he frequently assumed

page. the two characters of Orator 82 and of Judge,83 which are almost unknown to the modern sovereigns of Europe. The arts of persuasion, so diligently cultivated by the first Cæsars, were neglected by the military ignorance and Asiatic pride of their successors, and, if they condescended to harangue the soldiers, whom they feared, they treated with silent disdain the senators, whom they despised. The assemblies of the senate, which Constantius had avoided, were considered by Julian as the place where he could exhibit with the most propriety the maxims of a republican and the talents of a rhetorician. He alternately practised, as in a school of declamation, the several modes of praise, of censure, of exhortation ; and his friend Libanius has remarked that the study of Homer taught him to imitate the simple, concise style of Menelaus, the copiousness of Nestor, whose words descended like the flakes of a winter's snow, or the pathetic and forcible eloquence of Ulysses. The functions of a judge, which are sometimes incompatible with those of a prince, were exercised by Julian not only as a duty, but as an amusement; and although he might have trusted the integrity and discernment of his Prætorian præfects, he often placed himself by their side on the seat of judgment. The acute penetration of his mind was agreeably occupied in detecting and defeating the chicanery of the advocates, who laboured to disguise the truth of facts and to pervert the sense of the laws. He sometimes forgot the

80 He reigned in Mycenæ, at the distance of fifty stadia, or six miles, from Argos; but those cities, which alternately flourished, are confounded by the Greek poets. Strabo, 1. viii. p. 579, edit. Amstel. 1707 (p. 377, edit. Casaub.].

81 Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 421. This pedigree from Temenus and Hercules may be suspicious; yet it was allowed, after a strict inquiry by the judges of the Olympic games (Herodot. l. v. c. 22), at a time when the Macedonian kings were obscure and unpopular in Greece. When the Achæan league declared against Philip, it was thought decent that the deputies of Argos should retire (T. Liv. xxxii. 22).

82 His eloquence is celebrated by Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 75, 76, p. 300, 301), who distinctly mentions the orators of Homer, Socrates (1. iii. c. 1) has rashly asserted that Julian was the only prince since Julius Cæsar who harangued the senate. All the predecessors of Nero (Tacit. Annal. xiii. 3), and many of his successors, possessed the faculty of speaking in public; and it might be proved by various examples that they frequently exercised it in the senate.

83 Ammianus (xxii. 10) has impartially stated the merits and defects of his judicial proceedings. Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 90, 91, p. 315, &c.) has seen only the fair side; and his picture, if it flatters the person, expresses at least the duties of the judge. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iv. p. 120), who suppresses the virtues and exag. gerates even the venial faults of the Apostate, triumphantly asks, Whether such a judge was fit to be seated between Minos and Rhadamanthus in the Elysian fields ?

AX. 363. HIS CHARACTER. 133

gravity of his station, asked indiscreet or unseasonable questions, and betrayed, by the loudness of his voice and the agitation of his body, the earnest vehemence with which he maintained his opinion against the judges, the advocates, and their clients. But his knowledge of his own temper prompted him to encourage, and even to solicit, the reproof of his friends and ministers: and whenever they ventured to oppose the irregular sallies of his passions, the spectators could observe the shame as well as the gratitude of their monarch. The decrees of Julian were almost always founded on the principles of justice, and he had the firmness to resist the two most dangerous temptations which assault the tribunal of a sovereign under the specious forms of compassion and equity. He decided the merits of the cause without weighing the circumstances of the parties; and the poor, whom he wished to relieve, were condemned to satisfy the just demands of a noble and wealthy adversary. He carefully distinguished the judge from the legislator ;84 and though he meditated a necessary reformation of the Roman jurisprudence, he pronounced sentence according to the strict and literal interpretation of those laws which the magistrates were bound to execute and the subjects to obey.

The generality of princes, if they were stripped of their purple and cast naked into the world, would immediately sink to Hl9 cha. the lowest rank of society, without a hope of emerging from ncteitheir obscurity. But the personal merit of Julian was, in some measure, independent of his fortune. Whatever had been his choice of life, by the force of intrepid courage, lively wit, and intense application, he would have obtained, or at least he would have deserved, the highest honours of his profession, and Julian might have raised himself to the rank of minister or general of the state in which he was born a private citizen. If the jealous caprice of power had disappointed his expectations; if he had prudently declined the paths of greatness, the employment of the same talents in studious solitude would have placed beyond the reach of kings his present happiness and his immortal fame. When we inspect with minute, or perhaps malevolent, attention the portrait of Julian, something seems wanting to the grace and perfection of the whole figure. His genius was less powerful and sublime than that of Caesar, nor did he possess the consummate prudence of Augustus. The virtues of Trajan appear more steady and natural, and the philosophy of Marcus is more simple and consistent. Yet Julian sustained adversity with firmness, and prosperity with moderation. After an interval of one hundred and twenty years from the death of Alexander Severus, the Romans beheld an emperor who made no distinction between his duties and his pleasures, who laboured to relieve the distress and to revive the spirit of his subjects, and who endeavoured always to connect authority with merit, and happiness with virtue. Even faction, and religious faction, was constrained to acknowledge the superiority of his genius in peace as well as in war, and to confess, with a sigh, that the apostate Julian was a lover of his country, and that he deserved the empire of the world.85 a

84 Of the laws which Julian enacted in a reign of sixteen months, fifty-four have been admitted into the codes of Theodosius and Justinian. (Gothofred. Cbron. Legum, p. 64-67.) The Abbe de la BMterie (torn. ii. p. 329-336) has chosen one of these laws to give an idea of Julian's Latin style, which is forcible and elaborate, but leas pure than his Greek.

81 ... . Ductor fortissimus armis,

Conditor et legum celeberrimuB, ore manuque
Consultor patriae, sed uon consultor habendse
Religionis, ainans tercentum millia Divum.
Perfidus ille Deo, quaimis non perfidus orbi.

Prudent. ApotheoBis, 450, 4c.
The consciousness of a generous sentiment seems to have raised the Christian poet
above his usual mediocrity.

* The most important work on Julian alter, Leipzig, 1812, of which an English since the time of Gibbon is by Neander, translation was published in 1850.—S. Ueber den Kaiser Julian und sein Zeit

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Chat. XX.III. HIS KELIGIOX. 133

CHAPTER XXIII.

The Religion Of Julian. Universal Toleration. He Attempts To

Restore And Reform The Pagan Worship To Rebuild The Temple Of

Jerusalem. — His Artful Persecution Of The Christians. Mutual
Zeal, Axd Injustice.

The character of Apostate has injured the reputation of Julian;
and the enthusiasm which clouded his virtues has exagge- Reunion of
rated the real and apparent magnitude of his faults. Our Jullan-
partial ignorance may represent him as a philosophic monarch, who
studied to protect, with an equal hand, the religious factions of the
empire, and to allay the theological fever which had inflamed the
minds of the people from the edicts of Diocletian to the exile of
Athanasius. A more accurate view of the character and conduct
of Julian will remove this favourable prepossession for a prince who
did not escape the general contagion of the times. We enjoy the
singular advantage of comparing the pictures which have been deli-
neated by his fondest admirers and his implacable enemies. The
actions of Julian are faithfully related by a judicious and candid
historian, the impartial spectator of his life and death. The unani-
mous evidence of his contemporaries is confirmed by the public and
private declarations of the emperor himself; and his various writings
express the uniform tenor of his religious sentiments, which policy
would have prompted him to dissemble rather than to affect A
devout and sincere attachment for the gods of Athens and Rome
constituted the ruling passion of Julian;' the powers of an enlightened
understanding were betrayed and corrupted by the influence of
superstitious prejudice; and the phantoms which existed only in
the mind of the emperor had a real and pernicious effect on the
government of the empire. The vehement zeal of the Christians,
who despised the worship, and overturned the altars, of those fabu-
lous deities, engaged their* votary in a state of irreconcilable hos-
tility with a very numerous party of his subjects; and he was some-
times tempted, by the desire of victory or the shame of a repulse, to

1 I shall transcribe some of his own expressions from a short religious discourse
which the Imperial pontiff composed to censure the bold impiety of a Cynic. A kk
fat .bt- U T, T.m h.U <ri'0fi««, «i f'ki, *"i ««•>, "» *Z'f", «~ ««*** TM
T««st« r.i, air.1, ri'X*, i'»««« •» T" "S "" *<*' "J*'"* *""**', *C *"»««».w,
»{« <r«ri„{> Wf)» Hiujw, Orat. vii. p. 212. The variety and copiousness of the
Greek tongue seems inadequate to the fervour of his devotion.

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violate the laws of prudence, and even of justice. The triumph of the party which he deserted and opposed has fixed a stain of infamy on the name of Julian; and the unsuccessful apostate has been overwhelmed with a torrent of pious invectives, of which the signal was given by the sonorous trumpet2 of Gregory Nazianzen.3 The interesting nature of the events which were crowded into the short reign of this active emperor deserves a just and circumstantial narrative. His motives, his counsels, and his actions, as far as they are connected with the history of religion, will be the subject of the present chapter. The cause of his strange and fatal apostasy may be derived from

the early period of his life when he was left an orphan in cation and the hands of the murderers of his family. The names of

Christ and of Constantius, the ideas of slavery and of religion, were soon associated in a youthful imagination, which was susceptible of the most lively impressions. The care of his infancy was intrusted to Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia,4 who was related to him on the side of his mother; and till Julian reached the twentieth year of his age, he received from his Christian preceptors the education not of a hero but of a saint. The emperor, less jealous of a heavenly than of an earthly crown, contented himself with the imperfect character of a catechumen, while he bestowed the advantages of baptism1 on the nephews of Constantine.6 They were even admitted to the inferior offices of the ecclesiastical order; and Julian publicly read the Holy Scriptures in the church of Nicomedia. The study of religion, which they assiduously cultivated, appeared to produce the fairest fruits of faith and devotion.7

'The orator, with some eloquence, much enthusiasm, and more vanity, addresses his discourse to heaven and earth, to men and angels, to the living and the dead; and above all, to the great Constantius (»' T<« mtrtwn, an odd Pagan expression). He concludes with a bold assurance that he has erected a monument not less durable, and much more portable, than the Columns of Hercules. See Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 50, iv. p. 134.

3 See this long invective, which has been injudiciously divided into two orations in Gregory's Works, torn. i. p. 49-134, Paris, 1630. It was published by Gregory and his friend Basil (iv. p. 133), about six months after the death of Julian, when his remains had been carried to Tarsus (iv. p. 120), but while Jovian was still on the throne (iii. p. 54, iv. p. 117). I have derived much assistance from a French version and remarks, printed at Lyons 1735.

* Nicomedue ab Eusebio educatus Episcopo, quem genere longius contingebat (Amniian. xxii. 9). Julian never expresses any gratitude towards that Arian prelate; but he celebrates his preceptor, the eunuch Mordonius, and describes his mode of education, which inspired his pupil with a passionate admiration for the genius, and perhaps the religion, of Homer. Misopogon, p. 351, 352.

4 Greg. Naz. iii. p. 70. He laboured to efface that holy mark in the blood, perhaps, of a Taurobolium. Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.d. 361, No. 3, 4.

6 Julian himself (Epist. li. p. 434) assures the Alexandrians that he had been a Christian (he must mean a sincere one) till the twentieth year of his age.

7 See his Christian, and even ecclesiastical education, in Gregory (iii. p. 58), Socrates (1. iii. c. 1), and Sozomcn (1. v. c. 2). He escaped very narrowly from being a bishop, and perhaps a saint.

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