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A.d. 362. OF THE CHRISTIANS. 177
forty years the civil and ecclesiastical government of the empire, had contracted the insolent vices of prosperity,131 and the habit of believing that the saints alone were entitled to reign over the earth. As soon as the enmity of Julian deprived the clergy of the privileges which had been conferred by the favour of Constantine, they complained of the most cruel oppression; and the free toleration of idolaters and heretics was a subject of grief and scandal to the orthodox party.136 The acts of violence, which were no longer countenanced by the magistrates, were still committed by the zeal of the people. At Pessinus the altar of Cybele was overturned almost in the presence of the emperor; and in the city of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, the temple of Fortune, the sole place of worship which had been left to the Pagans, was destroyed by the rage of a popular tumult. On these occasions, a prince who felt for the honour of the gods was not disposed to interrupt the course of justice; and his mind was still more deeply exasperated when he found that the fanatics, who had deserved and suffered the punishment of incendiaries, were rewarded with the honours of martyrdom.137 The Christian subjects of Julian were assured of the hostile designs of their sovereign; and, to their jealous apprehension, every circumstance of his government might afford some grounds of discontent and suspicion. In the ordinary administration of the laws, the Christians, who formed so large a part of the people, must frequently be condemned; but their indulgent brethren, without examining the merits of the cause, presumed their innocence, allowed their claims, and imputed the severity of their judge to the partial malice of religious persecution.138 These present hardships, intolerable as they might appear, were represented as a slight prelude of the impending calamities. The Christians considered Julian as a cruel and crafty tyrant, who suspended the execution of his revenge till he should return victorious from the Persian war. They expected that, as soon as he had triumphed over the foreign enemies of Rome, he would lay aside the irksome mask of dissimulation; that the amphitheatres would stream with the blood of hermits and bishops; and that the Christians who still persevered in the profession of the faith would be deprived of the common benefits of nature and society.'3* Every calumny1*0 that could wound the reputation of the Apostate was credulously embraced by the fears and hatred of his adversaries; and their indiscreet clamours provoked the temper of a sovereign whom it was their duty to respect, and their interest to flatter. They still protested that prayers and tears were their only weapons against the impious tyrant, whose head they devoted to the justice of offended Heaven. But they insinuated, with sullen resolution, that their submission was no longer the effect of weakness; and that, in the imperfect state of human virtue, the patience which is founded on principle may be exhausted by persecution. It is impossible to determine how far the zeal of Julian would have prevailed over his good sense and humanity; but, if we seriously reflect on the strength and spirit of the church, we shall be convinced that, before the emperor could have extinguished the religion of Christ, he must have involved his country in the horrors of a civil war.141
114 See the fair confession of Gregory (Orat. iii. p. 61, 62).
"* Hear the furious and absurd complaint of Optatus (de Schismat. Donatist. 1. ii. c. 16, 17).
137 Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 91, iv. p. 133. He praises the rioters of Cicsarea, rouruY h r£f fuymXsQwS* w Sipfit/r its ivnZum*. See Sozomen, 1. v. 4, 11. Tillemont (Mem. Eccle's. torn. vii. p. 649, 650) owns that their behaviour was not dans l'ordre commun; but he is perfectly satisfied, as the great St. Basil always celebrated the festival of these blessed martyrs.
m Julian determined a lawsuit against the new Christian city at Maiuma, the port of Gaza; and his sentence, though it might be imputed to bigotry, was never reversed by his successors. Sozomen, 1. v. c. 3. Reland, Palestin. torn. ii. p. 791.
VOL. m. N
lM Gregory (Orat. iii. p. 93, 94, 95; Orat. iv. p. 114) pretends to Bpeak from the information of Julian's confidants, whom Orosius (vii. 30) could not have seen.
140 Gregory (Orat. iii. p. 91) charges the Apostate with secret sacrifices of boys and girls; and positively affirms that the dead bodies were thrown into the Orontes. See Theodoret, 1. iii. c. 26, 27; and the equivocal candour of the AbM de la Motoric, Vie de Julien, p. 351, 352. Yet contemporary malice could not impute to Julian the troops of martyrs, more especially in the West, which Baronius so greedily swallows, and Tillemont so faintly rejects (Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 1295-1315).
141 The resignation of Gregory is truly edifying (Orat. iv. p. 123, 124). Yet, when an officer of Julian attempted to seize the church of Nazianzus, he would have lost his life if he had not yielded to the zeal of the bishop and people (Orat. xix. p. 308). See the reflections of Chrysostom, as they are alleged by Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 575).
A.D. 362. THE CAESARS OF JULIAN. 179
Residence Of Julian At Antioch. — Hib Successful Expedition Against The Persians.— Passage Of Thb Tigris. — The Retreat And Death Of Julian. — Election Of Jovian. — He Saves The Roman Army By A Disgraceful Treaty.
The philosophical fable which Julian composed under the name of the Gssars1 is one of the most agreeable and instructive n,. CllM„ productions of ancient wit.2 During the freedom and °fJulianequality of the days of the Saturnalia, Romulus prepared a feast for the deities of Olympus, who had adopted him as a worthy associate, and for the Roman princes, who had reigned over his martial people and the vanquished nations of the earth. The immortals were placed iu just order on their thrones of state, and the table of the Caesars was spread below the moon, in the upper region of the air. The tyrants, who would have disgraced the society of gods and men, were thrown headlong, by the inexorable Nemesis, into the Tartarean abyss. The rest of the Caesars successively advanced to their seats; and as they passed, the vices, the defects, the blemishes of their respective characters, were maliciously noticed by old Silenus, a laughing moralist, who disguised the wisdom of a philosopher under the mask of a Bacchanal.3 As soon as the feast was ended, the voice of Mercury proclaimed the will of Jupiter, that a celestial crown should be the reward of superior merit. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, and Marcus Antoninus, were selected as the most illustrious candidates; the effeminate Constantine4 was not excluded from this honourable competition; and the great Alexander was invited to dispute the prize of glory with the Roman heroes. Each of the candidates was allowed to display the merit of his own exploits; but, in the judgment of the gods, the modest silence of Marcus pleaded more powerfully than the elaborate orations of his haughty rivals. When the judges of this awful contest proceeded to examine the heart and to scrutinize the springs of action, the superiority of the Imperial Stoic appeared still more decisive and conspicuous.5 Alexander and Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, and Constantine, acknowledged, with a blush, that fame, or power, or pleasure, had been the important object of their labours; but the gods themselves beheld with reverence and love a virtuous mortal, who had practised on the throne the lessons of philosophy, and who, in a state of human imperfection, had aspired to imitate the moral attributes of the Deity. The value of this agreeable composition (the Caesars of Julian) is enhanced by the rank of the author. A prince, who delineates with freedom the vices and virtues of his predecessors, subscribes, in every line, the censure or approbation of his own conduct.
1 See this fable or satire, p. 306-336 of the Leipzig edition of Julian's works. The French version of the learned Ezekiel Spanheim (Paris, 1683) is coarse, languid, and correct; and his notes, proofs, illustrations, &c, are piled on each other till they form a mass of 557 close-printed quarto pages. The Abbe" de la Ble'terie (Vie de Jovien, torn. i. p. 241-393) has more happily expressed the spirit, as well as the sense, of the original, which he illustrates with some concise and curious notes.
* Spanheim (in his preface) has most learnedly discussed the etymology, origin, resemblance, and disagreement of the Greek satyrs, a dramatic piece, which was acted after the tragedy; and the Latin satires (from Satura), a miscellaneous composition, either in prose or verse. But the Ctesars of Julian are of such an original cast, that the critic is perplexed to which class he should ascribe them.
'This mixed character of Silenus is finely painted in the sixth eclogue of Virgil.
4 Every impartial reader must perceive and condemn the partiality of Julian against his uncle Constantine and the Christian religion. On this occasion the interpreters are compelled, by a more sacred interest, to renounce their allegiance, and to desert the cause of their author.
In the cool moments of reflection, Julian preferred the useful and benevolent virtues of Antoninus; but his ambitious spirit
to march was inflamed by the glory of Alexander, and he solicited, l'ersunn. with equal ardour, the esteem of the wise and the applause of the multitude. In the season of life when the powers of the mind and body enjoy the most active vigour, the emperor, who was instructed by the experience and animated by the success of the German war, resolved to signalize his reign by some more splendid and memorable achievement. The ambassadors of the East, from the continent of India and the isle of Ceylon,6 had respectfully saluted
* Julian was secretly inclined to prefer a Greek to a Roman. But when he seriously compared a hero with a philosopher, he was sensible that mankind had much greater obligations to Socrates than to Alexander (Orat. ad Themistium, p. 264).
• Inde nationibuB Indicis certatim cum donis optimates mittentibus . . . ab usque Divis et Scrcndicis. Ammion. xxii. 7. This island, to which the names of Taprobana, Sereadib, and Ceylon, have been successively applied, manifests how imperfectly the seas and lands to the east of Cape Comorin were known to the Romans. 1. Under the reign of Claudius, a freedmon, who farmed the customs of the Red Sea, was accidentally driven by the winds upon this strange and undiscovered coast: he conversed six months with the natives; and the king of Ceylon, who heard for the first time of the power and justice of Rome, was persuaded to send an embassy to the emperor (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 24). 2. The geographers (and even Ptolemy) have magnified above fifteen times the real size of this new world, which they extended as far as the equator, and the neighbourhood of China.*
* The name of Diva gens, or Divorum The name may be traced in Devipatnam,
regio according to the probable conjee- Devidan, Devicotta, Divinelly, the point
ture of M. Letronne (Trois Mem. Acad, of Divy.
p. 127), was applied by the ancients to M. Letronne, p. 121, considers the
the whole eastern coast of the Indian freedmon with his embassy from Ceylon
peninsula, from Ceylon to the Ganges, to have been an impostor.—M.
A.d. 362. AGAINST THE PERSIANS. 181
the Roman purple.7 The nations of the West esteemed and dreaded
'These embassies had been sent to Constantius. Ammianus, who unwarily deviates into gross flattery, must have forgotten the length of the way, and the short duration of the reign of Julian.
8 Gothos saepe fallaces et perfidos; hostes quserere se meliores ait-bat: illis enim sufficere mercatores Galatas per quos ubique sine conditionis discrimine venumdantur. [Ammian. xxii. 7.] Within less than fifteen years these Gothic slaves threatened and subdued their masters.
• Alexander reminds his rival CtEsar, who depreciated the fame and merit of an Asiatic victory, that Crassus and Antony had felt the Persian arrows; and that the Romans, in a war of three hundred years, had not yet subdued the single province of Mesopotamia or Assyria (Cajsares, p. 324).
10 The design of the Persian war is declared by Ammianus (xxii. 7, 12), Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. 79, 80, p. 305, 306 [Fabric. Bibl. Grec. ed. Hamb. 1715]), Zosimus (1. iii. [c. 11] p. 158), and Socrates (1. iii. c. 19).