1st Edition

Julian the Apostate in Byzantine Culture

By Stefano Trovato Copyright 2023
    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    Julian, the last pagan emperor of the Roman empire, died in war in 363. In the Byzantine (that is, the Eastern Roman) empire, the figure of Julian aroused conflicting reactions: antipathy towards his apostasy but also admiration for his accomplishments, particularly as an author writing in Greek. Julian died young, and his attempt to reinstate paganism was a failure, but, paradoxically, his brief and unsuccessful policy resonated for centuries.

    This book analyses Julian from the perspectives of Byzantine Culture. The history of his posthumous reputation reveals differences in cultural perspectives and it is most intriguing with regard to the Eastern Roman empire which survived for almost a millennium after the fall of the Western empire. Byzantine culture viewed Julian in multiple ways, first as the legitimate emperor of the enduring Roman empire; second as the author of works written in Greek and handed down for generations in the language that scholars, the Church, and the state administration all continued to use; and third as an open enemy of Christianity.

    Julian the Apostate in Byzantine Culture will appeal to both researchers and students of Byzantine perspectives on Julian, Greco-Roman Paganism, and the Later Roman Empire, as well as those interested in Byzantine Historiography.

    Foreword by Augusto Guida


    I Son of the devil and sophist of wickedness: the black legend

    II A sulphurous and versatile emperor

    III The Reinvention of Julian by Chroniclers, Historians, and Hagiographers

    IV The Blood of the Innocent: The Victims of a Sovereign Who is "Deceitful, Capable of Anything, and Skilled in Doing Evil"

    V The Blood of Innocents: "a Great Persecution against the Christians"

    VI Even the Dead against Julian

    VII "Constantine, the son of a prostitute, recognized the true God and you abandon him?" Telescoping Julian and Constantine

    VIII Julian in Byzantine liturgical books, a synthesis of the early medieval Byzantine hagiographical tradition

    IX Between old stories and new imaginative reconstructions: a glance before the decline of Byzantium

    X Approaching the end: a new beginning, longing for a distant past

    XI The end: beyond Byzantium


    List of Abbreviations


    Stefano Trovato is Director of the Biblioteca Universitaria (Ministero della Cultura) in Padua, Italy. His research focuses on the classical tradition, with a special interest in the perceptions of the ancient past in the medieval and modern worlds.