Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, European Fiction Series)
The Roman Emperor Constantius had risen to power by a series of assassinations. Two of his cousins, Julian and Gallus, were still alive, prisoners in Cappadocia. No one knew why they were permitted to live, for they were the last people who could challenge the right of the emperor to his position. Julian was the greater of the two, a young man steeped in the teachings of the philosophers. His brother was younger and more girlish in his habits. Both knew that they could expect death momentarily.
When Julian was twenty years old, Constantius gave him permission to travel in Asia Minor, where the lad affected the dress of a monk and passed as a Christian. His younger brother, Gallus, was given high honors as co-regent with Constantius and named Caesar. The affection which Constantius seemed to bestow on Gallus was short-lived, however, for soon the young man was recalled to Milan, and on his journey homeward, he was beheaded by order of the emperor. When word of his brother’s death reached Julian, he wondered how much longer he himself had to live.
While Julian wandered about Asia Minor, he met many philosophers and was initiated into the mysteries of Mithra, the sun god. Julian felt more power in the religion of the pagans than he did in the Christ which his grandfather had declared the official religion of the Roman Empire. Knowing the danger of his beliefs, Julian kept them secret.
One day, Publius Porphyrius took Julian to an...
(The entire section is 1190 words.)
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