Failure of Julian’s Pagan Revival (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The failure of Julian’s pagan revival represented an attempt to replace Christianity with a government-sponsored pagan renaissance.
Summary of Event
Julian, known as Julian the Apostate for his renunciation of Christianity, was a descendent of Constantine the Great, the emperor who first adopted the Christian faith as the state religion. Educated in the classical traditions of rhetoric and philosophy, Julian found Christianity intellectually and morally lacking; once he became emperor of the Roman Empire in 361 c.e., he pursued two goals: the rejection of Christianity in favor of classical paganism and the renewal of the empire through a vigorous campaign against the Persians in the east. He failed at both endeavors.
His attempts, however, began well. In 355 c.e., Constantius II, Julian’s cousin and the ruling emperor, summoned Julian from his studies in Milan to serve as caesar, or junior emperor. At the same time, Julian was married to Constantius’s daughter Helena and sent to Gaul. There, Julian defeated an invading force of the Alemanni, then conducted two years of vigorous and successful campaigning against the Germans. In 360, the troops of Julian declared him emperor against Constantius. The two rivals were marching toward one another when Constantius died suddenly, naming Julian as his successor.
(The entire section is 1340 words.)
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