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Famed as the last pagan emperor, Julian II was a gifted administrator and military strategist. His reinstatement of the pagan religion earned him the moniker "the Apostate." As evidenced by his brilliant writing, some of which has survived to the present day, the title "the Philosopher" would perhaps be more appropriate.
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Julianus II, Julianus (Flavius Claudius) [Julian II], usually called Julian the Apostate, because he, at an early age, abandoned the Christian faith, and, as soon as he had the power, retored the worship of idols, which he pretended to reform, but which he in fact enforced in all the bigoted extravagance and blind absurdity of Pagan superstition. [see Note 1]
He was the son of Julis Consantnius, nephew of Constantine the Great, and brother of Constantiu Gallus, born at Constantinople A.D. 331. He was created Caesar A.D. 355, and married Helena, sister of Constantius II. The government of Gaul, Spain, and Britain was committed to his charge.
He repulsed the Germans from Gaul, and established himself at Lutetia, now Paris, in 358. Proclaimed emperor by the troops in 360; the death of Constantius soon after left him sole master of the empire. Julian II was a great general, a man of learning, a fine writer, possesing many qualities of a wise, energetic, and excellent prince; but in matters of religion one of the weakest, most fantastic, and mischievous of mankind.
This declared and inveterate enemy of Christianity made war upon Persia, with decided success; but was slain in an engagment on the banks of the Tigris, at the age of 31, A.D. 362, in the fourth year of his reign.
His second brass and third brass coins are, with certain exceptions, common; his silver ofthe usual size, are by no means scarce; but his gold are rare: On these he is styled D N IVIANVS NOB CAES - IMP FL CL JVLIANVS PERP or PF AVG.
"The Caesars" of Julian, a work which that emperor wrote in Greek, is a remarkable proof no less of his scholarship than of his talent for raillery and satire. The translation of that extraordinary production by Ezech. Spanheim., illustrrated by the most learned remarks, mythological, historical, and numismatical, enriched by a profusion of medals and other ancient monuments, is one of the most interesting as well as instructive volumes which can be persued by the student of the medallic science.
Julian II is noted, by Ammianus his pagan admirer, but by no means indiscriminate panegyrist, for having made himself very conspicuous in wearing a long and bushy beard, which amongst courtiers of Contantius procured for him the derisive appleation of a goat (capellam non hominem). In confirmation of this alleged peculiarity we find him on many of his coins "bearded like a pard:" as Caesar he appears with naked head; but as emperor he wears a diadem ornamented with precious stones.
Under the reign of Julian II coins were struck, which Banduri exhibits, and which Eckhel comments upon, inscribed DEO SERAPIDI (see the words), and VOTA PVBLICA, shewing that his philosophic contemner of the Christian mysteries was not ahamed to stamp his imperial coinage with representations of Serapis, Isis, and Anubis, and to revive the monstrous Egyptian idolatry.
Note 1: This author is very much biased against anything not Christian. Original text remains.