Join us on Tuesday, August 22 at 8 p.m. for a free Salon lecture with Dr. James Rietveld: «Julian the Great or Julian the Apostate?—The Last Pagan Roman Emperor & The Twilight of Ancient Greco-Roman Religion.»
Julian the Great was Emperor of Rome from 361 to 363 BCE, following the Christian emperors Constantine the Great (306-337) and his son Constantius (337-361), and was known for attempting to return the Roman Empire back to their traditional gods, adding features inclusive of Neo-Platonism, the Chaldean Oracles, and various other philosophical and magical systems popular at the time.
Upon his succession to the throne, Julian re-established the Pagan State Religion, reversing the political gains achieved by Christianity during the last two reigns in only a matter of three years.
Believing himself the reincarnation of Alexander the Great, Julian commanded his legions to proceed eastward, attacking Persia in hopes of reaching even further afield.
Yet, for all of his ambitions, Julian was fatally wounded when the Sassanid army raided his column, leaving a question in the minds of many historians of what would have happened had Julian survived and his legacy permitted to become better established.
Julian was a notable philosopher and author, writing volumes of letters and other works, including To King Helios and To the Mother of the Gods. As revealed in these and other sources at the time, Greco-Roman paganism was quickly changing up to and during the reign of Julian, becoming more mystical, more philosophical, and more magical, as a new mixture of ideas from the East began to influence its very nature.
At Ipso Facto in Fullerton, I will discuss in depth the life of Julian the Apostate and attempt to capture the spirit of this dynamic era just prior to the complete political ascent of Christianity, which resulted in the suppression of these beliefs, or, in many cases, the re-appropriation of these beliefs to conform to the new Christian expectations, which were far removed from the ideals of early Christianity.