« Prev Jovian is proclaimed Emperor. Next »

Chapter XXII.—Jovian is proclaimed Emperor.

The soldiery being thrown into extreme perplexity by an event so unexpected, and without delay, on the following day proclaimed Jovian emperor, a person alike distinguished for his courage and birth. He was a military tribune when Julian put forth an edict giving his officers the option of either sacrificing or resigning their rank in the army, and chose rather to lay down his commission,545545    See above, chap. 13. than to obey the mandate of an impious prince. Julian, however, being pressed by the urgency of the war which was 91before him, retained him among his generals. On being saluted emperor, he positively declined to accept the sovereign power: and when the soldiers brought him forward by force, he declared that ‘being a Christian, he did not wish to reign over a people who chose to adopt paganism as their religion.’ They all then with one voice answered that they also were Christians: upon which he accepted the imperial dignity. Perceiving himself suddenly left in very difficult circumstances, in the midst of the Persian territory, where his army was in danger of perishing for want of necessaries, he agreed to terminate the war, even on terms by no means honorable to the glory of the Roman name, but rendered necessary by the exigencies of the crisis. Submitting therefore to the loss of the government of Syria,546546    So the mss. and Bright. The same reading was also before Epiphanius Scholasticus and Nicephorus; but Valesius conjecturally amends the reading τοὺς Σύρους τῆς ἀρχῆς into τοὺς ὅρους τῆς ἀρχῆς, alleging that Socrates himself later mentions the loss as ζημίαν τῶν ὅρων. If the reading of Valesius be considered correct, then we must translate ‘submitting to the loss of the borders,’ supplying ‘of the empire.’ This would include the districts beyond the Tigris. and giving up also Nisibis, a city of Mesopotamia, he withdrew from their territories. The announcement of these things gave fresh hope to the Christians; while the pagans vehemently bewailed Julian’s death. Nevertheless the whole army reprobated his intemperate heat, and ascribed to his rashness in listening to the wily reports of a Persian deserter, the humiliation of ceding the territories lost: for being imposed upon by the statements of this fugitive, he was induced to burn the ships which supplied them with provisions by water, by which means they were exposed to all the horrors of famine. Then also Libanius composed a funeral oration on him, which he designated Julianus, or Epitaph, wherein he celebrates with lofty encomiums almost all his actions; but in referring to the books which Julian wrote against the Christians, he says that he has therein clearly demonstrated the ridiculous and trifling character of their sacred books. Had this sophist contented himself with extolling the emperor’s other acts, I should have quietly proceeded with the course of my history; but since this famous rhetorician has thought proper to take occasion to inveigh against the Scriptures of the Christian faith, we also propose to pause a little and in a brief review consider his words.


« Prev Jovian is proclaimed Emperor. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |