Julian the Apostate, Letters (1923) Works vol. 3, pp.2-235.
[Translated by W. C. Wright]
On receiving your letter I at once despatched Archelaus, and gave him letters to carry to you, and the passport,2 as you wished, for a longer time. If you are inclined to explore the ocean, everything, with the god's help, will be provided for you as you would wish, unless you dread the boorishness of the Gauls and the winter climate. This, however, will turn out as the god sees fit; but I swear to you by him who is the giver and preserver of all my good fortune that I desire to live only that I may in some degree be of use to you. When I say "you," I mean the true philosophers, and convinced as I am that you are one of these, how much I have loved and love you you well know, and how I desire to see you. May Divine Providence preserve you in health for many a year, my dearest and best beloved brother! I salute the admirable Hippia and your children.3
1 For another letter to Priscus, see p. 15.
2 Literally "token". This, like the Latin tessera, could be of various kinds, but here Julian probably refers to a document, the equivalent of the modern passport, which he had visaed for Priscus in order that he might proceed to Gaul.
3 For the life of Priscus, cf. Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. He visited Julian in Gaul, was summoned to Constantinople not long after Julian's accession, and went with him to Persia. See Introduction, under Priscus.
As regards a visit to me from your good self,4 if you have it in mind, make your plans now, with the help of the gods, and exert yourself; for perhaps a little later I too shall have no time to spare. Hunt up for me all the writings of Iamblichus to his1 namesake. Only you can do this, for your sister's son-in-law owns a thoroughly revised version. And, if I am not mistaken, while I was writing this sentence, a marvellous sign 2 was vouchsafed me. I entreat you not to let Theodorus 3 and his followers deafen you too by their assertions that Iamblichus, that truly godlike man, who ranks next to Pythagoras and Plato, was worldly and self-seeking. But if it be rash to declare my own opinion to you, I may reasonably expect you to excuse me, as one excuses those who are carried away by a divine frenzy. You are yourself an ardent admirer of Iamblichus for his philosophy and of his namesake for his theosophy. And I too think, like Apollodorus, that the rest are not worth mentioning compared with those two. As for your collection of the works of Aristotle, so much I will say, you have made me style myself your pupil, though I have no right to the title. For while Maximus of Tyre in six books was able to initiate me to some little extent into Plato's logic, you, with one book, have made me, perhaps I may even say, a complete initiate in the philosophy of Aristotle, but at any rate a thyrsus-bearer.4 When you join me I can prove the truth of my words by the great number of works that I wrote in my spare time, during last winter.
4 Lit. "your goodness." For Julian's use of this and similar abstract words, see p. 109.
1 Bidez prefers "my namesake," and makes the writer refer to Julian the theurgist or Chaldean, whom we know from Suidas. More probably the younger Iamblichus is meant.
2 Cf. Vol. 2, 284c, for a similar sign of approval given to Julian by Zeus.
3 Theodorus of Asine was a disciple of the great Iamblichus; we know of no such polemics as are indicated here.
4 Plato, Phaedo 69c, says that "many carry the thyrsus of Dionysus, but few are really inspired."
If anyone has persuaded you that there is anything more delightful or more profitable for the human race than to pursue philosophy at one's leisure without interruptions, he is a deluded man trying to delude you. But if your old-time zeal still abides in you and has not been swiftly quenched like a brilliant flame, then I regard you as peculiarly blest. Four years have already passed, yes and almost three months besides, since we parted from one another. It would give me pleasure to observe how far you have progressed in this period. As for my own progress, if I can still so much as speak Greek it is surprising, such a barbarian have I become because of the places I have lived in.2 Do not despise the study of mere words or be careless of rhetoric or fail to read poetry. But you must devote still more attention to serious studies, and let your whole effort be to acquire understanding of the teachings of Aristotle and Plato. Let this be your task, the base, the foundation, the edifice, the roof. For all other studies are by the way, though they are completed by you with greater zeal than some bestow on really important tasks. I call sacred Justice to witness that I give you this advice because I love you like brothers. For you were my fellow-students and my very good friends. If therefore you follow my advice I shall love you the more, but if I see that you disregard it I shall grieve. And grief, if it lasts, usually results in something that, for the sake of a happier augury, I forbear to mention.
1 Julian went to Gaul in 355; he probably knew these students in Athens, earlier in the same year.
2 Like all the sophists Julian recognises only Greek culture, and for him Latin literature or the culture of Gaul did not exist.
The divinely inspired Homer says2 that there are two gates of dreams, and that with regard to future events we cannot trust them both equally. But I think that this time, if ever before, you have seen clearly into the future; for I too this very day saw a vision of the same sort. I thought that in a certain very spacious room a tall tree had been planted, and that it was leaning down to the ground, while at its root had sprouted another, small and young and very flourishing. Now I was very anxious on behalf of the small tree, lest someone in pulling up the large one should pull it up as well. And in fact, when I came close I saw that the tall tree was lying at full length on the ground, while the small one was still erect, but hung suspended away from the earth. Now when I saw this I said, in great anxiety, "Alas for this tall tree! There is danger that not even its offspring will be preserved." Then one 3 who was altogether a stranger to me said: "Look carefully and take courage. For since the root still remains in the earth, the smaller tree will be uninjured and will be established even more securely than before." So much then for my dreams. God knows what they portend.
As for that abominable eunuch1, I should be glad to learn when he said these things about me, whether it was before he met me, or since. So tell me whatever you can about this.
But with regard to my behaviour towards him,2 the gods know that often, when he wronged the provincials, I kept silence, at the expense of my own honour; to some charges I would not listen, others I would not admit, others again I did not believe, while in some cases I imputed the blame to his associates. But when he thought fit to make me share in such infamy by sending to me to sign those shameful and wholly abominable reports,3 what was the right thing for me to do? Was I to remain silent, or to oppose him? The former course was foolish, servile and odious to the gods, the latter was just, manly and liberal, but was not open to me on account of the affairs that engaged me. What then did I do? In the presence of many persons who I knew would report it to him I said: "Such-a-one will certainly and by all means revise his reports, for they pass the bounds of decency." When he heard this, he was so far from behaving with discretion that he did things which, by heaven, no tyrant with any moderation would have done, and that too though I was so near where he was. In such a case what was the proper conduct for a man who is a zealous student of the teachings of Plato and Aristotle? Ought I to have looked on while the wretched people were being betrayed to thieves, or to have aided them as far as I could, for they were already singing their swan-song because of the criminal artifices of men of that sort? To me, at least, it seems a disgraceful thing that, while I punish my military tribunes when they desert their post—and indeed they ought to be put to death at once, and not even granted burial— I should myself desert my post which is for the defence of such wretched people; whereas it is my duty to fight against thieves of his sort, especially when God is fighting on my side, for it was indeed he who posted me here. And if any harm to myself should result, it is no small consolation to have proceeded with a good conscience. But I pray that the gods may let me keep the excellent Sallust! 1 If, however, it turns out that because of this affair I receive his successor,2 perhaps it will not grieve me. For it is better to do one's duty for a brief time honestly than for a long time dishonestly. The Peripatetic teachings are not, as some say, less noble than the Stoic. In my judgement, there is only this difference between them; the former are always more sanguine and not so much the result of deliberate thought, while the latter have a greater claim to practical wisdom, and are more rigidly consistent with the rules of conduct that they have laid down.1
1 Oribasius was the physician, friend, and perhaps accomplice of Julian in his ambitions: cf. Letter to the Athenians Vol. 2, p. 265; and for his career, Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. He was at Vienne when Julian wrote this letter.
2 Odyssey 19. 562. Oribasius had evidently reported to Julian some dream of his which augured well for their hopes. In the dream that follows the tall tree is Constantius, the sapling is Julian.
3 Hermes, who was Julian's guide in the myth in Oration 7. 230C.
1 Probably Eusebius the chamberlain of Constantius whose intrigues against Julian are mentioned in Letter to the Athenians 274a. The epithet is unsuitable to Florentius, though some editors refer it to him.
2 In spite of the abruptness of the transition, I follow Asmus in supposing that Julian here, partly for prudence -and partly because of his sophistic habit of avoiding names, refers to Florentius, prefect of Gaul 357-360 and consul 361 A.D. , who was at Vienne at this time. For his oppression of the province, see Ammianus 17. 3. 2; Julian, Letter to the Athenians 282c. When Julian was proclaimed Augustus, he fled to Constantius, and later, though condemned to death by Julian, remained in hiding till the latter's death, Ammianus 22. 3. 6.
3 For Julian's refusal to sign or even read the prefect's orders for fresh taxes, see Ammianus 17. 3. 5.
1 Sallust, who accompanied Julian as civil adviser, was recalled by Constantius in 358. Julian, Oration 8; Oration 4 is dedicated to him.
2 This strains the construction but seems more probable than the rendering "If I should be superseded."
1 I translate the suggested reading of Asmus, but the sense remains unsatisfactory.
I had only just recovered by the providence of the All-Seeing One 3 from a very severe and sharp attack of sickness, when your letters reached my hands, on the very day when I took my first bath. It was already evening when I read them, and it would be hard for you to tell how my strength began to return when I realised your pure and sincere affection. May I become worthy of it, that I may not shame your love for me! Your letters I read at once, though I was not very well able to do so, but those of Antonius to Alexander I stored up for the next day. On the seventh day from their receipt I began to write this to you, since my strength is improving reasonably well, thanks to Divine Providence. May the All-Seeing god preserve you, my dearest and best beloved brother. May I see you, my treasure! Added with his own hand. I swear by your well-being and my own, by the All-Seeing god, that I really feel as I have written. Best of men, when can I see you and embrace you? For already, like doting lovers, I adore your very name.
2 So Cumont, following the ascription of MS. Baroccianus. Hertlein with hesitation addressed it to Libanius. So, too, Schwarz, who accordingly gives the date as 362 A.D. But as assigned to Priscus, it should be connected with the foregoing invitation to that sophist to come to Gaul, and the illness to which Julian refers is almost certainly his semi-asphyxiation in Paris described in Misopogon 340-342A.
3 i. e. Helios-Mithras.
Syloson,2 it is said, went up 3 to Darius, reminded him of his cloak and asked him for Samos in return for it. Then Darius prided himself greatly on this, because he considered that he had given much for little; though after all it proved a grievous gift for Syloson.4 Now consider my conduct compared with that of Darius. In the first place I think that I have behaved better than he in one point at any rate, I mean that I did not wait to be reminded by another. But after preserving the memory of your friendship so long undimmed, the first moment that the god granted me power I summoned you, not among the second but among the very first. So much for the past. Now with reference to the future, will you allow me—for I am a prophet5—to foretell something? I think that it will be far more prosperous than in the case I spoke of, only let not Adrasteia6 take offence when I say so! For you need no king to help you to conquer a city,7 while I on the other hand need many to help me to raise up again what has fallen on evil days. Thus does my Gallic and barbarian Muse jest for your benefit. But be of good cheer and come, and may the gods attend you.
Added with his own hand. There is good spoil of deer and hunting of small sheep in the winter quarters.1 Come to your friend who valued you even when he could not yet know your merit.
1 For Alypius see Introduction.
2 The story of Syloson from Herodotus 3. 139, is told by Julian, Vol. 1. Oration 3. 117B. The "cloak of Syloson'" became a proverb for the overpayment of a benefit.
3 i. e. to Susa. 16.
4 The Persians devastated Samos before Syloson could benefit by the gift.
5 An echo of Plato, Phaedrus 343b.
6 Another name for Nemesis, cf. Vol. 2. Misopogon 370b.
7 If the date assigned to the letter is correct this must be Constantinople which Julian was preparing to occupy in his march against Constantius.
1 This is perhaps a veiled allusion to Julian's plot to defeat the adherents of Constantius. 18
It happened that when you sent me your map I had just recovered from my illness, but I was none the less glad on that account to receive the chart that you sent. For not only does it contain diagrams better than any hitherto made; but you have embellished it by adding those iambic verses, not such as "Sing the War of Bupalus," 2 as the poet of Cyrene 3 expresses it, but such as beautiful Sappho is wont to fashion for her songs.4 In fact the gift is such as no doubt it well became you to give, while to me it is most agreeable to receive.5 With regard to your administration of affairs, inasmuch as you study to act in all cases both energetically and humanely, I am well pleased with it. For to blend mildness and moderation with courage and force, and to exercise the former towards the most virtuous, and the latter implacably in the case of the wicked for their regeneration, is, as I am convinced, a task that calls for no slight natural endowment and virtue. I pray that you may ever hold fast to these ambitions and may adapt them both solely to what is fair and honourable.1 Not without reason did the most eloquent of the ancient writers believe that this is the end and aim set for all the virtues. May you continue in health and happiness as long as possible, my well-beloved and most dear brother!
2 For Bupalus cf. Horace, Epodes 6. 14; Lucian, Pseudologist 2.
3 Callimachus, frag. 90, Ernesti.
4 Literally "nomes," though Julian may only have meant " poetry "; in any case he refers to lyric iambics.
5 An echo of Isocrates, Nicocles 29b.
1 Cf. Oration 1. 3d, Vol. 1.
Everything crowds into my mind at once and chokes my utterance, as one thought refuses to let another precede it, whether you please to class such symptoms among psychic troubles, or to give them some other name. But let me arrange what I have to tell in chronological order, though not till I have first offered thanks to the all-merciful gods, who at this present have permitted me to write, and will also perhaps permit us to see one another. Directly after I had been made Emperor—against my will, as the gods know; and this I made evident then and there in every way possible,—I led the army against the barbarians.3 That expedition lasted for three months, and when I returned to the shores of Gaul, I was ever on the watch and kept enquiring from all who came from that quarter whether any philosopher or any scholar wearing a philosopher's cloak or a soldier's tunic had arrived there. Then I approached Besontio.1 It is a little town that has lately been restored, but in ancient times it was a large city adorned with costly temples, and was fortified by a strong wall and further by the nature of the place; for it is encircled by the river Doubis.2 It rises up like a rocky cliff in the sea, inaccessible, I might almost say, to the very birds, except in those places where the river as it flows round it throws out what one may call beaches, that lie in front of it. Near this city there came to meet me a certain man who looked like a Cynic with his long cloak and staff. When I first caught sight of him in the distance, I imagined that he was none other than yourself. And when I came nearer to him I thought that he had surely come from you. The man was in fact a friend of mine though he fell short of what I hoped and expected. This then was one vain dream I had! And afterwards I thought that, because you were busied with my affairs, I should certainly find you nowhere outside of Greece. Zeus be my witness and great Helios, mighty Athene and all the gods and goddesses, how on my way down to Illyricum from Gaul3 I trembled for your safety! Also I kept enquiring of the gods—not that I ventured to do this myself, for I could not endure to see or hear anything so terrible as one might have supposed would be happening to you at that time, but I entrusted the task to others; and the gods did indeed show clearly that certain troubles would befall you, nothing terrible however, nor to indicate that impious counsels would be carried out.1
But you see that I have passed over many important events. Above all, it is right that you should learn how I became all at once conscious of the very presence of the gods, and in what manner I escaped the multitude of those who plotted against me, though I put no man to death, deprived no man of his property, and only imprisoned those whom I caught red-handed. All this, however, I ought perhaps to tell you rather than write it, but I think you will be very glad to be informed of it. I worship the gods openly, and the whole mass of the troops who are returning with me worship the gods.2 I sacrifice oxen in public. I have offered to the gods many hecatombs as thank-offerings. The gods command me to restore their worship in its utmost purity, and I obey them, yes, and with a good will. For they promise me great rewards for my labours, if only I am not remiss. Evagrius 3 has joined me. . . . of the god whom we honour. . . .
Many things occur to my mind, besides what I have written, but I must store up certain matters to tell you when you are with me. Come here, then, in the name of the gods, as quickly as you can, and use two or more public carriages. Moreover, I have sent two of my most trusted servants, one of whom will escort you as far as my headquarters; the other will inform me that you have set out and will forthwith arrive. Do you yourself tell the youths which of them you wish to undertake which of these tasks.1
2 The theurgist. His life was written by Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. Maximus was at Ephesus; Julian's headquarters were at Naissa, where he had received news of the death of Constantius, November 3rd, 361. Schwarz dates this letter October or November.
3 i. e. when he recrossed the Rhine in 360. For this campaign, see Ammianus 20, 10.
1 Cf. Ammianus 20. 10, per Besontionem Viennam hiematurus abscessit. Besontio or Vesontio (Besancon), the capital of the Sequani, is described in much the same language by Caesar, Gallic War I. 38.
3 Ammianus 21. 7, Zosimus 3. 10 describe this march.
1 Julian's friends in the East were in danger after his quarrel with Constantius.
2 Cf. Libanius, Oration 18. 114,
3 Cf. Letter 25, To Evagrius.
1 Maximus did not join Julian at Naissa, but, as Eunapius relates in his Life of Chrysanthius, p. 55i (Wright), he lingered at Ephesus in the vain attempt to secure favourable omens for the journey, and finally joined Julian at Constantinople early in 362; cf. Eunapius, Life of Aedesius, pp. 440 foll.
The third hour of the night has just begun, and as I have no secretary to dictate to because they are all occupied, I have with difficulty made the effort to write this to you myself. I am alive, by the grace of the gods, and have been freed from the necessity of either suffering or inflicting irreparable ill.3 But the Sun, whom of all the gods I besought most earnestly to assist me, and sovereign Zeus also, bear me witness that never for a moment did I wish to slay Constantius, but rather I wished the contrary. Why then did I come? Because the gods expressly ordered me,4 and promised me safety if I obeyed them, but if I stayed, what I pray no god may do to me! Furthermore I came because, having been declared a public enemy, I meant to frighten him merely, and that our quarrel should result in intercourse on more friendly terms; but if we should have to decide the issue by battle, I meant to entrust the whole to Fortune and to the gods, and so await whatever their clemency might decide.
2 For Count Julian, see Introduction.
3 A proverbial phrase; cf. Letter to Nilus, p. 159. The sudden death of Constantius had simplified Julian's course.
4 Cf. Vol. 3, Letter to the Athenians 284b-285d, for Julian's own account of the mutiny against Constantius and the sign given by the gods.
I am alive, and have been saved by the gods. Therefore offer sacrifices to them on my behalf, as thank-offerings. Your sacrifice will be not for one man only, but for the whole body of Hellenes.2 If you have time to travel as far as Constantinople I shall feel myself highly honoured by your presence.
1 An Armenian eunuch, a pagan who had been kidnapped, sold into slavery, and finally attained to the office of court chamberlain and confidential adviser to Constans and Julian; see Ammianus 16. 7. 4. He was employed by Julian in Gaul as a trusted messenger to Constantius at Milan; Ammianus 20. 8. 19.
2 In the fourth century this word has lost some of its national meaning, and is used of pagans as opposed to Christians, especially by Julian. The sophists of that period called themselves and all students of rhetoric "Hellenes."
The Thurian historian3 said that men's ears are less to be trusted than their eyes.4 But in your case I hold the opposite opinion from this, since here my ears are more trustworthy than my eyes. For not if I had seen you ten times would I have trusted my eyes as I now trust my ears, instructed as I have been by a man who is in no wise capable of speaking falsely,1 that, while in all respects you show yourself a man, you surpass yourself2 in your achievements "with hand and foot," as Homer says.3 I therefore entrust you with the employment of arms, and have despatched to you a complete suit of armour such as is adapted for the infantry. Moreover I have enrolled you in my household corps.4
4 Herodotus 1. 8; cf. Julian Oration 1. 37c, and 4. 145d.
1 An echo of Demosthenes, Olynthiac 2. 17.
2 Cf. Julian, Oration 7. 235b, Letter to Themistius 264d, Caesars 309d,327c.
3 Odyssey 8. 148; the phrase is there used of the athletic sports of the Phaeacians.
4 i. e. the protectores domestici; cf. Symmachus, Letter 67. In C.I.L. III. 5670a (Dessau 774), a Leontius is mentioned as praepositus militum auxiliarium in 370 a.d.
There is a tradition 5 that Alexander of Macedon used to sleep with Homer's poems under his pillow, in order that by night as well as by day he might busy himself with his martial writings. But I sleep with your letters as though they were healing drugs of some sort, and I do not cease to read them constantly as though they w ere newly written and had only just come into my hands. Therefore if you are willing to furnish me with intercourse by means of letters, as a semblance of your own society, write, and do not cease to do so continually. Or rather come,6 with heaven's help, and consider that while you are away I cannot be said to be alive, except in so far as I am able to read what you have written.
5 Plutarch, Alexander 12.
6 Ammianus 22. 7. 3 describes Julian's effusive greeting of Maximus, for which he interrupted a meeting of the Senate.
Suffer me to say, in the language of the poetical rhetoricians, Ο how little hope had I of safety! Ο how little hope had I of hearing that you had escaped the three-headed hydra! Zeus be my witness that I do not mean my brother Constantius 2— nay, he was what he was—but the wild beasts who surrounded him and cast their baleful eyes on all men; for they made him even harsher than he was by nature, though on his own account he was by no means of a mild disposition, although he seemed so to many. But since he is now one of the blessed dead, may the earth lie lightly on him, as the saying is! Nor should I wish, Zeus be my witness, that these others should be punished unjustly; but since many accusers are rising up against them, I have appointed a court3 to judge them. Do you, my friend, come hither, and hasten, even if it task your strength. For, by the gods, I have long desired to see you, and, now that I have learned to my great joy that you are safe and sound, I bid you come.
1 Hermogenes had been Prefect of Egypt before 328, since his name does not occur in the list of prefects after that year, which is extant complete.
2 Cf. for Julian's attitude to Constantius, Misopogon 357b.
3 The special commission appointed by Julian to try his enemies sat at Chalcedon in Dec. 361. Its work is described by Ammianus 22. 3; Libanius, Oration 18. 152. Among the judges were Mamertinus the rhetorician and Nevitta the Goth, who were the Consuls designate for 362, and Sallust.
Why should I not address the excellent Prohaeresius, a man who has poured forth his eloquence on the young as rivers pour their floods over the plain; who rivals Pericles in his discourses, except that he does not agitate and embroil Greece?2 But you must not be surprised that I have imitated Spartan brevity in writing to you. For though it becomes sages like you to compose very long and impressive discourses, from me to you even a few words are enough. Moreover you must know that from all quarters at once I am inundated by affairs. As for the causes of my return,3 if you are going to write an historical account I will make a very precise report for you, and will hand over to you the letters,4 as written evidence. But if you have resolved to devote your energies to the last, till old age,5 to your rhetorical studies and exercises, you will perhaps not reproach me for my silence.
1 The Armenian sophist, a Christian, who taught at Athens. For his Life see Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers, pp. 477-515 (Wright). See Introduction.
2 Aristophanes, Acharnians 531.
3 i. e. from Gaul, when he marched against the Emperor Constantius, in 361. This letter was probably written after his triumphal entry into Constantinople on December 11th.
4 For the correspondence between Julian and Constantius cf. Ammianus Marcellinus 20. 8. 5.
5 Prohaeresius was already in the late eighties.
I have remitted their sentence of exile for all in common who were banished in whatever fashion by Constantius of blessed memory, on account of the folly of the Galilaeans.1 But in your case, I not only remit your exile, but also, since I am mindful of our old acquaintance and intercourse, I invite you to come to me. You will use a public conveyance 2 as far as my headquarters, and one extra horse.
6 See Introduction under Aetius.
1 Julian always scoffed at the disputes of the Arians with the various other sects of the Church.
2 i. e. he was given the privilege of using an official carriage, provided by the state.
When I received your letter I was delighted, of course. How could I feel otherwise on learning that my comrade and dearest friend is safe? And when I had removed the fastening from it and perused it many times, I cannot convey to you in words my feelings and state of mind. I was filled with serenity and felicity and welcomed the letter as though I beheld in it an image, so to speak, of your noble disposition. To try to answer it point by point would take too long and perhaps I could not avoid excessive garrulity; but at any rate I shall not hesitate to say what it was that I especially approved. In the first place, the fact that the insolent behaviour to you of the Governor of Greece, if indeed a man of that sort can be called a Governor and not a tyrant, did not provoke your resentment, because you considered that none of these things had to do with you. Then again, that you are willing and eager to aid that city 1 in which you had spent your time is a clear proof of the philosophic mind; so that in my opinion the former course is worthy of Socrates, the latter, I should say, of Musonius. For Socrates declared2 that heaven would not permit a righteous man to be harmed by anyone inferior to him and worthless, while Musonius concerned himself with the welfare of Gyara 3 when Nero decreed his exile. These two points in your letter I approve, but I am at a loss how to take the third. For you write to urge me to warn you whenever I think that you yourself do or say anything out of tune. For my part I could give you many proofs that I believe myself to be more in need than you are of such advice at the present time, but I will put that off till later. However the request is perhaps not even suitable for you to make; for you have abundant leisure, excellent natural gifts, and you love philosophy as much as any man who ever lived. And these three things combined sufficed to make Amphion known as the inventor of ancient music, namely, leisure, divine inspiration and a love of minstrelsy.1 For not even the lack of instruments avails to offset these gifts, but one who had these three for his portion could easily invent instruments also. Indeed, have we not received the tradition by hearsay that this very Amphion invented not only harmonies, but besides these the lyre itself, by employing either an almost godlike intelligence or some gift 2 of the gods in a sort of extraordinary co-operation with them? And most of the great ones of old seem to have attained to genuine philosophy 3 by setting their hearts on these three things above all, and not to have needed anything else. Therefore it is you who ought to stand by me and in your letters show your willingness to advise me what I ought to do and what not. For we observe in the case of soldiers that it is not those of them who are at peace who need allies, but, I should say, those who are hard pressed in war, and in the case of pilots those who are not at sea do not call to their aid those who are at sea, but those who are navigating call on those who are at leisure. Thus it has from the very first seemed right that men who are at leisure should help and stand by those who are occupied with tasks, and should suggest the right course of action, that is whenever they represent the same interests. It is well, then, that you should bear this in mind and act towards me as you think I should act towards you, and, if you like, let us make this compact, that I am to point out to you what are my views concerning all your affairs, and you in return are to do the same for me concerning my sayings and doings. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more valuable for us than this reciprocity. May divine Providence keep you in good health for long to come, my well-beloved brother! May I see you soon, as I pray to do!
3 For the question of the authenticity of this letter see Introduction, on Theodorus.
1 We cannot identify this city. Theodorus may have improved its water supply, which would give point to the allusion to Musonius at Gyara below.
2 Plato, Apology 30d, Julian, Oration 2. 69b.
3 The Emperors banished offenders to this barren island, one of the Cyclades. For the discovery of water there by Musonius see Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 7. 16. The Nero of Philostratus is an imaginary dialogue with Musonius at Corinth, where he is supposed to have been set by Nero to dig the Corinthian canal; Julian praises Musonius in Vol. 2, To Themistius 265c, d.
1 Possibly an echo of the lost play of Euripides, Amphion frag. 192 Nauck; cf. Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 7. 34, for a similar passage.
2 Apollo son of Zeus is said to have given the lyre to Amphion.
3 An echo of Plato, Sophist 216c and Laws 642c; cf. Julian, Vol. 1, Oration 2. 82b, 92b.
There is indeed abundant evidence of other kinds that you have attained to the first rank in the art of medicine and that your morals, uprightness and temperate life are in harmony with your professional skill But now has been added the crowning evidence. Though absent, you are winning to your cause the whole city of Alexandria. So keen a sting, like a bee's, have you left in her.2 This is natural; for I think that Homer was right when he said "One physician is worth many other men." 3 And you are not simply a physician, but also a teacher of that art for those who desire to learn, so that I might almost say that what physicians are as compared with the mass of men, you are, compared with other physicians. This is the reason for putting an end to your exile, and with very great distinction for yourself. For if it was owing to George that you were removed from Alexandria, you were removed unjustly, and it would be most just that you should return from exile. Do you, therefore, return in all honour, and in possession of your former dignity. And let the favour that I bestow be credited to me by both parties in common, since it restores Zeno to the Alexandrians and Alexandria to you.
1 Zeno had been exiled by George, the Arian bishop of Alexandria, in 360. He was a friend and correspondent of Libanius. George had been murdered by the mob on December 24th, 361.
2 For this echo of Eupolis, a sophistic commonplace, cf. Vol. 1. Oration 1. 33a.
3 Iliad 11. 514.
. . .2 is it not right to pay to human beings 362 this respect that we feel for things made of wood? 3 For let us suppose that a man who has obtained the office of priest is perhaps unworthy of it. Ought we not to show forbearance until we have actually decided that he is wicked, and only then by excluding him from his official functions show that it was the overhasty bestowal of the title of "priest" that was subject to punishment by obloquy and chastisement and a fine? If you do not know this you are not likely to have any proper sense at all of what is fitting. What experience can you have of the rights of men in general if you do not know the difference between a priest and a layman? And what sort of self-control can you have when you maltreated one at whose approach you ought to have risen from your seat? For this is the most disgraceful thing of all, and for it in the eyes of gods and men alike you are peculiarly to blame. Perhaps the bishops and elders of the Galilaeans sit with you, though not in public because of me, yet secretly and in the house; and the priest has actually been beaten by your order, for otherwise your high-priest would not, by Zeus, have come to make this appeal. But since what happened in Homer 1 seems to you merely mythical, listen to the oracular words of the Lord of Didymus,2 that you may see clearly that, even as in bygone days he nobly exhorted the Hellenes in very deed, so too in later times he admonished the intemperate in these words: "Whosoever with reckless mind works wickedness against the priests of the deathless gods and plots against their honours with plans that fear not the gods, never shall he travel life's path to the end, seeing that he has sinned against the blessed gods whose honour and holy service those priests have in charge." Thus, then, the god declares that those who even deprive priests of their honours are detested by the gods, not to mention those who beat and insult them! But a man who strikes a priest has committed sacrilege. Wherefore, since by the laws of our fathers I am supreme pontiff, and moreover have but now received the function of prophecy from the god of Didymus,3 I forbid you for three revolutions of the moon to meddle in anything that concerns a priest. But if during this period you appear to be worthy, and the high-priest of the city 1 so writes to me, I will thereupon take counsel with the gods whether you may be received by us once more. This is the penalty that I award for your rash conduct. As for curses from the gods, men of old in days of old used to utter them and write them, but I do not think that this was well done; for there is no evidence at all that the gods themselves devised those curses. And besides, we ought to be the ministers of prayers, not curses. Therefore I believe and join my prayers to yours that after earnest supplication to the gods you may obtain pardon for your errors.
1 Julian writes as supreme pontiff, to whom a high-priest, perhaps Theodorus, had appealed for protection for a priest who had been assaulted. There is no evidence that this priest was the Pegasius of Letter 19, as Asmus thinks.
2 The first part of the letter with the title is lost.
3 i. e. images of the gods. In Vol. 2, Fragment of a Letter 297a, Julian says that we must respect priests no less than the stones of which altars are made. There are several close resemblances between these two pastoral letters. Reiske translated ξύλοις "trees," i. e. we allow them time to recover before cutting them down.
1 Probably Julian refers to the wrong done to the priest Chryses which was avenged by Apollo in Iliad 1.
2 Apollo. For this oracle cf. Vol. 2, Fragment of a Letter 297cd, where it is also quoted.
3 The oracle of the Didymaean Apollo was at Didyma, Miletus, where an inscription on a column in honour of Julian has been discovered; cf. Bulletin de correspondance hellenique, 1877.
1 We do not know the name of this city and cannot identify the official who is in disgrace.
I should never have favoured Pegasius unhesitatingly if I had not had clear proofs that even in former days, when he had the title of Bishop of the Galilaeans, he was wise enough to revere and honour the gods. This I do not report to you on hearsay from men whose words are always adapted to their personal dislikes and friendships, for much current gossip of this sort about him has reached me, and the gods know that I once thought I ought to detest him above all other depraved persons.3 But when I was summoned1 to his headquarters by Constantius of blessed memory I was travelling by this route, and after rising at early dawn I came from Troas to Ilios about the middle of the morning. Pegasius came to meet me, as I wished to explore the city,—-this was my excuse for visiting the temples,—and he was my guide and showed me all the sights. So now let me tell you what he did and said, and from it one may guess that he was not lacking in right sentiments towards the gods.
Hector has a hero's shrine there and his bronze statue stands in a tiny little temple. Opposite this they have set up a figure of the great Achilles in the unroofed court. If you have seen the spot you will certainly recognise my description of it. You can learn from the guides the story that accounts for the fact that great Achilles was set up opposite to him and takes up the whole of the unroofed court. Now I found that the altars were still alight, I might almost say still blazing, and that the statue of Hector had been anointed till it shone. So I looked at Pegasius and said: "What does this mean? Do the people of Ilios offer sacrifices?" This was to test him cautiously to find out his own views. He replied: "Is it not natural that they should worship a brave man who was their own citizen, just as we worship the martyrs?" Now the analogy was far from sound; but his point of view and intentions were those of a man of culture, if you consider the times in which we then lived. Observe what followed. "Let us go," said he, "to the shrine of Athene of Ilios." Thereupon with the greatest eagerness he led me there and opened the temple, and as though he were producing evidence he showed me all the statues in perfect preservation, nor did he behave at all as those impious men do usually, I mean when they make the sign on their impious foreheads, nor did he hiss 1 to himself as they do. For these two things are the quintessence of their theology, to hiss at demons and make the sign of the cross on their foreheads.
These are the two things that I promised to tell you. But a third occurs to me which I think I must not fail to mention. This same Pegasius went with me to the temple of Achilles as well and showed me the tomb in good repair; yet I had been informed that this also had been pulled to pieces by him. But he approached it with great reverence; I saw this with my own eyes. And I have heard from those who are now his enemies that he also used to offer prayers to Helios and worship him in secret. Would you not have accepted me as a witness even if I had been merely a private citizen? Of each man's attitude towards the gods who could be more trustworthy witnesses than the gods themselves? Should I have appointed Pegasius a priest if I had any evidence of impiety towards the gods on his part? And if in those past days, whether because he was ambitious for power, or, as he has often asserted to me, he clad himself in those rags in order to save the temples of the gods, and only pretended to be irreligious so far as the name of the thing went—indeed it is clear that he never injured any temple anywhere except for what amounted to a few stones, and that was as a blind, that he might be able to save the rest—well then we are taking this into account and are we not ashamed to behave to him as Aphobius did, and as the Galilaeans all pray to see him treated? If you care at all for my wishes you will honour not him only but any others who are converted, in order that they may the more readily heed me when I summon them to good works, and those others may have less cause to rejoice. But if we drive away those who come to us of their own free will, no one will be ready to heed when we summon.
2 Asmus is positive that this is the high-priest Theodorus, but there is no evidence for this. He dates the letter from Constantinople early in 362. Pegasius is otherwise unknown.
3 i.e. Christians, whom Julian often calls πονηροί, "depraved."
1 In the winter of 354, when he was on his way from Nicomedia to the court at Milan, after the death of Gallus; first he came to Alexandria Troas, and then to New Ilios.
1 Dieterich, Mithrasliturgie, pp. 40, 221, discusses the practice in magic, and especially in the ritual of Mithras, of hissing and whistling.
I have written you a more familiar sort of letter than to the others, because you, I believe, have more friendly feelings than others towards me. For it means much that we had the same guide,2 and I am sure you remember him. A long time ago, when I was still living in the west,3 I learned that he had the highest regard for you, and for that reason I counted you my friend, and yet because of their excessive caution, I have usually thought these words well said,
"For I never met or saw him";4
and well said is "Before we love we must know, and before we can know we must test by experience." But it seems that after all a certain other saying has most weight with me, namely, "The Master has spoken." 1 That is why I thought even then that I ought to count you among my friends, and now I entrust to you a task that is dear to my heart, while to all men everywhere it is of the greatest benefit. And if, as I have the right to expect, you administer the office well, be assured that you will rejoice me greatly now and give me still greater good hope for the future life. For I certainly am not one of those who believe that the soul perishes before the body or along with it, nor do I believe any human being but only the gods; since it is likely that they alone have the most perfect knowledge of these matters, if indeed we ought to use the word "likely" of what is inevitably true; since it is fitting for men to conjecture about such matters, but the gods must have complete knowledge.
What then is this office which I say I now entrust to you? It is the government of all the temples in Asia, with power to appoint the priests in every city and to assign to each what is fitting. Now the qualities that befit one in this high office are, in the first place, fairness, and next, goodness and benevolence towards those who deserve to be treated thus. For any priest who behaves unjustly to his fellow men and impiously towards the gods, or is overbearing to all, must either be admonished with plain speaking or chastised with great severity. As for the regulations which I must make more complete for the guidance of priests in general, you as well as the others will soon learn them from me, but meanwhile I wish to make a few suggestions to you. You have good reason to obey me in such matters. Indeed in such a case I very seldom act offhand, as all the gods know, and no one could be more circumspect; and I avoid innovations in all things, so to speak, but more peculiarly in what concerns the gods. For I hold that we ought to observe the laws that we have inherited from our forefathers, since it is evident that the gods gave them to us. For they would not be as perfect as they are if they had been derived from mere men. Now since it has come to pass that they have been neglected and corrupted, and wealth and luxury have become supreme, I think that I ought to consider them carefully as though from their cradle.1 Therefore, when I saw that there is among us great indifference about the gods and that all reverence for the heavenly powers has been driven out by impure and vulgar luxury, I always secretly lamented this state of things. For I saw that those whose minds were turned to the doctrines of the Jewish religion 2 are so ardent in their belief that they would choose to die for it, and to endure utter want and starvation rather than taste pork or any animal that has been strangled 3 or had the life squeezed out of it; whereas we are in such a state of apathy about religious matters that we have forgotten the customs of our forefathers, and therefore we actually do not know whether any such rule has ever been prescribed. But these Jews are in part god-fearing, seeing that they revere a god who is truly most powerful and most good and governs this world of sense, and, as I well know, is worshipped by us also under other names.1 They act as is right and seemly, in my opinion, if they do not transgress the laws; but in this one thing they err in that, while reserving their deepest devotion for their own god, they do not conciliate the other gods also; but the other gods they think have been allotted to us Gentiles only, to such a pitch of folly have they been brought by their barbaric conceit. But those who belong to the impious sect of the Galilaeans, as if some disease . . .2
1 See Introduction. Those who date this letter early in 363, following Reiske, regard it as part of the Letter to a Priest, Vol. 2, written after the burning of the temple of Apollo at Daphne in October 362. It seems more likely that that fragment contains the general instructions for priests promised by Julian in this letter.
2 Maximus of Ephesus, who had initiated Julian and perhaps Theodorus also into the Mysteries of Mithras.
3 i.e. in Gaul.
4 Iliad 4. 374; Odyssey 4, 200.
1 This Pythagorean phrase is the original of Ipse dixit.
1 Literally "from the hearth," i.e. from their origin, a proverb.
2 For Julian's tolerant attitude to the Jewish religion, cf. To the Jews, p. 177.
3 This is not directly prohibited in the Old Testament, but cf. Deuteronomy 12. 23, where it is implied; and, for the New Testament, Acts 15. 29 "That ye abstain from things strangled."
1 Cf. Against the Galilaeans 354b, where Julian says that he always worships the God of Abraham, who is gracious to those that do him reverence, "for he is very great and powerful."
2 The conclusion of the sentence is lost, and was probably deleted by a Christian because of some disrespectful reference to Christ.
If you do not revere the memory of Alexander, your founder, and yet more than him the great god, the most holy Serapis, how is it that you took no thought at least for the welfare of your community, for humanity, for decency? Furthermore, I will add that you took no thought for me either, though all the gods, and, above all, the great Serapis, judged it right that I should rule over the world. The proper course was for you to reserve for me the decision concerning the offenders. But perhaps your anger and rage led you astray, since it often "turns reason out of doors and then does terrible things"1; for after you had restrained your original impulse, you later introduced lawlessness to mar the wise resolutions which you had at the first adopted, and were not ashamed, as a community, to commit the same rash acts as those for which you rightly detested your adversaries. For tell me, in the name of Serapis, what were the crimes for which you were incensed against George? You will doubtless answer: He exasperated against you Constantius of blessed memory; then he brought an army into the holy city, and the general 2 in command of Egypt seized the most sacred shrine of the god and stripped it of its statues and offerings and of all the ornaments in the temples. And when you were justly provoked and tried to succour the god, or rather the treasures of the god,3 Artemius dared to send his soldiers against you, unjustly, illegally and impiously, perhaps because he was more afraid of George than of Constantius; for the former was keeping a close watch on him to prevent his behaving to you too moderately and constitutionally, but not to prevent his acting far more like a tyrant. Accordingly you will say it was because you were angered for these reasons against George, the enemy of the gods, that you once more 1 desecrated the holy city, when you might have subjected him to the votes of the judges. For in that case the affair would not have resulted in murder 2 and lawlessness but in a lawsuit in due form, which would have kept you wholly free from guilt, while it would have punished that impious man for his inexpiable crimes, and would have checked all others who neglect the gods, and who moreover lightly esteem cities like yours and flourishing communities, since they think that cruel behaviour towards these is a perquisite of their own power.
Now compare this letter of mine with the one 3 that I wrote to you a short time ago, and mark the difference well. What words of praise for you did I write then! But now, by the gods, though I wish to praise you, I cannot, because you have broken the law. Your citizens dare to tear a human being in pieces as dogs tear a wolf, and then are not ashamed to lift to the gods those hands still dripping with blood! But, you will say, George deserved to be treated in this fashion. Granted, and I might even admit that he deserved even worse and more cruel treatment. Yes, you will say, and on your account. To this I too agree; but if you say by your hands, I no longer agree. For you have laws which ought by all means to be honoured and cherished by you all, individually. Sometimes, no doubt, it happens that certain persons break one or other of these laws; but nevertheless the state as a whole ought to be well governed and you ought to obey the laws and not transgress those that from the beginning were wisely established.
It is a fortunate thing for you, men of Alexandria, that this transgression of yours occurred in my reign, since by reason of my reverence for the god and out of regard for my uncle 1 and namesake, who governed the whole of Egypt and your city also, I preserve for you the affection of a brother. For power that would be respected and a really strict and unswerving government would never overlook an outrageous action of a people, but would rather purge it away by bitter medicine, like a serious disease. But, for the reasons I have just mentioned, I administer to you the very mildest remedy, namely admonition and arguments, by which I am very sure that you will be the more convinced if you really are, as I am told, originally Greeks, and even to this day there remains in your dispositions and habits a notable and honourable impress of that illustrious descent.
Let this be publicly proclaimed to my citizens of Alexandria.
3 Quoted entire by Socrates, History of the Church 3. 3; cited by Sozomen, 5. 7. 9; for the murder of Bishop George to which it refers, see Introduction, under Athanasius.
1 Plutarch, On the Restraint of Anger 453; quoted from Melanthius the tragic poet; frag. 1, Nauck. This is the only extant fragment of Melanthius and is often quoted.
2 Artemius, military prefect of Egypt; he was executed by Julian at the request of the Alexandrians, in the summer of 362; Ammianus 22. 11.
3 Serapis; the Serapeum according to Ammianus 22. 16, was, next to the Capitol at Rome, the most splendid temple in the world. For this incident see Sozomen 4. 30. 2.
1 On the turbulence of the Alexandrians cf. Ammianus 22. 11. 4.
2 Ammianus 22. 11. 8 describes the murder by the mob of Bishop George and two officials of the Emperor Constantius on December 24th, 361.
3 This letter is not extant.
1 Julian, Count of the East; cf. Misopogon 365c; he had held some high office in Egypt, under Constantius.
The Hellenic religion does not yet prosper as I desire, and it is the fault of those who profess it; for the worship of the gods is on a splendid and magnificent scale, surpassing every prayer and every hope. May Adrasteia 2 pardon my words, for indeed no one, a little while ago, would have ventured even to pray for a change of such a sort or so complete within so short a time. Why, then, do we think that this is enough, why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism?1 I believe that we ought really and truly to practise every one of these virtues.2 And it is not enough for you alone to practise them, but so must all the priests in Galatia, without exception. Either shame or persuade them into righteousness or else remove them from their priestly office, if they do not, together with their wives, children and servants, attend the worship of the gods but allow their servants or sons or wives to show impiety towards the gods and honour atheism more than piety. In the second place, admonish them that no priest may enter a theatre or drink in a tavern or control any craft or trade that is base and not respectable. Honour those who obey you, but those who disobey, expel from office. In every city establish frequent hostels in order that strangers may profit by our benevolence; I do not mean for our own people only, but for others also who are in need of money. I have but now made a plan by which you may be well provided for this; for I have given directions that 30,000 modii of corn shall be assigned every year for the whole of Galatia, and 60,000 pints 3 of wine. I order that one-fifth of this be used for the poor who serve the priests, and the remainder be distributed by us to strangers and beggars. For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galilaeans support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.1 Teach those of the Hellenic faith to contribute to public service of this sort, and the Hellenic villages to offer their first fruits to the gods; and accustom those who love the Hellenic religion to these good works by teaching them that this was our practice of old. At any rate Homer makes Eumaeus say: "Stranger, it is not lawful for me, not even though a baser man than you should come, to dishonour a stranger. For from Zeus come all strangers and beggars. And a gift, though small, is precious." 2 Then let us not, by allowing others to outdo us in good works, disgrace by such remissness, or rather, utterly abandon, the reverence due to the gods. If I hear that you are carrying out these orders I shall be filled with joy.
As for the government officials, do not interview them often at their homes, but write to them frequently. And when they enter the city no priest must go to meet them, but only meet them within the vestibule when they visit the temples of the gods. Let no soldier march before them into the temple, but any who will may follow them; for the moment that one of them passes over the threshold of the sacred precinct he becomes a private citizen. For you yourself, as you are aware, have authority over what is within, since this is the bidding of the divine ordinance. Those who obey it are in very truth god-fearing, while those who oppose it with arrogance are vainglorious and empty-headed.
I am ready to assist Pessinus1 if her people succeed in winning the favour of the Mother of the Gods. But, if they neglect her, they are not only not free from blame, but, not to speak harshly, let them beware of reaping my enmity also. "For it is not lawful for me to cherish or to pity men who are the enemies of the immortal gods." 2 Therefore persuade them, if they claim my patronage, that the whole community must become suppliants of the Mother of the Gods.
2 The goddess "whom none may escape" is a variant of Nemesis, often invoked in a saving clause, cf. To Alypius, p. 17.
1 Julian often calls Christianity "atheism."
2 In the Fragment of a Letter, Vol. 2, Julian admonishes priests to imitate Christian virtues, cf. especially 289-290; it is the favourite theme of his pastoral letters; for a fuller account of his attempt to graft Christian discipline on paganism, see Gregory Nazianzen, Against Julian, Oration 3, and Sozomen 5. 16.
3 Modius, "peck," and sextarius, "pint," are Latin words.
1 For a comparison of the charity of the Galilaeans with Pagan illiberality, cf. Vol. 2, Misopogon 363a, b.
2 Odyssey 14. 56; cf. Fragment of a Letter 291b, where it is quoted in a similar context.
1 This letter was probably written after Julian's visit to Pessinus on his way to Antioch. The probable date for his arrival at Antioch is the first half of July.
2 Odyssey 10. 73; Julian alters the original which is said by Aeolus to Odysseus.
Some men have a passion for horses, others for birds, others, again, for wild beasts; but I, from childhood, have been penetrated by a passionate longing4 to acquire books. It would therefore be absurd if I should suffer these to be appropriated by men whose inordinate desire for wealth gold alone cannot satiate, and who unscrupulously design to steal these also. Do you therefore grant me this personal favour, that all the books which belonged to George be sought out. For there were in his house many on philosophy, and many on rhetoric; many also on the teachings of the impious Galilaeans. These latter I should wish to be utterly annihilated, but for fear that along with them more useful works may be destroyed by mistake, let all these also be sought for with the greatest care. Let George's secretary 1 take charge of this search for you, and if he hunts for them faithfully let him know that he will obtain his freedom as a reward, but that if he prove in any way whatever dishonest in the business he will be put to the test of torture. And I know what books George had, many of them, at any rate, if not all; for he lent me some of them to copy, when I was in Cappadocia,2 and these he received back.
3 See Introduction, under Ecdicius.
4 A proverbial phrase; cf. Vol. 1, Oration 4. 130c, Vol. 2, Oration 8. 251d; Plato, Menexenus 245d. For Julian's love of books, Vol. 1, Oration 3. 123d. foll.
1 Perhaps to be identified with Porphyrius, to whom Julian wrote the threatening Letter 38, p. 123.
2 i.e. when he was interned for six years by Constantius at Macellum in Cappadocia. George was then at Caesarea near Macellum.
One who had been banished by so many imperial decrees issued by many Emperors ought to have waited for at least one imperial edict, and then on the strength of that returned to his own country, and not displayed rashness and folly, and insulted the laws as though they did not exist. For we have not, even now, granted to the Galilaeans who were exiled by Constantius1 of blessed memory to return to their churches, but only to their own countries. Yet I learn that the most audacious Athanasius, elated by his accustomed insolence, has again seized what is called among them the episcopal throne,2 and that this is not a little displeasing to the God-fearing citizens 3 of Alexandria. Wherefore we publicly warn him to depart from the city forthwith, on the very day that he shall receive this letter of our clemency. But if he remain within the city, we publicly warn him that he will receive a much greater and more severe punishment.4
3 See Introduction, under Athanasius.
1 Constantius was an Arian and had appointed Bishop George of Cappadocia to the see of Alexandria. Athanasius was then in exile by the decree of Constantius.
2 Athanasius had installed himself in his church on February 21st, 362.
3 i.e. the Pagans.
4 Athanasius withdrew from Alexandria, but not from Egypt, in consequence of this edict. For a second edict banishing him from Egypt, see p. 151.
A small estate of four fields, in Bithynia, was given to me by my grandmother,6 and this I give as an offering to your affection for me. It is too small to bring a man any great benefit on the score of wealth or to make him appear opulent, but even so it is a gift that cannot wholly fail to please you, as you will see if I describe its features to you one by one. And there is no reason why I should not write in a light vein to you who are so full of the graces and amenities of culture. It is situated not more than twenty stades from the sea, so that no trader or sailor with his chatter and insolence disturbs the place. Yet it is not wholly deprived of the favours of Nereus, for it has a constant supply of fish, fresh and still gasping; and if you walk up on to a sort of hill away from the house, you will see the sea, the Propontis and the islands, and the city that bears the name of the noble Emperor;1 nor will you have to stand meanwhile on seaweed and brambles, or be annoyed by the filth that is always thrown out on to seabeaches and sands, which is so very unpleasant and even unmentionable; but you will stand on smilax and thyme and fragrant herbage. Very peaceful it is to lie down there and glance into some book, and then, while resting one's eyes, it is very agreeable to gaze at the ships and the sea. When I was still hardly more than a boy I thought that this was the most delightful summer place, for it has, moreover, excellent springs and a charming bath and garden and trees. When I had grown to manhood I used to long for my old manner of life there and visited it often, and our meetings there did not lack talks about literature. Moreover there is there, as a humble monument of my husbandry, a small vineyard that produces a fragrant, sweet wine, which does not have to wait for time to improve its flavour. You will have a vision of Dionysus and the Graces. The grapes on the vine, and when they are being crushed in the press, smell of roses, and the new-made wine in the jars is a "rill of nectar," if one may trust Homer.2 Then why is not such a vine as this abundant and growing over very many acres?
Perhaps I was not a very industrious gardener. But since my mixing bowl of Dionysus is inclined to soberness and calls for a large proportion of the nymphs,1 I only provided enough for myself and my friends—and they are very few. Well then, I now give this to you as a present, dear heart, and though it be small, as indeed it is, yet it is precious as coming from a friend to a friend, "from home, homeward bound," in the words of the wise poet Pindar.2 I have written this letter in haste, by lamplight, so that, if I have made any mistakes, do not criticise them severely or as one rhetorician would another.
5 For Evagrius see above, p. 25.
6 Cf. Vol. 2. 290d; and 251d for his childhood's associations with this coast.
1 Constantinople, named after Constantine.
2 Odyssey 9. 359.
1 i.e. of water.
2 Olympian Ode 6. 99; 7. 5.
"Not of war is thy report," 4 says the proverb, but I would add, from comedy, " Ο thou whose words bring tidings of gold! " 5 Come then, show it by your deeds and hasten to me, for you will come as friend to friend.6 It is true that continuous attention to public business is thought to be a heavy burden on men who pursue it with all their energy; but those who share the task of administration with me are, I am convinced, honest and reasonable men, intelligent and entirely capable for all they have to do. So they give me leisure and the opportunity of resting without neglecting anything. For our intercourse with one another is free from that hypocrisy of courts of which alone you have hitherto, I think, had experience, that hypocrisy which leads men to praise one another even while they hate with a hatred more deadly than they feel for their worst enemies in war. But we, though we refute and criticise one another with appropriate frankness, whenever it is necessary, love one another as much as the most devoted friends. Hence it is that I am able—if I may say so without odium— to work and yet enjoy relaxation, and when at work to be free from strain and sleep securely. For when I have kept vigil it was less on my own behalf probably than on behalf of all my subjects.
But perhaps I have been wearying you with my chatter and nonsense, displaying stupid conceit, for I have praised myself, like Astydamas.1 However, I have despatched this letter to you to convince you that your presence, wise man that you are, will be serviceable to me rather than any waste of my time. Make haste then, as I said, and use the state post.2 And when you have stayed with me as long as you desire you shall go your way whithersoever you please, with an escort furnished by me, as is proper.
3 For Basil, see Introduction.
4 Plato, Phaedrus 242b, Laws 102d, cf. paroles de paix.
5 Aristophanes, Plutus 268.
6 Plato, Menexenus 247b.
1 A proverb derived from Philemon, frag. 190; for the whole verse, see below, p. 159.
2 i.e. the cursus publicus; cf. To Eustathius, p. 139.
To an Emperor who had an eye solely to gain, your request would have appeared hard to grant, and he would not have thought that he ought to injure the public prosperity by granting a particular indulgence to any. But since I have not made it my aim to collect the greatest possible sums from my subjects, but rather to be the source of the greatest possible blessings to them, this fact shall for you too cancel your debts. Nevertheless it will not cancel the whole sum absolutely, but there shall be a division of the amount, and part shall be remitted to you, part shall be used for the needs of the army; since from it you yourselves assuredly gain no slight advantages, namely, peace and security. Accordingly I remit for you, down to the third assessment,1 the whole sum that is in arrears for the period preceding. But thereafter you will contribute as usual. For the amount remitted is sufficient indulgence for you, while for my part I must not neglect the public interest. Concerning this I have sent orders to the prefects also, in order that your indulgence may be carried into effect. May the gods keep you prosperous for all time!
3 An answer to a petition. For Julian's remission of arrears of taxes at Antioch, cf. Misopogon, 365b. For his popularity with the provincials due to this liberality, cf. Ammianus 25. 4. 15.
1 Apparently he means that the arrears are remitted down to the year 359, but they must pay what is due from that date.
On behalf of the city of Argos, if one wished to recount her honours, many are the glorious deeds both old and new that one might relate. For instance, in the achievements of the Trojan War they may claim to have played the chief part even as did the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, in later times, in the Persian War. For though both wars are held to have been waged by all Greece in common, yet it is fitting that the leaders, just as they had the larger share of toils and anxiety, should have also a larger share of the praise. These events, however, may seem somewhat antiquated. But those that followed, I mean the return of the Hera-cleidae, the taking of his birthright from the eldest,1 the sending from Argos of the colony to Macedonia, and the fact that, though they were such near neighbours to the Lacedaemonians, they always preserved their city unenslaved and free, are proofs of no slight or common fortitude. But, furthermore, all those great deeds accomplished by the Macedonians against the Persians might with justice be considered to belong to this city; for this was the native land of the ancestors of Philip and Alexander,2 those illustrious men. And in later days Argos obeyed the Romans, not so much because she was conquered as in the character of an ally, and, as I think, she too, like the other states, shared in the independence and the other rights which our rulers always bestow on the cities of Greece.
But now the Corinthians, since Argos has been assigned to their territory—for this is the less invidious way of expressing it—by the sovereign city,3 have grown insolent in ill-doing and are compelling the Argives to pay them tribute; it is seven years, as I am told, since they began this innovation, and they were not abashed by the immunity of Delphi or of the Eleans,1 which was granted to them so that they might administer their sacred games. For there are, as we know, four very important and splendid games in Greece; the Eleans celebrate the Olympian games, the Delphians the Pythian, the Corinthians those at the Isthmus, and the Argives the Nemean festival. How then can it be reasonable that those others should retain the immunity that was granted to them in the past, whereas the Argives, who, in consideration of a similar outlay, had their tribute remitted in the past, or perhaps were not even subject to tribute originally, should now be deprived of the privilege of which they were deemed worthy? Moreover, Elis and Delphi are accustomed to contribute only once in the course of their far-famed four-year cycles, but in that period there are two celebrations of the Nemean games among the Argives, and likewise of the Isthmian among the Corinthians. And besides, in these days two other games2 of this sort have been established among the Argives, so that there are in all in four years four games. How then is it reasonable that those others who bear the burden of this function only once should be left free from the tax, whereas the Argives are obliged to contribute to yet other games in addition to their fourfold expenditure at home; especially as the contribution is for a festival that is neither Hellenic nor of ancient date? For it is not to furnish gymnastic or musical contests that the Corinthians need so much money, but they buy bears and panthers for the hunting shows which they often exhibit in their theatres. And they themselves by reason of their wealth are naturally able to support these great expenses,—especially as many other cities, as is to be expected, help by contributing for this purpose,— so that they purchase the pleasure of indulging their temperaments.1 But the Argives are not so well off for money, and compelled as they are to slave for a foreign spectacle held in the country of others, will they not be suffering unjust and illegal treatment and moreover unworthy of the ancient power and renown of their city being, as they are, near neighbours of Corinth, who therefore ought to be the more kindly treated, if indeed the saying is true, "Not so much as an ox would perish2 except through the wrongdoing of one's neighbours"? But it appears that when the Argives bring these charges against the Corinthians they are not raising a dispute about a single paltry ox, but about many heavy expenses to which they are not fairly liable.
And yet one might put this question also to the Corinthians, whether they think it right to abide by the laws and customs of ancient Greece, or rather by those which it seems they recently took over from the sovereign city? For if they respect the high authority of ancient laws and customs, it is no more fitting for the Argives to pay tribute to Corinth than for the Corinthians to pay it to Argos. If, on the other hand, in reliance on the laws they now have, they claim that their city has gained advantages since they received the colony from Rome, then we will exhort them in moderate language not to be more arrogant than their fathers and not to break up the customs which their fathers with sound judgment maintained for the cities of Greece, or remodel them to the injury and detriment of their neighbours; especially since they are relying on a recent decision, and, in their avarice, regard as a piece of luck the inefficiency of the man who was appointed to represent the case of the city of Argos. For if he had appealed and taken the suit outside of the jurisdiction of Greece, the Corinthians would have had less influence; their rights, would have been shown to be weak, when investigated by these numerous and upright advocates,1 and, swayed by these, it is likely that the judge would have been awed into giving the proper decision, especially as the renown of Argos would also have had weight.
But as for the rights of the case with respect to the city you 2 will learn them from the beginning from the orators if only you will consent to hear them and they are permitted to present their case, and then the situation will be correctly judged from their arguments. But in order to show that we ought to place confidence in those who have come on this embassy, I must add a few words concerning them. Diogenes and Lamprias3 are indeed philosophers equal to any in our time, and they have avoided the honours and lucrative offices of the state; but they are ever zealous to serve their country to the best of their ability, and whenever the city is in any great emergency, then they plead causes, assist in the government, go on embassies, and spend generously from their own resources. Thus by their actions they refute the reproaches brought against philosophy,1 and disprove the common opinion that those who pursue philosophy are useless to the state. For their country employs them for these tasks and they are now endeavouring to aid her to obtain justice by my assistance, as I in turn by yours. For this is indeed the only hope of safety left for the oppressed, that they may obtain a judge who has both the will and ability to give a fair decision. For if either of these qualities be lacking, so that he is either imposed on or faithless to his trust, then there is no help for it—-the right must perish. But now, since we have judges who are all that we could wish, and yet are not able to plead because they did not appeal at the time, they beg that this disability may first of all be removed for them, and that the lack of energy of the man who at that time was the city's advocate and had the suit in charge may not be the cause of so great detriment to her for all time to come.
And we ought not to think it irregular that the case should again be brought to trial. For, though in the affairs of private persons it is expedient to forego a little one's advantage and the more profitable course, and thereby purchase security for the future—since in their little life it is pleasant, even for a little, to enjoy peace and quiet; moreover it is a terrible thought that one may die while one's case is on trial before the courts and hand down the lawsuit to one's heirs unsettled, so that it seems better to secure the half by any possible means than to die while struggling to gain the whole,—cities on the other hand do not die, and unless there be found someone to give a just decision that will free them from their quarrels with one another, they must inevitably maintain undying ill-will, and their hatred moreover is deep-rooted and gains strength with time.
I have said my say, as the orators express it. You must yourselves determine what is proper to do.
2 If the date is correct, this was probably a private communication to the newly-appointed Proconsul of Achaia, Praetextatus. Under the Roman dominion, Greek cities to settle their disputes had recourse to lawsuits which were often long and tedious. Seven years before Julian's accession, Corinth had successfully claimed the right to tax Argos. The money was spent on wild beast shows and similar entertainments at Corinth. The Argives appealed to Julian for a revision of the case, and he now writes to the Proconsul of Achaia, leaving the decision to him, but strongly supporting the claim of Argos. As this letter is the only evidence for the Corinthian exaction or the Argive appeal, we do not know the result. Nor can we determine whether Julian is writing in 362 or 363. It seems unlikely that the Argives appealed to him when he was a student at Athens in 355, as some scholars have maintained. See Introduction.
1 Temenus the Heraclid received Argos as his share; his descendants were expelled and colonised Macedonia; cf. Julian, Oration 3. 106d; Herodotus 8. 137.
2 Alexander claimed to be an Argive. For the colonisation of Macedonia cf. Herodotus 5. 22.
3 Rome, cf. Oration 4. 131 d. Corinth had been made a Roman colony by Augustus, and claimed authority over certain other cities that were not colonies; the Roman Proconsul regularly resided at Corinth.
1 i. e. the Corinthians ought to have allowed similar immunity to Argos.
2 One of these festivals was the Heraean games.
1 I follow Heyler in interpreting φρόνημα as the pleasure-loving "temperament," genius, of the Corinthians. Others translate "pride."
2 A paraphrase of Hesiod, Works and Days 348.; cf. Plautus, Mercator 4. 4. 31.
1 i.e. the present embassy led by Diogenes and Lamprias; see below, 410b.
2 Julian now addresses the Proconsul directly. If 355 is the correct date the Proconsul may be the insolent person referred to in To Theodorus, p. 37, as having slighted Julian's wishes.
3 These men are otherwise unknown.
1 Cf. Plato, Republic 489a.
If I set small store by your letters, "Then the gods themselves have destroyed my wits."1 For all the virtues are displayed in them: goodwill, loyalty, truth, and what is more than all these, since without it the rest are nought, wisdom, displayed by you in all her several kinds, shrewdness, intelligence and good judgement. You reproached me for not answering them, but I have no time, heaven knows, and pray do not suppose that this is affectation or a jest. The gods of eloquence bear me witness that, except for Homer and Plato, I have with me not so much as a pamphlet 2 on philosophy, rhetoric, or grammar, or any historical work of the sort that is in general use. And even these that I have are like personal ornaments or amulets,1 for they are always tied fast to me. For the rest I do not even offer up many prayers, though naturally I need now more than ever to pray very often and very long. But I am hemmed in and choked by public business, as you will perhaps see for yourself when I arrive in Syria.2
As for the business mentioned in your letter, I approve of everything and admire everything you propose, nothing of that must be rejected. Be assured, then, that with the aid of the gods I shall leave nothing undone.
First of all set up the pillars of the temple of Daphne;3 take those that are in any palace anywhere, and convey them thence; then set up in their places others taken from the recently occupied houses.4 And if there are not enough even from that source, let us use cheaper ones meanwhile, of baked brick and plaster, casing them with marble,5 for you are well aware that piety is to be preferred to splendour, and, when put in practice, secures much pleasure for the righteous in this life. Concerning the affair of Lauricius,1 I do not think I need write you any instructions; but I give you just this word of advice: renounce all feeling of anger, trust all to justice, submitting your ears to his words with complete confidence in the right. Yet I do not deny that what he wrote to you was annoying and full of every kind of insolence and arrogance; but you must put up with it. For it becomes a good and great-souled man to make no counter charge when he is maligned. For, just as missiles that are hurled against hard, well-built walls, do not settle on them, or penetrate them, or stay where they strike, but rebound with increased force against the hand that throws them, just so every aspersion directed against an upright man, slander, calumny, or unmerited insolence, touches him not at all, but recoils on the head of him who made the aspersion. This is my advice to you, but the sequel will be for the law to decide, With regard, however, to the letters which he asserts you made public after receiving them from me, it seems to me ridiculous to bring them into court. For I call the gods to witness, I have never written to you or any other man a word that I am not willing to publish for all to see. Have I ever in my letters employed brutality or insolence, or abuse or slander, or said anything for which I need to blush? On the contrary, even when I have felt resentment against someone and my subject gave me a chance to use ribald language like a woman from a cart,2 the sort of libels that Archilochus launched against Lycambes,1 I have always expressed myself with more dignity and reserve than one observes even on a sacred subject. And if my letters did give emphatic proof of the kindly feeling that you and I have towards one another, did I wish this to be unknown or concealed? For what purpose? I call all the gods and goddesses to witness that I should not have resented it, even if someone had published abroad all that I ever wrote to my wife, so temperate was it in every respect. And if this or that person has read what I wrote to my own uncle, it would be fairer to blame the man who ferreted it out with such malevolence, rather than me, the writer, or you, or any other who read it. Nevertheless, concede this to me, do not let it disturb your peace of mind, only look at the matter thus—if Lauricius is really dishonest get rid of him in a dignified way. But if he is a well-meaning person of average honesty, and has treated you badly, forgive him. For when men are honest in public life we must be on good terms with them, even though they do not behave properly to us in their private capacity. On the other hand, when men are dishonest in public affairs, even though they have won our favour, we must keep them under control; I do not mean that we must hate or avoid them, but keep careful watch on them, so that we may not fail to detect them when they misbehave, though if they are too hard to control in this way, we must not employ them at all. As for what you, as well as others, have written, that though notorious for bad conduct he masquerades as a physician, I did send for him, thinking that he was trustworthy, but before he had an interview with me his true character was detected, or rather he was denounced to me—when I meet you I will tell you by whom—and he was treated with contempt. For this too I have to thank you.
Instead of the estates that you asked for, since I have already given those away—I call to witness the gods of our family and of friendship—I will give you some that pay far better, as you shall yourself discover.
1 Iliad 7. 360.
2 Lit. " folding tablet."
1 For the use of such amulets in the Mithraic ritual to which Asmus here sees an allusion, see Mithrasliturgie, p. 20, Dieterich.
2 Julian left Constantinople soon after May 12th for Antioch, where his uncle then was.
3 The temple of Apollo at Daphne, the suburb of Antioch, which was burned on October 22nd during Julian's visit, had fallen into disrepair in the reign of Constantius, and columns had been removed by the Christians; cf. Zonaras 13. 12, who relates that at Tarsus, on his way to Persia, Julian learned that the Christians had robbed the temple of Asclepius at Aegae, on the coast, of its columns and used them to build a church. Julian ordered the columns to be restored to the temple at the expense of the Christians.
4 Perhaps he means the Christian church dedicated to St. Babylas, which his half-brother Gallus had erected opposite the temple.
5 i.e. a coat of stucco made with marble dust.
1 Possibly to be identified with Bassidius Lauricius, governor of the province of Isauria in 359, a Christian correspondent of Libanius; Ammianus 19. 13.2; Libanius, Letter 585, Foerster. The little that we know about Lauricius gives no clue to what follows.
2 A proverbial reference to the scurrilous language permitted to the women who rode in wagons in the Eleusinian processions; cf. Aristophanes, Plutus 1014.
1 Cf. Horace, Epode 6. 13.
I call the gods to witness that, when I was still Caesar I wrote to you, and I think it was more than once. However, I started to do so many times, but there were reasons that prevented me, now of one kind, now another, and then followed that wolf's friendship that arose between myself and Constantius of blessed memory, in consequence of the proclamation.2 I was exceedingly careful not to write to anyone beyond the Alps for fear of getting him into serious trouble. So consider the fact that I did not write a proof of my goodwill. For it is often impracticable to make one's language harmonise with one's real sentiments. Then, too, letters from the Emperor to private persons might well lead to their display for bragging and making false pretences when they come into the hands of persons with no sense of propriety, who carry them about like seal-rings and show them to the inexperienced. Nay, genuine friendship is produced first and foremost by similarity of disposition, but a second kind is, when one feels true and not pretended admiration, and a humane, moderate and virtuous man is cherished by one who is his superior in fortune and intelligence. Moreover letters of this sort are full of conceit and nonsense, and, for my part, I often blame myself for making mine too long, and for being too loquacious when I might discipline my tongue to Pythagorean silence.
Yes, I received the tokens, namely, a silver bowl weighing one mina and a gold coin.1 I should be very glad to invite you to visit me as you suggest in your letter. But the first signs of spring are here already, the trees are in bud, and the swallows, which are expected almost immediately, as soon as they come drive our band of campaigners out of doors, and remind us that we ought to be over the border. We shall travel through your part of the country,2 so that you would have a better chance of seeing me, if the gods so will it, in your own home. This will, I think, be soon, unless some sign from heaven should forbid it. For this same meeting I am praying to the gods.
1 Schwarz wrongly suspects this letter on stylistic grounds. Philip was perhaps the Cappadocian to whom Libanius wrote several extant letters, e.g. Letter 1190. For his zeal in aiding Julian to restore paganism he suffered persecution after the Emperor's death.
2 i.e. of himself as Augustus by the army in Gaul, early in 360; cf. Vol. 2, Letter to the Athenians 283-286; he was Caesar 355-360.
1 Such tokens were often sent to friends; cf. To Hecebolius, p. 219.
2 Julian set out for Antioch about May 12th, 362, and expected to see Philip in Cappadocia.
That the science of medicine is salutary for mankind is plainly testified by experience. Hence the sons of the philosophers are right in proclaiming that this science also is descended from heaven. For by its means the infirmity of our nature and the disorders that attack us are corrected. Therefore, in accordance with reason and justice, we decree what is in harmony with the acts of former Emperors, and of our benevolence ordain that for the future ye may live free from the burdens attaching to senators.
3 This edict, preserved more briefly in Codex Theodosianus 13. 3. 4, was Julian's last known legislative act before he left Constantinople. It confirmed the immunity granted to physicians by Constantine, and was probably meant to apply only to the heads of the medical faculties, archiatri, since the Latin edict is addressed to them.
I have received through Mygdonius1 the books that you sent me, and besides, all the letters of recommendation2 that you forwarded to me throughout the festival. Every one of these gives me pleasure, but you may be sure that more pleasant than anything else is the news about your excellent self,3 that by the grace of the gods you are in good physical health, and are devoting yourself to the service of the gods more earnestly and energetically. As regards what you wrote to the philosopher Maximus, that my friend Seleucus4 is ill-disposed towards you, believe me that he neither does nor says in my presence anything that he could possibly intend as slandering. On the contrary, all that he tells me about you is favourable; and while I do not go so far as to say that he actually feels friendly to you—only he himself and the all-seeing gods can know the truth as to that—still I can say with perfect sincerity that he does refrain from any such calumny in my presence. Therefore it seems absurd to scrutinise what is thus concealed rather than what he actually does, and to search for proof of actions of which I have no shred of evidence. But since you have made so many accusations against him, and have plainly revealed to me a definite cause for your own hostility towards him, I do say this much to you frankly; if you are showing favour to any person, man or woman, slave or free, who neither worships the gods as yet, nor inspires in you any hope that you may persuade him to do so, you are wrong. For do but consider first how you would feel about your own household. Suppose that some slave for whom you feel affection should conspire with those who slandered and spoke ill of you, and showed deference to them, but abhorred and detested us who are your friends, would you not wish for his speedy destruction, or rather would you not punish him yourself? 1 Well then, are the gods to be less honoured than our friends? You must use the same argument with reference to them, you must consider that they are our masters and we their slaves. It follows, does it not, that if one of us who call ourselves servants of the gods has a favourite slave who abominates the gods and turns from their worship, we must in justice either convert him and keep him, or dismiss him from the house and sell him, in case some one does not find it easy to dispense with owning a slave? For my part I would not consent to be loved by those who do not love the gods; wherefore I now say plainly that you and all who aspire to priestly offices must bear this in mind, and engage with greater energy in the temple worship of the gods. And it is reasonable to expect that a priest should begin with his own household in showing reverence, and first of all prove that it is wholly and throughout pure of such grave distempers.
1 For Mygdonius cf. Letter 33, and Libanius, Letters 471, 518 written in 357.
2 Literally "tokens," tesserae, probably the same as the συνθήματα mentioned by Sozomen 5. 16; they were letters of recommendation for the use of Christian travellers; Sozomen says that Julian wished to establish this custom among the pagans.
3 Literally "your Goodness"; with this use cf. Oribasius.
4 Of Cilicia. He was an old friend of the Emperor's and accompanied him on the Persian campaign. From the letters of Libanius it seems that Julian had appointed Seleucus to some high priestly office in 362.
1 An echo of Plato, Euthyphro 13d; cf. Vol. 2, 289b.
I was glad to receive all the books that you sent me, and your letters through the excellent Mygdonius.2 And since I have hardly any leisure,— as the gods know, I speak without affectation,—I have written you these few lines. And now fare- well, and may you always write me letters of the same sort!
1 The epithet as well as the preceding letter show that she was a priestess.
2 Mygdonius protected Libanius in Constantinople in 343. There is nothing to show whether Julian was at Antioch or Constantinople when he wrote these letters to Theodora.
I have received from you who are wisdom itself your letter telling me of the fair and blessed promises and gifts of the gods to us. First I acknowledged the great gratitude that I owed to the heavenly gods, and in the second place I rendered thanks to your generosity of soul, in that you are zealous, no one more so, in entreating the gods on my behalf, and moreover you lose no time but inform me without delay of the blessings that have been revealed where you are.
3 This unaddressed letter must have been written to a priestess, who was almost certainly Theodora.
Μust you then really wait for an invitation and never prefer to come uninvited? Nay, see to it that you and I do not introduce this tiresome convention of expecting the same ceremony from our friends as from mere chance acquaintances. At this point will somebody or other raise the question how we come to be friends when we have never seen one another? I answer: How are we the friends of those who lived a thousand, or, by Zeus, even two thousand years ago? It is because they were all virtuous, of upright and noble character. And we, likewise, desire to be such as they, even though, to speak for myself, we completely fail in that aspiration. But, at any rate, this ambition does in some degree rank us in the same category as those persons. But why do I talk at length about these trifles? For if it is right that you should come without an invitation you will certainly come; if, on the other hand, you are really waiting for an invitation, herewith you have from me an urgent summons. Therefore meet me at Tyana, in the name of Zeus the god of friendship, and show me a genuine Hellene among the Cappadocians.1 For I observe that, as yet, some refuse to sacrifice, and that, though some few are zealous, they lack knowledge.
1 This Hellenised Cappadocian is otherwise unknown.
I hold that a proper education results, not in laboriously acquired symmetry of phrases and language, but in a healthy condition of mind, I mean a mind that has understanding and true opinions about things good and evil, honourable and base. Therefore, when a man thinks one thing and teaches his pupils another, in my opinion he fails to educate exactly in proportion as he fails to be an honest man. And if the divergence between a man's convictions and his utterances is merely in trivial matters, that can be tolerated somehow, though it is wrong. But if in matters of the greatest importance a man has certain opinions and teaches the contrary, what is that but the conduct of hucksters, and not honest but thoroughly dissolute men in that they praise most highly the things that they believe to be most worthless, thus cheating and enticing by their praises those to whom they desire to transfer their worthless wares. Now all who profess to teach anything whatever ought to be men of upright character, and ought not to harbour in their souls opinions irreconcilable with what they publicly profess; and, above all, I believe it is necessary that those who associate with the young and teach them rhetoric should be of that upright character; for they expound the writings of the ancients, whether they be rhetoricians or grammarians, and still more if they are sophists. For these claim to teach, in addition to other things, not only the use of words, but morals also, and they assert that political philosophy is their peculiar field. Let us leave aside, for the moment, the question whether this is true or not. But while I applaud them for aspiring to such high pretensions, I should applaud them still more if they did not utter falsehoods and convict themselves of thinking one thing and teaching their pupils another. What! Was it not the gods who revealed all their learning to Homer, Hesiod, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Isocrates and Lysias?1 Did not these men think that they were consecrated, some to Hermes,2 others to the Muses? I think it is absurd that men who expound the works of these writers should dishonour the gods whom they used to honour. Yet, though I think this absurd, I do not say that they ought to change their opinions and then instruct the young. But I give them this choice; either not to teach what they do not think admirable, or, if they wish to teach, let them first really persuade their pupils that neither Homer nor Hesiod nor any of these writers whom they expound and have declared to be guilty of impiety, folly and error in regard to the gods, is such as they declare. For since they make a livelihood and receive pay from the works of those writers, they thereby confess that they are most shamefully greedy of gain, and that, for the sake of a few drachmae, they would put up with anything. It is true that, until now, there were many excuses for not attending the temples, and the terror that threatened on all sides absolved men for concealing the truest beliefs about the gods.1 But since the gods have granted us liberty, it seems to me absurd that men should teach what they do not believe to be sound. But if they believe that those whose interpreters they are and for whom they sit, so to speak, in the seat of the prophets, were wise men, let them be the first to emulate their piety towards the gods. If, however, they think that those writers were in error with respect to the most honoured gods, then let them betake themselves to the churches of the Galilaeans to expound Matthew and Luke, since you Galilaeans are obeying them when you ordain that men shall refrain from temple-worship. For my part, I wish that your ears and your tongues might be "born anew," as you would say, as regards these things 2 in which may I ever have part, and all who think and act as is pleasing to me.
For religious 3 and secular teachers let there be a general ordinance to this effect: Any youth who wishes to attend the schools is not excluded; nor indeed would it be reasonable to shut out from the best way4 boys who are still too ignorant to know which way to turn, and to overawe them into being led against their will to the beliefs of their ancestors. Though indeed it might be proper to cure these, even against their will, as one cures the insane, except that we concede indulgence to all for this sort of disease.1 For we ought, I think, to teach, but not punish, the demented.
1 The Cappadocians were, for the most part, Christians; Julian visited Tyana in June on his way to Antioch.
2 For this law see Introduction; Zonaras 13. 12; Sozomen 5. 18; Socrates 3. 16. 1; Theodoret 3. 8. This version is, no doubt, incomplete.
1 So too in Oration 7. 236-237c. Julian compares the impiety of the Cynics, who in his opinion had much in common with the Christians, with Plato's and Aristotle's reverence for religion.
2 Hermes was the god of eloquence.
1 i. e. under the Christian Emperors Constantine and Constantius it was dangerous to worship the gods openly.
2 i. e. the beliefs of the poets about the gods.
3 [The Greek word] in Julian has this implication; cf. To Theodorus, p. 55.
4 Cf. To the Alexandrians, p. 149.
1 For Christianity a disease cf. To Libanius, p. 207; for indulgence to be shown to persons so afflicted, cf. To the Citizens of Βostra 438b, p. 135.
I affirm by the gods that I do not wish the Galilaeans to be either put to death or unjustly beaten, or to suffer any other injury; but nevertheless I do assert absolutely that the god-fearing must be preferred to them. For through the folly of the Galilaeans almost everything has been overturned, whereas through the grace of the gods are we all preserved. Wherefore we ought to honour the gods and the god-fearing, both men and cities.3
2 This is probably Atarbius (so spelled in the Letters of Antioch Libanius) a native of Ancyra and at this time administrator of the district of the Euphrates. In 364 he held high office in Macedonia.
3 For other letters on the same subject cf. To the Citizens of Byzacium, p. 125, and To Hecebolius, p. 127.
The library of George was very large and complete and contained philosophers of every school and many historians, especially, among these, numerous books of all kinds by the Galilaeans. Do you therefore make a thorough search for the whole library without exception and take care to send it to Antioch. You may be sure that you will yourself incur the severest penalty if you do not trace it with all diligence, and do not by every kind of enquiry, by every kind of sworn testimony and, further, by torture of the slaves, compel, if you cannot persuade, those who are in any way suspected of having stolen any of the books to bring them all forth. Farewell.1
4 Perhaps this is George's secretary mentioned in the Letter to Ecdicius, p. 73. Geffcken thinks this letter was a Christian forgery because it seems to ignore the earlier order to Ecdicius. Probably the books had not arrived, and Julian became impatient.
1 Cumont thinks that a scribe added this inappropriate greeting.
I have restored to you all your senators and councillors3 whether they have abandoned themselves to the superstition of the Galilaeans or have devised some other method of escaping from the senate,4 and have excepted only those who have filled public offices in the capital.
2 Byzacium was in the district of Tunis. This is Cumont's conjecture for MS. title To the Byzantines. Julian never calls Constantinople Byzantium. Gibbon suspected the title and conjectured that it was addressed to the town Bisanthe (Rodosto) in Thrace.
3 The meaning of this word is not clear; Cumont translates "patroni" i.e. protectors, but we cannot be certain as to the functions of these local dignitaries in Africa.
4 On the burden of being a Senator cf. Libanius, Oration 2; Ammianus 21. 12. 23; Julian, Misopogon 367d. It was one of Julian's most widespread reforms to enrol all wealthy men in the senates of their cities. By an edict of March 362 he deprived the Christian clerics of their immunities from such public offices which had been conferred on them by Constantine (cf. Sozomen 5. 5) and in the present case his edict is directed mainly against those who had become clerics in order to escape municipal service. Philostorgius 7. 4 says that this was part of Julian's malignant policy. The Emperor Valentinian restored their privileges to the clerics in 364.
I have behaved to all the Galilaeans with such kindness and benevolence that none of them has suffered violence anywhere or been dragged into a temple or threatened into anything else of the sort against his own will. But the followers of the Arian church, in the insolence bred by their wealth, have attacked the followers of Valentine2 and have committed in Edessa such rash acts as could never occur in a well-ordered city. Therefore, since by their most admirable law they are bidden to sell all they have and give to the poor that so they may attain more easily to the kingdom of the skies, in order to aid those persons in that effort, I have ordered that all their funds, namely, that belong to the church of the people of Edessa, are to be taken over that they may be given to the soldiers, and that its property 3 be confiscated to my private purse.4 This is in order that poverty may teach them to behave properly and that they may not be deprived of that heavenly kingdom for which they still hope. And I publicly command you citizens of Edessa to abstain from all feuds and rivalries, else will you provoke even my benevolence against yourselves, and being sentenced to the sword and to exile and to fire pay the penalty for disturbing the good order of the commonwealth.
1 This can hardly be the sophist to whom Julian addressed one of his most flowery and sophistic letters, for which see p. 217. Probably he was some leading official of Edessa, the capital of Osroene in Northern Mesopotamia. Constantius had favoured the Arians there and encouraged their fanatical sectarianism by handing over to them the great basilica of St. Thomas. Sozomen 6. 1, says that on his way to Persia Julian hurried past Edessa because the city remained obstinately Christian; later he relates, 6. 18, that the Emperor Valens visited Edessa and persecuted the non-Arian Christians; cf. Socrates 4. 18.
2 Valentine founded one of the sects of the Gnostics in the first century a.d.; by the fourth century the Valentinian heresy had very few adherents.
3 Probably Julian means the valuables such as Church plate belonging to the various churches in Edessa; for his spoliation of the churches cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Against Julian 3. 86 D, and Sozomen 5. 5.
4 Τριβάτοις=privatis; or "to lay uses."
I thought that the leaders of the Galilaeans would be more grateful to me than to my predecessor in the administration of the Empire. For in his reign it happened to the majority of them to be sent into exile, prosecuted, and cast into prison, and moreover, many whole communities of those who are called "heretics" 2 were actually butchered, as at Samosata and Cyzicus, in Paphlagonia, Bithynia, and Galatia, and among many other tribes also villages were sacked and completely devastated; whereas, during my reign, the contrary has happened. For those who had been exiled have had their exile remitted, and those whose property was confiscated have, by a law of mine received permission to recover all their possessions.3 Yet they have reached such a pitch of raving madness and folly that they are exasperated because they are not allowed to behave like tyrants or to persist in the conduct in which they at one time indulged against one another, and afterwards carried on towards us who revered the gods. They therefore leave no stone unturned, and have the audacity to incite the populace to disorder and revolt, whereby they both act with impiety towards the gods and disobey my edicts, humane though these are. At least I do not allow a single one of them to be dragged against his will to worship at the altars; nay, I proclaim in so many words that, if any man of his own free will choose to take part in our lustral rites and libations, he ought first of all to offer sacrifices of purification and supplicate the gods that avert evil. So far am I from ever having wished or intended that anyone of those sacrilegious men should partake in the sacrifices that we most revere, until he has purified his soul by supplications to the gods, and his body by the purifications that are customary.
It is, at any rate, evident that the populace who have been led into error by those who are called "clerics," are in revolt because this license has been taken from them. For those who have till now behaved like tyrants are not content that they are not punished for their former crimes, but, longing for the power they had before, because they are no longer allowed to sit as judges and draw up wills 1 and appropriate the inheritances of other men and assign everything to themselves, they pull every string 2 of disorder, and, as the proverb says, lead fire through a pipe to fire,3 and dare to add even greater crimes to their former wickedness by leading on the populace to disunion. Therefore I have decided to proclaim to all communities of citizens, by means of this edict, and to make known to all, that they must not join in the feuds of the clerics or be induced by them to take stones in their hands or disobey those in authority; but they may hold meetings for as long as they please and may offer on their own behalf the prayers to which they are accustomed; that, on the other hand, if the clerics try to induce them to take sides on their behalf in quarrels, they must no longer consent to do so, if they would escape punishment.1
I have been led to make this proclamation to the city of Bostra in particular, because their bishop Titus and the clerics, in the reports that they have issued, have made accusations against their own adherents, giving the impression that, when the populace were on the point of breaking the peace, they themselves admonished them not to cause sedition. Indeed, I have subjoined to this my decree the very words which he dared to write in his report: "Although the Christians are a match for the Hellenes in numbers, they are restrained by our admonition that no one disturb the peace in any place." For these are the very words of the bishop about you. You see how he says that your good behaviour was not of your own choice, since, as he at any rate alleged, you were restrained against your will by his admonitions! Therefore, of your own free will, seize your accuser and expel him from the city,2 but do you, the populace, live in agreement with one another, and let no man be quarrelsome or act unjustly. Neither let those of you who have strayed from the truth outrage those who worship the gods duly and justly, according to the beliefs that have been handed down to us from time immemorial; nor let those of you who worship the gods outrage or plunder the houses of those who have strayed rather from ignorance than of set purpose. It is by reason that we ought to persuade and instruct men, not by blows, or insults, or bodily violence. Wherefore, again and often I admonish those who are zealous for the true religion not to injure the communities of the Galilaeans or attack or insult them.1 Nay, we ought to pity rather than hate men who in matters of the greatest importance are in such evil case. (For in very truth the greatest of all blessings is reverence for the gods, as, on the other hand, irreverence is the greatest of all evils, It follows that those who have turned aside from the gods to corpses 2 and relics pay this as their penalty.) 3 Since we suffer in sympathy with those who are afflicted by disease,4 but rejoice with those who are being released and set free by the aid of the gods. Given at Antioch on the First of August.
1 This edict is cited by Sozomen 5. 15. Bostra, or Bosra. was one of the largest fortified cities in Arabia and is described by Ammianus 14. 8. 13 as murorum firmitate cautissima.
2 Constantius persecuted Christians who did not belong to the Arian sect.
3 For this see Sozomen 5. 5.
1 i. e. for others. Julian no longer allowed legacies to be left to churches; cf. Codex Theodos. 3. 1. 3. The clergy and especially the bishops had exercised certain civil functions of which Julian deprived them, and they lost the immunity from taxation that had been granted by Christian emperors. For this cf. Sozomen 5. 5.
2 Literally " cable," a proverb.
3 Cf. "add fuel to fire."
1 So far the edict has a general character and may have been sent out broadcast. The last paragraph is apparently added as a special instruction to the citizens of Bostra, and especially to the Christians, whom he incites against their bishop.
2 Julian's advice was not followed, since Socrates, History of the Church 3. 25, mentions Titus as bishop of Bostra under the Emperor Jovian in 363.
1 Sozomen 5. 5 and 15 seems to be an echo of Julian.
2 So Julian styles Christ and the martyrs; cf. Against the Galilaeans 335b; Vol. 2, Misopogon 361b.
3 i. e. that they are in evil case.
4 For Christianity a disease cf. Vol. 2, 229d, and below, p. 207.
"Time alone proves the just man," 6 as we learn from men of old; but I would add the god-fearing and pious man also. However, you say, the love of Penelope for her husband was also witnessed to by time. Now who would rank a woman's piety second to her love for her husband without appearing to have drunk a very deep draught of mandragora?1 And if one takes into account the conditions of the times and compares Penelope, who is almost universally praised for loving her husband, with pious women who not long ago hazarded their lives; and if one considers also that the period was twice as long, which was an aggravation of their sufferings; then, I ask, is it possible to make any fair comparison between you and Penelope? Nay, do not belittle my praises. All the gods will requite you for your sufferings and for my part I shall honour you with a double priesthood. For besides that which you held before of priestess to the most venerable goddess Demeter, I entrust to you the office of priestess to the most mighty Mother of the gods in Phrygia at Pessinus, beloved of the gods.
5 Otherwise unknown. Julian visited Pessinus in Phrygia on his way to Antioch. See Introduction.
6 Sophocles, Oedipus Rex 614.
1 To drink mandragora (mandrake), is a proverb for sluggish wits; but mandrake was used also as a stimulus to love.
43. To Eustathius the Philosopher 2 [362, Antioch]
Perhaps the proverb "An honest man"3—is too hackneyed. I am sure you know the rest. More than this, you possess it; for, rhetorician and philosopher as you are, you know the words that come next, and you possess me for a friend, at least if we are both honest men. On your behalf I would strenuously maintain that you are in that category, but about myself I say nothing. I only pray that others may find by experience that I also am honest! You ask why I go round in a circle as though I were going to say something extraordinary when I ought to speak out? Come, then, lose no time; fly hither, as we say. A kindly god will speed you on your way with the aid of the Maiden of the Cross Roads and the state post1 will be at your disposal if you wish to use a carriage; and two extra horses.
2 See Introduction under Eustathius. He evidently accepted this invitation; see the next letter. He was a pagan and a friend of Libanius; cf. Ammianus 17. 5. 15; Eunapius, Lives, pp. 392 foll. (Wright).
3 Euripides frag. 902, Nauck: "An honest man, though he dwell far away and I never see him with my eyes, him I count a friend."
1 The cursus publicus was the system of posting stations where horses were kept ready for the use of the Emperor or his friends; cf. above, p. 83 To Basil, end.
"Entreat kindly the guest in your house, but speed him when he would be gone." 3
Thus did wise Homer decree. But the friendship that exists between us two is stronger than that between guest and host, because it is inspired by the best education attainable and by our pious devotion to the gods. So that no one could have fairly indicted me for transgressing the law of Homer if I had insisted that you should remain still longer with us. But I see that your feeble frame needs more care, and I have therefore given you permission to go to your own country,1 and have provided for your comfort on the journey. That is to say, you are allowed to use a state carriage, and may Asclepius and all the gods escort you on your way and grant that we may see you again!2
2 Hertlein, following an error in the editions of Martin and Estienne, makes Julian address this letter to Maximus. For the answer of Eustathius see p. 291.
3 Odyssey 15. 74; this had become a proverb, cf. Libanius, Letter 130.
2 The premature death of Julian prevented the fulfilment of this wish.
As the proverb says, "You told me my own dream." 4 And I fancy that I am relating to you your own waking vision. The Nile, they tell me, had risen in full flood, cubits high, and has inundated the whole of Egypt. If you want to hear the figures, it had risen fifteen cubits 5 on the twentieth of September. Theophilus, the military prefect, informs me of this. So, if you did not know it, hear it from me, and let it rejoice your heart.
3 For Ecdicius see p. 155.
4 Cf. "Queen Anne is dead." Ecdicius presumably knew what Julian tells him.
5 Pliny, Natural History 5. 9, says that a rise of 15 cubits gives Egypt security, 16 is luxury; Ammianus 22. 15 says that cultivators fear a rise of more than 16 cubits. The Egyptian cubit was about 22 inches.
Even though you do not write to me6 on other matters, you ought at least to have written about that enemy of the gods, Athanasius,1 especially since, for a long time past, you have known my just decrees. I swear by mighty Serapis that, if Athanasius the enemy of the gods does not depart from that city, or rather from all Egypt, before the December Kalends, I shall fine the cohort which you command a hundred pounds 2 of gold. And you know that, though I am slow to condemn, I am even much slower to remit when I have once condemned. Added with his own hand.3 It vexes me greatly that my orders are neglected. By all the gods there is nothing I should be so glad to see, or rather hear reported as achieved by you, as that Athanasius has been expelled beyond the frontiers of Egypt. Infamous man! He has had the audacity to baptise Greek women of rank 4 during my reign! Let him be driven forth! 5
6 Egypt was the peculiar property of the Roman Emperors and reports were made by the prefect to them.
1 Athanasius had disregarded the order to leave Alexandria, but he now, on October 24th, went into exile in Upper Egypt; Socrates 3. 14; Sozomen 5. 15; see p. 75.
2 The Greek word used is the equivalent of the Latin libra = 12 ounces.
3 For similar postscripts see pp. 15, 19.
4 Or "wives of distinguished men."
5 In the Neapolitanus MS. the following has been added by a Christian: "This man is a blessed saint, O vile dog of an apostate, thrice accursed and thrice miserable! "
If your founder had been one of the Galilaeans, men who have transgressed their own law 6 and have paid the penalties they deserved, since they elected to live in defiance of the law and have introduced a new doctrine and newfangled teaching, even then it would have been unreasonable for you to demand back Athanasius.1 But as it is, though Alexander founded your city and the lord Serapis is the city's patron god, together with his consort the Maiden, the Queen of all Egypt, Isis . . .2 not emulating the healthy part of the city; but the part that is diseased has the audacity to arrogate to itself the name of the whole.
I am overwhelmed with shame, I affirm it by the gods, Ο men of Alexandria, to think that even a single Alexandrian can admit that he is a Galilaean. The forefathers of the genuine Hebrews were the slaves of the Egyptians long ago, but in these days, men of Alexandria, you who conquered the Egyptians —for your founder was the conqueror of Egypt— submit yourselves, despite your sacred traditions, in willing slavery to men who have set at naught the teachings of their ancestors. You have then no recollection of those happy days of old when all Egypt held communion with the gods and we enjoyed many benefits therefrom. But those who have but yesterday introduced among you this new doctrine, tell me of what benefit have they been to the city? Your founder was a god-fearing man, Alexander of Macedon, in no way, by Zeus, like any of these persons, nor again did he resemble any Hebrews, though the latter have shown themselves far superior to the Galilaeans. Nay, Ptolemy3 son of Lagus proved stronger than the Jews, while Alexander, if he had had to match himself with the Romans, would have made even them fight hard for supremacy. And what about the Ptolemies who succeeded your founder and nurtured your city from her earliest years as though she were their own daughter? It was certainly not by the preachings of Jesus that they increased her renown, nor by the teaching of the Galilaeans, detested of the gods, did they perfect this administration which she enjoys and to which she owes her present good fortune. Thirdly, when we Romans became her masters and took her out of the hands of the Ptolemies who misgoverned her, Augustus visited your city and made the following speech to your citizens: "Men of Alexandria, I absolve the city of all blame, because of my reverence for the mighty god Serapis, and further for the sake of the people themselves and the great renown of the city. But there is a third reason for my goodwill towards you, and that is my comrade Areius." 1 Now this Areius was a fellow-citizen of yours and a familiar friend of Caesar Augustus, by profession a philosopher.
These, then, to sum them up briefly, are the blessings bestowed by the Olympian gods on your city in peculiar, though I pass over very many because they would take too long to describe. But the blessings that are vouchsafed by the visible gods to all in common, every day, not merely to a few persons or a single race, or to one city, but to the whole world at the same time, how can you fail to know what they are? Are you alone insensible to the beams that descend from Helios? Are you alone ignorant that summer and winter are from him? Or that all kinds of animal and plant life proceed from him? And do you not perceive what great blessings the city derives from her who is generated from and by him, even Selene who is the creator of the whole universe? 1 Yet you have the audacity not to adore any one of these gods; and you think that one whom neither you nor your fathers have ever seen, even Jesus, ought to rank as God the Word. But the god whom from time immemorial the whole race of mankind has beheld and looked up to and worshipped, and from that worship prospered, I mean mighty Helios, his intelligible father's living image,2 endowed with soul and intelligence, cause of all good ... if you heed my admonition, do ye lead yourselves even a little towards the truth. For you will not stray from the right road3 if you heed one who till his twentieth year walked in that road of yours, but for twelve years now has walked in this road I speak of, by the grace of the gods.4
Therefore, if it please you to obey me, you will rejoice me the more. But if you choose to persevere in the superstition and instruction of wicked men, at least agree among yourselves and do not crave for Athanasius. In any case there are many of his pupils who can comfort well enough those itching ears of yours that yearn to hear impious words. I only wish that, along with Athanasius, the wickedness of his impious school had been suppressed. But as it is you have a fine crowd of them and need have no trouble. For any man whom you elect from the crowd will be in no way inferior to him for whom you crave, at any rate for the teaching of the scriptures. But if you have made these requests because you are so fond of the general subtlety of Athanasius —for I am informed that the man is a clever rascal —then you must know that for this very reason he has been banished from the city. For a meddlesome man is unfit by nature to be leader of the people. But if this leader is not even a man but only a contemptible puppet, like this great personage who thinks he is risking his head, this surely gives the signal for disorder. Wherefore, that nothing of the sort may occur in your case, as I long ago gave orders 1 that he depart from the city, I now say, let him depart from the whole of Egypt.
Let this be publicly proclaimed to my citizens of Alexandria.
6 i. e. the Hebraic law; cf. Against the Galilaeans, 238b, foll., 305e, foll.
1 Athanasius had left Alexandria on October 24th, 362, and, not long after, the Alexandrians petitioned Julian for his return. This is his answer to them. After this edict Athanasius remained in hiding in Egypt and the Sudan till Julian's death in 363, when he recovered his see.
2 After "Isis" some words are missing.
3 Ptolemy the First took Jerusalem and led many Jews captive into Egypt, Josephus 1. 12. 1.
1 For the Alexandrine Stoic, Areius, cf. Julian, Caesars, Vol. 2, 326b; Letter to Themistius, Vol.2, 265c, where Areius is said to have refused the prefecture of Egypt; and Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, Introduction, p. xxiii (Loeb Library Edition). See Seneca, Dialogues 6. 4, where Areius consoles and exhorts the Empress Livia.
1 For Selene as the artificer of the visible world cf. Vol. 1, Oration 4, 150a.
2 Cf. Fragment of a Letter to a Priest, Vol. 2, 295a, where the stars are called "living images." Julian here refers not to the visible sun, but to the "intellectual" (νοερὸς) Helios who is in the likeness of his "intelligible" (νοητὸς) father, the transcendental Helios, for whom cf. Oration 4, Vol. 1, 133c, note.
3 For Julian's reproach against the Christians that they had taken "their own road" and abandoned the teaching of Moses, cf. Against the Galilaeans 43a.
4 Cf. Vol. 1, Oration 4, 131a where he also refers to the time when he was a Christian and desires that it may be forgotten,
1 See above, To the Alexandrians, p. 75.
I am informed that there is in your neighbourhood a granite obelisk1 which, when it stood erect, reached a considerable height, but has been thrown down and lies on the beach as though it were something entirely worthless. For this obelisk Constantius of blessed memory had a freight-boat built, because he intended to convey it to my native place, Constantinople. But since by the will of heaven he has departed from this life to the next on that journey to which we are fated,2 the city claims the monument from me because it is the place of my birth and more closely connected with me than with the late Emperor. For though he loved the place as a sister I love it as my mother. And I was in fact born there and brought up in the place, and I cannot ignore its claims. Well then, since I love you also, no less than my native city, I grant to you also permission to set up the bronze statue 3 in your city. A statue has lately been made of colossal size. If you set this up you will have, instead of a stone monument, a bronze statue of a man whom you say you love and long for, and a human shape instead of a quadrangular block of granite with Egyptian characters on it. Moreover the news has reached me that there are certain persons who worship there and sleep1 at its very apex, and that convinces me beyond doubt that on account of these superstitious practices I ought to take it away. For men who see those persons sleeping there and so much filthy rubbish and careless and licentious behaviour in that place, not only do not believe that it2 is sacred, but by the influence of the superstition of those who dwell there come to have less faith in the gods. Therefore, for this very reason it is the more proper for you to assist in this business and to send it to my native city, which always receives you hospitably when you sail into the Pontus, and to contribute to its external adornment, even as you contribute to its sustenance. It cannot fail to give you pleasure to have something that has belonged to you standing in their city, and as you sail towards that city you will delight in gazing at it.
1 This granite monolith, which stands in the At Meidan (the hippodrome) in Constantinople, was originally erected by Thothmes III. (about 1515 b.c.), probably at Heliopolis. The Alexandrians obeyed Julian's orders, but the boat containing the obelisk was driven by a storm to Athens, where it remained till the Emperor Theodosius (379-395 a.d.) conveyed it to Constantinople. There, as an inscription on its base records, it took 32 days to erect; see Palatine Anthology 9. 682.
2 Plato, Phaedo, 117c.
3 Of himself (?) or of Constantius. The Emperor's permission was necessary for the erection of a statue by a city.
1 Possibly there was a martyr's grave near, at which the Christians worshipped; more probably, Christian or Jewish ascetics who flourished at Alexandria and were called "therapeuts," "worshippers," had settled near the obelisk. Sozomen 6. 29 says that about 2000 ascetic monks lived in the neighbourhood of Alexandria. See also Sozomen 1. 12.
2 i. e. the obelisk, which was originally dedicated to the Sun.
If there is anything that deserves our fostering care, it is the sacred art of music. Do you therefore select from the citizens of Alexandria3 boys of good birth, and give orders that two artabae 4 of corn are to be furnished every month to each of them, with olive oil also, and wine. The overseers of the Treasury will provide them with clothing. For the present let these boys be chosen for their voices, but if any of them should prove capable of attaining to the higher study of the science of music, let them be informed that very considerable rewards for their work have been set aside at my court also. For they must believe those who have expressed right opinions on these matters that they themselves rather than we will be purified in soul by divinely inspired1 music, and benefit thereby. So much, then, for the boys. As for those who are now the pupils of Dioscorus the musician, do you urge them to apply themselves to the art with still more zeal, for I am ready to assist them to whatever they may wish.
3 For the study of music at Alexandria cf. Ammianus Marcellinus 22. 16. 17, nondumque apud eos penitus exaruit musica, nec harmonia conticuit.
4 The artaba, an Egyptian dry measure, was equivalent to about nine gallons.
1 Julian does not mean sacred music in particular; cf. Vol. 1, Oration 3. 111c, where θεία is used of secular music.
Your earlier silence was more creditable than your present defence; for then you did not utter abuse, though perhaps it was in your mind. But now, as though you were in travail, you have poured out your abuse of me wholesale. For must I not regard it as abuse and slander that you supposed me to be like your own friends, to each of whom you offered yourself uninvited; or rather, by the first3 you were not invited, and you obeyed the second 1 on his merely indicating that he wished to enlist you to help him. However, whether I am like Constans and Magnentius the event itself, as they say, will prove.2 But as for you, from what you wrote it is very plain that, in the words of the comic poet,3
"You are praising yourself, lady, like Astydamas."
For when you write about your "fearlessness" and "great courage," and say "Would that you knew my real value and my true character!" and, in a word, all that sort of thing,—for shame! What an empty noise and display of words is this! Nay, by the Graces and Aphrodite, if you are so brave and noble, why were you "so careful to avoid incurring displeasure," if need be, "for the third time"?4 For when men fall under the displeasure of princes, the lightest consequence—and, as one might say, the most agreeable to a man of sense—is that they are at once relieved from the cares of business; and if they have to pay a small fine as well, their stumbling block is merely money; while the culmination of the prince's wrath, and the "fate beyond all remedy" as the saying is, is to lose their lives. Disregarding all these dangers, because, as you say, "you had come to know me in my private capacity for the man I am" 5—and in my common and generic capacity for the human being I am, though unknown to myself, late learner that I am!—why, in heaven's name, did you say that you were careful to avoid incurring displeasure for the third time? For surely my anger will not change you from a good man into a bad. I should be enviable indeed, and with justice, if I had the power to do that; for then, as Plato says,1 I could do the converse as well. But since virtue owns no master,2 you ought not to have taken into account anything of the 'sort. However, you think it is a fine thing to speak ill of all men, and to abuse all without exception, and to convert the shrine of peace3 into a workshop of war. Or do you think in this way to excuse yourself in the sight of all for your past sins, and that your courage now is a screen to hide your cowardice of old? You have heard the fable of Babrius:4 "Once upon a time a weasel fell in love with a handsome youth.". The rest of the fable you may learn from the book. However much you may say, you will never convince any human being that you were not what you were, and such as many knew you to be in the past. As for your ignorance and audacity now, it was not philosophy that implanted them in you, no, by heaven! On the contrary, it was what Plato5 calls a twofold lack of knowledge. For though you really know nothing, just as I know nothing, you think forsooth that you are the wisest of all men, not only of those who are alive now, but also of those who have ever been, and perhaps of those who ever will be. To such a pitch of ignorance has your self-conceit grown!
However, as far as you are concerned, this that I have said is more than enough; but perhaps I ought to apologise on your account to the others because I too hastily summoned you to take part in public affairs. I am not the first or the only one, Dionysius, who has had this experience. Your namesake1 deceived even great Plato; and Callippus2 the Athenian also deceived Dio. For Plato says3 that Dio knew he was a bad man but that he would never have expected in him such a degree of baseness. Why need I quote the experience of these men, when even Hippocrates,4 the most distinguished of the sons of Asclepius, said: "The sutures of the head baffled my judgement." Now if those famous men were deceived about persons whom they knew, and the physician was mistaken in a professional diagnosis, is it surprising that Julian was deceived when he heard that Nilus Dionysius had suddenly become brave? You have heard tell of the famous Phaedo of Elis,5 and you know his story. However, if you do not know it, study it more carefully, but at any rate I will tell you this part. He thought that there is nothing that cannot be cured by philosophy, and that by her all men can be purified from all their modes of life, their habits, desires, in a word from everything of the sort. If indeed she only availed those who are well born and well bred there would be nothing marvellous about philosophy; but if she can lead up to the light men so greatly depraved,1 then I consider her marvellous beyond anything. For these reasons my estimate of you, as all the gods know, inclined little 'by little to be more favourable; but even so I did not count your sort in the first or the second class of the most virtuous. Perhaps you yourself know this; but if you do not know it, enquire of the worthy Symmachus.2 For I am convinced that he would never willingly tell a lie, since he is naturally disposed to be truthful in all things. And if you are aggrieved that I did not honour you before all others, I for my part reproach myself for having ranked you even among the last in merit, and I thank all the gods and goddesses who hindered us from becoming associated in public affairs and from being intimate ... 3 And indeed, though the poets have often said of Rumour that she is a goddess,4 and let us grant, if you will, that she at least has demonic power, yet not very much attention ought to be paid to her, because a demon is not altogether pure or perfectly good, like the race of the gods, but has some share of the opposite quality. And even though it be not permissible to say this concerning the other demons, I know that when I say of Rumour that she reports many things falsely as well as many truthfully, I shall never myself be convicted of bearing false witness.1
But as for your "freedom of speech," do you think that it is worth four obols, as the saying is? Do you not know that Thersites also spoke his mind freely among the Greeks, whereupon the most wise Odysseus beat him with his staff,2 while Agamemnon paid less heed to the drunken brawling of Thersites than a tortoise does to flies, as the proverb goes? For that matter it is no great achievement to criticise others, but rather to place oneself beyond the reach of criticism. Now if you can claim to be in this category, prove it to me. Did you not, when you were young, furnish to your elders fine themes for gossip about you? However, like Electra in Euripides,3 I keep silence about happenings of this sort. But when you came to man's estate and betook yourself to the camp,4 how, in the name of Zeus, did you behave? You say that you left it because you gave offence in the cause of truth. From what evidence can you prove this, as though many men5 and of the basest sort had not been exiled by the very persons by whom you yourself were driven away? Ο most wise Dionysius, it does not happen to a virtuous and temperate man to go away obnoxious to those in power! You would have done better if you had proved to us that men from their intercourse with you were better behaved. But this was not in your power, no, by the gods, nor is it in the power of tens of thousands who emulate your way of life. For when rocks grind against rocks and stones against stones they do not benefit one another, and the stronger easily wears down the weaker.1
I am not saying this in Laconic fashion 2 and concisely, am I? Nay, I think that on your account I have shown myself even more talkative than Attic grasshoppers. However, in return for your drunken abuse of myself, I will inflict on you the appropriate punishment, by the grace of the gods and our lady Adrasteia.3 What, then, is this punishment, and what has the greatest power to hurt your tongue and your mind? It is this: I will try, by erring as little as may be in word and deed, not to provide your slanderous tongue with so much foolish talk. And yet I am well aware that it is said that even the sandal of Aphrodite was satirised by Momus. But you observe that though Momus poured forth floods 4 of criticism he could barely find anything to criticise in her sandal.5 Even so may you grow old fretting yourself over things of this sort, more decrepit than Tithonus, richer than Cinyras, more luxurious than Sardanapalus, so that in you may be fulfilled the proverb, "Old men are twice children."
But why does the divine Alexander seem to you so pre-eminent? Is it because you took to imitating him and aspired to that for which the youth Hermolaus 6 reproached him? Or rather, no one is so foolish as to suspect you of that. But the very opposite, that which Hermolaus lamented that he had endured, and which was the reason for his plotting, as they say, to kill Alexander—everyone believes this about you also, do they not? I call the gods to witness that I have heard many persons assert that they were very fond of you and who made many excuses for this offence of yours, but I have found just one person who did not believe it. However he is that one swallow who does not make a spring. But perhaps the reason why Alexander seemed in your eyes a great man was that he cruelly murdered Callisthenes,1 that Cleitus2 fell a victim to his drunken fury, and Philotas too, and Parmenio 3 and Parmenio's son; for that affair of Hector,4 who was smothered in the whirlpools of the Nile in Egypt or the Euphrates—the story is told of both rivers— I say nothing about, or of his other follies, lest I should seem to speak ill of a man who by no means maintained the ideal of rectitude but nevertheless excelled as a general in the works of war. Whereas you are less endowed with both these, namely, good principles and courage, than a fish with hair. Now listen to my advice and do not resent it too much.
"Not to thee, my child, have been given the works of war." 5
The verse that follows 6 I do not write out for you, because, by the gods, I am ashamed to do so. However I ask you to understand it as said. For it is only fair that words should follow on deeds, and that he who has never avoided deeds should not avoid the phrases that describe them.
Nay, if you revere the pious memory of Magnentius and Constans, why do you wage war against the living and abuse those who excel in any way? Is it because the dead are better able than the living to avenge themselves on those who vex them? Yet it does not become you to say this. For you are, as your letter says, "Very brave indeed." But if this is not the reason, perhaps there is a different one. Perhaps you do not wish to satirise them because they cannot feel it. But among the living is there anyone so foolish or so cowardly as to demand that you should take any notice of him at all, and who will not prefer if possible to be altogether ignored by you; but if that should be impossible, to be abused by you, as indeed I am now abused rather than honoured? May I never be so ill-advised—may I never aspire to win praise rather than blame from you!
But perhaps you will say that the very fact that I am writing to you is a proof that I am stung?1 No, I call the Saviour Gods to witness that I am but trying to check your excessive audacity and boldness, the license of your tongue and the ferocity of your soul, the madness of your wits and your perverse fury on all occasions. In any case it was in my power, if I had been stung, to chastise you with deeds and not merely with words,2 and I should have been entirely within the law. For you are a citizen and of senatorial rank and you disobeyed a command of your Emperor; and such behaviour was certainly not permissible to anyone who could not furnish the excuse of real necessity. Therefore I was not satisfied with inflicting on you any sort of penalty for this conduct, but I thought I ought to write to you first, thinking that you might be cured by a short letter. But since I have discovered that you persist in the same errors, or rather how great your frenzy is which I previously did not know . . ,1 lest you should be thought to be a man, when that you are not, or brimful of freedom of speech, when you are only full of insanity, or that you have had the advantage of education when you have not the smallest acquaintance with literature, as far, at any rate, as one may reasonably judge from your letters. For instance, no one of the ancients ever used φροῦδος 2 to mean "manifest" as you do here,—for, as for the other blunders displayed in your letter, no one could describe them even in a long book, or that obscene and abominable character of yours that leads you to prostitute yourself. You tell me indeed that it is not those who arrive offhand or those who are hunting for public office whom we ought to choose, but those who use sound judgement and in accordance with this prefer to do their duty rather than those who are ready and eager to obey. Fair, truly, are the hopes you hold out to me though I made no appeal to you, implying that you will yield if I again summon you to take part in public business. But I am so far from doing that, that, when the others were admitted, I never even addressed you at any time. And yet I did address many who were known and unknown to me and dwell in Rome, beloved of the gods. Such was my desire for your friendship, so worthy of consideration did I think you! Therefore it is likely that my future conduct towards you will be much the same. And indeed I have written this letter now, not for your perusal alone, since I knew it was needed by many besides yourself, and I will give it to all, since all, I am convinced, will be glad to receive it. For when men see you more haughty and more insolent than befits your past life, they resent it.
You have here a complete answer from me, so that you can desire nothing more. Nor do I ask for any further communication from you. But when you have read my letters use them for whatever purpose you please. For our friendship is at an end. Farewell, and divide your time between luxurious living and abuse of me!
2 For the name and personality of Nilus see Introduction, under Nilus.
3 Constans; cf. Vol. 1, Oration 1. 9d.
1 Magnentius; cf. Oration 1 for the defeat of this usurper by Constantias. Magnentius had murdered Constans, see Oration 1. 26b, 2. 55 d.
2 Cf. Vol. 2, Caesars 307a.
3 Philemon frag. 190; cf. Letter to Basil, p. 83; this had become a proverb.
4 i.e. after his experiences with Constans and Magnentius.
5 A quotation from the other's letter.
1 Crito 44d.
2 Plato, Republic 617e.
3 The Senate; for the phrase cf. Xenophon, Hellenica 3. 4. 17.
4 Fable 32, the weasel or cat, transformed into a woman, could not resist chasing a mouse.
5 Cf. Proclus on Cratylus 65 for this Neo-Platonic phrase; and Plato, Apology 21d. In Sophist 229b Plato defines the ignorance of those who do not even know that they are ignorant.
1 The tyrant of Syracuse.
2 Callippus, who assassinated Dio in 353 B.C., was himself put to death by the Syracusans after he had usurped the government.
3 Plato, Epistle 7. 351 d, e.
4 Hippocrates, 5. 3. 561 Kuhn. This candid statement of Hippocrates, who had failed to find a wound in a patient's head, was often cited as a proof of a great mind; cf. Plutarch, De profectu in virtute, 82d.
5 For the reformation of Phaedo by philosophy, see Aulus Gellius 2. 18 and Julian, Vol. 2, 264d (Wright). He was a disciple of Socrates and wrote several dialogues; for his Life see Diogenes Laertius, 2. 105; cf. Wilamowitz in Hermes 14.
1 i. e. as Phaedo. Wilamowitz thinks that this sentence and the preceding are quoted or paraphrased from Phaedo.
2 This was probably L. Aurelius Avianius Symmachus the Roman senator, prefect of the city in 364-5, father of the orator Quintus Aurelius Symmachus; Ammianus 21. 12. 24, describes the meeting of the elder Symmachus and Julian in 361 at Nish.
3 The lack of connection indicates a lacuna though there is none in the MSS. Probably Julian said that their intimacy existed only as a rumour.
4 Hesiod, Works and Days 763.
1 Cf. Julian's reverence for it in Vol. 1, pp. 409, 423; Vol. 2, p. 347, Wright.
2 Iliad 2. 265.
3 Orestes 16. Cf. Vol. 2, To Themistius, 254b, p. 204, Wright.
4 i. e. of Constans.
5 We do not know to whom Julian refers.
1 See the similar passage on p. 101. Asmus thinks that the Laurieius there mentioned and Nilus were both Cynics and therefore obnoxious to Julian.
2 A reference to the letter of Nilus, who had perhaps asked for a brief answer.
3 Cf. Misopogon 370b, vol. 2, p. 508, Wright.
4 Or "burst with the effort," cf. rumpi invidia.
5 Philostratus, Epistle 37; Momus complained that Aphrodite wore a sandal that squeaked.
6 For the plot of Hermolaus and Callisthenes against Alexander, cf. Quintus Curtius 8. 6; Arrian, Anabasis 4. 13. 14; Plutarch, Alexander 55.
1 The historian who accompanied Alexander to the East.
2 Cf. Vol. 2, Caesars 331c, p. 403, note, Wright.
3 The general Parmenio and his son Philotas were executed for treason; Arrian, Anabasis 3. 26.
4 Cf. Quintus Curtius 5. 8. 7; Hector, a son of Parmenio, was, according to Curtius, accidentally drowned, though Julian ascribes his death to Alexander.
5 Iliad 5. 428, Zeus to Aphrodite.
1 Julian seems to anticipate the criticism of Nilus that he is not showing himself superior to Alexander.
2 For Julian's mildness in such cases, see Ammianus. 25.4. 9.
1 Lacuna. Some reference to the letters written by Nilus is needed here.
1 Some words have fallen out.
2 In Attic the word means " vanished."
In times past, by far the most burdensome thing in the yoke of your slavery has been the fact that you were subjected to unauthorised ordinances and had to contribute an untold amount of money to the accounts of the treasury. Of this I used to see many instances with my own eyes, and I have learned of more, by finding the records which are preserved against you. Moreover, when a tax was about to be levied on you again I prevented it, and compelled the impiety of such obloquy to cease here; and I threw into the fire the records against you that were stored in my desks; so that it is no longer possible for anyone to aim at you such a reproach of impiety. My brother Constantius of honoured memory was not so much responsible for these wrongs of yours as were the men who used to frequent his table, barbarians in mind, godless in soul. These I seized with my own hands and put them to death by thrusting them into the pit, that not even any memory of their destruction 1 might still linger amongst us. And since I wish that you should prosper yet more, I have admonished my brother Iulus,2 your most venerable patriarch, that the levy3 which is said to exist among you should be prohibited, and that no one is any longer to have the power to oppress the masses of your people by such exactions; so that everywhere, during my reign, you may have security of mind, and in the enjoyment of peace may offer more fervid prayers4 for my reign to the Most High God, the Creator, who has deigned to crown me with his own immaculate right hand. For it is natural that men who are distracted by any anxiety should be hampered in spirit, and should not have so much confidence in raising their hands to pray; but that those who are in all respects free from care should rejoice with their whole hearts and offer their suppliant prayers on behalf of my imperial office to Mighty God, even to him who is able to direct my reign to the noblest ends, according to my purpose. This you ought to do, in order that, when I have successfully concluded the war with Persia, I may rebuild by my own efforts the sacred city of Jerusalem,1 which for so many years you have longed to see inhabited, and may bring settlers there, and, together with you, may glorify the Most High God therein.
1 For this rescript see Introduction.
1 Or απώλεια may be active = " their wickedness."
2 The Patriarch Hillel II. was at this time about seventy.
3 Literally "the apostole," paid by the Jews to maintain the Patriarchate. It was later suppressed by the Emperor Theodosius II.
4 Sozomen 5. 22 says that Julian wrote to the community of the Jews asking them to pray for him.
1 For Julian's project of rebuilding the Temple, see Introduction.
Since you have forgotten your promise—at any rate three days have gone by and the philosopher Priscus3 has not come himself but has sent a letter to say that he still delays—I remind you of your debt by demanding payment. The thing you owe is, as you know, easy for you to pay and very pleasant for me to receive. So send your discourse and your "divine counsel," and do it promptly, in the name of Hermes and the Muses, for I assure you, in these three days you have worn me out, if indeed the Sicilian poet 4 speaks the truth when he says, "Those who long grow old in a day." And if this be true, as in fact it is,1 you have trebled my age, my good friend. I have dictated this to you in the midst of public business. For I was not able to write myself because my hand is lazier than my tongue.2 Though indeed my tongue also has come to be somewhat lazy and inarticulate from lack of exercise. Farewell, brother, most dear and most beloved!
2 Both Libanius and Julian were at this time at Antioch. We have the answer to this letter, Libanius, Letter 760 Foerster; Libanius had promised to send Julian his speech, For Aristophanes, Oration 14, for which see below, p. 183.
3 For Priscus, see above, pp. 3, 15.
4 Theocritus, 12. 2.
1 Plato, Phaedrus 242E.
2 Sophocles, Philoctetes 97.
You have requited Aristophanes3 for his piety towards the gods and his devotion to yourself by changing and transforming what was formerly a reproach against him so that it redounds to his honour, and not for to-day only but for the future also, since the malicious charges of Paul 4 and the verdict of So-and-so 5 have no force compared with words written by you. For their calumnies were detested even while they flourished, and perished along with their perpetrators, whereas your speeches are not only prized by genuine Hellenes to-day but will still be prized in future times, unless I am mistaken in my verdict. For the rest, you shall judge whether you have convinced, or rather converted, me on behalf of Aristophanes. I now agree not to believe that he is too weak to resist pleasure and money. What point would I not yield to the most philosophic and truth-loving of orators? Naturally you will proceed to ask me why, in that case, I do not alter his unhappy lot for the better and blot out the disgrace that attaches to him on account of his ill fortune. "Two walking together,"1 as the proverb says, namely, you and I, must take counsel. And you have the right, not only to advise that we ought to assist a man who has honoured the gods so straightforwardly, but also as to how it ought to be done. Indeed, you did hint at this in an obscure way. But it is perhaps better not to write about such matters, but to talk it over together. Farewell, brother, most dear and most beloved!
I read yesterday almost all your speech before breakfast, and after breakfast, before resting, I gave myself up to reading the remainder. Happy man to be able to speak so well, or rather to have such ideas! Ο what a discourse! what wit! what wisdom! what analysis! what logic! what method! what openings! what diction! what symmetry! what structure! 2
3 For Aristophanes of Corinth and for the answer of Libanius, Letter 758, Foerster, see Introduction, Aristophanes.
4 Paul, the notary nicknamed Catena, " the chain," a tool of Constantius, was burned alive on Julian's accession, by order of the Chalcedon Commission; Ammianus 14. 5. 6; 22. 3. 11. He was a Spaniard, malevolent and inquisitorial.
5 The real name is suppressed, probably by a cautious editor when the letter was first published.
1 Iliad 10. 224, cf. Plato, Symposium 174d.
2 Julian may have read Marcus Aurelius, To Fronto.
The wise Hesiod4 thinks that we ought to invite our neighbours to our feasts that they may rejoice with us, since they sorrow and mourn with us when any unexpected misfortune befals us. But I say that it is our friends that we ought to invite, rather than our neighbours; and for this reason, that it is possible to have a neighbour who is one's enemy, but that a friend should be an enemy is no more possible than for white to be black, or hot cold. And if there were no other proof that you are my friend not now only, but for a long time past, and that you have steadily maintained your regard for me, nevertheless the fact that my feeling for you has been and is what it is, would be strong evidence of that friendship. Come, therefore, that you may in person share my consulship.1 The state post will bring you, and you may use one carriage and an extra horse. And in case we ought to pray for further aid, I have invoked for you the blessing of the goddess of the Crossroads2 and the god of the Ways.3
3 This is either Eustochius of Palestine, whose knowledge of law and eloquence is praised by Libanius, Letter 699 (789 Foerster), or a sophist of Cappadocia of the same name. We do not know which of these men it was to whom Gregory Nazianzen addressed his Letters 189-191.
4 Works and Days 313, a favourite quotation.
1 Julian, with Sallustius as colleague, entered on the consulship January 1st, 363.
2 Hecate, Latin Trivia.
Moreover the Emperor Julian, faithless to Christ, in his attack on Diodorus 5 writes as follows to Photinus the heresiarch: 1 Ο Photinus, you at any rate seem to maintain what is probably true, and come nearest to being saved, and do well to believe that he whom one holds to be a god can by no means be brought into the womb. But Diodorus, a charlatan priest of the Nazarene, when he tries to give point to that nonsensical theory about the womb by artifices and juggler's tricks, is clearly a sharp-witted sophist of that creed of the country-folk. A little further on he says: But if only the gods and goddesses and all the Muses and Fortune will lend me their aid, I hope to show 2 that he is feeble and a corrupter of laws and customs, of pagan 3 Mysteries and Mysteries of the gods of the underworld, and that that new-fangled Galilaean god of his, whom he by a false myth styles eternal, has been stripped by his humiliating death and burial of the divinity falsely ascribed to him by Diodorus. Then, just as people who are convicted of error always begin to invent, being the slaves of artifice rather than of truth, he goes on to say: For the fellow sailed to Athens to the injury of the general welfare, then rashly took to philosophy and engaged in the study of literature, and by the devices of rhetoric armed his hateful tongue against the heavenly gods, and being utterly ignorant of the Mysteries of the pagans he so to speak imbibed most deplorably the whole mistaken folly of the base and ignorant creed-making fishermen. For this conduct he has long ago been punished by the gods themselves. For, for many years past, he has been in danger, having contracted a wasting disease of the chest, and he now suffers extreme torture. His whole body has wasted away. For his cheeks have fallen in and his body is deeply lined with wrinkles.1 But this is no sign of philosophic habits, as he wishes it to seem to those who are deceived by him, but most certainly a sign of justice done and of punishment from the gods which has stricken him down in suitable proportion to his crime, since he must live out to the very end his painful and bitter life, his appearance that of a man pale and wasted.
4 These fragments of a lost letter are preserved only in the Latin version of Facundus Hermianensis, who wrote at Constantinople about 546 A.D. For a partial reconstruction of the original see Neumann, Contra Christianos, Leipzig, 1880, ρ 5. This letter may have been written at any time between Julian's arrival at Antioch in July 362 and his departure thence, in March 363. The Greek original is represented by curious and sometimes untranslatable Latin. Photinus, bishop of Sirmium, where Constantius resided in 351, was tried, deposed and banished by a synod convened there by Constantius. According to Sozomen 4. 6, he wrote many Greek and Latin works in support of his heretical views on the divinity of Christ, which were opposed by both Arians and Nicaeans. He is mentioned by Julian, Against the Galilaeans 262c.
5 Bishop of Tarsus, a celebrated teacher; he was at Antioch in 362.
1 The italicised passages are the words of Facundus.
2 This is a forecast of Julian's treatise Against the Galilaeans.
3 Twice in this letter Facundus translates Julian's "Hellenic" as "pagan."
1 Here and in the last sentence I give what seems to be the general meaning.
It was my duty, after considering with myself, to restore the ancient custom which I have now decided to confirm by a law. For when they considered the matter, the men of old, who made wise laws, believed that there is the greatest possible difference between life and death and thought that each of these two states has customs and practices peculiarly appropriate to it. For they thought that death is an unbroken rest, —and this is surely that "brazen sleep" of which the poets sing,3—but that life, on the contrary, brings many pains and many pleasures, and now adversity, now greater prosperity. Considering thus, they enjoined that expiations connected with the departed should be conducted apart, and that apart from them the daily business of life should be carried on. Moreover, they held that the gods are the beginning and end of all things, and believed that while we live we are subject to the gods, and when we depart from this life we travel back to the gods. But perhaps it is not right to speak openly about these matters or to divulge whether both are in the hands of the same gods or one set of gods has charge of the living and another set the dead. However, if, as the Sun is the cause of day and night and winter and summer by his departure and arrival, so also the most venerable one of the gods themselves, unto whom are all things and from whom all things proceed, has appointed rulers over the living and allotted lords over the dead, then we ought to assign to both of these classes in turn what is fitting for them, and to imitate in our daily life the orderly arrangement of the gods in things which exist.
As I have said, death is rest; and night harmonises with rest. Therefore I think it is fitting that business connected with the burials of the dead should be performed at night, since for many reasons we ought to forbid anything of the sort to go on by day. Throughout the city men are going to and fro each on his own business, and all the streets are full of men going to the lawcourts, or to or from the market, or sitting at work at their crafts, or visiting the temples to confirm the good hopes that the gods have vouchsafed. And then some persons or other, having laid a corpse on the bier, push their way into the midst of those who are busy about such matters. The thing is in every way intolerable. For those who meet the funeral are often filled with disgust, some because they regard it as an evil omen, while for others who are on the way to the temples it is not permitted to approach for worship till they have cleansed themselves from the pollution. For after such a sight it is not permitted to approach the gods who are the cause of life and of all things least akin to decay. And I have still to mention what is worse than this. And what is that? The sacred precincts and temples of the gods lie open; and it often happens that in one of them someone is sacrificing or pouring libations or praying, at the moment when men carrying a corpse are passing close by the temple itself, and the voice of lamentations and speech of ill omen is carried even to the altars.
Do you not understand that the functions belonging to the day and the night have been separated more than all other things? With good reason, therefore, has burial been taken out of the day and would be reserved for the night. For it is not right to deprecate the wearing of white for mourning and yet to bury the dead in the daytime and sunlight. The former was better, at least if it was not offensive to any of the gods, but the latter cannot escape being an act of impiety towards all the gods. For thereby men wrongly assign burial to the Olympian gods and wrongly alienate it from the gods of the underworld, or whatever else the guardians and lords of souls prefer to be called. And I know that those who are thoroughly versed and punctilious in sacred rites think it right to perform at night the ritual to the gods below or in any case not till after the tenth hour of the day. But if this is the better time for the worship of these gods, we will certainly not assign another time for the service of the dead.
What I have said suffices for those who are willing to obey. For now that they have learned what errors they used to commit, let them change to the better way. But if there be any man of such a character that he needs threat and penalty, let him know that he will incur the severest punishment if, before the tenth hour of the day, he shall venture to perform the offices for the corpse of any dead person and to carry it through the city. But let these things be done at sunset and before sunrise, and let the pure day be consecrated for pure deeds and the pure gods of Olympus.
2 This is probably the earlier form of the Latin Edict in Codex Theodosianus 9. 17. 5 dated February 12th, 363. It is not clear whether it was aimed at the Christians, but of course they had to observe it. They buried their dead by day, and did not share the pagan fear of pollution by a corpse, for which cf. Eunapius, Life of Iamblichus, p. 367, Wright. Julian desired to suppress the Christian demonstrations at public funerals such as that of the bones of St. Babylas, at Antioch, for which see Philostorgius 7. 8, Sozomen 5. 19, Julian, Misopogon 361B, note, p. 485, Wright.
3 Iliad 11. 241; Vergil, Aeneid 10. 745 ferreus Somnus.
Make haste, Arsacius,2 to meet the enemy's battle line and quicker than I tell 3 you arm your right hand against the madness of the Persians. For my military preparations and my set purpose are for one of two things; either to pay the debt of nature within the Parthian 4 frontier, after I have won the most glorious victories and inflicted on my foes the most terrible reverses, or to defeat them under the leadership of the gods and return to my native land as a conquering hero, after I have set up trophies of the enemy's defeat. Accordingly you must discard all sloth and cheating, and the Emperor Constantine of blessed memory, and the wealth of the nobles which was lavished in vain on you and on barbarians of your character by the most luxurious and extravagant Constantius, and now I warn you, take heed of me, Julian, supreme pontiff, Caesar, Augustus, the servant of the gods and of Ares, the destroyer of the Franks and barbarians,1 the liberator of the Gauls and of Italy. But if you form some other design,—for I learn that you are a rascal2 and a coward in war and a boaster, as the present condition of affairs proves; indeed I have heard that you are secretly trying to conceal at your court a certain enemy of the public welfare,—for the present I postpone this matter because of the fortune of war; for my alliance with the gods is enough to secure the destruction of the enemy. But if Destiny should also play some part in the decision,—for the purpose of the gods is her opportunity,—I will endure it fearlessly and like a brave man. Be assured that you will be an easy victim 3 of the power of Persia when your hearth and home, your whole race and the kingdom of Armenia all blaze together. And the city of Nisibis 4 also will share in your misfortune, for this the heavenly gods long since foretold to me.
1 See Introduction, under Arsaces.
2 This form is given also by Sozomen 6. 1. who gives the general contents of the letter. The correct form Arsaces occurs in Ammianus.
3 Cf. To Hermogenes, p. 32, 390.
4 The writer seems to confuse the Persians and the Parthians: Julian, however, distinguishes them in Oration 2. 63a, Vol. 1, p. 169, Wright; Ammianus sometimes confuses them.
1 Cf. Ammianus 22. 5, cf. Julian: saepeque dictitabat "audite me quem Alemanni audierunt et Franci."
2 Arsaces was almost certainly a Christian; cf. Sozomen 6. 1.
3 For this phrase cf. Vol. 2. Caesars 326a.
4 After Julian's death Nisibis reverted to the Persians; their king Sapor captured and killed Arsaces; Ammianus 27. 12.
I travelled as far as Litarbae,—it is a village of Chalcis,—and came on a road that still had the remains of a winter camp of Antioch. The road, I may say, was partly swamp, partly hill, but the whole of it was rough, and in the swamp lay stones which looked as though they had been thrown there purposely, as they lay together without any art, after the fashion followed also by those who build public highways in cities and instead of cement make a deep layer of soil and then lay the stones close together as though they were making a boundary-wall. When I had passed over this with some difficulty and arrived at my first halting-place it was about the ninth hour, and then I received at my headquarters the greater part of your senate.2 You have perhaps learned already what we said to one another, and, if it be the will of heaven, you shall know it from my own lips.
From Litarbae I proceeded to Beroea,3 and there Zeus by showing a manifest sign from heaven declared all things to be auspicious.4 I stayed there for a day and saw the Acropolis and sacrificed to Zeus in imperial fashion a white bull.1 Also I conversed briefly with the senate about the worship of the gods. But though they all applauded my arguments very few were converted by them, and these few were men who even before I spoke seemed to me to hold sound views. But they were cautious and would not strip off and lay aside their modest reserve, as though afraid of too frank speech. For it is the prevailing habit of mankind, Ο ye gods, to blush for their noble qualities, manliness of soul and piety, and to plume themselves, as it were, on what is most depraved, sacrilege and weakness of mind and body.
Next, Batnae 2 entertained me, a place like nothing that I have ever seen in your country, except Daphne 3; but that is now very like Batnae, though not long ago, while the temple and statue were still unharmed,4 I should not have hesitated to compare Daphne with Ossa and Pelion or the peaks of Olympus, or Thessalian Tempe, or even to have preferred it to all of them put together. But you have composed an oration5 on Daphne such as no other man "of such sort as mortals now are"6 could achieve, even though he used his utmost energies on the task, yes, and I think not very many of the ancient writers either. Why then should I try to write about it now, when so brilliant a monody has been composed in its honour? Would that none had been needed! However, to return to Batnae. Its name is barbarous but the place is Hellenic;1 I say so because through all the country round about the fumes of frankincense arose on all sides, and I saw everywhere victims ready for sacrifice. But though this gave me very great pleasure, nevertheless it looked to me like overheated zeal, and alien to proper reverence for the gods. For things that are sacred to the gods and holy ought to be away from the beaten track and performed in peace and quiet, so that men may resort thither to that end alone and not on the way to some other business. But this matter will perhaps before long receive the attention that is appropriate.
Batnae I saw to be a thickly wooded plain containing groves of young cypresses; and among these there was no old or decaying trunk, but all alike were in vigorous leafage. The imperial lodging was by no means sumptuous, for it was made only of clay and logs and had no decorations; but its garden, though inferior to that of Alcinous,2 was comparable to the garden of Laertes.3 In it was a quite small grove full of cypresses and along the wall many trees of this sort have been planted in a row one after the other. Then in the middle were beds, and in these, vegetables and trees bearing fruits of all sorts. What did I do there, you ask? I sacrificed in the evening and again at early dawn, as I am in the habit of doing practically every day. And since the omens were favourable, we kept on to Hierapolis 4 where the inhabitants came to meet us. Here I am being entertained by a friend who, though I have only lately met him for the first time has long been dear to me. I know that you yourself are well aware of the reason, but for all that it gives me pleasure to tell you. For it is like nectar to me to hear and to speak of these things continually. Sopater,1 the pupil of the god-like Iamblichus, was a relative by marriage of this Sopater.2 Not to love even as myself all that belonged to those men is in my opinion equivalent to the lowest baseness. But there is another more powerful reason than this. Though he often entertained my cousin and my half-brother3 and was often urged by them, naturally enough, to abandon his piety towards the gods, and though this is hard to withstand, he was not infected with this disease.4
Thus much, then, I was able to write to you from Hierapolis about my own affairs. But as regards the military or political arrangements, you ought, I think, to have been present to observe and pay attention to them yourself. For, as you well know, the matter is too long for a letter, in fact so vast that if one considered it in detail it would not be easy to confine it to a letter even three times as long as this. But I will tell you of these matters also, summarily, and in a very few words. I sent an embassy to the Saracens5 and suggested that they could come if they wished. That is one affair of the sort I have mentioned. For another, I despatched men as wide-awake as I could obtain that they might guard against anyone's leaving here secretly to go to the enemy and inform them that we are on the move. After that I held a court martial and, I am convinced, showed in my decision the utmost clemency and justice. I have procured excellent horses and mules and have mustered all my forces together. The boats to be used on the river are laden with corn, or rather with baked bread and sour wine. You can understand at what length I should have to write in order to describe how every detail of this business was worked out and what discussions arose over every one of them. As for the number of letters I have signed, and papers,—for these too follow me everywhere like my shadow,— why should I take the trouble to enumerate them now? 1
1 Julian's march is described by Ammianus 23. 2, to the end of 24; he was a member of the expedition; cf. Zosimus 3. 12-28; Cumont, Etudes Syriennes, Paris, 1917.
2 The Senators of Antioch followed Julian to plead for the city, which had offended him; see Libanius, Oration 16. 1.
4 Ammianus 23. 2 records certain fatal accidents at Hierapolis and Batnae which were regarded as of ill omen for the campaign.
1 The Emperors sacrificed white victims; cf. Ammianus 25. 4. 17.
2 Julian was at Batnae March 8th; a few days later he halted at another Batnae, in Osroene, beyond the Euphrates.
3 A suburb of Antioch; cf. Misopogon 361; Ammianus 19. 12. 19. The temple of Apollo was burned October 22nd, 362.
4 Cf. Misopogon 346r.; Vol. 2, Wright.
5 We have the monody of Libanius, On the Temple of Apollo at Daphne, Oration 60; cf. his Oration 11. 235.
6 Iliad 5. 304; Julian, Oration 6. 191a.
1 i.e. it maintained the pagan cults.
2 Odyssey 7. 112 foll., a favourite commonplace; cf. Misopogon 352a.
3 Odyssey 24. 245 foll.
4 Hierapolis is now Membej; Julian arrived there about March 10th; it was the rendezvous for the Roman troops for this campaign; and was about twenty miles west of the Euphrates. Julian stayed there three days; Ammianus 23. 2. 6.
1 This elder Sopater was put to death by Constantine.
2 For the younger Sopater, see Introduction.
3 Constantius and Gallus; cf. Misopogon 340a.
4 For Christianity a disease, cf. Oration 7. 229d and Against the Galilaeans 327b.
5 According to Ammianus 23. 3. 8, the Saracens offered themselves to Julian as allies, but they apparently deserted later to the Persians, cf. Zosimus 3. 27. 3; Ammianus 25. 6. 10.
1 This is Julian's last extant letter. On leaving Hierapolis he marched to Carrhae, which place he left on March 25th. He crossed the Tigris in May, declined the siege of Ctesiphon, the Persian capital, burnt his fleet on the Tigris early in June, and was killed in a skirmish on June 26th, somewhere between Ctesiphon and Samarra on the Tigris. His body was carried back and buried at Tarsus in Cilicia, where he had told the people of Antioch he should spend the winter; Ammianus 25. 10. 5.
We are told in the myth that the eagle,3 when he would test which of his brood are genuine, carries them still unfledged into the upper air and exposes them to the rays of the sun, to the end that he may become, by the testimony of the god, the sire of a true nursling and disown any spurious offspring. Even so I submit my speeches1 to you as though to Hermes the god of eloquence; and, if they can bear the test of being heard by you, it rests with you to decide concerning them whether they are fit to take flight to other men also. But if they are not, then fling them away as though disowned by the Muses, or plunge them in a river as bastards. Certainly the Rhine does not mislead the Celts,2 for it sinks deep in its eddies their bastard infants, like a fitting avenger of an adulterous bed; but all those that it recognises to be of pure descent it supports on the surface of the water and gives them back to the arms of the trembling mother, thus rewarding her with the safety of her child as incorruptible evidence that her marriage is pure and without reproach.
2 Letters 59-73 cannot be dated, even approximately, from their contents.
Cumont and Geffcken reject, without good grounds, Schwarz defends, the authenticity of this sophistic letter, which was probably written from Gaul.
3 A rhetorical commonplace; cf. To Iamblichus, p. 259, note; Lucian, The Fisherman 46.
1 The allusion to Julian's writings is too vague to be used to date this letter.
2 A commonplace of rhetoric; cf. Julian, Vol. 1, Oration 2. 81d; Claudian, In Rufinum 2. 112, et quos nascentes explorat gurgite Rhenus; Galen 6. 51 Kuhn, says that the ordeal was to strengthen their bodies as well as to test their legitimacy; cf. Voltaire, Essai sur les moeurs 146.
We are told that Daedalus dared to do violence to nature by his art, and moulded wings of wax for Icarus. But for my part, though I applaud him for his art, I cannot admire his judgement. For he is the only man who ever had the courage to entrust the safety of his son to soluble wax. But if it were granted me, in the words of the famous lyric poet of Teos,1 to change my nature to a bird's, I should certainly not "fly to Olympus for Love," —no, not even to lodge a complaint against him— but I should fly to the very foothills of your mountains to embrace "thee, my darling," as Sappho2 says. But since nature has confined me in the prison of a human body 3 and refuses to lighten and raise me aloft, I approach you with such wings as I possess,4 the wings of words, and I write to you, and am with you in such fashion as I can. Surely for this reason and this only Homer calls words "winged," that they are able to go to and fro in every direction, darting where they will, like the swiftest of birds. But do you for your part write to me too, my friend! For you possess an equal if not a larger share of the plumage of words, with which you are able to travel to your friends and from wherever you may be, just as though you were present, to cheer them.
3 A philosopher named Eugenius was the father of the sophist and philosopher Themistius, an older contemporary of Julian, but this letter with its familiar tone cannot have been addressed to a man of advanced age. Schwarz, Cumont and Geffcken reject it on the ground of its sophistic mannerisms, but see Introduction.
1 Anacreon frag. 22, Bergk
2 Frag. 126, Bergk.
3 A Platonic commonplace; cf. Julian, Oration 6. 198b; 7. 206b.
4 Cf. Letter 76. 449d, p. 244, note.
It is an occasion to rejoice the more when one has the chance to address friends through an intimate friend. For then it is not only by what you write that you unite the image of your own soul with your readers. And this is what I myself am doing. For when I despatched the custodian of my children,1 Antiochus, to you, I could not bear to leave you without a word of greeting. So that if you want to have news of me, you can have from him information of a more intimate sort. And if you care at all for your admirers, as I believe you do care, you will prove it by never missing an opportunity while you are able to write.
5 This letter is rejected by Schwarz, Cumont and Geffcken; Schwarz on the slender evidence of style classes it with the apocryphal letters to Iamblichus; Cumont also places it in that series, and thinks that this Sopater is the friend of the elder Iamblichus executed by Constantine.
1 No forger would have referred to children of Julian's body; but the phrase may refer to his writings. Libanius, Epitaphius, says of Julian's letters .... See also To Iamblichus, p. 255.
Nay, when did you ever leave me, so that I need to write, or when do I not behold you with the eyes of the soul as though you were here with me? For not only do I seem to be with you continually and to converse with you, but I pay attention to my duties now just as zealously as when you were here to guide me. But if you do wish me to write to you, just as though you were not here, then take care that you do not yourself create the impression of not being with me all the more by your very wish that I should write. However, if you do really find pleasure in it I am willing to obey you in this also. At any rate, by your request, you will, as the proverb says, lead a galloping horse into the plain. Come then, see that you return like for like, and in answer to my counter-summons do not grow weary of the unbroken series of letters exchanged between us. And yet I have no wish to hinder the zeal that you display on behalf of the public welfare, nevertheless, in proportion as I keep you free for the pursuit of noble studies, I shall be thought, far from injuring it, to benefit the whole body of Hellenes at once, that is to say, if I leave you like a young and well-bred dog without interference, free to give all your time to tracking down, with a mind wholly free from all else, the art of writing discourses; but if you possess such swiftness that you need neither neglect your friends nor slacken in those other pursuits, come, take both courses and run at full speed!
2 Libanius often mentions a certain Eucleides, a native of Constantinople, to whom this letter may be addressed; the reference to public affairs may imply that Julian was already Emperor, but it cannot be dated with certainty. Schwarz rejects the letter on stylistic grounds, and Cumont for the same reason attributed it to the sophist Julian of Caesarea, for whom see Introduction under Iamblichus; but, though it is conventional and sophistic, there is nothing in it that the Emperor Julian might not have written.
Pindar 2 thinks that the Muses are "silvery," and it is as though he likened the clearness and splendour of their art to the substance that shines most brilliantly. And the wise Homer3 calls silver "shining," and gives to water the epithet "silvery" because it gleams with the very brightness of the reflected image of the sun, as though under its direct rays. And Sappho4 the fair says that the moon is "silvery," and that because of this it dims the radiance of the other stars. Similarly one might imagine silver to be more appropriate to the gods than gold; but that to man, at any rate, silver is more precious than gold and more familiar to them because it is not, like gold, hidden under the earth and does not avoid their eyes, but is both beautiful to the eye and more serviceable in daily life,— this, I say, is not my own theory1 but was held by men of old. If, therefore, in return for the gold coin sent by you I give you a piece of silver of equal value, think not that the favour is less and do not imagine that, as with Glaucus,2 the exchange is to your disadvantage; for perhaps not even Diomede would have exchanged silver armour for golden, seeing that the former is far more serviceable than the latter, and like lead well fitted to turn the points of spears.3 All this I am saying in jest, and I take the cue4 for my freedom of speech to you from what you write yourself. But if you really wish to send me gifts more precious than gold, write, and keep on writing regularly. For even a short letter from you I hold to be more precious than any other blessing that one could name.
1 See Introduction, under Hecebolius.
2 Frag. 212, Bergk.; cf. Pythian 9. 65, Isthmian 2. 13.
3 These epithets for silver and water are not in our Homer.
4 Frag. 3, Bergk.; cf, Julian, Oration 3. 109c, note, Wright.
1 For this Julianic commonplace cf. Oration 6. 197b, note.
2 A sophistic commonplace; cf. Vol. 2, Letter to Themistius 260a, note. He exchanged bronze armour for golden; Iliad 6. 236.
3 Iliad 11. 237.
4 Literally "keynote"; cf. To Iamblichus 421a, p. 238.
Not only do I write to you but I demand to receive payment in kind. And if I treat you ill by writing continually, then I beg you to ill-treat me in return and make me suffer in the same way.
5 A merely sophistic letter of compliment such as this is a conventional "type" of the sort recommended in the contemporary handbooks on epistolary style. Gesner thinks it was addressed to the Lucian who wrote the dialogue Philopatris, preserved with the works of his illustrious namesake, but there is no evidence of this.
Even a short letter gives more pleasure when the writer's affection can be measured by the greatness of his soul rather than by the meagre proportions of what he writes. So that if I now address you briefly, do not even so conclude that the accompanying affection is equally slight, but since you know the full extent of my love for you, forgive the brevity of my letter and do not hesitate to answer me in one equally short. For whatever you send me, however trifling, keeps alive in my mind a remembrance of all that is good.
1 We know from Libanius, Letter 758 Foerster, To Julian, that towards the end of 362 Elpidius was at Antioch and in Julian's confidence. This letter is purely formal and may have been written then, or earlier. There are several letters extant from Libanius to Elpidius. Cumont ascribed this letter to Julian of Caesarea.
Well, let us grant that Echo is a goddess, as you say she is, and a chatterbox, and, if you like, the wife of Pan 3 also; for I shall not object. And even though nature would fain inform me that Echo is only the sound of the voice answering back when the air is struck, and bent back upon that which is opposite the ear that hears it, nevertheless, since I put my faith in the account given by men both ancient and modern,1 and in your own account no less, I am abashed into admitting that Echo is a goddess.2 What, in any case, would that matter to me, if only, in my expressions of friendship towards you, I excel Echo in a considerable degree? For she does not reply to all the sounds that she hears, but rather to the last syllables uttered by the voice, like a grudging sweetheart who returns her lover's kisses with the merest touch of her lips. I, on the other hand, in my correspondence with you, lead off sweetly, and then again, in reply to your challenge, I return you like for like as though I threw back a ball. Therefore you cannot be too quick in recognising that your letters put you in default, and that it is yourself, since you receive more and give back very little, whom you consign to the similitude of the figure, and not me, since I am eager to score off you in both ways.3 However, whether you give in just the same degree as you receive, or not, whatever I am permitted to receive from you is a boon, and is credited as sufficient to balance the whole.4
2 Otherwise unknown. The title Catholicus (cf. our "General") was used of officials in charge of the collection of tribute, especially in Africa; it is equivalent to procurator fisci. George was probably a sophist. This and the following letter are rejected by Schwarz, Cumont and Geffcken, because of their sophistic mannerisms.
3 Moschus, Idyl 6.
1 For this conventional phrase, often used by Julian, cf. To Hecebolius, p. 219, and To Sarapion, pp. 271, 277.
2 George had evidently used the figure of Echo, and accused Julian of imitating her.
3 i. e. both in sending and receiving letters.
4 Perhaps the last two sentences are a playful allusion to George's profession as a financier.
"Thou hast come, Telemachus!" 6 as the verse says, but in your letters I have already seen you and the image of your noble soul, and have received the impression thereof as of an imposing device on a small seal. For it is possible for much to be revealed in little. Nay even Pheidias the wise artist not only became famous for his statue at Olympia or at Athens, but he knew also how to confine a work of great art within the limits of a small piece of sculpture; for instance, they say that his grasshopper and bee, and, if you please, his fly also, were of this sort; for every one of these, though naturally composed of bronze, through his artistic skill became a living thing. In those works, however, the very smallness of the living models perhaps contributed the appearance of reality to his skilful art; and do you, please, look at his Alexander1 hunting on horseback, for its whole measurement is no larger than a fingernail.2 Yet the marvellous skill of the workmanship is so lavished on every detail that Alexander at one and the same time strikes his quarry and intimidates the spectator, scaring him by his whole bearing, while the horse, reared on the very tips of his hoofs, is about to take a step and leave the pedestal, and by creating the illusion of vigorous action is endowed with movement by the artist's skill. This is exactly the effect that you have on me, my excellent friend. For after having been crowned often, already, as victor over the whole course, so to speak, in the lists of Hermes, the God of Eloquence, you now display the highest pitch of excellence in a few written words. And in very truth you imitate Homer's Odysseus,3 who, by merely saying who he was, was able to dazzle the Phaeacians. But if even from me you require some of what you call "friendly smoke," 1 I shall not begrudge it. Surely the mouse who saved the lion in the fable2 is proof enough that something useful may come even from one's inferiors.
5 Geffcken and Cumont reject this letter.
6 Odyssey 16. 23.
1 The ascription to Pheidias the sculptor of works in the 'microtechnique' described here, is sometimes due to the confusion, in the Roman period, of the fifth century Pheidias with a gem-cutter of the same name who lived in the third century b.c. In the Jahrbuch d.k.d. Arch. Institute, 1889, p. 210, Furtwangler, who does not quote this letter, reproduces a gem from the British Museum collection signed by this later Pheidias; it is an Alexander on foot. The anachronism here makes the letter suspect.
2 See Vol. 1, Oration 3, 112a for a reference to this kind of carving.
3 Odyssey 9. 19.
1 George had perhaps in his letter referred to the longing of Odysseus to see even the smoke of his native land, and had compared his friend's letters to that smoke.
2 Babrius, Fable 107; Aesop, Fable 256.
I am almost in tears—and yet the very utterance of your name ought to have been an auspicious sound, —for I recall to mind our noble and wholly admirable father.4 If you make it your aim to imitate him, not only will you yourself be happy but also you will give to human life, as he did, an example of which it will be proud. But if you are indolent you will grieve me, and you will blame yourself when blaming will not avail.
3 Otherwise unknown.
4 If the MS. reading is retained, Julian must be referring to someone who had taught them both. This was a regular usage and the teacher of one's own teacher could be referred to as "grandfather."
I could not read without tears the letter which you wrote after your wife's death, in which you told me of your surpassing grief. For not only does the event in itself call for sorrow, when a young and virtuous wife, the joy of her husband's heart,1 and moreover the mother of precious children, is prematurely snatched away like a torch that has been kindled and shines brightly, and in a little while its flame dies down, but over and above this, the fact that it is you to whom this sorrow has come seems to me to make it still more grievous. For least of all men did our good Himerius deserve to experience any affliction, excellent orator that he is, and of all my friends the best beloved. Moreover, if it were any other man to whom I had to write about this, I should certainly have had to use more words in dealing with it; for instance, I should have said that such an event is the common lot, that we must needs submit, that nothing is gained by excessive grief, and I should have uttered all the other commonplaces considered appropriate for the alleviation of suffering, that is if I were exhorting one who did not know them. But since I think it unbecoming to offer to a man who well knows how to instruct others the sort of argument by which one must school those who are too ignorant for self-control, see now, I will forbear all such phrases; but I will relate to you a fable, or it may be a true story, of a certain wise man, which perhaps is not new to you, though it is probably unfamiliar to most people; and if you will use this and this alone, as though it were a drug to relieve pain, you will find release from your sorrow, as surely as from that cup which the Spartan woman 2 is believed to have offered to Telemachus when his need was as great as your own. Now the story is that when Darius was in great grief for the death of a beautiful wife, Democritus1 of Abdera could not by any argument succeed in consoling him; and so he promised him that he would bring back the departed to life, if Darius were willing to undertake to supply him with everything necessary for the purpose. Darius bade him spare no expense but take whatever he needed and make good his promise. After waiting a little, Democritus said that he was provided with everything else for carrying out his task, but still needed one thing only, which he himself did not know how to obtain; Darius, however, as King of all Asia, would perhaps find it without difficulty. And when the King asked him what it might be, this great thing which it was possible for only a king to know of, they say that Democritus in reply declared that if he would inscribe on his wife's tomb the names of three persons who had never mourned for anyone, she would straightway come to life again, since she could not disobey the authority of this mystic rite. Then Darius was in a dilemma, and could not find any man who had not had to bear some great sorrow, whereupon Democritus burst out laughing,2 as was his wont, and said: "Why, then, Ο most absurd of men, do you mourn without ceasing, as though you were the only man who had ever been involved in so great a grief, you who cannot discover a single person of all who have ever lived who was without his share of personal sorrow?" But though it was necessary to say these things to Darius, a barbarian and a man of no education, the slave both of pleasure and of grief, you, on the other hand, are a Greek, and honour true learning, and you must find your remedy from within; for surely it would be a disgrace to the reasoning faculty if it had not the same potency as time.
5 Of Hertlein's "Amerius" we know nothing. See Introduction, under Himerius.
1 An echo of Iliad 9. 336.
2 Helen, Odyssey 4. 220, a rhetorical commonplace; cf. Vol. 2, Oration 8. 240b, p. 167, note.
1 The Atomistic philosopher, cf. Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 2. 16. 41. This is a traditional anecdote, told of Herodes Atticus and Demonax by Lucian, Demonax 25, and only here of Darius and Democritus.
2 Democritus was known as "the laughing Philosopher" cf. Oration 6. 186c, Vol. 2, p. 20, Wright.
Your son Diogenes, whom I saw after you went away, told me that you had been much irritated with him for some reason that would naturally make a father feel vexed with his child, and he implored me to act as mediator in a reconciliation between him and yourself. Now, if he has committed some error of a mild and not intolerable kind, do you yield to nature, recognise that you are a father, and again turn your thoughts to your child. But if his offence is too serious to admit of immediate forgiveness, it is right for you yourself rather than for me to decide whether you ought to bear even that with a generous spirit and overcome your son's purpose by wiser thoughts, or to entrust the offender's probation to a longer period of discipline.
1 Diogenes is otherwise unknown. Schwarz places this letter between January and June 362, when Julian was at Constantinople. The tone seems to imply that he was already Emperor, but the note is purely conventional, a "type" of the letter of intervention.
Even a short letter from you is enough to provide me with grounds for feeling greatly pleased. Accordingly, since I was exceedingly pleased with what you wrote to me, I in turn send you a letter of the same length, because in my judgement the friendly greetings of comrades ought to be rewarded not by length of letter so much as by magnitude of goodwill.
2 A Gregorius Dux was pretorian prefect in 336, according to Codex Theodosianus 3. 1. 2, but this purely formal letter of the type that survived in epistolary handbooks and is probably addressed to a younger man.
In all respects my bodily health is fairly good, and indeed my state of mind is no less satisfactory. I fancy there can be no better prelude than this to a letter sent from one friend to another. And to what is this the prelude? To a request, of course! And what is the request? It is for letters in return, and in their sentiments may they harmonise with my own letters and bring me similar news from you, and equally auspicious.
1 This may be the obscure Athenian philosopher, a contemporary of Julian; cf. Marinus, Proclus 12.
I have given orders that there shall be ships at Cenchreae.3 The number of these you will learn from the governor of the Hellenes,4 but as to how you are to discharge your commission you may now hear from me. It must be without bribery and without delay. I will myself, with the help of the gods, see that you do not repent of having done your duty as I have indicated.
2 Nothing is known of Maximinus or the circumstances; if the letter is genuine, as is probable, it may refer to Julian's preparations for his march against Constantius in 361.
3 A coast town S.W. of the Isthmus of Corinth.
4 i.e. the proconsul of Achaia who resided at Corinth.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2010, from volume 3 of the Loeb edition. This file and all material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using unicode.
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