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Libanius, Sixteen letters to Julian the Apostate (1784) pp.303-332.

XVI Letters of Libanius to Julian

[Translated by John Duncombe, M.A.]


1. Letter 33 (358 AD) 1

May the present health and strength that you say you possess be your constant portion!  For your grief may God supply a remedy!  Or rather your grief requires in part only the assistance of God, for some part of it you yourself can alleviate.  You are able, if you please, to re-build the city 2; but for your concern on account of the dead, may Heaven afford you consolation!  Nicomedia, ruined as she is, I deem most happy.  Her safety indeed would have been most desirable; but even thus she is honoured by your tears.   Nor are these inferior to the lamentations which the Muses are said to have uttered for Achilles 3, or to the drops of blood which Jupiter, in honour of his dearest son, poured down at the approaching death of Sarpedon. 4  That she therefore, who was lately a city, may again be a city, will be your concern.  Elphidius 5, always a man of distinguished probity, has now made wonderful improvements.  Thus it is not only true, as Sophocles says, that

"Wise kings are form'd by converse with the wise," 6

but the wisdom of a king improves also his friends in virtue.  So serviceable have you been to Elphidius, making him not only richer but better.  Though younger than he, you have been his instructor in these laudable pursuits, in equity, in an eager desire to assist his friends, to treat courageously those whom he knows not, and by so treating them, always to retain their friendship.  For all who have approached and conversed with him have first admired and then instantly loved him, or rather have discovered your ideas in all that you have entrusted to him.  I often discourse with him, and all our discourses turn on you, on the understanding that you possess, and the important affairs in which you are engaged.  The manner in which you will complete them, and how you will ward some impending dangers, we have sagely discussed.  I seemed, as it were, conversing with yourself.  With particular pleasure I received the intelligence of your having defeated the barbarians 7, and that you had related your victories in a commentary 8, thus acting at once as an orator and a general.  Achilles required a Homer, and Alexander many such, but your trophies, your own voice, which has erected them, will transmit to posterity.  Thus you surpass the sophists by proposing to them not only actions for them to celebrate but the orations, which you have composed on your actions, for their emulation.

To these your trophies I wish you to add that of restoring Pompeianus 9 to his rights; and think not this an unworthy contention.  For this is the man whom formerly in Bithynia, when he was ambassador from hence, you saw with pleasure, and on being informed of what he had been defrauded gave him hopes of recovering his property.  Of this promise, O prince 10, I entreat you to be mindful.

Nearly 2000 of his letters exist.  In his life, he says, his letters were innumerable.

1 This letter is one of the three first published by Fabricius with a Latin translation in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vol. 7, p. 397.  In the edition of Wolfius it is the 33rd.

2  Nicomedia the capital of Bithynia which, from the beauty of its situation, the magnificence of its buildings, its grandeur and its riches, had been looked on as the fifth city in the work, was destroyed by an earthquake Aug. 24, 358, followed by a fire which lasted five days.  A monody, by Libanius, I have inserted in vol. 2.  Julian was then only Caesar but he visited the city; and gave orders for re-building it on his way from Constantinople to Antioch, May 15, 362, after his accession to the empire.  Another earthquake, which was also felt at Constantinople and Nice, swallowed up the remains of Nicomedia on January 1, 363.

3 Homer, Odyssey 24.60

4 Iliad 16.459.

5 A philosopher to whom Julian addressed his 57th letter.  Libanius also wrote several letters to him and mentions him in several others.

6 I have been unable to locate these words in Sophocles.  WOLFIUS.

7 Probably his victories over the Salian Franks and Chamarians.  See Julian's Letter to the Athenians.

8 Now lost.

9 He had been prefect of Bithynia.  Libanius praises him in many other letters, and some are addressed to him.

10 Ὁ Βασιλευ.  Although Julian was only Caesar, as appears from some passages above, both Fabricius and Wolfius have translated this imperator.  But Βασιλευς was often applied to the Caesars.

2. Letter 224 (AD 362)

Are you then forgetful of us?  But Phoenicia does not suffer us to be forgetful of you, as she celebrates your reign in immortal hymns.  From your Asia 1 also flows the fame of your actions, increasing our expectations.  For nothing that we have heard, great as all these actions are, is so great as to exceed the hopes that we have formed.  We, on account of our relation to the Ionians 2, rejoice, trusting that you will proceed in the right road and that your authority both over them and us will be more firmly established.  But this must be left to the providence of God.

Andragathius, in requesting to be the bearer of this, has rather conferred than asked a favour of me.  For he will not be more gratified by the pleasure of seeing you than I am by thus being enabled to address you.  This youth will have these three recommendations to you; an energy of speech, which he has displayed before the prefects; a courtesy of behaviour, which endears him to all with whom he converses; and such an intimacy with me as, in that respect, to exceed all the friends that I have had since my childhood.

1 Julian was then in Ionia, in the province of Asia.

2 The scholiast says, "The Ionians near Smyrna formerly sent a colony to Antioch, and therefore he styles them relations."

3. Letter 372 (AD 358) 1

You have gained a double victory 2, one by your arms, the other by your eloquence.  One trophy is erected to you by the barbarians, and the other by me your friend; a trophy this most pleasing even to a conqueror.  For all parents wish to be excelled by their children 3, and you, who by me have been instructed in writing, have in that excelled your instructor.  But now for the brevity of my letter 4, I, the orator, must account to you, the general, or rather to one no less consummate in the art of oratory than in that of war.  After the emperor 5 had given you a share in the government, I thought myself bound to lay some restraint on my freedom and not to indulge it, as I had been accustomed, to a man so exalted.  For knowing, as we do, in our declamatory skirmishes, how to address Pericles, Cimon and Miltiades, it would have been shameful in real life to neglect those laws.  And as you yourself say, that the letters of generals, on account of their avocations, should be short, this induced me to contract my letters, aware that he whose business prevents him from writing long letters must be much interrupted by one who sends him long letters.  But now, as you order me to be diffuse, I will obey.

And first I congratulate you that with arms in your hands you have not suspended your application to oratory, but wage war as if war were your only study and attend to books as if you were a stranger to arms.  And next, that he 6 who has given you a share in the empire has had no cause to repent of his having given it, but considering him as your cousin and colleague and lord and master, in all your actions you promote his glory and exclaim to your falling enemies, "what would be your fate, if the emperor were present?"  All this I applaud, and also your not having changed your manners with your dress, nor lost, by gaining power, the remembrance of your friends.  Many blessing attend you for showing that when I celebrated your talents I was not a liar, or rather for having shown that I was a liar in promising nothing equal to what you have performed!  This is all your own, and copied from no model.  For though some, together with the empire, have assumed the love of money, contracting desires to which before they were strangers, and others have given more indulgence to their former inclinations, you alone, when raised to the throne, have shared your fortune 7 among your friends, giving one a house, another slaves, land to this, money to that, and, when a subject, were more wealthy than now when you are prince.  Nor do you exclude me from the number of your friends, though I am not one of those who have shared your favours.  For I can assign a reason of my alone having received nothing.  As you would have cities abound with every thing that can promote their happiness, you deem nothing more essential to this than oratory, knowing that if that were extinct we should resemble the barbarians.  Apprehending therefore that if I abounded with riches I should neglect my art, you thought it right for me to remain poor, that I might not be tempted to desert my station: such, at least, is my solution.  Not that you have said, "Amphiaraus and Capaneus are something 8; but this man has neither name nor place 9."  But your not having given me anything is owing to your regard for the public.  Therefore though we are indigent of money, we abound with words.  This is your concern; may we not disgrace the part that is allotted to us, nor you your illustrious rank!

1 The Barroci manuscript adds to the name Ιουλιανος the epithet Καισαρος ("Caesar") but the Medicean B. Κάλαραλω ("execrable").  WOLFIUS.

2 In his 394th letter, Libanius writes "The excellent Anatolius has gained two victories over us".

3 Sophists would style their students their 'sons'.  See Eunapius on Julian.

4 Julian liked long letters, as appears from his second to Prohaeresius.

5 The gloomy and suspicious Constantius II, who had put to death all his other male relations but now needed a figurehead Caesar in Gaul.

6 Constantius.

7 Libanius in his Life writes that "Libanius loved [Julian] himself, but others loved his riches."

8 A proverb.  Amphiarus and Capaneus were two of the seven chiefs against Thebes.  Capaneus is applied elsewhere in antiquity as a symbol of friendship, because Capaneus, amid great wealth, living with frugality and economy, was most attentive to his friends.

9 This oracle of Apollo to the inhabitants of Aegina is quoted by the scholiast on Theocritus.  They had asked the oracle who was the bravest of the Greeks, after gaining a naval victory, to which they got a depreciating answer concluding as above.

4. Letter 525 1

I sent you a short oration on an important subject.  You can add to its length by supplying what is essential to that purpose.  If you give that, you will show that you think that I have a talent for encomiums.  If you do not give it, I shall be induced to entertain some other suspicions.

1  To what oration is referred is not known.

5. Letter 586

Unless you were well apprised how long ago my friendship with the excellent Macedonius 1 was contracted, and for what reasons it has been since improved, of these I would first apprise you; but knowing as you do its foundation, you will not wonder that I, who would decline no danger for my friends, should devote to his service this letter.  He has indeed prevailed with me to ask a favour of you, not that you grant favours easily or grant all that are asked; but such as are just and right you willingly confer.  And in truth whoever does not oblige his friends in matters thus irreproachable blames the daughter 2 of Jove for retaining the graces in her vestibule.  But that you favour those who ask nothing unreasonable is evident to all.  Now observe whether my request is such as can be censured.

Macedonius married a wife who had a son by a former husband.  That son is now dead.  I wish therefore that the mother 3, in preference to the grandfather, may succeed to his estate, if a regard to honour can induce the grandfather to wave his right and to prefer praise to a compliance with the law.  Be it therefore your endeavour to convince him that it is more creditable for him to decline than to take the effects.  You will be doubly persuasive as, besides the powers of oratory, you possess supreme dominion.  And I hear that this old man is vain of a good reputation and had rather accumulate fame than wealth.  Delay not, therefore, to send for and confer with him, and thus perform an action more humane than any law.  Nor think that we will admit, as an excuse, your alleging that the discussion of such matters does not belong to you, or, by way of subterfuge, that you are unable to persuade him.  To be the instrument of conferring wealth on the mother and fame on her father will do you no dishonour.  Every word from you makes a strong impression on the hearers.

1 The son of Pelagius of Cyrus, a city in Syria, an orator and a philosopher.  Libanius praises him several times in other letters, and addresses three to him, one of which is a congratulation on his marriage.

2 Δικε, i.e. justice.

3 Under Roman law mothers had no legal right to any of their childrens' possessions.

6. Letter 591 

The laws and myself will take care that that most abandoned servant shall be punished for what he has said and done.  But you, together with the empire, show that you possess also such benevolence as the excellent Priscian 1 displayed to Seleucus 2.  Acting thus, you will induce the preceptors of Arrhabius -- I mean Calliopus 3 -- and his father to treat him with more indulgence.  For Seleucus married the daughter of one, and the sister of the other.  Him therefore, whom in your letters you so highly honour as to style him your son, assist, I entreat you, in his literary improvements.

1 Priscian was an excellent orator, and on that account was invited by Julian to Constantinople.  Libanius wrote several letters to him.

2 Selecus is mentioned as a friend of Libanius in many of his letters, and many are addressed to him.

3 Calliopus, from some of the letters to him, seems to have been an orator.

7. Letter 602 

Would you have me believe that you do not take the least concern in the affairs of Ulpian and Palladius 1, that you neither regard them as friends nor esteem them as orators nor recollect that they may assist you with their friendly offices?  Such reports, which it does not become me to repeat, are circulated by many.  On the contrary, I contend that none of them, as far as you are concerned, are true.  Write, therefore, and confute them.  You will thus confer a favour on yourself as well as on me.

1 Two orators frequently mentioned by Libanius.

8. Letter 670 (A.D.362)

I have discharged my obligations to Aristophanes 1, but you, in return, have given me such splendid tokens of a vehement affection as are conspicuous both to gods and men.  So that now I seem almost to soar into the sky, elevated by your letter, which has inspired me with such hopes and has so decorated my oration 2 that all things else -- the wealth of Midas, the beauty of Nireus 3, the swiftness of Crison 4, the strength of Polydamas 5, the sword of Peleus 6 -- seem little in my sight.  Even the nectar of the gods, were I allowed to enjoy it, could not give me greater delight than I now feel, when my prince, such a one as Plato formerly sought and could scarcely find, has commended my sentiments, admired my oration, and has not only promised that he will  give something but, which is much greater honour, that he will consult with me what to give.  They who observe the rising of the celestial goat 7 do not always obtain their wishes, but I, though I have not attended to this, have been most successful.  And if I want any other favour, the emperor, imitating the deity, is ever gracious.  Your letter therefore shall be prefixed to my oration to inform all the Greeks that my dart has not been launched in vain, for by what I have written Aristophanes will be honoured, as I am by what you have returned; or rather both of us shall glory in what has been written and will be given by you, for each of us is honoured by each of these.

But now it may amuse you to hear how Aristophanes has been terrified.  One of your usual attendants informed us that on coming to your door he was refused admittance because, he was told, you were busy in composing an oration.  This immediately occasioned an apprehension that you had determined to controvert my oration 8 and confute your preceptor and would thus overwhelm Aristophanes like the Nile. 9  We hastened therefore to the excellent Elphidius who, on hearing the cause of our alarm, burst into loud laughter.  Thus we recovered our spirits and soon after I received your elegant letter.

1 This oration for Aristophanes, a Corinthian, the son of Menander, who had been severely fined by the prefect of Egypt on account of his consulting astrologers, is preserved in the works of Libanius, vol. 2, p. 210 ff.  WOLFIUS.

It is said in this oration that he had been fined, flogged and imprisoned.

2 Julian's letter, to which this is a reply, is the 68th.

3 See Iliad ii. 671.

4 Crison was a native of Himera who gained three victories in the Olympic games.  

5 A famous Thessalian wrestler who strangled a lion on Mt. Olympus, tamed a wild bull, and stopped a chariot drawn by the strongest horses.  He was crushed to death by a rock under which he took shelter from a storm, after flattering himself that he could hold up the rock, which was starting to fall, when his companions fled.  MORERI.  

Libanius mentions him also in his 16th declamation.

6 Peleus received a sword from Vulcan with which he could defend himself against all attacks, as we learn from the scholiast on the 4th Nemean of Pindar, verse 88. WOLFIUS.

7 A proverbial expression for those who got everything they wanted, based on the fable that those who saw that goat, who was the nurse of Jupiter and then was made a constellation, obtained whatever they desired.  ERASMUS.

8 The one on Aristophanes' behalf.

9 I.e. in floods of eloquence.

9. Letter 712 (A.D. 361) 

However much I condemned that journey, fatiguing as it was 1, I no less, or rather more, condemned myself for returning so soon instead of going to the place appointed and there indulging my eyes the next morning at sun-rising, with the sight of his divine visage.  And so unfortunate is the city that she could not afford me the least consolation.  I style her unfortunate not on account of the dearth of provisions but because she has been and is adjudged wicked, invidious and ungrateful 2 by him whose prudence surpasses his dominions, extensive as they are.  While Alcimus 3 was with  me, I had one who would hear with indulgence my self-reproaches and my boasts of the distinction shown me by you.  But after his departure, considering the ceiling as my only friend, I lookup up to it as I lay in my bed and said, "Now the emperor sent for me; now I entered and sat down (for that he allowed me); now I pleaded for the city, as I was permitted to intercede with him for those who had offended him.  But he prevailed, so just was his charge and so powerful his elocution.  And though I opposed him, I was neither disliked nor ejected."  With this banquet I regale myself, and I entreat the gods, first that they will give you the superiority over your enemies, and secondly that they will render you as propitious to us as you were formerly.  I have also a third petition which they have heard but I will not here mention.  I ought not, however, even to have said that I will not mention it.  For you are ingenious enough to conjecture this third article from my wishing to conceal what I wish.  And, indeed, I apprehend that the contrary will be your choice. 4

Now then pass the rivers; rush on the archers 5 more impetuously than a torrent; and afterwards think on what you said you would think.  But fail not to solace me in your absence as much as you can.  I for my part will send letters to extort your answers from the midst of the battle, as I am convinced that you have a genius that can at once command an army, fight an enemy, and correspond with a friend.  I am so inform that I am obliged to hear what I ought to see.  Happy is Seleucus 6 in this glorious sight, and in preferring the honour of serving such a prince to that which he derives from a good wife and a most beloved daughter!

1 The journey is unknown.  Perhaps it was to Mount Cassius (cf. the Misopogon, p. 282) where Jupiter had a temple, 15 miles (a day's journey) from Antioch, which, however, Julian performed several times during his residence in the city.  For "from thence" says Ammianus (22.14) "at the second cock-crowing, is first seen the rising of the sun."

2 Meaning Antioch, then afflicted with famine and exposed to the resentment of the emperor for disregarding his edict lowering the price of provisions and not abstaining from sarcasms on himself.  This appears from the embassy that our author sent to Julian for the Antiochians, which is in the second volume of his works, p. 151, and also from his oration to the Antiochians de Imperatoris ira which, before unpublished, our learned Fabricius has inserted in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vol. 7, p 207.  WOLFIUS.

3 A native of Nicomedia and a man of learning, as appears from several letters addressed to him by Libanius.

4 I should understand this of marriage, to which Julian was averse.  WOLFIUS.

5 The Persians.

6 Mentioned above.

10. Letter 622 (A.D. 363) 

That Alexander 1 was appointed to the government at first, I confess, gave me some concern, as the principal persons among us were dissatisfied.  I thought it dishonourable, injurious, and unbecoming a prince; and that repeated fines would rather weaken than improve the city.  But now the good effects of this severity are so manifest that I recant.  2  For they who formerly bathed and slept at noon now, imitating the manners of the Lacedaemonians, labour indefatigably not only in the day-time but no small part of the night, nailed, as it were, to the gate of Alexander.  And when he clamours from within, everything is instantly in motion.  Thus the sword will never be wanted since his threats alone are sufficient to render the impudent modest and the slothful industrious.  Calliope is also honoured, agreeable to your wishes, not only by horse-races but theatrical exhibitions; and sacrifices are offered to the gods in the theatre without our making the least alteration.  Loud applause is given and amidst this applause the gods are invoked.  With this applause the governor seems do delighted that he urges many more to add to it.  Of such importance, O prince, to mankind is divination 3 as it teaches everyone the best manner of governing a family, a city, a nation and a kingdom.

1 This is the Alexander of whom Ammianus says (23.2), "When Julian was going to leave Antioch, he made one Alexander of Heliopolis, governor of Syria, a turbulent and severe man, saying that 'undeserving as he was, such a ruler suited the avaricious and contumellious Antiochians'."  As the letter makes clear, Julian handed the city over to be looted by a man he himself regarded as unworthy, and the Christian inhabitants, who had dared to oppose his attempt to restore paganism, to be forced to attend and applaud pagan ceremonies at sword-point; and be 'urged' to cheer more loudly.

2 The proverb is taken from a transaction of Stesichorus, the lyric poet, mentioned by Plato in his Phaedrus.

3 Libanius here flatters Julian, as if he had learned by divination that Alexander was such a one as ought to govern Syria and the Antiochenes.  WOLFIUS.

11. Letter  1035

On all accounts I was pleased to see Ablavius 1 but principally because he brought me a letter from you.  For sooner than blame you I should detest myself; such has been your attention to the promotion of my interest, amidst this tedious war, which you could not have been if anyone had spoken to my disadvantage.   In seeming to laugh, and pardoning those who, in order to flatter one, calumniate another, you acted like yourself.  Flattery is their trade and as necessary to their livelihood as rowing is to that of sailors.  That sage, with whose morals Ablavius acquainted me, though he would not disclose his name, gave me no concern on any account, this only excepted, that in mentioning me he was guilty of a solecism; and I, though guilty of no offence, was sent by him among the barbarians 2.  Inform him of this and caution him to avoid such mistakes for the future; he may then, if he pleases, speak evil of me, for then at least he will not speak ill.  3  But this man is unalterable.  If however by his calumnies he should still offend you and you wish to punish him, you easily may by confining him to his house for an afternoon and obliging him to sup at home; and when he again grows insolent, through repletion, and drinks your own wine against you 4, you need only repeat the punishment; you cannot inflict a greater.  This will effectually curb his licentious tongue; but whatever be his name, let me know it so that when I write his elogium, it may not be anonymous.

1 Libanius has two letters to Ablavius.

2 Libanius ridicules the man who made himself a barbarian by speaking barbarously of Libanius.

3 The translator has tried to retain Libanius' pun between speaking evil and speaking badly.

4 Drinking a toast against the one whose money paid for the wine.

12. Letter 1125 (A.D. 358)

Alas! alas! how insatiable is your desire of further attainments!  You possess the palm of eloquence, snatched from others, at once

"A matchless prince and a most potent sage" 1

Other princes have acted and we applauded, but you excell in both those capacities.  For how can we speak so highly in commendation of your actions as you do of that short letter? 2 Hence I conjecture what you will do, when you have subdued Phoenicia 3, as already you administer justice to your subjects, wage war with the barbarians, and in the composition of orations far exceed the common rank.  Though I am not solicitous as to the future, I shall be as much pleased with this slaughter as with a victory.  For when the vanquished and the victor are friends, the vanquished has a share in the triumph; as friends, it is said, have all things in common. 4

1 An allusion to Iliad III.178.

2 As his letters witness, Julian also commended highly other orations of Libanius.

3 I would understand this of the orators of Phoenicia.

4 The proverb is quoted by Euripides in his Orestes, in the same words.  See Gregory Nazianzen, Letter 64.

13. Letter 1392 1

Gemellus 2 is my relation and my friend and by his manners is no disgrace to his family.  If he had been possessed of money and a large estate, he would long ago have been employed on some public function.  But as his fortune is small he has, by my advice, taken a method which may exempt him from tears and chains, the usual attendants of those whom public employments have reduced to poverty.

Happy he is in discharging this office under your inspection; as you never fail to reprobate injustice and to honour what is just and equitable.  Many there are who look upon justice and equity as meanness and accordingly despise them.  But far different is your conduct; for you were well born, and well instructed, and therefore glory more in being virtuous than in the numerous nations which you govern.  Of this Gemellus has proofs; and, that he may have more, let him be obliged for those to you, but for these to me.  For if he should receive any greater favours in consequence of my letter, he will certainly be indebted for them to my advice.

1 In the edition of Wolfius this is the 1392th.

2 To this Gemellus Libanius has several letters.

14. Letter 1490 1

We have made a mutual agreement, that I should write to you on behalf of my friends, and that if their requests are reasonable you will assist them.  Of your assistance let this Hyperechius 2 first reap the advantage.  He has long been harassed and oppressed by those whose chief study is unjust gain.  He was one of my scholars in my former prosperity.  Such I deem the time of my residence at Nicomedia 3; not on account of the wealth but of the excellent friends that it procured me, many of whom are no more.  This man, whose hopes now rest on you, then came from Ancyra 4.  In eloquence none excelled him; in manners none equalled him.  I love him therefore with a parental affection.  I cannot see him injured without assisting him myself and urging others to assist him also.  And if in this you think that I act no bad part, show by your deeds that you approve my conduct.

1 In the edition of Wolfius this is the 1490th.

2 An orator, the son of Maximus, a native of Galatia.  Libanius has addressed several letters to him.

3 Our author affirms in his Life, p. 21, that he spent five years with pleasure at Nicomedia and calls that time "the spring of his life".  WOLFIUS.

4 The same city which Libanius, in his 26th oration, p. 599, styles "the principal and largest city in Galatia."

15. Letter 3 of book 2 (A.D.363) 1

The oration 2, which contains some account of your glorious actions, you honour not only with praise but admiration.   And as you are ranked among the learned, you maintain, I am told, that Demosthenes could not have written more forcibly, Socrates more agreeably or Plato more copiously on the occasion.  You affirm also that greater glory will redound to you from my writings than from the fortunate event of your actions.  My opinion is far different.  For though, with my most studious and elaborate endeavours, I strove to exalt your name, yet as my strength was unequal to such a weight, what I performed I performed with great pleasure.  But so brilliant are your praises that the rudest genius may seem sufficiently decorated by the dignity of the subject.  Your actions therefore were the noblest ornaments of my oration.  And though I attempted to illustrate those actions which in their own nature were most splendid, I rather illustrated myself.  So that you have no cause to return me thanks, or to think that they are due to me.  But that I may acquire such a splendour by recording your exploits, whatever success may attend you in future do not fail to communicate to me by a letter.

1 This is the 3rd of the 2nd book of the letters of Libanius, collected in Greek by Francisco Zambicari of Bologna and published in his Latin translation only by John Somerfeld at Cracow, 1504.  It is also inserted by Fabricius in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vol. 7, p.390.

2 His panegyrical address to Julian, when he was at Antioch, just before he set out on his Persian expedition.  It is the 5th in the 2nd volume of the works of this sophist, published by Morell.  How agreeable it was to the emperor Libanius mentioned in a letter to Celsus [the 648th] as well as in the above.  FABRICIUS.

16. Letter 14 of book 2 1

I can scarce believe that, than which nothing can be more certain.  Departing from you, in obedience to your order, and on an urgent occasion, I am both willingly and unwillingly absent from you.  For I think that I could be sooner negligent of my life than of your commands.  Any labours, however great, seem trifles; however small, when desired to undertake them for you, I have been accustomed to think them sweeter than ambrosia.  To this it is owing that, were you to command me, I would depart not only from you but from myself.  But as I consider you as my deity, without you nothing seems pleasing.  You constantly occur to my mind: whatever I hear repeats the voice of Julian; whatever I see reflects the image of my venerable deity.  And when a sweet slumber refreshes my languid limbs, you seem so present to me that by the kindness of the immortal gods, separated and loosed from my body, my mind seems to fly to you, to embrace, address, in short to worship you; so that if I were to be deprived of life I would wish that to be my last day.  Farther, that I may no longer be thus tormented, I entreat you to give me your permission to return to you, and in your presence to adore your deity, which absent I at once admire and venerate.  If not, as by your indulgence it may be effected, I could easily be content to be banished not only from the city I so much love but also from the world. 

1 This also is published only in Latin by Zambicari.  It is the 14th of his 2nd book.

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2007. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.  

The text comes from "Select works of Julian", vol. 1.  This is available for download at Google Books, so I have not felt it necessary to reproduce page numbers etc.  The letter numbering is from Wolfius except where specified.  Comments have been abbreviated or rephrased.  Commas have been omitted where unnecessary.  A few words have been modified where confusion would have been involved to a modern reader -- e.g. accosted becomes addressed, etc.  The last two letters are forgeries by Zambicari, I understand.

Greek text is rendered using unicode.

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts