Julian is Given His Crown

ON this day in the year 361, the Emperor Constantius died. Before he died he had a hasty baptism. And, he named his cousin Julian as his successor.

I find those what if moments in history, where the whole thing could have gone another way, interesting.

And there are few as fascinating, at least for me, in what would have come of Julian, the so-called apostate living a long life? With his interest in giving the pagan traditions structure and support, it seems he was set to be the Constantine of organized paganism.

And giving paganism a real run at competing with organized Christianity.

or, not…

But, again, a lovely what if…

And, so not a song of old Roman religion, but old ways…

What if’s…

And haunted nights…

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  • David

    If Julian had become Emperor for longer, then the Pagan Traditions would have just become as corrupted by power as Christianity did after Constantine (not that the Pagan Religions of Rome and Greece weren’t corrupted already, long before Jesus, they were oppressive tools of the State, used to persecute those perceived as the “Other”, be they “barbarians”, Jews, early Christians, Witches, etc).

    Please don’t say you’re an admirer of Julian, I mean, I tend to have Pagan leanings, but, Julian is definitely not someone to admire, he was the neurotic nephew of Constantine, who had a beef with his uncle for murdering his parents (understandable), then decided to take on the Church that his uncle had allied with. While some Pagans like to take Julian as a “hero” who fought against an “oppressive Christian Church”, this is only the Julian of their own imaginations, not the real one (much like how American Evangelical Christians worship a Jesus who has very little to do with the historical Jesus). The real Julian was nothing more than imperialist with dreams of building up his power, that was his one and only god. He died on an attempt to conquer Persia for Rome (I wonder if the Gods of Persia were smiling that day).

    He may not have violently attacked Christians (probably because he wouldn’t have been able too, not because of his own “noble virtue”), but, he did his best to limit their rights, and make things very difficult for them (for example, making it near impossible for them to get good employment, by making the Classics (Homer, etc) only to be taught by Pagans. He’d probably make a very good Pagan equivalent of the Tea Party or, at least, a right wing Republican.

    So, please don’t admire Julian, or really any Emperor of an oppressive empire. I could see Wisdom in Ashoka and the Zoroastrian Cyrus, but, Emperors are normally oppressive tyrants who only care about Power, Wealth and Glory.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind James

    You’re probably right, David.
    And what if’s are all about projection.
    And dream…