BLTC Press Titles

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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Julian the Apostate

by Gaetano Negri




While Julian felt his life in jeopardy, because of the suspicion and jealousy of Constantius, or even during the time when he represented him in the government of Gaul, he naturally concealed his ideas, his faith, and those intentions which he could only accomplish if he should ever attain supreme power. During all these years of necessary dissimulation, the young enthusiast, who amidst the cares of war and administration never neglected his studies and meditations, became ever more fervently zealous in his love of Hellenism,) and in his desire to save it from the danger of invading Christianity, his ardour necessarily becoming more intense because of his inability to express it openly. But ever remembering his strained relations with Constantius, he took pains not to compromise himself by any act that might some day create insuperable difficulties. We have seen, on the contrary, that, after he had been


proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers, and before he had decided on civil war, still hoping for an understanding with Constantius, he participated in the solemn festival of the Epiphany, thus manifesting an excess of prudence that might be considered deceit.

But when all illusions of a possible reconciliation were dissipated, and Julian decided on the desperate venture of marching against Constantius, he dropped his mask, and, resolving to risk everything, revealed himself as the restorer of the ancient religion. It is not quite clear whether he made any public demonstration of his polytheistic faith before he left Gaul; but, during the voyage from Gaul to Sirmium, he openly and somewhat ostentatiously gave his expedition the character of an enterprise, placed under the protection of the gods. This Julian tells us, in a letter addressed to his venerated master, the philosopher Maximus, and written while he was on the march towards the Balkans. In the midst of the urgent affairs that claim his attention, Julian is grateful to the gods that he is able to write to Maximus, and hopes that he may be permitted to see him once more. He protests, and calls the gods to witness, that he became emperor against his will.1 Then, with the facility and grace of description so natural to him, he relates his meeting with a messenger sent by Maximus himself, and expresses all the anxiety he had experienced at the thought of the peril to which the friend and master of the rebellious Caesar might be exposed. In concluding the letter, he speaks of the signal favour which the gods vouchsafed to his enterprise, so that it was being accomplished without violence and with great ease, and he thus finishes : "We adore the gods openly, and the greater part of the army accompanying me is devoted to them. We sacrifice in face of all, and offer to the gods the sacrifices of many hecatombs. The gods command me to sanctify my every action, and I obey them with all my soul, and they assure me of great benefits from my enterprise, if only I persist."1 Here we recognise the confidence and enthusiasm of the reformer in his first efforts, when everything appears to him bright and hopeful. A few months will be sufficient to dispel Julian's delusions and

1 Julian., Op. cit., 536- &s irp<arov avTOKparuip dxtav

6. <9(o,'.

cause him to write that effusion of bitterness, •

the Misopogon.

His cousin being dead, and Julian by common consent proclaimed Emperor, he made his solemn entry into Constantinople, and gave to his youthful dream the sanction of law. " Every danger having disappeared " — writes Ammianus Marcellinus — " and having acquired the faculty of doing all that he willed, Julian revealed the secrets of his soul,

1 Julian., op. «'/., 536,19 sq.

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