Excellent overview of my favourite Emperor!,
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This review is from: Julian the Apostate (Debates & Documents in Ancient History) (Debates and Documents in Ancient History) (Paperback)
This is an excellent introduction to and companion-overview of modern Julian studies. It's good for private study and also would make a useful course-book for anyone wishing to teach on the subject.
The main themes are covered effectively, with selections of relevant documents. Some professional reviews have noted that some texts are given in old translations, but this is not inherently a problem, unless there are significant inaccuracies (and I would trust the author to have looked into that!) The selections are a jumping-off point: if you have Greek (or Latin), you can find the whole books and check them yourself in the originals (Julian's 3 vol. Loeb 'Works' are definitely worth having).
What is also appealing is the format and use of illustrations. The Armitage cover is beautiful. Despite the portrait of Julian being based chiefly on the Capitoline Museum bust (which is actually a mis-inscribed Pindaros), the full image (in b/w within) is one of vivid characterisations and telling symbolism: a brave painting, too, in the context of Victorian Christianity, contrasting the aggressively squabbling clerics with Julian, serene at the feet of Athene and her owl. It's a perfect visualisation of Ammianus's remark that from experience, the Emperor knew that "no beasts are so lethal to humans as most Christians are to each other" (although it does miss his bouncy energy and talkativeness!). Like the texts between the covers, it asks: "Where do you stand?" Different readers will come to different conclusions, and that is at it should be. What matters is that the question is asked, as it leads on to questioning the inevitability of all that followed 26 June 363. Although we still live with the consequences of that day, we don't have to accept or like them.
Julian the Apostate (Debates & Documents in Ancient History) (Debates and Documents in Ancient History)(1 customer review)