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Julian II - A Selfish Failure...

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  • postumusagrippa
    Hello. Yes, I m back at it again, systematically attacking the record of the ridiculously over-rated emperor, Julian. I am amazed as I search the internet as
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 1, 2009
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      Hello.

      Yes, I'm back at it again, systematically attacking the record of the
      ridiculously over-rated emperor, Julian.


      I am amazed as I search the internet as to how many ridiculously long
      discussions of Julian are to be found.

      And seriously, it really is quite amazing how much anti-Christian
      sentiments cloud people's judgment.

      Apparently simply because the guy was anti-Christian, the fact that he
      was an abject failure is constantly either overlooked or downgraded.


      Personally, I continue to find it difficult to find any redeeming
      qualities about him.

      Once again, if we ignore the whole pagan versus Christian issue,
      which, as I've said before, is irritating in itself as it almost
      totally obscures all the other facets of the Roman world for 4th
      century from Constantine onward, we end up with a rather
      unimaginative, egotistical, selfish figure.


      To me, his rebellion against Constantius II is one of the most selfish
      and unnecessary acts in Roman history.

      It had taken Constantius 10 years (since the death of his younger
      brother, Constans) to reintegrate the West and the East, and just as
      it was coming to a successful conclusion, along came Julian the
      Selfish, whose driving force was revenge for his own sake, who was
      willing to take the Roman empire to the brink of civil war again
      (which would have resulted in civil war, if Constantius II had not died).

      The whole empire itself was doing quite well under Constantius II, so
      there was no need to overthrow the government.

      The empire was already struggling to effectively defend itself (being
      attacked on many different frontiers from without), and Julian's
      actions would have only made things all the worse.


      However, I am starting to find it amusing just how great Julian seemed
      to think he was - the guy wins a battle or two over the Alemanni, and
      suddenly he thinks he's the greatest and can defeat the whole Sassanid
      empire.

      Wow, buddy, feeling a bit egotistical at all?


      And here's a little something extra to think about in regards to
      Constantius II and Julian (and it even relates the current world
      economic situation!).

      There have been a number of people opining that Julian was interesting
      and bold for doing what he did, but would people be so accepting if
      his actions affected them?

      Think of it as if the emperors were bankers who were looking after
      your savings.

      On the one hand, you have Constantius II, who is steady and reliable,
      and whose actions make sure that you're that you're always getting a
      small margin extra each month. Sure, it's not a huge bonus, but it's
      there, and what's more, his lack of big risk taking means that at
      worst, you'll end up only a small amount worse off.

      On the other hand, you have Julian, who is a big risk taker and wants
      to prove his greatness. So he always aims for the big gains, the ones
      that might get you a bunch more money, but also only have a small
      chance of success and also the ones that, if they go wrong, can take a
      big chunk of what you've already got.

      The question is who would you prefer looking after your money: someone
      like Constantius II or someone like Julian?

      It was the same for the people of the empire, and actually lost a
      whole bunch of Romans their homes in the East, but at least he was
      'interesting', right?

      Barry
    • postumusagrippa
      To put it a little more succinctly: Julian was so rubbish that he didn t even last 2 years as emperor before getting himself killed. Barry
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 1, 2009
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        To put it a little more succinctly:

        Julian was so rubbish that he didn't even last 2 years as emperor
        before getting himself killed.

        Barry
      • Brent
        Julian s reign and the Empire s--and Republic s--history as a whole show the underlying strengths of the Romans. That Rome could endure so many setbacks, and
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 6, 2009
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          Julian's reign and the Empire's--and Republic's--history as a whole
          show the underlying strengths of the Romans. That Rome could endure
          so many setbacks, and as many bad leaders testifies to something that
          goes beyond the individual Roman. Compare the brief empires of the
          Greeks or Macedonians (specifically Alexander), the latter perishing
          in little more than a decade.

          --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa <no_reply@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > To put it a little more succinctly:
          >
          > Julian was so rubbish that he didn't even last 2 years as emperor
          > before getting himself killed.
          >
          > Barry
          >
        • postumusagrippa
          Hello. I ve been looking at the individual Roman (excluding the Byzantines) emperors lately, and it s interesting that even those considered bad emperors
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 7, 2009
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            Hello.

            I've been looking at the individual Roman (excluding the Byzantines)
            emperors lately, and it's interesting that even those considered 'bad
            emperors' were actually still reasonably capable (eg. Caligula, Nero,
            Domitian, Commodus, Caracalla).

            Yes, they were bad people (being either megalomaniacs or psychotics or
            both), but they were still capable administrators (either that or the
            imperial government was so stable that one or two bad emperors
            couldn't really damage things too badly... only in the 4th and 5th
            centuries when there was nothing but bad emperors (the
            Valentinians/Theodosians, excluding the respective founders), was it
            unable to cope).


            Also in regards to the Macedonian empire - one reason I think
            Alexander's realm might have had some reasonable stability was that it
            was only the Macedonians fighting one another in the aftermath of his
            death (it seems amazing that no Achaemenid pretender appeared after
            Alexander's death! (or did they?)), and 'conquered' peoples seem to
            have been fairly loyal to Alexander's immediate successor (Perdiccas)
            at least.

            Still the empire didn't last as a whole, but even then the individual
            empires (well, the Ptolemies and Seleucids) seem to have been fairly
            stable.

            Unfortunately for Seleucus I, pretty much all of his successors were
            embarrassingly incompetent (or in the case of his son, Antiochus I,
            forgot most of the eastern section of his realm).

            The Ptolemaic realm was fairly stable considering that there was not a
            genuinely capable Ptolemaic ruler after Ptolemy III (well, in my
            opinion anyway), and there were plenty of rebellions, civil wars and
            family conflicts.

            Barry

            --- In imperialrome2@..., "Brent" <brentwadesmith@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Julian's reign and the Empire's--and Republic's--history as a whole
            > show the underlying strengths of the Romans. That Rome could endure
            > so many setbacks, and as many bad leaders testifies to something that
            > goes beyond the individual Roman. Compare the brief empires of the
            > Greeks or Macedonians (specifically Alexander), the latter perishing
            > in little more than a decade.
            >
            > --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa <no_reply@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > To put it a little more succinctly:
            > >
            > > Julian was so rubbish that he didn't even last 2 years as emperor
            > > before getting himself killed.
            > >
            > > Barry
            > >
            >
          • Brent
            State continuity in whatever guise is a characteristic of the Roman social order, arguably all the way up to 1453--one can argue that the Byzantines were only
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 8, 2009
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              State continuity in whatever guise is a characteristic of the Roman
              social order, arguably all the way up to 1453--one can argue that
              the Byzantines were only self-identified as such but there is an
              unbroken bureaucratic and imperial chain disrupted only by the
              Crusaders.

              Although Alexander's Empire fragmented, some successor kingdoms did,
              yes, show stability, most prominently Ptolemaic Egypt but these
              states were essentially overlays of the previous bureaucracies. For
              example, given the Ptolemaic dynasty's less than stellar members, it
              was Egypt that managed itself on autopilot so to speak. It's
              surpising to an extent that the division of the empire was
              essentially a Macedonian free for all but "the conquered peoples"
              for the most part had already been living together under the
              Achaemenid umbrella.

              That said, even though I would argue the various Roman systems were
              a bit more actively fluid in form and function and ever ready to
              evolve, Rome itself can be likened to Egypt in its ability to
              endure.


              --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa
              <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello.
              >
              > I've been looking at the individual Roman (excluding the
              Byzantines)
              > emperors lately, and it's interesting that even those
              considered 'bad
              > emperors' were actually still reasonably capable (eg. Caligula,
              Nero,
              > Domitian, Commodus, Caracalla).
              >
              > Yes, they were bad people (being either megalomaniacs or
              psychotics or
              > both), but they were still capable administrators (either that or
              the
              > imperial government was so stable that one or two bad emperors
              > couldn't really damage things too badly... only in the 4th and 5th
              > centuries when there was nothing but bad emperors (the
              > Valentinians/Theodosians, excluding the respective founders), was
              it
              > unable to cope).
              >
              >
              > Also in regards to the Macedonian empire - one reason I think
              > Alexander's realm might have had some reasonable stability was
              that it
              > was only the Macedonians fighting one another in the aftermath of
              his
              > death (it seems amazing that no Achaemenid pretender appeared after
              > Alexander's death! (or did they?)), and 'conquered' peoples seem to
              > have been fairly loyal to Alexander's immediate successor
              (Perdiccas)
              > at least.
              >
              > Still the empire didn't last as a whole, but even then the
              individual
              > empires (well, the Ptolemies and Seleucids) seem to have been
              fairly
              > stable.
              >
              > Unfortunately for Seleucus I, pretty much all of his successors
              were
              > embarrassingly incompetent (or in the case of his son, Antiochus I,
              > forgot most of the eastern section of his realm).
              >
              > The Ptolemaic realm was fairly stable considering that there was
              not a
              > genuinely capable Ptolemaic ruler after Ptolemy III (well, in my
              > opinion anyway), and there were plenty of rebellions, civil wars
              and
              > family conflicts.
              >
              > Barry
              >
              > --- In imperialrome2@..., "Brent" <brentwadesmith@>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Julian's reign and the Empire's--and Republic's--history as a
              whole
              > > show the underlying strengths of the Romans. That Rome could
              endure
              > > so many setbacks, and as many bad leaders testifies to something
              that
              > > goes beyond the individual Roman. Compare the brief empires of
              the
              > > Greeks or Macedonians (specifically Alexander), the latter
              perishing
              > > in little more than a decade.
              > >
              > > --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa
              <no_reply@>
              > > wrote:
              > > >
              > > > To put it a little more succinctly:
              > > >
              > > > Julian was so rubbish that he didn't even last 2 years as
              emperor
              > > > before getting himself killed.
              > > >
              > > > Barry
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • postumusagrippa
              Hello. Yes, in fact, the very word Byzantine is one created by the western Europeans to attempt to discredit the claim of the Eastern Roman empire being a
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 8, 2009
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                Hello.

                Yes, in fact, the very word 'Byzantine' is one created by the western
                Europeans to attempt to discredit the claim of the Eastern Roman
                empire being a continuation of the earlier Roman state. However,
                despite the use of Greek as their official language (after Heraclius)
                and (mostly) the lack of Rome itself, the claim of the 'Byzantines' to
                being 'Romans' was much better than that the Westerners.

                And actually there is an argument that the Roman empire survived
                beyond the fall of Constantinople in 1453, but only for 8 years, when
                the Empire of Trebizond finally fell to Mehmed II in 1461CE.


                Also one might wonder whether some of the stability of the eastern
                part of the Roman empire may have been a result of it being overlaid
                on the former Greek and Macedonian states?

                Barry


                > State continuity in whatever guise is a characteristic of the Roman
                > social order, arguably all the way up to 1453--one can argue that
                > the Byzantines were only self-identified as such but there is an
                > unbroken bureaucratic and imperial chain disrupted only by the
                > Crusaders.
                >
                > Although Alexander's Empire fragmented, some successor kingdoms did,
                > yes, show stability, most prominently Ptolemaic Egypt but these
                > states were essentially overlays of the previous bureaucracies. For
                > example, given the Ptolemaic dynasty's less than stellar members, it
                > was Egypt that managed itself on autopilot so to speak. It's
                > surpising to an extent that the division of the empire was
                > essentially a Macedonian free for all but "the conquered peoples"
                > for the most part had already been living together under the
                > Achaemenid umbrella.
                >
                > That said, even though I would argue the various Roman systems were
                > a bit more actively fluid in form and function and ever ready to
                > evolve, Rome itself can be likened to Egypt in its ability to
                > endure.
                >
                >
                > --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa
                > <no_reply@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hello.
                > >
                > > I've been looking at the individual Roman (excluding the
                > Byzantines)
                > > emperors lately, and it's interesting that even those
                > considered 'bad
                > > emperors' were actually still reasonably capable (eg. Caligula,
                > Nero,
                > > Domitian, Commodus, Caracalla).
                > >
                > > Yes, they were bad people (being either megalomaniacs or
                > psychotics or
                > > both), but they were still capable administrators (either that or
                > the
                > > imperial government was so stable that one or two bad emperors
                > > couldn't really damage things too badly... only in the 4th and 5th
                > > centuries when there was nothing but bad emperors (the
                > > Valentinians/Theodosians, excluding the respective founders), was
                > it
                > > unable to cope).
                > >
                > >
                > > Also in regards to the Macedonian empire - one reason I think
                > > Alexander's realm might have had some reasonable stability was
                > that it
                > > was only the Macedonians fighting one another in the aftermath of
                > his
                > > death (it seems amazing that no Achaemenid pretender appeared after
                > > Alexander's death! (or did they?)), and 'conquered' peoples seem to
                > > have been fairly loyal to Alexander's immediate successor
                > (Perdiccas)
                > > at least.
                > >
                > > Still the empire didn't last as a whole, but even then the
                > individual
                > > empires (well, the Ptolemies and Seleucids) seem to have been
                > fairly
                > > stable.
                > >
                > > Unfortunately for Seleucus I, pretty much all of his successors
                > were
                > > embarrassingly incompetent (or in the case of his son, Antiochus I,
                > > forgot most of the eastern section of his realm).
                > >
                > > The Ptolemaic realm was fairly stable considering that there was
                > not a
                > > genuinely capable Ptolemaic ruler after Ptolemy III (well, in my
                > > opinion anyway), and there were plenty of rebellions, civil wars
                > and
                > > family conflicts.
                > >
                > > Barry
                > >
                > > --- In imperialrome2@..., "Brent" <brentwadesmith@>
                > > wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Julian's reign and the Empire's--and Republic's--history as a
                > whole
                > > > show the underlying strengths of the Romans. That Rome could
                > endure
                > > > so many setbacks, and as many bad leaders testifies to something
                > that
                > > > goes beyond the individual Roman. Compare the brief empires of
                > the
                > > > Greeks or Macedonians (specifically Alexander), the latter
                > perishing
                > > > in little more than a decade.
                > > >
                > > > --- In imperialrome2@..., postumusagrippa
                > <no_reply@>
                > > > wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > To put it a little more succinctly:
                > > > >
                > > > > Julian was so rubbish that he didn't even last 2 years as
                > emperor
                > > > > before getting himself killed.
                > > > >
                > > > > Barry
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >
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