This portrayal of one of antiquity’s most enigmatic figures offers a vivid and compact assessment of the Apostate’s life and reign. Proceeding directly from an evaluation of the ancient sources—the testimony of friends and enemies of Julian as well as the writings of the emperor himself—the author traces Julian’s youth, his years as the commander of the Roman forces in Gaul, and his emergence as sole ruler in the course of a dramatic march to Constantinople. In G. W. Bowersock’s analysis of Julian’s religious revolution, the emperor’s ardent espousal of a lost cause is seen to have made intolerable demands upon pagans, Jews, and Christians alike.
Bowersock has written the best narrative history of Julian’s career...His success is due not only to the vivid style but to the command of the very wide variety of sources that enables him to derive new insights from unexpected facts.
The most reliable and lucid account available of Julian’s haunting obsession...An extraordinarily good book about an extraordinary man.
Packed with skillfully deployed information and remarkable insights...The picture is drawn with an incisive vigor which is completely convincing, and with unusual elegance of style.
G. W. Bowersock is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.