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eBook The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World ePub

eBook The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World ePub

by Adrian Murdoch

  • ISBN: 0750940484
  • Category: Ancient Civilizations
  • Subcategory: History
  • Author: Adrian Murdoch
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing Ltd; New Ed edition (2005)
  • Pages: 272
  • ePub book: 1409 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1683 kb
  • Other: docx lrf azw mbr
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 748

Description

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan cults and his mission to establish paganism as the dominant faith of the Roman world

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan cults and his mission to establish paganism as the dominant faith of the Roman world. Julian’s death, only two years into his reign, initiated a culture-wide suppression by the Church of all things it chose to identify as pagan. Only in recent decades, with the weakening of the Church’s influence and the resurgence of paganism, have the effects of that suppression begun to wane.

Adrian Murdoch writes quite well and is engaging throughout The Last Pagan

Since his death on a Persian battlefield in .  . Adrian Murdoch writes quite well and is engaging throughout The Last Pagan. I am grateful for the book, especially since it is hard to find writings devoted specifically to Julian, who was a pagan with the intent of ushering in a new age of paganism in the Roman Empire. The Introduction is where a capsulized version of the book's story is presented.

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan cults and his mission to establish paganism as the dominant faith of the Roman world

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan cults and his mission to establish paganism as the dominant faith of the Roman world.

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan .

The Last Pagan examines Julian’s journey from an aristocratic Christian childhood to his initiation into pagan cults and his mission to establish paganism as the dominant faith of the Roman world. Drawing upon more than 700 pages of Julian’s original writings, Adrian Murdoch shows that had Julian lived longer our history and our present-day culture would likely be very different. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company.

Issued Date: 8 Mar 2007. All Authors Title Abstract Index terms Full Text. lt;body

the Death of the Ancient World (9780750940481): Adrian Murdoch: [email protected]@ .

the Death of the Ancient World (9780750940481): Adrian Murdoch: [email protected]@://ecx. As I know virtually nothing about ancient history, I would like to hear what people think about Julian and his "last stand" against the christianity. Or what they think about the quality of the aforementioned book. And I also learned that Gore Vidal (who, as it seems, has none of his books translated to Finnish!) has written a fiction book about him. Is it any good? Mangekyou.

Published 2003 by Sutton in Stroud. Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-248) and index. xvi, 255 . p. of plates : Number of pages.

The Death of the Gods. Julian the Apostate is a novel by Dmitry Merezhkovsky, first published (under the title The Outcast, {Russian: Отверженный, romanized: Otverzhenny) in 1895 by Severny Vestnik. Exploring the theme of the 'two truths',. Exploring the theme of the 'two truths', those of Christianity and the Paganism, and developing Merezhkovsky's own religious theory of the Third Testament, it became the first in "The Christ and Antichrist" trilogy.

Comments

Kison Kison
Unfortunately, this is a standard biography that does not live up to the subtitle of the book, i.e. "Julian the Apostate and the death of the ancient world". I bought it because I wanted to understand his policies opposing Christianity and why they failed. What I found instead was a blow by blow description of where he was and what he did, with some speculation about what he was thinking. To be sure, it's interesting enough but I was consistently frustrated when I would read, say, 2 pages on where they wanted to bury him with the occasional paragraph thrown in about his inability to stop the spread of Christianity.

The book starts out pretty strong on context, with Julian as the nephew of Constantine, whose son (the Emperor Constantius II) murdered most of Julian's family in a series of political intrigues. To survive, Julian stayed away from politics, preferring the study of philosophy. However, once appointed as a military leader and then Caesar - a subordinate co-ruler - Julian proved an adept and lucky military leader and so a civil war was inevitable. Once Constantius II died conveniently, Julian became Augustus, the top dog. According to Murdoch, Julian merely pursued a policy of religious toleration that sought to encourage the revival of paganism, refusing to repress Christians. He was not cruel or particularly vindictive, though he could be capricious. In the meantime, he planed a war with the Sassanids in Persia, only to die from unexplained wounds after only 4 years in power.

That's about it for the facts, which are told in a pretty pedestrian style. There is very little context or evocation of life at the time and virtually nothing on how and why paganism died out. Instead of summing up and addressing these issues, the last chapter offers a very boring historiography and view of Julian in popular culture, including Gore Vidal's novel (by far a better read than this bio).

I cannot recommend this book unless you want a fact-based bio without flavor.
Adrietius Adrietius
Murdoch's Julian is an exciting account of the enigmatic Constantinian emperor who reverted to the old religion of the empire, expressed in a lively manner. However, it has two flaws that should be rectified. The greatest and most egregious of these falls on page 116, where Murdoch states that the temple of Cybele was pulled down and upon it's site was built St. Peter's cathedral. As anyone who is the least familiar with Rome knows, St. Peters is buit on Mons Vaticanus, not Mons Palitinus. The second mistake is on page 150, in which Murdoch blithely proclaims that Cstephison's 500,000 third century population would make it the "largest city in the world". This may not be such a glaring mistake to some, but earlier in the book Murdoch claims that Constantinople had a population of over one million, (which it did not at that time, even if one counted the suburbs), and that Antioch with 500,000, which would match that of Ctesiphon.

Overall, the book is well worth the read.The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World
White gold White gold
An interesting and well researched biography, sympathetic to its subject but never fawning. The meat of the book is very well presented and quite readable and Murdoch gives us a real sense of the man. The last section dealing with Julian's treatment through history seemed a bit superfluous and added little more than a dozen or so pages to a rather short volume.
Adoraris Adoraris
This is a biography of the Emperor Julian, nephew of Constantine who ruled Rome for a short period from 361 to 363 ACE. Perhaps best know for his attempt to hold back Christianity and bring back to the centre the old religion of the Graeco-Roman world, there was, however, a lot more to Julian than just his religious policy. Murdoch's biography brings back to life Julian in his many facets through his easy to read and sometimes racy prose. Though not an academic text and perhaps not really adding substantially to the scholarship on Julian, this is nevertheless an enjoyable read.

Briefly, Julian was born into the family of Constantine and though brought up as a Christian, grew attached to the old religion though his study of the Greek and Roman classics. His entire family was murdered by Constantine's successor Constantius in a bid to eliminate rivals. Julian threw himself into scholarly pursuits perhaps to escape the attention of Constantius and to avoid being seen as a threat. He became an accomplished scholar but eventually was selected by Constantius to take up an administrative post in Gaul. Here he proved himself an able ruler, reforming the tax system. Though not having had military training, he showed that he was an effective military commander, defeating German invaders in 357ACE. Eventually, a revolt propelled him to challenge Constantius as Emperor but before the two could fight it out, Constantius died and Julian becomes Emperor. He attempts in the end unsuccessfully to restore to primacy the old religion. His reforms include the emulation of Christian organisational skills (where Christians excelled) and charitable giving, but in the end his attempt to hold back Christianity fails. He died on a disastrous (for the Romans) campaign against Persia.

Murdoch deals with his subject sympathetically. Julian was one of those rare rulers who though deeply immersed in scholarship, was able to turn his intellectual training into success in the practical affairs of government. Even in our own times, such leaders are rare. Apart from Churchill and Nehru, few twentieth century leaders (not counting Marxist theoreticians such as Lenin, Stalin and Mao) have joined to their political successes, scholarly or literary achievements.

Julian, as depicted by Murdoch, also stands out as an able ruler of Rome in very difficult times. It is indeed noteworthy that the era produced some of the most capable rulers of Rome, such as Constantine, Julian, Valentinian and Theodosius. By contrast, some of the rulers of Rome during the Golden Age of the First Century ACE were at best mediocre and in the case of Caligula, Nero and Domitian, plain crazy. Perhaps, sub par rulers can stay in power in good times and when the state is stable without doing much damage, but difficult times require able rulers.

Biography as a genre is easily criticised as placing too much emphasis on the works of individuals rather than the broader processes and trends that shape and change societies. Good biography however will be more than the story of an individual and will be a canvass on which to study the bigger things at play. In this, Murdoch's biography is not wanting, capturing the essence of Julian and his times. The big picture story was the rise of Christianity againt a backdrop of Roman decline. However, this not an academic book and some of the other reviews criticise the author's journalistic style. GW Bowersock's "Julian the Apostate" is an excellent academic biography for those who are interested - but taking a more traditional (and hostile) view of Julian. One may both admire the courage of an individual who swims against the tide - or condemn the same individual for lack of wisdom in doing so. Murdoch does the former if Bowerstock takes the latter position.

Christian writers not unnaturally are hostile to Julian. However, in their writings and condemnations, one can sometimes sense a secret admiration. Such feelings for an enemy such as Julian are perhaps not that suprising, given his undoubted intelligence and ability. Indeed, the legacy of Julian despite being an enemy of Christianity has come down to us through Christian monks over the centuries carefully preserving, copying and handing down the record, including many of Julian's own letters. This perhaps might be the the most telling tribute to Julian.