Julian II, Emperor AD 360-363
RIC 96; Depeyrot 21/1, Mint State
Sirmium, AD 361-363. FL CL IVLIA-NVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Julian II right. Reverse: VIRTVS EXERCI-TVS ROMANORVM, soldier advancing right, head left, dragging captive and holding trophy over shoulder; *SIRM(wreath).
Ex NAC 88 (8 October 2015), 511; Hess-Divo 324 (23 October 2013), 118
Flavius Claudius Julianus (Julian II), a nephew of Constantine the Great, survived the purge of his family carried out by the sons of Constantine in AD 337. He was raised a Christian, but exposure to classical literature turned him towards the more traditional gods of the Greco-Roman world and pagan Neoplatonism. In AD 355, Constantius II appointed him Caesar in the Western Empire, where he inflicted several defeats on the Alemanni before his army mutinied against Constantius II and proclaimed him Augustus in AD 361. The convenient death of the last son of Constantine spared Julian the otherwise inevitable war and left him as sole master of the entire Roman Empire. He used this opportunity to restore the ancient temples and cults while undoing the bans on classical literature and philosophy imposed by Christian clerics. Although he explicitly forbade the persecution of Christians, he certainly favored like-minded pagans in his new administration. In AD 362-363, Julian II undertook a new war against the Sasanian Persian Empire, but this proved to be a disaster and he was fatally wounded while trying to withdraw.