Julian the Reformer – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 3

Unlike previous emperors, Julian did not spend much time in the Hippodrome

Julian managed to get a lot done in his short life.  It’s a shame he didn’t write a book on time management, I’d love to know how he was so productive, but he did write a lot.  Its a shame that more of his writings haven’t survived.  They aren’t as well written as the works of Caesar or Marcus Aurelius and his choice of subject matter isn’t particularly compelling.  But nonetheless you can still pick up his intelligence and perceptiveness. I get the feeling that he would have been pretty successful at anything to which he turned his mind. Getting to be the emperor of Rome was a bit of a lottery, but it was the kind of level that Julian was quite capable of handling. Continue reading Julian the Reformer – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 3

Julian the Emperor – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 2

In the late summer of 360 Julian marched across the Rhine near modern day Basel and out of the empire with a mere 3,000 hand picked volunteers.  He penetrated the Black Forest just north of the Alps.  Travelling light and crossing mountains and morasses by obscure and rarely used routes he was soon out of contact with the civilised world. Continue reading Julian the Emperor – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 2

Julian the Rebel – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 1

Julian raised up on shield and hailed Augustus

In an absolute monarchy much hangs on the personality of the man on top, and the events covered in this podcast are pretty much the result of the emperor’s management style.  Constantius seems to have been the kind of boss that corridor warriors thrive under.  He was far from ineffective as an emperor and I’ll be looking at his balance sheet a bit later, but he does seem to have had a bit of a weakness in delegation skills.  Time and again we see him letting highly unsuitable people get into positions where they follow their own agendas rather than the empire’s best interests.  The way things played out with Julian illustrates this.  The two men could well have formed a great team that could have done great things.  But somehow the intrigues in the court of Constantius always stopped this happening. Continue reading Julian the Rebel – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 1

Julian in Gaul – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 2

Julian set off to Gaul with a guard of 300 men and without any idea of military matters. The plan was simply to give an air of concern to a neglected theatre. The Alemanni were well established and imperial forces were disorganised.  The actual running of the campaign was in the hands of Sallust, an experienced general. Sallust and Julian, despite coming from totally different backgrounds, hit it off personally.  Throughout his life Julian was to show himself capable of charming people, but this particular friendship was to be crucial because it got Julian into an active role in the army.   I have a feeling that this was the exact opposite of what Constantius intended, and there must have been plenty of subtle barriers erected to prevent it happening. Continue reading Julian in Gaul – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 2

Constantius and Julian -Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 2

Blackadder: Where is the prisoner.
Baldrick: He’s dead.
Blackadder: Dead? Are you sure?
Baldrick:  Well I cut his head off. That usually does the trick.

In that episode of Blackadder 2, Edmund Blackadder had been put in charge of the Tower of London and had brought all the scheduled executions forward so he could enjoy a long weekend.  Unfortunately Queen Elizabeth had changed her mind about killing one of her favourites.  When the change of instructions got through,  it was too late. With, needless to say, hilarious consequences. Continue reading Constantius and Julian -Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 2

Constantius and Gallus – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 1

When the sons of Constantine massacred all their close relatives, they spared a couple of their cousins. Gallus and Julian were too young to pose any immediate threat so they didn’t have to be killed straight away.  But as their parents had been killed something needed to be done with them, so they were held captive.  Was there a long term plan for them?  It is hard to say.   Given that they had an empire to run, probably their captors forgot all about them.  They were safely out of the picture and there were plenty of other things going on. Continue reading Constantius and Gallus – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 19 Part 1