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

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 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 – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 18 Part 3

Constantius was the middle of the three sons Constantine had with Fausta.  Of the three he was the one that showed the most promise.

Those who occasionally mention the education or talents of
Constantius, allow that he excelled in the gymnastic arts of leaping and
running that he was a dexterous archer, a skilful horseman, and a master
of all the different weapons used in the service either of the cavalry
or of the infantry. Continue reading