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Headword: Ἰοβιανός
Adler number: iota,401
Translated headword: Jovianus, Jovian
Vetting Status: high
Orthodox emperor of [the] Romans, who displayed great care and attention for the churches and recalled all the bishops in exile. And he wrote to St. Athanasius to indicate to him the strictness of his blameless faith. And he sent a letter full of orthodoxy. This man ruled after Julian:[1] when this Julian gave his soldiers the choice to sacrifice or be discharged, Jovian preferred to remove his military belt. And, going to the well-populated city of Nisibis and spending only two days here, he spent as much money as he had—sharing nothing with the inhabitants, not a generous word nor a good deed. A man who had advanced to such a point of power not through his own virtue but through his father's reputation—for he was not altogether physically weak or unexercised in the deeds of war; but, being a man who lacked training and who had not tasted education, he dimmed and disfigured even what natural ability he had through laziness.
This man, who gained control of the Roman empire after Julian, as has been said, disdained all and was eager to reap the benefit of the honor that had come to him, and, fleeing from Persia, he hurried to get within the Roman provinces[2] to display his good fortune, and he turns over Nisibis, a city long subject to the Romans, to the Persians. Therefore, they mocked him in song and in burlesques and the so-called 'lampoons'[3] because of [his] betrayal of Nisibis.
And Jovian, set in motion by his wife, burned down a very elegant temple built by the emperor Hadrian for the deification of his father Trajan. This temple, by command of Julian, had been converted to a library by a eunuch named Theophilus, but Jovian burnt it down along with all its books, and the concubines[4] themselves, while laughing, set the fire. The Antiochenes became upset with the emperor and threw out some of the books onto the ground, so that whoever wanted could pick one up and read it, and they stuck others to the walls.[5] And they were this sort of thing: "You came from war; O, that you had died there."[6] And "You damned Paris, so very good-looking...." etc.[7] And "If I don’t grab you and take off your fine clothes, your chlaina and chiton, which cover your shame, and swiftly send you yourself weeping to the Persians."[8]
And an old woman who had seen that he was big and handsome and recognized that he was an idiot declared: "As long and deep as folly!" Another private citizen dared to shout in a loud voice at the racetrack and afforded laughter to everyone [by] saying empty, insipid [words] to his comrades.[9] And monstrous things would have happened, if a certain Sallustius had not ended the disturbance.
And when it was winter, Jovian made his way to Cilicia and Galatia and died in Dadastana after eating a poisoned mushroom.[10] And in his rule he seemed to be affable and generous.
In the reign of Jovian, Acacius, who wrote a pamphlet about orthodox faith [and] accept[ed] the synod at Nicaea, was bishop of Palestinian Caesarea.[11]
Greek Original:
Ἰοβιανός, βασιλεὺς Ῥωμαίων ὀρθόδοξος, ὃς ἐπιμέλειαν καὶ φροντίδα πολλὴν ἐποιεῖτο τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν καὶ τοὺς ἐν ἐξορίαις ἐπισκόπους πάντας ἀνεκαλέσατο τῷ τε ἁγίῳ Ἀθανασίῳ ἀπέστειλε τῆς ἀμωμήτου πίστεως ἐγγράφως αὐτῷ σημᾶναι τὴν ἀκρίβειαν. ὁ δὲ ἀπέστειλεν ἐπιστολὴν πλήρη ὀρθοδοξίας. οὗτος μετὰ Ἰουλιανὸν ἦρξεν: ὃς ἡνίκα Ἰουλιανὸς αἵρεσιν τοῖς στρατευομένοις ἐτίθει, θύειν ἢ ἀποστρατεύεσθαι, μᾶλλον τὴν ζώνην ἀποθέσθαι ἐβούλετο. ἐλθὼν δὲ ἐς Νίσιβιν πόλιν πολυάνθρωπον δύο μόνον ἡμερῶν ἐνδιατρίψας αὐτῇ, ὅσα περ εἶχε χρήματα κατανάλωσε τοῖς ἐνοικοῦσι μηδενὸς μεταδοὺς ἢ λόγου φιλανθρώπου ἢ πράξεως ἀγαθῆς: ἄνθρωπος οὐ δι' ἀρετὴν οἰκείαν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς δόξαν ἐς τοσοῦτον ἀρχῆς προελθών. ἦν μὲν γὰρ οὐδὲ παντάπασιν ἀσθενὴς τὸ σῶμα οὔτε πολεμικοῖς ἔργοις ἀγύμναστος: ἀμελέτητος δὲ ὢν καὶ ἄγευστος παιδεύσεως, καὶ ἣν εἶχε φύσιν διὰ ῥᾳθυμίαν ἠμαύρου καὶ ἠφάνιζεν. οὗτος μετὰ Ἰουλιανόν, ὡς εἴρηται, τῆς Ῥωμαίων βασιλείας ἐγκρατὴς γενόμενος, πάντων καταφρονήσας ἐσπούδαζε τοῦ συμβάντος αὐτῷ ἀξιώματος ἀπολαῦσαι, καὶ φεύγων ἐκ Περσίδος ἔσπευδε γενέσθαι τῶν Ῥωμαϊκῶν ἐθῶν ἐντὸς εἰς ἐπίδειξιν τῆς τύχης, καὶ τὴν Νίσιβιν πόλιν τοῖς Πέρσαις, πάλαι Ῥωμαίοις οὖσαν κατήκοον, ἐκδίδωσιν. ἀπέσκωπτον οὖν αὐτὸν ᾠδαῖς καὶ παρῳδίαις καὶ τοῖς καλουμένοις φαμώσσοις, διὰ τὴν τῆς Νισίβιδος προδοσίαν. ὁ δὲ Ἰοβιανός, ἐκ τῆς γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ κινηθεὶς τὸν ὑπὸ Ἀδριανοῦ τοῦ βασιλέως κτισθέντα ναὸν χαριέστατον ἐς ἀποθέωσιν τοῦ πατρὸς Τραϊανοῦ, παρὰ δὲ τοῦ Ἰουλιανοῦ κατασταθέντα βιβλιοθήκην εὐνούχῳ τινὶ Θεοφίλῳ, κατέφλεξε σὺν πᾶσιν οἷς εἶχε βιβλίοις, αὐτῶν τῶν παλλακίδων ὑφαπτουσῶν μετὰ γέλωτος τὴν πυράν. οἱ δὲ Ἀντιοχεῖς ἠγανάκτησαν κατὰ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀπέρριπτον τῶν βιβλίων ἐς τὸ ἔδαφος, ὥστε ἀναίρεσθαι τὸν βουλόμενον καὶ ἀναγινώσκειν, τὰ δὲ τοῖς τοίχοις προσεκόλλιζον. ἦν δὲ τοιαῦτα: ἤλυθες ἐκ πολέμου, ὡς ὤφελες αὐτόθ' ὀλέσθαι: καί, Δύσπαρι, εἶδος ἄριστε: καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. καί, εἰ μὴ ἐγώ σε λαβὼν ἀπὸ μὲν φίλα εἵματα δύσω, χλαῖνάν τ' ἠδὲ χιτῶνα, τά τ' αἰδῶ ἀμφικαλύπτει, αὐτὸν δὲ κλαίοντα θοῶς ἐπὶ Πέρσας ἀφήσω. γραῦς δέ τις μέγαν καὶ καλὸν αὐτὸν θεασαμένη μαθοῦσά τε ἀνόητον εἶναι ἐφθέγξατο: ὅσον μῆκος καὶ βάθος ἡ μωρία. καὶ ἄλλος δὲ ἰδιώτης ἀποτολμήσας, μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ βοήσας ἐν τῷ ἱπποδρομίῳ γέλωτα παρέσχε πᾶσιν εἰπὼν κενὰ καὶ ψυχρὰ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἐπράχθη ἂν ἄτοπα, εἰ μὴ Σαλούστιός τις ἔπαυσε τὴν στάσιν. ὁ δὲ Ἰοβιανὸς χειμῶνος ὄντος ὡδοιπόρει ἐπὶ Κιλικίαν καὶ Γαλατίαν καὶ ἐν Δαδαστάνοις ἀπέθανε μύκητα πεφαρμαγμένον φαγών. κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἡγεμονίαν κοινὸς καὶ ἐλευθέριος ἔδοξεν εἶναι. ὅτι ἐπὶ Ἰοβιανοῦ ἦν Ἀκάκιος ἐπίσκοπος Καισαρείας Παλαιστίνης, ὃς λίβελλον ἔγραψε περὶ ὀρθοδόξου πίστεως, ἀποδεχόμενος τὴν ἐν Νικαίᾳ σύνοδον.
Jovian (ruled 363-364). See Thomas Banchich's DIR entry at web address 1, and briefly E.D. Hunt in OCD(4) s.v. The present entry draws on George the Monk, Chronicon 549.20-550.3, and John of Antioch fr.181 FHG (4.606), now 273 Roberto.
[1] For Julian see iota 437. Blockley treats everything in iota 401 from οὗτος μετὰ Ἰουλιανὸν ἦρξεν through ἐλευθέριος ἔδοξεν εἶναι as Eunapius fr. 29.[1].
[2] Ἐθῶν appears to be a scribal error for ἐθνῶν .
[3] The Greek gives a transliteration of the Latin famosa, which is short for carmina famosa, 'infamous songs'; cf. phi 64.
[4] Perhaps Theophilus’ concubines.
[5] These are not the books from the burned library, which were all destroyed, but rather famosa, some at least of which abused Jovian in Homeric language.
[6] Homer, Iliad 3.428 (Helen to Paris).
[7] Homer, Iliad 3.39 = 13.769 (Hector to Paris).
[8] Homer, Iliad 2.261-263 (Odysseus to Thersites) -- but here with a change in the final noun (to 'Persians' from Homer's 'ships'. The garments are of course Greek, not Roman. (A chlaina is a thick woolen mantle or cloak, and a chiton is a woolen shirt. See chi 320 and chi 335.)
[9] Ἡλικία here probably = ἥλικες . See LSJ s.v. ἡλικία II.
[10] This is one of several different stories about his death, for which see the DIR entry (web address 1).
[11] Not alpha 783 but a namesake.
Blockley, R.C. The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus. Vol. II. Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1983
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; botany; Christianity; chronology; clothing; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; medicine; military affairs; meter and music; poetry; religion; women
Translated by: Abram Ring on 19 May 2004@13:40:45.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented primary note; more keywords; cosmetics) on 20 May 2004@05:19:39.
David Whitehead (x-ref) on 20 May 2004@09:13:49.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 3 October 2005@07:35:58.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 13 January 2013@05:20:17.
Catharine Roth (reduced links, coding) on 29 August 2013@22:37:37.
Catharine Roth (added cross-references) on 29 August 2013@22:42:02.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 4 August 2014@03:43:46.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 28 November 2014@22:01:57.
Aaron Baker (Revised translation. Added Blockley bibliographical entry.) on 30 November 2014@22:09:16.
Aaron Baker on 30 November 2014@22:39:11.
Aaron Baker (Revised translation.) on 30 November 2014@22:42:22.
Aaron Baker (Provided citations to Homeric passages. Tweaked translation.) on 30 November 2014@23:40:08.
Catharine Roth (coded betacode) on 30 November 2014@23:55:56.
Aaron Baker (Added Blockley citation to footnotes.) on 1 December 2014@00:13:21.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 December 2014@00:23:00.
Aaron Baker (Added footnote.) on 1 December 2014@09:49:00.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@09:33:10.
Aaron Baker (Removed pg. number from LSJ reference (as I had forgotten I wasn't using latest edition, and I don't know pagination for that).) on 27 March 2015@22:44:44.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 28 March 2015@01:00:48.
David Whitehead (another note; note tweaks elsewhere) on 26 April 2016@10:17:04.


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