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The Galilean

The emperor Julian (AD 331-363) was the last pagan emperor of Rome. Julian was the nephew of Constantine, who converted to Christianity, but himself rejected the Christian faith in favor of Hellenistic polytheism, earning him the title “Julian the Apostate.”

He referred to Christians as “Galileans,” after Jesus from Galilee. He fought hard to establish institutional paganism and ro eradicate Christianity from the empire, but failed. He admitted: 

“How apparent to everyone it is, and how shameful, that our people lack support from us, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galileans support not only their own poor, but ours as well.”

His dying words as he lay mortally wounded were said to be, “You have won, O Galilean!”

Picture: Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference of sectarians, by Edward Armitage, 1875

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