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November 27, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
The Roman emperor Jovian (363-364) only ruled for eight months and has not received much attention in scholarship. However, he is more than a footnote in history. After the reign of Julian, he returned to the policies of Constantius II and Constantine the Great. His peace agreement with the Sassanid king Shapur II also had great impact for Roman-Persian relations.
The first part of this presentation evaluates the peace agreement, the responses to it, and its long-term influence on the relationship between the Roman and Persian empire. Jovian had an unexpected afterlife in the so-called “Julian Romance,” a rarely studied text of Christian historical fiction. This Christian narrative presents Jovian as an ideal Christian emperor and a new Constantine. It offers also surprising perspectives on Roman-Persian relations, which will be discussed in the second part of the presentation.
Sponsored by the IHC’s Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group, California Consortium for Late Antiquity, and Department of History