Bronze Coin of Emperor Julian the Apostate - C.0718 Origin: Mediterranean Circa: 360 AD to 363 AD Collection: Numismatics Style: Roman Medium: Bronze Flavius Claudius Julianus was born in 332 A.D., the nephew of Constantine the Great. Upon the death of Constantine the Great in 337 A.D., his three sons assumed control of the empire and murdered any potential rivals to the throne. However, Julian’s life was sparred because he was deemed too young to pose a threat. Julian grew up and gained the favor of Constantius II. In 355 A.D., he was given the title of Caesar and made the governor of Gaul. Julian proved to be an able and loyal administrator. He won several battles against barbarian invaders, making him very popular with the troops as well as the people. In 360 A.D., Constantius decided to transfer many of Julian’s troops to the East to wage war against the Persian. Yet the troops rebelled against Constantius and declared Julian emperor. When Constantius died en route to Gaul to suppress the insurrection, Julian assumed control of his troops and became emperor. Although his reign was brief (he was killed in battle against the Persians little over two years later), Julian is significant historically for his writings, some of which still survive to this day. Julian was a committed pagan and a leader of the neo-pagan movement that sought to restore the traditional gods to power in the face of the rising tide of Christianity. Though he had many followers, especially among the Senatorial class, Christianity was too well entrenched both among the people and among the power structure to allow paganism to flourish again. In fact, by the death of Theodosius I little more than thirty years later, paganism would be all but extinct in the empire.