Letters of Julian/Letter 1

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Letters by Julian, translated by Emily Wilmer Cave Wright
1. To Priscus

From The Works of the Emperor Julian, volume III (1913) Loeb Classical Library.

1. To Priscus[1][edit]

[359 AD from Gaul]

On receiving your letter I at once despatched Archelaus, and gave him letters to carry to you, and the passport,[2] as you wished, for a longer time. If you are inclined to explore the ocean, everything, with the god's help, will be provided for you as you would wish, unless you dread the boorishness of the Gauls and the winter climate. This, however, will turn out as the god sees fit; but I swear to you by him who is the giver and preserver of all my good fortune that I desire to live only that I may in some degree be of use to you. When I say "you," I mean the true philosophers, and convinced as I am that you are one of these, how much I have loved and love you you well know, and how I desire to see you. May Divine Providence preserve you in health for many a year, my dearest and best beloved brother! I salute the admirable Hippia and your children.[3]


  1. For other letters to Priscus, see Letters 2 and 5.
  2. Literally "token," a synonym of τὸ σύμβολον. This, like the Latin tessera, could be of various kinds, but here Julian probably refers to a document, the equivalent of the modern passport, which he had visaed for Priscus in order that he might proceed to Gaul.
  3. For the life of Priscus, cf. Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. He visited Julian in Gaul, was summoned to Constantinople not long after Julian's accession, and went with him to Persia. See Introduction, under Priscus.