Letters of Julian/Letter 13

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Letters by Julian, translated by Emily Wilmer Cave Wright
13. To Hermogenes, formerly Prefect of Egypt

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

13. To Hermogenes, formerly Prefect of Egypt[1][edit]

[361, Dec.? Constantinople]

Suffer me to say, in the language of the poetical rhetoricians, O how little hope had I of safety! O how little hope had I of hearing that you had escaped the three-headed hydra! Zeus be my witness that I do not mean my brother Constantius[2] — nay, he was what he was — but the wild beasts who surrounded him and cast their baleful eyes on all men; for they made him even harsher than he was by nature, though on his own account he was by no means of a mild disposition, although he seemed so to many. But since he is now one of the blessed dead, may the earth lie lightly on him, as the saying is! Nor should I wish, Zeus be my witness, that these others should be punished unjustly; but since many accusers are rising up against them, I have appointed a court[3] to judge them. Do you, my friend, come hither, and hasten, even if it task your strength. For, by the gods, I have long desired to see you, and, now that I have learned to my great joy that you are safe and sound, I bid you come.


  1. Hermogenes had been Prefect of Egypt before 328, since his name does not occur in the list of prefects after that year, which is extant complete.
  2. Cf. for Julian's attitude to Constantius, Misopogon 357b.
  3. The special commission appointed by Julian to try his enemies sat at Chalcedon in Dec. 361. Its work is described by Ammianus 22. 3; Libanius, Oration 18. 152. Among the judges were Mamertinus the rhetorician and Nevitta the Goth, who were the Consuls designate for 362, and Sallust.