Letters of Julian/Letter 38

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Letters by Julian, translated by Emily Wilmer Cave Wright
38. Julian the Apostate to Porphyrius

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

38. Julian the Apostate to Porphyrius[1][edit]

[362, after the middle of July from Antioch]

The library of George was very large and complete and contained philosophers of every school and many historians, especially, among these, numerous books of all kinds by the Galilaeans. Do you therefore make a thorough search for the whole library without exception and take care to send it to Antioch. You may be sure that you will yourself incur the severest penalty if you do not trace it with all diligence, and do not by every kind of enquiry, by every kind of sworn testimony and, further, by torture of the slaves, compel, if you cannot persuade, those who are in any way suspected of having stolen any of the books to bring them all forth. Farewell.[2]


  1. Perhaps this is George's secretary mentioned in the Letter to Ecdicius, Letter 23. Geffcken thinks this letter was a Christian forgery because it seems to ignore the earlier order to Ecdicius. Probably the books had not arrived, and Julian became impatient.
  2. Cumont thinks that a scribe added this inappropriate greeting.