Julian II (“The Apostate”) was the nephew of Constantine I, and one of only two male relatives from the family of Constantine’s first wife that were spared by the sons of Constantine after their father’s death in 337. Although he survived (likely due to his young age), he was exiled to minimize any potential threat of usurpation. Tutored by esteemed philosophers, his early life was intensely scholastic, and he became enthralled with Neo-Platonism in particular. Despite being raised a Christian, he reverted to the traditional Roman paganism as a result of his studies. Julian was somewhat unexpectedly thrust out of isolation and into his position as Caesar in 355, after the execution of his brother Gallus by Constantius II. He was stationed in Gaul, where he successfully restored order along the Rhine River – a critical weakness of the Empire for centuries. Not long after a major victory in subduing a rogue faction of Alamanni (who outnumbered his own forces), his troops declared him Augustus – the title sacred to Constantius II. He initially rejected this title, but years later in Paris, under increased antagonism from Constantius II, he seems to have embraced it. Civil war became imminent, and Constantius II moved to confront his challenger. However, calamity was avoided – Constantius II became ill, and recognizing his fever was a fatal one, passed the rule peacefully to Julian on his deathbed. Julian would later attempt to return the Empire to paganism, though without lasting success. He is remembered not only for his military and administrative achievements, but also his unusual roles in the history of the emperorship -- he was not only the last pagan emperor, but also the last member of the Constantinian dynasty – which ironically marked the first Christian rule over the Empire. KHK 2015.