The Ecclesiastical History Of Scholasticus by Socrates Scholasticus
Chapter XXII.--Jovian is proclaimed Emperor.
The soldiery being thrown into extreme perplexity by an event so unexpected, and without delay, on the following day proclaimed Jovian emperor, a person alike distinguished for his courage and birth. He was a military tribune when Julian put forth an edict giving his officers the option of either sacrificing or resigning their rank in the army, and chose rather to lay down his commission, than to obey the mandate of an impious prince. Julian, however, being pressed by the urgency of the war which was before him, retained him among his generals. On being saluted emperor, he positively declined to accept the sovereign power: and when the soldiers brought him forward by force, he declared that being a Christian, he did not wish to reign over a people who chose to adopt paganism as their religion.' They all then with one voice answered that they also were Christians: upon which he accepted the imperial dignity. Perceiving himself suddenly left in very difficult circumstances, in the midst of the Persian territory, where his army was in danger of perishing for want of necessaries, he agreed to terminate the war, even on terms by no means honorable to the glory of the Roman name, but rendered necessary by the exigencies of the crisis. Submitting therefore to the loss of the government of Syria, and giving up also Nisibis, a city of Mesopotamia, he withdrew from their territories. The announcement of these things gave fresh hope to the Christians; while the pagans vehemently bewailed Julian's death. Nevertheless the whole army reprobated his intemperate heat, and ascribed to his rashness in listening to the wily reports of a Persian deserter, the humiliation of ceding the territories lost: for being imposed upon by the statements of this fugitive, he was induced to burn the ships which supplied them with provisions by water, by which means they were exposed to all the horrors of famine. Then also Libanius composed a funeral oration on him, which he designated Julianus, or Epitaph, wherein he celebrates with lofty encomiums almost all his actions; but in referring to the books which Julian wrote against the Christians, he says that he has therein clearly demonstrated the ridiculous and trifling character of their sacred books. Had this sophist contented himself with extolling the emperor's other acts, I should have quietly proceeded with the course of my history; but since this famous rhetorician has thought proper to take occasion to inveigh against the Scriptures of the Christian faith, we also propose to pause a little and in a brief review consider his words.