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The concept of friendship of the emperor Julian according to his political-philosophical precepts (4th century A.D.)

Grant number: 18/23790-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Margarida Maria de Carvalho
Grantee:Larissa Rodrigues Alves
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil


Our research lies in the context of the 4th century A.D., inserted in the chronological arc of Late Antiquity, characterized by ruptures and continuities. The theme presented searches to understand the social networks of the Emperor Julian through his missives. We believe that in them is his concept of friendship, translated into different forms of expression throughout the selected period, that is, between the years of 355 A.D. and 363 A.D. We will try to reconstitute his social networks in order to perceive the virtues valued by the Caesar and/or Emperor in commenting on what it is to be a good ruler, citizen and philosopher. Therefore, we think that, based on this set of values, Julian establishes his relations with several sectors of Roman society. The Emperor's concept of friendship, not yet revealed by contemporary historiography, is fundamental for us to understand his conceptions of political, religious, philosophical, and military life. We suppose, however, that only the exchange of favors could not be the sole motive for maintaining a friendship between Julian and his peers, and that such sentiment goes beyond the establishment of a patronage network so common in societies of classical and late antiquity. To do so, we will use 43 epistles of Julian, written during his rule as Caesar and Emperor (355-363 A.D.), dealing with personal matters. The selected letters narrate exchanges of gifts, philosophical and teaching themes, his thoughts and desires, in short, matters of private life. Thirteen of them contain neither the date nor the place in which they were written. Therefore, we will try to insert them in a more specific context, based on the Emperor's concept of friendship and the virtues that he values at different moments of his life.

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