Historical Reprints Religion Upon the Sovereign Sun and Mother of the Gods

Upon the Sovereign Sun and Mother of the Gods

Upon the Sovereign Sun and Mother of the Gods
Catalog # SKU1941
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Julian Emperor Apostate Libanius


Upon the Sovereign Sun
Mother of the Gods

Julian the Emperor
(aka Julian the Apostate)

Monody: Funeral Oration for Julian
By Libanius

Julian, an emporer after Constantine, rejected the new religion of christianity, preferring to worship in the faith of his fathers. This resulted in the christians rewriting history and renaming him 'The Apostate.' Reading Julian's observations about his religion is quite different from listening or reading what christians have said about the ancient religion. My personal take reading Julian, is that his religion grew from scientific knowledge, that was lost to religion over time.


IT is my opinion that the present subject interests all:

"Whatever breathes, and moves upon the earth,"

all that are endowed with existence, with a rational soul, and with a mind: but that above all others it interests myself, inasmuch as I am a votary of the Sun. Of which fact I possess the most certain evidences in my own case; but one instance, which it is allowable to adduce, is the following:----From my earliest infancy I was possessed with a strange longing for the solar rays, so that when, as a boy, I cast my eyes upon the ethereal splendour, my soul felt seized and carried up out of itself. And not merely was it my delight to gaze upon the solar brightness, but at night also whenever I walked out in clear weather, disregarding all else, I used to fix my eyes upon the beauty of the heavens; so that I neither paid attention to what was said to me, nor took any notice of what was going on. On this account, people used to think me too much given to such pursuits, and far too inquisitive for my age: and they even suspected me, long before my beard was grown, of practising divination by means of the heavenly bodies.

And, yet at that time no book on the subject had fallen into my hands, and I was utterly ignorant of what that science meant. But what use is it to quote these matters, when I have still stranger things to mention; if I should mention what I at that time thought about the gods? But let oblivion rest upon that epoch of darkness! How the radiance of heaven, diffused all round me, used to lift up my soul to its own contemplation! to such a degree that I discovered for myself that the moon's motion was in the opposite direction to that of the rest of the system, long before I met with any works giving the philosophy of such matters. What I have said must be taken as evidence of this. And truly do I envy the felicity of that man who, being endowed with a body sprung from a holy and prophetic seed, is able to unlock the treasures of philosophy: but neither do I undervalue that state and condition to which I have myself attained through the favour of heaven, in that I have drawn my birth from the family to which it has given the empire, and possession of the world.

My own belief is, if philosophers be entitled to any credit, that the Sun is the common parent of all men, to use a comprehensive term. It is a true proverb, "Man begets man, and so does the Sun:" but souls that luminary showers down upon earth, both out of himself, and out of the other gods: which souls show to what end they were propagated by the kind of life that they pursue. But well is it for that man who, from the third generation backwards, and a long succession of years, has been dedicated to the service of this god; yet neither is that person's condition to be despised who, feeling in his own nature that he is a servant of this deity, alone, or with few on his side, shall have devoted himself to his worship.


That divine and all-beauteous World, which from the highest vault of Heaven down to the lowest Earth is held together by the immutable providence of God, and which has existed from all eternity, without creation, and shall be eternal for all time to come, and which is not regulated by anything, except approximately by the Fifth Body (of which the principle is the solar light) placed, as it were, on the second step below the world of intelligence; and finally by the means of the "Sovereign of all things, around whom all things stand." This Being, whether properly to be called "That which is above comprehension," or the "Type of things existing," or "The One," (inasmuch as Unity appears to be the most ancient of all things), or "The Good," as Plato regularly designates Him,

This, then, is the Single Principle of all things, and which serves to the universe as a model of indescribable beauty, perfection, unity, and power. And after the pattern of the primary substance that dwells within the Principle, He hath sent forth out of Himself, and like in all things unto Himself, the Sun, a mighty god, made up of equal parts of intelligible and creative causes. And this is the sense of the divine Plato, where he writes, "You may say (replied I) that I mean the offspring of the Good, whom the Good has produced, similar to itself; in order that, what the Good is in the region of intelligence, and as regards things only appreciable by the mind, its offspring should be the same in the region that is visible, and in the things that are appreciable by the sight." For this reason I believe that the light of the Sun bears the same relation to things visible as Truth does to things intelligible. But this Whole, inasmuch as it emanates from the Model and "Idea" of the primal and supreme Good, and exists from all eternity around his immutable being, has received sovereignty also over the gods appreciable by the intellect alone, and communicates to them the same good things, (because they belong to the world of intelligence), as are poured down from the Supreme Good upon the other objects of Intelligence.

For to these latter, the Supreme Good is the source, as I believe, of beauty, perfection, existence, and union; holding them together and illuminating them by its own virtue which is the "Idea" of the Good. The same things, therefore, does the Sun communicate to things intelligible, over whom he was appointed by the Good to reign and to command: although these were created and began to exist at the same moment with himself. And this, I think, was done, in order that a certain principle which possessed the "Idea" or pattern of the Good, and exercised the principle of Good towards the intelligible gods, should direct all things according to intelligence. And in the third place, this visible disk of the Sun is, in an equal degree, the source of life and preservation to things visible, the objects of sense; and everything which we have said flows down from the Great Deity upon the intelligible gods, the same doth this other visible deity communicate to the objects of sense.

Of all this there are clear proofs, if you choose to investigate things non-apparent by the means of things that are visible. For example, first take his light----is it not an incorporeal and divine image of what is transparent in its action? and the very quality that we term " transparence," what else is it, to speak generally, but the property that goes with all the elements, and is their approximate form? and which is neither corporeal, nor composite, and does not destroy the natural properties of the body with which it goes. For this reason it is wrong to call heat a property of it, or cold its opposite; or to hardness, softness, or any other distinction perceptible by the touch, nor, again, must we attribute to it either scent or taste. For the quality in question is the object of the sight alone, which is brought into play by the instrumentality of light. But light is a form of this, as it were of a material substance, diffused through bodies. But of that light which is incorporeal, the most perfect part and as it were the flower, are the solar rays.

The Phoenicians who from their sagacity and learning possess great insight into things divine, hold the doctrine that this universally diffused radiance is a part of the "Soul of the Stars." This opinion is consistent with sound reason: if we consider the light that is without body, we shall perceive that of such light the source cannot be a body, but rather the simple action of a mind, which spreads itself by means of illumination as far as its proper seat; to which the middle region of the heavens is contiguous, from which place it shines forth with all its vigour and fills the heavenly orbs, illuminating at the same time the whole universe with its divine and pure radiance.

The effects that redound from this Power upon the gods themselves, have been already slightly touched upon, and I will shortly return to the subject. When we see things, this action has the name of "Sight," but the effect is of no value unless it obtains the influence and assistance of the light. For can anything be the object of sight, unless it be first brought under it, like the raw material to the workman, that it may receive its form? In the same manner, the things that are by their nature objects of the sight, unless they be brought together with light before the instruments of seeing, cease altogether to be objects of sight. Since, therefore, both to the seers, in order that they may see, and to the objects seen, in order that they may be visible, this god gives the powers, it follows that he constitutes by his own action both sight and the objects of sight.

"Perfections" consist of Form and Essence; this definition, however, may be too abstruse. But a fact patent to all, learned equally with unlearned, philosophers and uneducated, is the influence which this deity possesses in the world at his rising and at his setting; how he produces day and night, and how he manifestly transforms and regulates the state of this creation----an influence assignable to no one of the other planets. From these considerations ought we not to draw conclusions respecting matters more beyond the reach of man: that is to say, respecting the existence of those beings that are divine, and objects of the intellect alone, who exist invisible above the heavens, and derive their fulness from that "Type" of Good, Him whom all the host of the stars follow, and whose nod that whole family (of deities), whom he governs by his providence, fail not to obey.

For the planets round about him (the Sun), as though he were their king, lead on their dance, at appointed distances from him pursue their orbits with the utmost harmony; they make, as it were, pauses; they move backwards and forwards (terms by which those skilled in astronomy denote these properties of the stars); and then, in proportion to her distance from the Sun, how doth the Moon increase or wane!----things patent to all. And such being the case, is it not reasonable to suppose that a more ancient system, corresponding to this visible arrangement of Nature, exists in the case of the deities who are only conceivable by the mind?

From all this, therefore, we must gather the powerful and perfecting truth, that the object which enables things to see that are endowed with the sense of sight, the same object renders these things perfect by means of his own light, whilst the creative and productive power arises from his changes as he moves around the universe: and that capacity for embracing all things at once is the effect of what is so apparent in his movements; namely, the harmony of all in one and the same thing.

The Centre-point comes from himself as being central; whilst the circumstance of his being placed for king amongst the objects of intellect is the result of his station amongst the planets. If we perceived these, or other similar properties, to exist in any other of the visible deities, certainly we should award him the first place amongst them. If, however, he should have nothing in common with them, except this power of doing good, which he communicates unto all, then we ought to acquiesce in the reasoning of the Egyptian priests, who raise altars to the Sun conjointly with Jupiter; nay, rather we should assent to Apollo himself (long before them), who sits on the same throne with Jove, and whose words are,

"One Jove, one Pluto, one Sun is Serapis."


Upon The Sovereign Sun Addressed To Sallust.

Upon The Mother Of The Gods

Libanius' Funeral Oration Upon The Emperor Julian.

8¼" height 6¾" width - 175+ pages

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