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  • Roman Emperor Jovian died on February 17, 364.

    Beatriz Camino

    Roman Emperor Jovian died on February 17, 364.

    Jovian, the Roman Emperor from June 363 to February 364, ascended to the throne following the death of Julian the Apostate.

    Early Life & Ascension to the Throne

    Jovian, born on June 27, 331, in Singidunum, Moesia Superior (modern-day Belgrade, Serbia), was the son of Varronianus, the commander of Constantius II's imperial bodyguards. Joining the guards, he played a significant role in 361, escorting Constantius' remains to the Church of the Holy Apostles.

    That same year Jovian accompanied Emperor Julian on the Mesopotamian campaign against Shapur II, the Sassanid king. This journey took a decisive turn at the Battle of Samarra, where the emperor suffered a mortal wound and died on June 26, 363. Ammianus, a Roman soldier and historian, reported that, in his final moments, Julian refrained from naming a preferred successor, fearing oversight or endangering the chosen one. On the following day, after Saturninius Secundus Salutius, the elderly praetorian prefect of the Orient, declined the offer, the army elected Jovian as the new Emperor. He assumed the imperial role on June 27, 363.


    Upon ascending to the throne, Jovian resumed the retreat initiated by Julian, facing harassment from the Sassanids until reaching the city of Dura on the Tigris. Unable to bridge the river, he reluctantly sought a peace treaty, conceding a thirty-year truce. Moreover, he ceded the Roman provinces of Arzamena, Moxoeona, Azbdicena, Rehimena and Corduena and surrendered the interests of the Romans in the Kingdom of Armenia to the Sassanids. The treaty was seen as humiliating.  

    Jovian spent the rest of his eight-month rule travelling back to Constantinople. After crossing the Tigris, he marched to Edessa, arriving in September 363. There, he issued edicts signaling the end of the war with Persia and the restoration of imperial finances, previously allocated to pagan temples by Julian. Moreover, the emperor encountered a group of bishops, Athanasius among them, who had recently returned from exile. Athanasius delivered a letter to Jovian, urging adherence to the Nicene Creed and the rejection of Arianism. Subsequently, Jovian reinstated Athanasius to his episcopal duties and allowed him to accompany him to Antioch.

    His arrival in Antioch in October was met with public outrage, prompting Jovian to order the burning of the Library of Antioch. While he was still in the city, he received a letter from the Synod of Antioch requesting the restoration of Meletius as bishop. By September 363, Jovian had restored the labarum ("Chi-Rho") as the army's standard, revoked Julian's edicts against Christians, and issued an edict of toleration granting subjects full liberty of conscience.


    In December 363, Jovian, while at Ancyra, declared his infant son, Varronianus, as consul. On February 17,364, while travelling from Ancyra to Constantinople, the Emperor was found dead in his tent at Dadastana, located midway between Ancyra and Nicaea. Surprisingly, his demise, at the age of 33, remained uninvestigated, with speculation suggesting suffocation from toxic fumes emanating from newly painted bed chamber walls near a brazier. Jovian was interred in a porphyry sarcophagus in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. His successors were his two brothers, Valentinian I and Valens, who subsequently divided the empire between them. In the aftermath of Jovian's passing, Valentinian and Valens took measures to secure their rule, eliminating potential threats. Jovian's son, Varronianus, faced the unfortunate fate of being blinded, ensuring he would never pose a challenge to the imperial throne.


    JOVIAN. 363-364 AD. Festival of Isis coinage. Alexandria, 4th century AD. Apearently unique !!!An unknown Extremely rare coin -Jovian image , hybrid coin & Julian II Æ Double Maiorina. Constantinople AD 361-363. D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG,Jovian Portrait Left & VOT V MVLT X Wreath Heraclea RIC 110 Good EF

    JOVIAN AE1 (Double Maiorina). EF-/EF. VICTORIA ROMANORVM. Scarce and Nice!JOVIAN (363-364). Ae. Antioch.Jovian. 363-364. AE Double Maiorina (8.64g, 27mm). Thessalonica mint. RIC 237


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