JOVIANUS, jo"vi-d'nus, FLAVIUS CLAUDIUS: Roman emperor; b. at Singidunum (the modern Belgrade, Servia) about 331; d. at Dadastana, Bithynia (125 m. e.s.e. of Constantinople) in the night between Feb. 16 and 17, 364. Taking part in the campaign against the Persians, as ranking officer of the palace troops, in the crisis following the death of Julian he was hastily elected emperor by the army in sight of the enemy, June 27, 363. The fact that Jovian was a Christian and had withstood attempts during the reign of Julian to render him apostate seems to have played no part in his election. The newly elected emperor, in view of the military and political situation of the time, was induced to conclude an inglorious peace with the Persians, giving up to them the eastern outskirts of the empire, including the important city of Nisibis. On his return from the East at Antioch Jovian publicly stated his attitude in regard to the controversies in the Church. He took the side of the Nicene party and their leader Athanasius, urging the latter in a written appeal to resume his episcopal see at Alexandria and asking to be remembered in his prayers. He commanded Athanasius, who visited him at Antioch, to issue a new statement of the orthodox creed, and thus his authority certainly influenced the controversies regarding the nature of Christ, although he tried to hold aloof from them officially. His aim was to restore matters as they were before the reign of Julian, and so he replaced on the army standards and on the coins the monogram of Christ, recalled the bishops from exile, renewed the privileges of the Church and of the clergy, widows, and virgins, and restored the donations of corn. He imposed the death penalty on whosoever married a virgin or a widow who had taken the vows, even with the woman's consent, and forbade the inheritance of their parents' property by the children of such an union. Yet he also showed much tolerance toward pagans.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: V. Schultze, Geschichte des Unterganges des griechisch-römischen Heidentams, i. 176 sqq., Jena. 1887; H. Richter, Das weströmische Reich, pp, 168 sqq., Berlin, 1865; H. Schiller, Geschichte der römischen Kaiserzeit, ii. 344 sqq., 1887; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ii. 506, 517 sqq; Neander, Christian Church, ii. 87-89 et passim; Schaff, Christian Church iii. 60; the literature under JOVINIANUS, and De la Bleterie, Hst. de l'empereur Jovien, 2 vols.. Amsterdam, 1740.



CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely