The Forgotten Reign of the Emperor Jovian (363-364): History and Fiction

Jan Willem Drijvers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review


This book is the first modern scholarly monograph on the emperor Jovian (363–364). It offers a new assessment of his reign and argues that Jovian’s reign was of more importance than assumed by most (ancient and modern) historians. This study argues that Jovian restored the Roman Empire after the failed reign of Julian by returning to the policies of Constantius II and Constantine the Great. Jovian’s general strategies were directed to getting the Roman Empire back on its feet militarily, administratively, and religiously after the failed reign of his predecessor Julian (361–363), as well as to establish more peaceful relations with the Sassanid Empire. For an emperor who ruled only eight months, Jovian had an unexpected and surprising afterlife. The rarely studied and largely unknown Syriac Julian Romance offers a surprising and different perspective on person and reign of Jovian. In the Romance, Jovian is presented as the ideal Christian emperor and a new Constantine. But the Romance is also an important source for Roman–Persian relations and the positioning of Syriac Christianity in the late antique world of Christendom.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages264
ISBN (Print)9780197600702
Publication statusPublished - 29-Apr-2022

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Late Antiquity

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