Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Roman Emperor, 363-4. After the death of Julian the Apostate (26 June, 363), the army making war on Persia and then in retreat from Assyria proclaimed Jovianus emperor, after the prefect of the guard, Sallustius, a confidant of Julian, had refused the dignity on account of his advanced age. Jovianus was a son of the distinguished Count ( Comes ) Varronianus and a native of Pannonia. Though at that time less than thirty-three, he held the rank of captain in the imperial bodyguard. His election was hailed with joy by the Christians, since from him they could expect religious toleration. Although Jovianus had a warlike appearance, he lacked the spirit and decision of a soldier and leader of men. Therefore he accepted the conditions of peace offered by Shapur (Sapor), the crafty Persian king, and agreed to restore the boundaries of the empire as they existed before the peace with Diocletian in 297. The four satrapies east of the Tigris, with the fortified cities of Nisibis and Singara, were relinquished contrary to the wishes of the inhabitants, who were hostile to Persia, and the ancient connection between the Roman Empire and Armenia was severed. In return, the Roman army was permitted to retreat to the right bank of the Tigris without molestation. This weak agreement destroyed at one blow the Roman supremacy over the country about the Euphrates and Armenia, and Persia henceforth dominated the hither Orient. Under great difficulties Jovianus marched with the army from Mesopotamia to Antioch and thence to Tarsus, where he caused the mausoleum of his predecessor to be adorned. On 16 February, 364, during the march to Constantinople, the emperor was overtaken by a sudden death in the Bithynian frontier town of Dadastana, having been suffocated by coal gas in his bed-chamber, though possibly assassinated ( Socrates, III, xx-xxv; VI, iii-vi). His body was brought to Constantinople and buried in the church of the Apostles beside that of Constantine. Jovianus was a zealous and orthodox Christian. He restored to the Church the privileges granted by Constantine and withdrawn by Julian. Athanasius, then seventy, was permitted to return from exile to Alexandria. ln a general edict of toleration, he established freedom for all forms of worship, even paganism, but forbade magical sacrifices, reintroducing the religious toleration proclaimed by Constantine in his Milan Edict of 313.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
12 for the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial.13 He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 18:9-14
9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2016 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, ... Read More