The Mysteries I: Julian as Initiate
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The Mysteries I: Julian as Initiate book
Julian was remembered by Libanius as one who had 'met with the gods in countless initiations'.1 In modernJulianic studies, the nature and significance of his interest in the antique Mystery cults have figured as a central and contentious question. Scattered passages in his own writings and a handful of near-contemporary testimonies are usually taken to show that he was an initiate of several such cults. In the Caesars, he claims knowledge of the commandments of Mithras; in To the Mother of the Gods, he ponders whether he can properly speak in public of Cybele's rituals and doctrines.2 Other allusions he makes hint at Dionysiac and Eleusinian initiations too.3 But attention has focused chiefly on his relations with the cults of Mithras and of Cybele, because the hymns to Helios and the Mother seem to indicate a special and quasi-philosophic interest in them on the writer's part.