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Giuliano

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4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,177 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1964, Giuliano è uno dei romanzi di maggiore successo di Gore Vidal. La fortuna ininterrotta che i lettori gli hanno tributato dalla sua uscita e gli apprezzamenti favorevoli della critica letteraria lo fanno annoverare tra le opere di narrativa più importanti della letteratura americana del Novecento. Il romanzo racconta la vita privata e ...more
Paperback, Tascabili #70, 580 pages
Published July 4th 2003 by Fazi (first published 1964)
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Samuel Daniel Robert, I am so sorry. I just saw this! Too bad this was not in time for your homework but the questions are beautiful and important in understanding…moreRobert, I am so sorry. I just saw this! Too bad this was not in time for your homework but the questions are beautiful and important in understanding the book.

Julian is not anti-religious or hateful of Christians necessarily. however philosophy is important to him and he fears the Judeo-Christian approach and ascendancy as a threat to academic freedom and of conscience and expression.

The reason Vidal used three narrators is to give us a feel or the era where a lot of information was primarily stored and passed on through letter and dialogues. the novel had not been invented since there wasn't a huge class of common people who read. Thus knowledge and information was passed on from teacher to student and between scholars through letters or the less frequent tool of memoirs and diaries.

The interplay between Libanius, Priscus and Julians diary is used as to give the feel of historical authenticity... and a lot of these documents do exist. almost a thousand and half letters of Libanius have been preserved and Vidal tried to built a story on these manuscripts.

The end result is a beautiful book and a joy to read(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric_W
Nov 19, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julian the Apostate was emperor of Rome from 361-363 CE and the nephew of Constantine. Raised in a strict Christian environment (although of the Arian tradition), he formally announced his conversion to paganism in 361 and became a public enemy of Christianity.

That provides the background for Vidal's excellent historical novel (historical in the best sense in that Vidal tried to use as many actual events and recorded conversations as possible). Vidal is, of course, rather flagrant in rejecting C
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Travis
Jan 27, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction
I love Roman history. Had Julian (the Apostate) been less conciliatory, the Christians would have remained a fringe sect. Uncompromising themselves, and ultimately triumphant, the Christians stamped out what Julian loved most: knowledge.

This book is written as letters between Libanius and Priscus, who discuss what to do with Julian's diary. Vidal's prose is sublime--always informing and entertaining, sometimes sharp and often funny. Historical fiction is rarely this good.
Terence Hawkins
Mar 17, 2009 Terence Hawkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how or why anyone would let a thirteen year old withdraw this book from a public library but someone did, and it went a long way towards forming my mind. For better or worse.

Julian the Apostate was born just a little too late: the last Hellenist (pagan) in the family of Constantine, who a few years before Julian's birth had converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. The novel chronicles his unlikely rise to power and its inevitable conclusion. Not a plot spoiler----aren't a lot of
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Laura
Aug 28, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my sad and maddening teenage years, I happened on my mother’s copy of the Oxford Book of British Verse and read through it with the doggedness I had at the time. One poem that hit me hard was Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Hymn to Proserpina, written in the voice of a Roman lamenting the passing of the old gods as Rome embraced Christianity. It begins with the line “Vicisti, Galilæe,” which, I am told, translates to “Thou hast conquered, Galilean,” and, I am told, was not said by the Emperor J ...more
Jack
Oct 17, 2008 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I suggest that those who can not accept criticism of their Christian religion skip this book. The Roman Emperor Julian was totally offended by the Christians of the 4th century AD.
I first read this historical novel back in the 1960's. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it even more now. This time I really picked up on Julian's flaws; 40 years ago I think I just was rooting for him to win (knowing, of course, he would ultimately fail) and I ignored this dark side.
Gore Vidal did extensive research
...more
Rares Cristea
Nu cred ca pot scrie o recenzie suficient de buna pentru a exprima tot ce inseamna Iulian de Gore Vidal.

Imi plac romanele istorice, tocmai pentru ca pot face o comparatie intre adevar si reinterpretarea autorului. Sa extrag esenta literara prin efectuarea diferentei intre fictiune si factualitate. Insa Iulian mi-a conferit o dorinta de ignoranta. Daca viata imparatului s-a desfasurat altfel decat in modul descris in acest roman, nici nu vreau sa admit adevarul ca realitate, caci pana la urma si
...more
Zaphirenia
Aug 21, 2015 Zaphirenia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Πραγματικά λυπάμαι που τελείωσε αυτό το βιβλίο. Φρεσκάροντας τις γνώσεις μου για την περίοδο που έζησε ο Ιουλιανός, συνειδητοποίησα ότι αυτό που είχα διαβάσει, ότι ο Gore Vidal μένει σε γενικές γραμμές πιστός στα ιστορικά δεδομένα, ισχύει. Ωστόσο, το βιβλίο είναι ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα και όχι ιστορία. Ο συγγραφέας μεταφέρει τον αναγνώστη στην εποχή των πρώτων χρόνων της επικράτησης του χριστιανισμού με ευκολία και σκιαγραφεί ένα πολύ ενδιαφέρον πορτραίτο του τελευταίου αυτοκράτορα που έμεινε πιστ ...more
Steven E
Aug 08, 2010 Steven E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You wouldn't think a 500 page epistolary novel swirling around a short-reigned Roman emperor would be at all engrossing, but here we are. The emperor Julian famously tried to arrest the spread of Christianity and reinstall Hellenism in the 4th century, and do so without bloodletting. He was nearly Plato's philosopher king incarnate, a just and admirable ruler who simply wanted peace.

Vidal's Julian dovetails nicely with his historical counterpart. He is learned and witty and self-aware, while br
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Linda
Julian is stunning and awesome. Perhaps I am just being a snob when I am sometimes surprised that I have never even heard of a book and then it turns out to be amazing and I want everyone to read it. I shouldn't be, though, since often when the masses like something it is less than spectacular.

Not usually a fan of historical fiction, I was drawn to this because I had decided to finally read Gore Vidal and I liked the idea of the plot: a Roman emperor attempting to squelch the wacky upstart reli
...more
Louise
I didn't think Vidal's "Burr" could be topped, but this earlier novel of Vidal's is even more extraordinary.

Vidal creates a memoir by the Emperor Julian and presents it with the commentary of two friends. This novelization gives the reader a good understanding of the social and political dynamics of this often neglected period of history.

I expect that the scholarship is as accurate as the critics contend which makes this book not just fiction, but literature, and a major achievement for its auth
...more
Erik Graff
May 25, 2015 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
Gore Vidal is a novelist with an agenda. Born in West Point, related to former vice presidents Aaron Burr and Al Gore and member of a prominent political family, Gore is credited with the first openly homosexual novel in American letters, the espousal of views generally to the left of the Democratic Party and general iconoclasm. He is also a decent historian and humorous socio-political essayist.

Julian is one of his historical novels, a defense of the last of the avowedly non-Christian emperors
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Maggie Anton
I started reading this book to learn more about 3rd and 4th century Rome and its politics as research for Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery, since Persia and Rome are often at war. To my astonishment, I could not put this book down. Vidal is an amazing writer, one whose talent I could never hope to reach. He takes us right into the heart of his characters, historical figures all, and brings them & all the Roman political intrigue of his time t ...more
Ana
A feast for the mind, this book is a memoir of the Roman Emperor Julian, following his life from the insecurity during the ruling years of a killer when he was a child, his love of studying and philosophy, and then becoming an emperor, through to his campaign in Persia, which was to bring an end to his reign. Written superbly, I couldn't help but be fascinated with the subject, and I am very curious about some aspects of Julian's life indeed.
Bruce
Feb 27, 2010 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roman history buffs, Christian fundamentalists (because I'm just mean that way)
Recommended to Bruce by: Charles
Julian is historical fiction masquerading as an posthumously annotated autobiography of Constantine's nephew (successor as emperor to elder cousin Constantius, circa 350 CE). In a way, Vidal makes his own critique on p. 436, writing, “Traditionally the reporting of speeches in historical texts is not meant to be literal…. Yet here is Julian… already altering the text. History is idle gossip about a happening whose truth is lost the instant it has taken place. I offer you this banality for what i ...more
Bart Everson
Aug 28, 2012 Bart Everson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A day or two after Gore Vidal died, I read a remembrance of him on The Wild Hunt which recommended Julian. I checked the catalog and found the book in the stacks; working in the same building as a library has advantages.

It's historical fiction, and account of the life of Julian, who reigned briefly over the Roman Empire in the middle of the 4th century A.D. At this time Christianity was on the rise; Julian's predecessors were Christian, but he tried to take the empire back to paganism, restorin
...more
liirogue
I never knew that after Constantine, the Roman Empire reverted (briefly) to the old gods. Gore Vidal does a good job of describing the man who attempted to undo the religious changes and bring back the old ways.

I really liked the style he chose to write the book in - two old friends write letters to each other, reminiscing about the now deceased Julian. You then read Julian's autobiography, interspersed with humorous and enlightening comments from both of these old friends. These comments also b
...more
Sean
Sep 24, 2013 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book, hands-down, on everyone's favorite revanchist pagan emperor. If it was a person, I would kiss it. But it isn't, so I read it. You should, too.
Vicky
May 05, 2010 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am nearly at the end of this book, around 100 pages left. This is a book that takes a long time to finish. I had to stop, to read something else and to return. The language is so rich, the historical background is very complex and well researched and the references to the ancient philosophers are amazing. This period of history when the power of Roman Empire divided between West and East was declining and the Dark Ages were replacing the glamour of Rome is not very well known. The Christianity ...more
Basim Mahmoud
Feb 28, 2016 Basim Mahmoud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned

And then, he wrote:


“I have been reading Plotinus all evening. He has the power to soothe me; and I find his sadness curiously comforting. Even when he writes: "Life here with the things of earth is a sinking, a defeat, a failing of the wing." The wing has indeed failed. One sinks. Defeat is certain. Even as I write these lines, the lamp wick sputters to an end, and the pool of light in which I sit contracts. Soon the room will be … ”


One should read this to learn how novels are written. But,
...more
Theodora
Mar 17, 2008 Theodora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a rule, I'm rather sceptical when it comes to historical novels and tend to avoid them. However, I was curious how Vidal would manage to write about Julian, having already heard and read quite a lot about that particular emperor and late antiquity in general.
Vidal impressed me. The description of religious quarrels and political ambitions is spot-on. I do wonder if readers who aren't familiar with the historical background would find the book easy to understand, but to me the carefully droppe
...more
Susan Abulhawa
Sep 22, 2015 Susan Abulhawa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago. Saw it on a friend’s shelf and decided to review belatedly because i regarded it then as one of the finest novels of historic fiction. Vidal brought to life Roman emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (or Julian the Apostate), who reigned in the 4th century. Through intricate detail of time and place, and through well developed characters, Vidal created an epic story of a moment in history when Rome tried to resurrect Helenism and Christianity almost retreated.
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Siamo nel 380 d.C., l'anno del famoso editto di Tessalonica con cui l'imperatore Teodosio proclama il cristianesimo unica religione tollerata dell'impero. Amareggiato per la progressiva ghettizzazione dei pagani, il retore Libanio, ripensa al suo antico discepolo, l'imperatore Giuliano e decide di "ricostruirne la memoria". Per farlo avrà bisogno dell'aiuto di Prisco, "compagno-filosofo" dell'imperatore il quale, a sua volta, è in possesso del diario di Giuliano. La testimonianza di Prisco, quel ...more
Kyle Muntz
May 06, 2013 Kyle Muntz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea why it took me so long to finish this. It's not quite as good as Creation, but on the other hand it's about maybe one of the most interesting people in human history--a roman emperor who studied philosophy and might have made the world Pagan again. Vidal's prose is strong, insightful, well researched, and always clear. This book is maybe mostly interesting for its critique of the history/emergence of Christianity (still pretty relevant, maybe more than ever, as it deals with the b ...more
Betty Cross
Nov 22, 2012 Betty Cross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The recent death of Gore Vidal reminded me I'd read his historical novel about Julian, the Roman Emperor known as "The Apostate" because he renounced Christianity and tried to bring about a pagan revival. Julian's character is very intelligent, witty, and self-aware; a reclusive scholar who suddenly finds himself appointed to repel a barbarian invasion of Gaul and does surprisingly well at it. His troops mutiny and declare him emperor. He marches on Constantinople and shocks the bishops by renou ...more
Richard Blake
Jun 13, 2015 Richard Blake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like Gore Vidal. I admire his writing. This is easily his best work, and easily among the best historical novels. Told in first person narrative by a double act by Libanius and a philosopher called Priscus, it takes you deep into a world already crumbling and now being pulled apart by the establishment of Christianity. The superstition and fanaticism and vicious politics of the age are all clearly on display. It is as if Gibbon had taken to historical fiction. I particularly relish the descrip ...more
Ernesto
Mar 12, 2015 Ernesto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Late Roman Empire is not a popular time period among historical fiction writers (or readers for that matter) and its easy to understand why: it was a time of misery and decadence, with few historical figures capable of inspiration or worthy of consideration. Julian is such a figure, and in this novel we witness his epic, desperate (and sadly, ultimately doomed) struggle to stem the unavoidable tide of time. Gore Vidal manages to bring this man and his vanished world to life but the final res ...more
Ross Blocher
May 18, 2014 Ross Blocher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd been fascinated by the life of 4th century Roman emperor Julian since reading Jonathan Kirsch's excellent history of polytheism and monotheism: "God Against the Gods". Julian became Augustus a mere 24 years after the death of Constantine the Great, and set about restoring the worship of the classic pantheon of gods. He reigned for only 2 years as Augustus before dying in Persia, and Christianity quickly resumed its role in the seat of power.

In Julian, Gore Vidal has performed the herculean t
...more
Jennifer
Jul 03, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vidal's historical novels always leave me thinking about them weeks after I've finished. This is the case in particular with "Julian."
Constructed as a memoir by "Julian the Apostate" with "margin notes," from confidants Libanius and Priscus, the first half of the book tells the story of heir Julian's fraught childhood on the run from potential assassins and his unlikely rise to Emperor of Rome. One feels Julian's terror each time he reads in people's faces that they do not think he will live t
...more
Andy Gavin
Mar 04, 2012 Andy Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent novel was a bestseller in the 1960s and that in of itself is a sad testament to the intellectualdecline of the American reader. Its subject, a novelized biography of the fourth century Roman Emperor Julian, is one that would have today's Harry Potter, Twilight, andDa Vinci Code reader scratching his head. You're probably even askingyourself, who is Julian? And why should I care?

Julian was the nephew ofConstantinethe Great and one of history's most peculiar figures. An intellectual
...more
Stevelvis
Another amazing read from Gore Vidal. Ever wondered what it's like to be King of the World? This is the story of Julian, from his regimented childhood when he never knew which day might be his last to his reign as Caesar and Augustus, ruler of the Roman Empire from Gaul (France) to the borders of Persia.

Essentially historical fiction, but with the cultural detail and accuracy you'd expect from Gore Vidal as well as the fluid and floral prose which has earned him his reputation as one of America'
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Classics and the ...: Julian by Gore Vidal 2 34 Apr 06, 2015 11:22AM  
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Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi
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