Jovian (sometimes, but erroneously, called Jovinian), fully FLAVIUS CLAUDIUS JOVIANUS. Roman emperor from A.D. 363 to 364. His predecessor Julian was slain on the field of battle, in his unhappy campaign against the Persians, June 26, A.D. 363. Jovianus, finding the continuation of the unfortunate struggle useless, sought its termination, and secured quite honorable terms from the Persians, and, once free from the attacks of foreign enemies, he at once initiated measures to establish his authority in the West, and hereafter his time was mainly devoted to administrative and legislative business. Immediately after his election to the imperial dignity Jovianus had professed himself to be a Christian, and one of his first measures when peace was restored to his dominions was the celebrated edict by which he placed the Christian religion on a legal basis, and thus put an end to the persecutions to which the Christians had been exposed during the short reign of Julian. The heathens were, however, equally protected, and no superiority was allowed to the one over the other. The different sectaries assailed him with petitions to help them against each other, but he declined interfering, and referred them to the decision of a general council; and the Arians showing themselves most troublesome, he gave them to understand that impartiality was the first duty of an emperor. His friend Athanasius was restored to his see at Alexandria. He died suddenly on his way home from the Orient, A.D. 34. It is possible, though not probable, that he died a violent death, to which Ammianus Marcellinus (25:5-10) seems to allude when he compares his death with that of Emilianus Scipio. See De la Bleterie, Histoire de Jovien (Amsterdam, 1740), the best work on the subject. — Smith, Dict. Grk. and Rom. Biog. 2, 615.

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