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Julian and the Chaldeans (1)

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01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

4th century CE
Byzantine Empire
Christian-Syriac philosophers and scholars

Ephrem Syrus, Hymns against Julian 4.7, 8, 10-12:
The chief sorcerors, the best of Chaldeans, the most-skilled sons of error he chose lest perhaps some of the ignorant should fail to comprehend. They labored everyday in everything; they plunged into and researched the recesses of hidden matters. … This one, … who loved Chaldeans (= astrologers) - (God) surrendered him to the Chaldeans (= Persians). He worshipped the sun and fell before the servants of the sun. … If by sun’s power, therefore, he went down to conquer those who for a long time had offered libations to the sun, he himself would have prevailed over the sun (to which) he offered a libation. Unwittingly he confuted the signs of the Zodiac, for if he learned from them that he would go down to victory, why did he not find out that he would go down to defeat? If, then, while honoring the sun, he determined to march (to Persia), it escaped his notice that it was worshipped especially there. If, moreover, the Chaldeans’ home is in Babylon, should he, a stranger, be exalted? … He was both honoring the sun and unwittingly bringing reproach on it.

Source (list of abbreviations)
Ephrem Syrus, Hymns against Julian 4.7-12


McVey 1989, 252-253McVey, Kathleen. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns. New York: Paulist Press, 1989.

Amar Annus

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