Certain people, says Julian, make a display of the letters they have received from the emperor the way parvenues display their expensive rings. It is perhaps for this reason that we have conserved from this emperor more than thirty pieces—short notes and more developed missives—which call attention to epistolary style in its strictest sense, because they are addressed as from one individual to another, and not as from a sovereign to his subjects or his representatives. The recipients make up a small network of people who share intellectual and religious affinities with the sender. This study seeks to show how epistolary theory in Antiquity was able to be put into practice by Julian. The function of the letter is analysed, therefore, and the mise en scène of the epistolary process, the forms of the incipit and the desinit. Beyond the traditional theme of the letter as an expression of friendship, one notes in this correspondence themes of piety, work, and haste, which are rather specific to Julian, but perhaps also coded because they are constituent parts of his ethos.
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