Volume 15/16, 2017/2018
Le Principe du Bien: Platon, Aristote et leur postérité
Maria Carmen De Vita
≪Figlio del Bene≫ e Re dell’universo
il dio Helios di Giuliano Imperatore
This article aims to analyze the philosophical and religious message of Julian’s Hymn to King Helios. The emperor, using Iamblichean structures, shows how the First Cause, the Neoplatonic One, can interact with the layers or gradation below it, including the physical world ; his starting point is an original ‘pluralizing’ interpretation of the Sun analogy contained in Resp. VI 509b.
However, Julian’s hymn has a political meaning, too ; it can be considered as a sort of manifesto of Julian’s imperial ideology. The parallel between the emperor and the sun – already present in the ancient rhetorical tradition – is reworked by the Apostate and is part of a complex metaphysical‑cosmological system, grounded on the principles of similarity (homoiotēs) and middleness (mesotēs). These concepts were subject to controversy between nicene and heterodox christians in the IV century. It is possible that these controversies were largely known by Julian and that he has consciously recalled them in his panegyric to Helios intellective, mediator and saviour.