Composers and their stage works 

Emperor and Galilean

(Kejser og Galilaeer)

Henrik Ibsen - written. 1864-1873, prod. 1896).

Monumental "world-historical" drama consisting of two complete five-act plays.

The action depicts the turbulent life and times of Julian the Apostate, fourth-century philosopher-Emperor, and takes the whole Roman Empire into its scope of setting.

Part One, Caesar's Apostasy (Caesars frafald), concentrates on Julian's development up to the critical moment when he dons the imperial purple. After the emperor Constantius II names Julian's brutal brother Gallus as his successor, Julian, despite his intensive Christian up-bringing, turns to study the mysteries of the pagan Greek religion under the tutelage of the mystic Maximus who believes that classic paganism and Christianity will eventually be synthesized in a new Third Empire. When Gallus is executed, Julian is named Caesar and is stationed in Gaul . Here his brilliant military victories incite his armies to name him Emperor. Rendered powerless by the fearful Constantius, Julian is unable to decide whether, by Christian teachings, he should renounce the world or, by pagan doctrine, accept his destiny and seize secular power. He eventually decides to allow himself be proclaimed Emperor, a decision that irrevocably confirms his rejection of Christianity.

The Emperor Julian

(Kejser Julian)

continues the story of the ill-fated Julian, who, at the death of Constantius, is confirmed as Emperor and triumphantly begins a restoration of the pagan gods of his forefathers. The seat of power is moved from Constantinople to Antioch, where his pious zeal for reform serves only to exacerbate the conflicts between Christians and pagans, bringing reprisals and atrocities on both sides. Julian, who begins to believe himself an emanation of divinity and another Alexander, sets out to conquer the world, convinced that only by such means can the influence of the Galilean Jesus be eliminated. Attending fanatically to omens, portents, and signs, he embarks on his first campaign against Shapur II, King of Persia, and is duped into burning his own fleet, his sole means of supply and escape. His army finally meets Shapur's forces in a decisive battle, the outcome of which is decided by the fighting spirit of the Christian troops led by Jovian, a recent convert to Christianity. Mortally wounded by a crazed Christian fanatic, Julian dies in the conviction that he has used the power bestowed upon him to the best of his skill and conscience. Outside his tent Jovian is hailed as the new Emperor.