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Julian the Apostate against bureaucracy

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Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate

The Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, despite his brief reign (361-363 CE), contributed more to internal reform than any late- roman emperor. One of his decisions was to curb the bureaucracy and to reform the palace service, which was excessively large. Apparently, the reason for the reorganization of the palace structures was some funny event. Once Julian, who was growing his beard at that time, called for a barber. A wonderfully clothed dignitary surrounded by a swarm of helpers entered the room.

The emperor thought there had been a mistake, so he said, “But it is a barber that I require, not the Chancellor of the Exchequer”. And when it was revealed that it was a barber, Julian began to ask him how much he earned. He proudly replied that he receives 20 portions of food and the same amount of animal feed every day. In addition, he still has a large annual salary and considerable allowances. The whole event must have shocked the emperor, as thousands of redundant officials were dismissed within a few months.

Sources
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Julian Apostata, Warszawa 1987
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Poczet cesarzy rzymskich, Warszawa 2004

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