Norman H. Baynes began a historiographic tradition with Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) which presents Constantine as a committed Christian, reinforced by Andreas Alföldi's The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), and Timothy Barnes's Constantine and Eusebius (1981) is the culmination of this trend.
- Early Life
- Constantine Becomes Emperor
- Constantine & Christianity
Although sources vary on the exact year of his birth, Constantine (Gaius Flavis Valerius Constantinus) was born at Naissus in present-day Serbia as early as 272 CE or as late as 285 CE. Since his father was not only a military commander but also the caesarof the west, Constantine lived his entire early life in the imperial court, eventually serving as a high-ranking staff officer for Diocletian. Even in his youth, those around him saw Constantine as a man of boundless energy. Under the emperor's tutelage, he learned that a ruler's job was to defend the empire from any external force and create a just and ordered society - something Constantine would put into practice when he became emperor himself. In May of 305 CE, the senior emperors Diocletian and Maximian both abdicated their thrones to Galerius in the east (with Maximinus Daia as caesar) and Constantius in the west (with Falvius Valerius Servius as caesar). These appointments were not popular with everyone. Maxentius, the son o...
With little support in the city, Maxentius left Rome to meet Constantine in one final, crucial battle - the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 CE. On the day before the battle began, Constantine reportedly looked to the sky where he saw a cross of light. Under it was the inscription In Hoc Signo Vinces or “in this sign, conquer”. That night, in a dream, he received an explanation of the sign - Jesus Christ appeared before him telling him to carry the sign of the cross into battle. The following day old banners were replaced with new ones displaying the Christian symbol. Although outnumbered, Constantine easily defeated Maxentius who fled back to Rome, however, before reaching the city, he fell into the river and drowned; his body was discovered the next morning among the corpses of many others. Constantine's conversion to Christianityis seen by historians as a turning point in history, a fusion of church and state. Constantine immediately assumed complete control of the west. As the ne...
The 52-year-old Constantine was now the sole emperor of the empire, and with it, a sense of stability returned. Constantine realized that Old Rome was not the city he wanted for a capital, and despite several of the building projects he instituted, it was decaying. Rome was no longer practical (Constantine even disbanded the Praetorian Guard), and Nicomedia was never considered, for it had been the capital of Diocletian. A new capital was needed, and although he thought about the site of ancient Troy, Constantine finally saw what he wanted - Byzantium. The ancient city was strategically located on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus, so it would control traffic to and from the Black Sea. It also provided an excellent harbor (The Golden Horn) and, therefore, could be easily defended. To rebuild the city into the one in his vision, he brought in artisans and resources from across the empire. There were wide avenues with statues of Alexander, Caesar, Augustus, Diocletian, and o...
During his years of warfare in the west he had always demonstrated religious tolerance with both pagans and Christians (he claimed to be a Christian since 312 CE). His mother Helena was a devout Christian, and after Constantine became emperor, he sent her on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where she had built the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. Although he had been a worshipper of the sun-god in his youth and while some claim he did not become baptized until his deathbed, he still gave every indication that he was a devoted Christian. He is even credited by many historians with making Christianity the official religion of the empire (although others credit Emperor Theodosius), despite the fact that pagan symbols of Sol Invictus and Mars appeared on his coins. While he tolerated certain pagan religious practices, religious freedom had its limits, pagan sacrifices were forbidden, templetreasures seized, gladiatorial contests ended (Christians disliked them), crucifixions were aboli...
Constantine the Great maintained his role as a military commander, fighting the Alemanni in 328 CE with the assistance of his son Constantius II, defeating the Goths in 332 CE by starving them into submission, and lastly, capturing lost territories from the Dacians (territories that were later lost after his death). His last wish was to conquer neighbouring Persia after their king Shapur II had invaded Armenia. However, it was not to be. In 337 CE Constantine fell ill and died. He had ruled for 31 years. He was buried at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, leaving his empire in the hands of his three sons - Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans with Constantius II eventually defeating his brothers and ruling the entire empire by himself.
- Donald L. Wasson
- Early Life
- The Fight to Become Emperor
- Death of Constantine
- Constantine and Christianity
Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born in Naissus, in the province of Moesia Superior, present-day Serbia. Constantine's mother, Helena, was a barmaid and his father a military officer named Constantius. His father would rise to become the Emperor Constantius I and Constantine's mother would be canonized as St. Helena, who was thought to have found a portion of Jesus' cross. By the time Constantius became governor of Dalmatia, he required a wife of pedigree and found one in Theodora, a daughter of Emperor Maximian. Constantine and Helena were shuffled off to the eastern emperor, Diocletian, in Nicomedia.
Upon his father's death on July 25, 306 A.D., Constantine's troops proclaimed him Caesar. Constantine wasn't the only claimant. In 285, Emperor Diocletian had established the Tetrarchy, which gave four men rule over a quadrant each of the Roman Empire, with two senior emperors and two non-hereditary juniors. Constantius had been one of the senior emperors. Constantine's most powerful rivals for his father's position were Maximian and his son, Maxentius, who had assumed power in Italy, controlling Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica as well. Constantine raised an army from Britain that included Germans and Celts, which the Byzantine historian Zosimus said included 90,000 foot soldiers and 8,000 cavalry. Maxentius raised an army of 170,000 foot soldiers and 18,000 horsemen. On October 28, 312, Constantine marched on Rome and met Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. The story goes that Constantine had a vision of the words in hoc signo vinces("in this sign you will conquer") upon a cross, and he...
By 336, Constantine the Great had reclaimed most of the province of Dacia, lost to Rome in 271. He planned a great campaign against the Sassanid rulers of Persia but fell ill in 337. Unable to complete his dream of being baptized in the Jordan River, as was Jesus, he was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia on his deathbed. He had ruled for 31 years, longer than any emperor since Augustus.
Much controversy exists over the relationship between Constantine and Christianity. Some historians argue that he was never a Christian, but rather an opportunist; others maintain that he was a Christian before the death of his father. But his work for the faith of Jesus was enduring. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was built on his orders and became the holiest site in Christendom. For centuries, Catholic popes traced their power to a decree called the Donation of Constantine (later proved a forgery). Eastern Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, and Byzantine Catholics venerate him as a saint. His convocation of the First Council at Nicea produced the Nicene Creed, an article of faith among Christians worldwide.
- Ancient History And Latin Expert
Constantine is believed to have had at his disposal around 90,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry, however Maxentius greatly outnumbered him. (23) Constantine took Susa and Turin where he prohibited his soldiers from ransacking since he wanted the citizens to know he was a liberator, not a conqueror.
Constantine reigned during the 4th century CE and is known for attempting to Christianize the Roman Empire.He made the persecution of Christians illegal by signing the Edict of Milan in 313 and helped spread the religion by bankrolling church-building projects, commissioning new copies of the Bible, and summoning councils of theologians to hammer out the religion’s doctrinal kinks.
Jan 04, 2022 · Constantine the Great (AD 280—337) was one of Rome’s most powerful and successful emperors and the first to self-identify as a Christian. He is known for his economic, political, and military achievements, as well as his religious reforms.