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The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire.
- 28 October 312
- Ponte Milvio, Rome
- Decisive Constantinian victory
- Death and legacy
Galerius died in AD 311 and early the next year Constantine invaded Italy, won battles at Turin and Verona and marched on Rome. Maxentius came out to fight and was destroyed at the Milvian Bridge, which carried the Via Flaminia over the Tiber into the city. The battle was one of a succession of victories that in AD 324 made Constantine master of the entire Roman Empire, but it is most famous for its link with his conversion to Christianity, which would prove to be one of the most important events in world history.
The story, or a story, of what happened was told by Eusebius of Caesarea, a Christian biblical scholar and historian who wrote the first biography of Constantine soon after the emperors death. He knew Constantine well and said he had the story from the emperor himself. Constantine was a pagan monotheist, a devotee of the sun god Sol Invictus, the unconquered sun. However before the Milvian Bridge battle he and his army saw a cross of light in the sky above the sun with words in Greek that are generally translated into Latin as In hoc signo vinces (In this sign conquer). That night Constantine had a dream in which Christ told him he should use the sign of the cross against his enemies. He was so impressed that he had the Christian symbol marked on his soldiers shields and when the Milvian Bridge battle gave him an overwhelming victory he attributed it to the god of the Christians.
This story was generally accepted for centuries, but todays historians who are not believers in prophetic visions and dreams have serious doubts about it. The earliest account of the battle, dating from AD 313, mentions nothing about a vision or a dream. It says that Maxentius drew up his army on the bank of the Tiber. He had cut the bridge itself, but in case of defeat he could retreat to Rome across a temporary bridge made of boats. When Constantines cavalry charged, however, Maxentiuss men were driven in flight across the bridge of boats, which collapsed under them, and many were drowned, including Maxentius himself. His head was cut off and carried into the city on a spear by the triumphant Constantine and his men.
According to another early account, written within two years of the battle by the Christian author Lactantius, who had been at Constantines court for some time, the emperor had a dream in which he was told to mark the heavenly sign of God on his soldiers shields. He did as instructed, had the sign, whatever exactly it was, inscribed on the shields and attributed his victory against odds to the god of the Christians. In AD 315 the Senate dedicated a triumphal arch in Rome to Constantine (it may have been built originally for Maxentius), with an inscription praising him because with divine instigation he and his army had won the victory. It tactfully refrained from saying which god had provided the instigation and citizens could credit it to Sol Invictus or the Christian deity or whichever god they chose.
What is not in doubt is that Constantine became a believing Christian who vigorously promoted Christianity without trying to force it down pagan throats. Diocletian and Galerius had persecuted the Christians savagely, but in AD 311 Galerius had granted them freedom of worship. In AD 313 Constantines Edict of Milan proclaimed that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion. He appointed Christians to high office and gave Christian priests the same privileges as pagan ones. By AD 323 the birthday of Sol Invictus on December 25th had become the birthday of Christ. The emperor strove to iron out theological disagreements among Christians and in AD 325 he personally attended the Council of Nicaea, which formulated the doctrine of the Trinity. He also built magnificent churches, including Santa Sophia in his capital city of Byzantium, renamed Constantinople. When he died in AD 337 Christianity was well on its way to becoming the state religion of the Roman Empire and Constantine considered himself the 13th apostle of Jesus Christ.
Mar 30, 2018 · Advancing over the Milvian Bridge, Maxentius ordered it destroyed so that it could not be used by the enemy. He then ordered a pontoon bridge constructed for his own army's use. On October 28, Constantine's forces arrived on the battlefield. Attacking, his troops slowly pushed back Maxentius' men until their backs were at the river.
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Oct 28, 2020 ·  Constantine and the Battle of the Milvian Bridge at MilitaryHistory.about.com  Firth, John B. “Constantine the Great, the Reorganisation of the Empire and the Triumph of the Church”.  “Constantine I.” . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 988.  Lactantius’ account of the Battle at the Milvian Bridge
The shifting powers at the time led to one of the most influential incidents in Roman history, the Battle of Milvian Bridge. On the 28th of October 312 A.D., two of the greatest authorities at the time faced off on the outskirts of Rome. Constantine the Great engaged with his 40,000 troops against Maxentius, who had 100,000 men at his disposal.
According to ancient sources, on the evening of October 27, 312 CE, just before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine the Great was to have a vision that led him to victory with the support of a Christian god. Historical sources, however, are not consistent and differ on certain issues as to the so-called “miracle of Constantine”.
Constantine's vision and the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in a 9th-century Byzantine manuscript. During the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (AD 306–337), Christianity began to transition to the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.
Aug 10, 2018 · 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 swore that, should he triumph against great odds, he would pledge himself to Christianity.
the arch of constantine - milvian bridge stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images Roman Emperor Constantine I the Great dreaming the symbol of the cross and defeat of Maxentius army at the Battle of Milvian bridge , engraving, 1755.
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