Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor by Paul StephensonIn 312 A.D., Constantine-one of four Roman emperors ruling a divided empire-marched on Rome to establish his control. On the eve of the battle, a cross appeared to him in the sky with an exhortation, By this sign conquer. Inscribing the cross on the shields of his soldiers, Constantine drove his rivals into the Tiber and claimed the imperial capital for himself. Under Constantine, Christianity emerged from the shadows, its adherents no longer persecuted. Constantine united the western and eastern halves of the Roman Empire. He founded a new capital city, Constantinople. Thereafter the Christian Roman Empire endured in the East, while Rome itself fell to the barbarian hordes. Paul Stephenson offers a nuanced and deeply satisfying account of a man whose cultural and spiritual renewal of the Roman Empire gave birth to the idea of a unified Christian Europe underpinned by a commitment to religious tolerance.
Constantine the Great
The February CE agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire, thereby ending years of persecution. One of the earliest forms of christogram, which is used by some Christians, and was used by the Roman emperor, Constantine I r. Constantine was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman army officer, and his consort, Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in CE. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In , Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia modern Great Britain.
The spread of Christianity was made a lot easier by the efficiency of the Roman Empire, but its principles were sometimes misunderstood and membership of the sect could be dangerous. Although Jesus had died, his message had not. Word of his teachings spread to Jewish communities across the empire. This was helped by energetic apostles, such as Paul and by the modern communications of the Roman Empire. Spreading the word Over 30 years, Paul clocked up around 10, miles, traveling across the Roman Empire. Although places like Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth and Athens looked magnificent, they were also home to tens of thousands of poor, desperate people who were the perfect audience for the Christian message of eternal life. Like Jesus, Paul spoke to people in their homes and synagogues.
Historians remain uncertain about Constantine's reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have often argued about which form of early Christianity he subscribed to.
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All rights reserved. Emperor Constantine ca A. His acceptance of Christianity and his establishment of an eastern capital city, which would later bear his name, mark his rule as a significant pivot point between ancient history and the Middle Ages. The Roman Empire that Constantine was born into was one of chaos and anarchy. Civil wars, invasions, and disease were rending the empire so badly that the era is regarded as the Crisis of the Third Century. Emperor Diocletian tried to bring order by distributing power to a four-ruler tetrarchy that would govern the four quarters of the empire. After the death of his father in A.
Constantine is the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. He did so after witnessing the sight of a cross in the sky along with his entire army. However, his spiritual growth and eventual conversion did not happen at once with this one dramatic event. It began years before this while he was stationed in Gaul along the Rhine frontier. As Constantine contemplated the imminent outbreak of war with Emperor Maxentius in the Spring of AD, he was greatly worried. Maxentius had an experienced army he had lead to many victories.