The Life Of Constantine Presents Constantine As An Able Administrator Or Ruler

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The Life Of Constantine Presents Constantine As An Able Administrator Or Ruler

The Life Of Constantine Presents Constantine As An Able Administrator Or Ruler

Constantine was born at Naissus on February 27, 272 or 273, to Flavius Constantius and his wife Helena. Flavius Constantius was an army officer, and in 289 he divorced Constantine's mother to marry Theodora, the daughter of his commanding officer. Constantine embarked on his own military career, which took him all over the Roman Empire, from Palestine and Asia Minor to Britain, Spain, and Gaul. While crossing the Alps with his army, Constantine had a vision (or dream) of a cross of light shining in front of the sun and the words: In this sign conquer. Shortly after that vision, Constantine defeated his rival, Maxentius, captured Rome, and was acclaimed the next emperor.

History often turns upon certain pivotal events or individuals. Early Christianity faced two significant perils: one external—violent persecution by the Roman government, and one internal—the Arian heresy, which denied Christ's divinity. In a providential twist of events, God raised up an emperor who would play a key role in confronting each of these perils, becoming one of Christianity's greatest defenders. Constantine's rule precipitated an avalanche of events that radically altered the course of the history of Christianity.

When Constantine is described as a 'friend of God' or a 'servant of God' this may be intended as a direct reference to Moses who was also thus identified. But it may equally well reflect the hellenistic concept, which in turn was influenced by Jewish conceptions of kingship, of the ruler as a 'friend of the divinity'.

Eusebius, who was a biblical scholar long before he became a historian, biographer and panegyrist, was well aware of the whole range of aspects embodied by the figure of Moses. He consciously invoked Moses as the prototypical leader in whom political and spiritual authority are combined. This is of great consequence for our understanding of the two passages in which Constantine is said to be Mike' a bishop. There is no need to explain them away as non-Eusebian interpolations or as verbatim quotations by an insecure Eusebius of a Constantine who was confused about his role as a Christian and an emperor. In fact, these passages insert themselves seamlessly into the Eusebian scheme of showing Constantine to be an imitator of Moses with all that that entailed: military and political leadership as well as spiritual authority in a role comparable to that of a bishop.

Constantine the Great was the first Roman Emperor to profess Christianity. He established the new capital of Rome at the old Greek town of Byzantium, which he renamed New Rome, and which the people came to call Constantinople after him (probably with some encouragement from his supporters). This would become the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

Constantine raised Christianity (which had not long been legal in the empire) to the status of a "permitted religion." He took a direct interest in matters of doctrine, setting a ...
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