Dec 1 2018

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Nov 27 2018

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT as Caesar 307AD Roma Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i43981

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT as Caesar 307AD Roma Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i43981

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT as Caesar 307AD Roma Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i43981

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT as Caesar 307AD Roma Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i43981

Item: i43981 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Constantine I’The Great’ – Roman Emperor : 307-337 A. As Caesar Bronze Follis 24mm (5.73 grams) Rome mint: 307 A. CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES – Laureate head right. CONSERVATORES VRB SVAE / R Q – Roma seated facing, head left, in hexastyle temple, holding globe and sceptre. Numismatic Note: Rare type of Constantine as Caesar. In traditional Roman religion , Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. Constantine the Great Latin. Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus. 272 22 May 337, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine , was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to be converted to Christianity , Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars. He also fought successfully against the Franks , Alamanni , Visigoths , and Sarmatians during his reign even resettling parts of Dacia which had been abandoned during the previous century. Constantine built a new imperial residence at Byzantium , naming it New Rome. However, in Constantine’s honor, people called it Constantinople , which would later be the capital of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire for over one thousand years. Because of this, he is thought of as the founder of the Byzantine Empire. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, Dardania province of Moesia , in present-day Ni , Serbia , on 27 February of an uncertain year, probably near 272. His father was Flavius Constantius , a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis). Constantius was a tolerant and politically skilled man. Constantine probably spent little time with his father. Constantius was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard. Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian , another of Aurelian’s companions from Illyricum , in 284 or 285. Helena gave birth to the future emperor Constantine I on 27 February of an uncertain year soon after 270 (probably around 272). At the time, she was in Naissus (Ni , Serbia). In order to obtain a wife more consonant with his rising status, Constantius divorced Helena some time before 289, when he married Theodora , Maximian’s daughter. (The narrative sources date the marriage to 293, but the Latin panegyric of 289 refers to the couple as already married). Helena and her son were dispatched to the court of Diocletian at Nicomedia, where Constantine grew to be a member of the inner circle. Helena never remarried and lived for a time in obscurity, though close to her only son, who had a deep regard and affection for her. She received the title of Augusta in 325 and died in 330 with her son at her side. She was buried in the Mausoleum of Helena , outside Rome on the Via Labicana. Her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum , although the connection is often questioned, next to her is the sarcophagus of her granddaughter Saint Constantina (Saint Constance). The elaborate reliefs contain hunting scenes. During her life, she gave many presents to the poor, released prisoners and mingled with the ordinary worshippers in modest attire. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian’s court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. On 1 May 305, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 3045, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius’ allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian’s resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian’s son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximin were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius’ court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305, Constantius requested leave for his son, to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine’s later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. Constantine joined his father in Gaul , at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father’s side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius’s campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus , a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius’ memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father’s domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius’s death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested recognition as heir to his father’s throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had “forced it upon him”. Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine’s claims would mean certain war. Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title “Caesar” rather than “Augustus” (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor’s traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision. Constantine’s share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father’s reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father’s deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine’s military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a “renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign”. Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the “barbarians” beyond the frontiers. After Constantine’s victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen”The Alemanni conquered”beneath the phrase “Romans’ rejoicing”. There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. In 310, a dispossessed and power-hungry Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine’s army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine’s army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310, Maximian hanged himself. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine’s public image. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine’s ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine’s right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: “No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor, ” the orator declares to Constantine. A gold multiple of “Unconquered Constantine” with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol’s image appealed to both the educated citizens of Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo’s patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to Christians, who found solar monotheism less objectionable than the traditional pagan pantheon. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted “rule of the whole world”, as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration’s religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine’s coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus , a god conventionally identified with Apollo. By the middle of 310, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict’s proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximin mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome , Eusebius. Constantine’s advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa , Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin , Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine’s army encircled Maxentius’ cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers’ iron-tipped clubs. Constantine’s armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius’ retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia’s army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona , where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius’ praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine’s expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine’s forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia , Mutina (Modena). The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome’s praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region’s support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius’ support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, “the enemy of the Romans” would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. Maxentius organized his forcesstill twice the size of Constantine’sin long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine’s army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers’ shields. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi traversed by Rho : , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius’ line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius’ cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius’ infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius’ troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius’ horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. Constantine entered Rome on 29 October. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius’ body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius’ imprisoned opponents. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine’s half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan , officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian’s persecution. In the year 320, Licinius reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders. That became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries , represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine’s army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus , the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont , and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius’s son (the son of Constantine’s half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Licinius’ defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire. Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia), as he was reported saying that ” Serdica is my Rome “. Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium , which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla , who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was then renamed Constantinopolis (“Constantine’s City” or Constantinople in English), and issued special commemorative coins in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross , the Rod of Moses and other holy relics , though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the’old’ Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana , the “New Rome of Constantinople”. Constantine the Great , mosaic in Hagia Sophia , c. Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first “Christian” Roman emperor. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother. S Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy e. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre , and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica. However, Constantine certainly did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal archthe Arch of Constantine was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is most notably decorated with images of the goddess Victoria and, at the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo , Diana , and Hercules were made. Most notably absent from the Arch are any depictions whatsoever regarding Christian symbolism. Later in 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the venerable day of the sun , referencing the sun-worship that Aurelian had established as an official cult. Furthermore, and long after his oft alleged “conversion” to Christianity, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appeared only as Constantine’s personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum , but never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem ; no Christian symbols were present at this dedication. Constantine made new laws regarding the Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleaguesfollowing a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, eventually wiping out the equestrian orderat least as a bureaucratic rankin the process. One could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors , in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule. Constantine’s reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine’s children. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic “pure” silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold piecesthe solidus , 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine’s later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this billon minting eventually ceased, de jure , in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine’s monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscationtaken since 331 and closed in 336of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate mintingwith the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Constantine considered Constantinople as his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan’s bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia , a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. Constantine had known death would soon come. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of zmit. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen , and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan , where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia , bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337. Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II , Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus , presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena , wife of Emperor Julian. The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a “new Constantine”. Ten emperors, including the last emperor of Byzantium, carried the name. Most Eastern Christian churches consider Constantine a saint (, Saint Constantine). In the Byzantine Church he was called isapostolos an equal of the Apostles. Ni airport is named Constantine the Great in honor of his birth in Naissus. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “CONSTANTINE I the GREAT as Caesar 307AD Roma Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i43981″ is in sale since Wednesday, November 5, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Constantine I

Nov 14 2018

Coins Of Constantine The Great For Sale By Ancient Roman Coin Expert At Coinsofconstantinethegreat C


Oct 13 2018

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i63270

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i63270

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i63270

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i63270

Item: i63270 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Constantine I’The Great. Rome’s Founding by Romulus & Remus Commemorative. Bronze AE3 17mm (2.29 grams) Siscia mint: 330-335 A. Reference: RIC 240 (VII, Siscia), LRBC 750 VRBS ROMA – Roma helmeted, draped and cuirassed bust left. She-wolf standing left, suckling Romulus and Remus; two stars above. By circa 330 A. Constantine the Great completed his new capital for the Roman empire and called it Constantinople after himself, originally the ancient Greek city named Byzantium. Constantinople lay in a strategically imporant location and could be considered the continuation of the Roman empire in the east until about 1453 A. When it fell to the Ottoman Turks. For this momentous occasion, he issued two coin types commemorating this event, with one celebrating Rome and the other Constantinople. The type that commemorated Rome. Had the personification of Rome, Roma with the inscription VRBS ROMA and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus on the reverse suckling the mythical she-wolf. The type that commemorated Constantinople. Had the personification of Constantinople on the obverse and Victory on a galley sailing with a shield. This was a great way for Constantine the Great to pay homage to both Rome and Constantinople as now the Roman empire had two official capitals. Read the Constantine the Great Ancient Roman Coins Guide. To learn more about his coins. Romulus and Remus are Rome’s twin founders in its traditional foundation myth. They are descendants of the Trojan prince and refugee Aeneas, and are fathered by the god Mars or the demi-god Hercules on a royal Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia, whose uncle exposes them to die in the wild. They are found by a she-wolf who suckles and cares for them. The twins are eventually restored to their regal birthright, acquire many followers and decide to found a new city. Romulus wishes to build the new city on the Palatine Hill; Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. They agree to determine the site through augury. Romulus appears to receive the more favourable signs but each claims the results in his favour. In the disputes that follow, Remus is killed. Ovid has Romulus invent the festival of Lemuria to appease Remus’ resentful ghost. Romulus names the new city Rome, after himself, and goes on to create the Roman Legions and the Roman Senate. He adds citizens to his new city by abducting the women of the neighboring Sabine tribes, which results in the combination of Sabines and Romans as one Roman people. Rome rapidly expands to become a dominant force, due to divine favour and the inspired administrative, military and political leadership of Romulus. In later life Romulus becomes increasingly autocratic, disappears in mysterious circumstances and is deified as the god Quirinus, the divine persona of the Roman people. The legend of Romulus and Remus encapsulates Rome’s ideas of itself, its origins, moral values and purpose: it has also been described as one of the most problematic of all foundation myths. Romulus’ name is thought to be a back-formation from the name Rome; Remus’ is a matter for ancient and modern speculation. The main sources for the legend approach it as history and offer an implausibly exact chronology: Roman historians dated the city’s foundation variously from 758 to 728 BC. Plutarch says Romulus was fifty-three at his death; which reckoning gives the twins’ birth year as c. Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and much disputed. Romulus and Remus are eminent among the feral children of ancient mythography. Caesar (Recognized): 306-309 A. Constantina wife of Hanniballianus. And Helena the Younger wife of Julian II. Constantine the Great Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus ; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. 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 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus , senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers-the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians-even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. Constantine is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. Constantine was a ruler of major historical importance, and he has always been a controversial figure. The fluctuations in Constantine’s reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and detailed, but have been strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period, and are often one-sided. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine’s life and rule. The nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea’s Vita Constantini , a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. Written between 335 AD and circa 339 AD, the Vita extols Constantine’s moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters. Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum , a political Christian pamphlet on the reigns of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, provides valuable but tendentious detail on Constantine’s predecessors and early life. The ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret describe the ecclesiastic disputes of Constantine’s later reign. Written during the reign of Theodosius II (408-50 AD), a century after Constantine’s reign, these ecclesiastic historians obscure the events and theologies of the Constantinian period through misdirection, misrepresentation and deliberate obscurity. The contemporary writings of the orthodox Christian Athanasius and the ecclesiastical history of the Arian Philostorgius also survive, though their biases are no less firm. The epitomes of Aurelius Victor (De Caesaribus), Eutropius (Breviarium), Festus (Breviarium), and the anonymous author of the Epitome de Caesaribus offer compressed secular political and military histories of the period. Although not Christian, the epitomes paint a favorable image of Constantine, but omit reference to Constantine’s religious policies. The Panegyrici Latini , a collection of panegyrics from the late third and early fourth centuries, provide valuable information on the politics and ideology of the tetrarchic period and the early life of Constantine. Contemporary architecture, such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome and palaces in Gamzigrad and Córdoba, epigraphic remains, and the coinage of the era complement the literary sources. Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, (today Ni, Serbia) part of the Dardania province of Moesia on 27 February, probably c. His father was Flavius Constantius, an Illyrian, and a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis). Constantine probably spent little time with his father who was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard. Being described as a tolerant and politically skilled man, Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian, another of Aurelian’s companions from Illyricum, in 284 or 285. Constantine’s mother was Helena, possibly a Bithynian woman of low social standing. It is uncertain whether she was legally married to Constantius or merely his concubine. It is unclear if Constantine could speak Thracian, his main language being Latin, and during his public speeches he needed Greek translators. Constantine’s parents and siblings, the dates in square brackets indicate the possession of minor titles. In July 285 AD, Diocletian declared Maximian, another colleague from Illyricum, his co-emperor. Each emperor would have his own court, his own military and administrative faculties, and each would rule with a separate praetorian prefect as chief lieutenant. Maximian ruled in the West, from his capitals at Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) or Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), while Diocletian ruled in the East, from Nicomedia (zmit, Turkey). The division was merely pragmatic: the Empire was called “indivisible” in official panegyric, and both emperors could move freely throughout the Empire. In 288, Maximian appointed Constantius to serve as his praetorian prefect in Gaul. Constantius left Helena to marry Maximian’s stepdaughter Theodora in 288 or 289. Diocletian divided the Empire again in 293 AD, appointing two Caesars (junior emperors) to rule over further subdivisions of East and West. Each would be subordinate to their respective Augustus (senior emperor) but would act with supreme authority in his assigned lands. This system would later be called the Tetrarchy. Diocletian’s first appointee for the office of Caesar was Constantius; his second was Galerius, a native of Felix Romuliana. According to Lactantius, Galerius was a brutal, animalistic man. Although he shared the paganism of Rome’s aristocracy, he seemed to them an alien figure, a semi-barbarian. On 1 March, Constantius was promoted to the office of Caesar, and dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels Carausius and Allectus. In spite of meritocratic overtones, the Tetrarchy retained vestiges of hereditary privilege, and Constantine became the prime candidate for future appointment as Caesar as soon as his father took the position. Constantine went to the court of Diocletian, where he lived as his father’s heir presumptive. Head from a statue of Diocletian, Augustus of the East. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian’s court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius-none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted their colleagues-Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius’s best behavior. Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296 AD, and fought the Persians under Diocletian in Syria (297 AD) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298-299 AD). By late 305 AD, he had become a tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi. In late 302, Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. On 23 February 303 AD, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia’s new church, condemned its scriptures to the flames, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned. It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent of Diocletian’s “sanguinary edicts” against the “worshippers of God”, but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability throughout his life. On 1 May 305 AD, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304-305 AD, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius’ allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian’s resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian’s son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximinus Daia, Galerius’ nephew, were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine’s life in the months following Diocletian’s abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and wars. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius’s court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305 AD, Constantius requested leave for his son to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine’s later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul, at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305 AD. Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father’s side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius’s campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus, a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius’ memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father’s domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius’s death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested recognition as heir to his father’s throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had “forced it upon him”. Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine’s claims would mean certain war. Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title “Caesar” rather than “Augustus” (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor’s traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision, knowing that it would remove doubts as to his legitimacy. Constantine’s share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, driving back the tribes of the Picts and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father’s rule, and ordered the repair of the region’s roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The Franks, after learning of Constantine’s acclamation, invaded Gaul across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306-307 AD. Constantine drove them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of Trier’s amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed. Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by Constantine. More than 100 metres (328 ft) wide by 200 metres (656 ft) long, and capable of serving several thousands at a time, the baths were built to rival those of Rome. Constantine began a major expansion of Trier. He strengthened the circuit wall around the city with military towers and fortified gates, and began building a palace complex in the northeastern part of the city. To the south of his palace, he ordered the construction of a large formal audience hall, and a massive imperial bathhouse. Constantine sponsored many building projects across Gaul during his tenure as emperor of the West, especially in Augustodunum (Autun) and Arelate (Arles). According to Lactantius, Constantine followed his father in following a tolerant policy towards Christianity. Although not yet a Christian, he probably judged it a more sensible policy than open persecution, and a way to distinguish himself from the “great persecutor”, Galerius. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father’s reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father’s deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine’s military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a “renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign”. Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the “barbarians” beyond the frontiers. After Constantine’s victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen-”The Alemanni conquered”-beneath the phrase “Romans’ rejoicing”. There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. Dresden bust of Maxentius. Following Galerius’ recognition of Constantine as caesar, Constantine’s portrait was brought to Rome, as was customary. Maxentius mocked the portrait’s subject as the son of a harlot, and lamented his own powerlessness. Maxentius, envious of Constantine’s authority, seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306 AD. Galerius refused to recognize him, but failed to unseat him. Galerius sent Severus against Maxentius, but during the campaign, Severus’ armies, previously under command of Maxentius’ father Maximian, defected, and Severus was seized and imprisoned. Maximian, brought out of retirement by his son’s rebellion, left for Gaul to confer with Constantine in late 307 AD. He offered to marry his daughter Fausta to Constantine, and elevate him to Augustan rank. In return, Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and offer support to Maxentius’ cause in Italy. Constantine accepted, and married Fausta in Trier in late summer 307 AD. Constantine now gave Maxentius his meagre support, offering Maxentius political recognition. Constantine remained aloof from the Italian conflict, however. Over the spring and summer of 307 AD, he had left Gaul for Britain to avoid any involvement in the Italian turmoil; now, instead of giving Maxentius military aid, he sent his troops against Germanic tribes along the Rhine. In 308 AD, he raided the territory of the Bructeri, and made a bridge across the Rhine at Colonia Agrippinensium (Cologne). In 310 AD, he marched to the northern Rhine and fought the Franks. When not campaigning, he toured his lands advertising his benevolence, and supporting the economy and the arts. His refusal to participate in the war increased his popularity among his people, and strengthened his power base in the West. On 11 November 308 AD, Galerius called a general council at the military city of Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria) to resolve the instability in the western provinces. Maximian was forced to abdicate again and Constantine was again demoted to Caesar. Licinius, one of Galerius’ old military companions, was appointed Augustus in the western regions. The new system did not last long: Constantine refused to accept the demotion, and continued to style himself as Augustus on his coinage, even as other members of the Tetrarchy referred to him as a Caesar on theirs. Maximinus Daia was frustrated that he had been passed over for promotion while the newcomer Licinius had been raised to the office of Augustus, and demanded that Galerius promote him. Galerius offered to call both Maximinus and Constantine “sons of the Augusti”, but neither accepted the new title. By the spring of 310 AD, Galerius was referring to both men as Augusti. In 310 AD, a dispossessed Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine’s army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine’s army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310 AD, Maximian hanged himself. In spite of the earlier rupture in their relations, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father’s devoted son after his death. He began minting coins with his father’s deified image, proclaiming his desire to avenge Maximian’s death. Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 311 AD, however, he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. Along with using propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine’s public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy. In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 310 AD, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II, a 3rd Century emperor famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine’s ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine’s right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: “No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor, ” the orator declares to Constantine. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted “rule of the whole world”, as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration’s religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine’s coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 AD on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally identified with Apollo. There is little reason to believe that either the dynastic connection or the divine vision are anything other than fiction, but their proclamation strengthened Constantine’s claims to legitimacy and increased his popularity among the citizens of Gaul. See also: Civil wars of the Tetrarchy. By the middle of 310 AD, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311 AD, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict’s proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximinus mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius. Maxentius’ rule was nevertheless insecure. By 312 AD, he was a man barely tolerated, not one actively supported, even among Christian Italians. In the summer of 311 AD, Maxentius mobilized against Constantine while Licinius was occupied with affairs in the East. He declared war on Constantine, vowing to avenge his father’s “murder”. To prevent Maxentius from forming an alliance against him with Licinius, Constantine forged his own alliance with Licinius over the winter of 311-312 AD, and offered him his sister Constantia in marriage. Maximin considered Constantine’s arrangement with Licinius an affront to his authority. According to Eusebius, inter-regional travel became impossible, and there was military buildup everywhere. There was “not a place where people were not expecting the onset of hostilities every day”. Constantine’s advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312 AD, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine’s army encircled Maxentius’ cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers’ iron-tipped clubs. Constantine’s armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius’ retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312 AD, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia’s army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona, where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius’ praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine’s expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine’s forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia, Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna. The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome’s praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region’s support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius’ support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312 AD, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, “the enemy of the Romans” would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. The description from 28th October 312,’A cross centered on the Sun fits with modern-day photographs of Sun dogs. Constantine and his army adopt the Greek letters for Christ’s initials: Chi Rho. Further information: Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano. Maxentius organized his forces-still twice the size of Constantine’s-in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine’s army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers’ shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers… By means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields. ” Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer”; in Eusebius’s account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum , for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi traversed by Rho : , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 AD a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho , and coins issued at Siscia in 317/318 AD repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius’ line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius’ cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius’ infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius’ troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius’ horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. Colossal head of Constantine, from a seated statue: a youthful, classicising, other-worldly official image (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Constantine entered Rome on 29 October 312. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius’ body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, Maxentius’ disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this, Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius’ supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him “title of the first name”, which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as “the greatest Augustus”. He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius’ imprisoned opponents. An extensive propaganda campaign followed, during which Maxentius’ image was systematically purged from all public places. Maxentius was written up as a “tyrant”, and set against an idealized image of the “liberator”, Constantine. Eusebius, in his later works, is the best representative of this strand of Constantinian propaganda. Maxentius’ rescripts were declared invalid, and the honors Maxentius had granted to leaders of the Senate were invalidated. Constantine also attempted to remove Maxentius’ influence on Rome’s urban landscape. All structures built by Maxentius were re-dedicated to Constantine, including the Temple of Romulus and the Basilica of Maxentius. At the focal point of the basilica, a stone statue of Constantine holding the Christian labarum in its hand was erected. Its inscription bore the message the statue had already made clear: By this sign Constantine had freed Rome from the yoke of the tyrant. Where he did not overwrite Maxentius’ achievements, Constantine upstaged them: the Circus Maximus was redeveloped so that its total seating capacity was twenty-five times larger than that of Maxentius’ racing complex on the Via Appia. Maxentius’ strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. The tombstones of the Imperial Horse Guard were ground up and put to use in a basilica on the Via Labicana. On November 9, 312 AD, barely two weeks after Constantine captured the city, the former base of the Imperial Horse Guard was chosen for redevelopment into the Lateran Basilica. The Legio II Parthica was removed from Alba (Albano Laziale), and the remainder of Maxentius’ armies were sent to do frontier duty on the Rhine. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine’s half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan, officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian’s persecution. It repudiates past methods of religious coercion and used only general terms to refer to the divine sphere-”Divinity” and “Supreme Divinity”, summa divinitas. The conference was cut short, however, when news reached Licinius that his rival Maximin had crossed the Bosporus and invaded European territory. Licinius departed and eventually defeated Maximin, gaining control over the entire eastern half of the Roman Empire. Relations between the two remaining emperors deteriorated, as Constantine suffered an assassination attempt at the hands of a character that Licinius wanted elevated to the rank of Caesar; Licinius, for his part had Constantine’s statues in Emona destroyed. In either 314 or 316 the two Augusti fought against one another at the Battle of Cibalae, with Constantine being victorious. They clashed again at the Battle of Mardia in 317, and agreed to a settlement in which Constantine’s sons Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius’ son Licinianus were made caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia and took residence at Sirmium, whence he could wage war on the Goths and Sarmatians in 322, and on the Goths in 323. In the year 320, Licinius allegedly reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders. Although this characterization of Licinius as anti-Christian is somewhat doubtful, the fact is that he seems to have been far less open in his support of Christianity than Constantine. Therefore, Licinius was prone to see the Church as a force more loyal to Constantine than to the Imperial system in general – the explanation offered by the Church historian Sozomen. This dubious arrangement eventually became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries, represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine’s army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus, the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont, and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius’s son (the son of Constantine’s half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople. Licinius’ defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire. Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia), as he was reported saying that ” Serdica is my Rome “. Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium, which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was thus founded in 324, dedicated on 11 May 330 and renamed Constantinopolis (“Constantine’s City” or Constantinople in English). Special commemorative coins were issued in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy relics, though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the’old’ Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana , the “New Rome of Constantinople”. Further information: Constantine I and Christianity, Constantine I and paganism, and Constantine the Great and Judaism. Constantine the Great , mosaic in Hagia Sophia, c. Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practise their religion but did not restore any property to them. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine possibly retained the title of pontifex maximus , a title emperors bore as heads of the ancient Roman religion priesthood until Gratian r. 375-383 renounced the title. According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy e. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica. Apparently Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt. In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens. In the year 323, he issued a decree banning Christians from participating in state sacrifices Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, as well on the coin itself. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e. Most notably the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. His influence over the early Church councils was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity; what proper worship and doctrines and dogma consisted of was for the Church to determine, in the hands of the participating bishops. Most notably, from 313 to 316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire. Constantine made some new laws regarding the Jews, but while some of his edicts were unfavorable towards Jews, they were not harsher than those of his predecessors. It was made illegal for Jews to seek converts or to attack other Jews who had converted to Christianity. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. On the other hand, Jewish clergy were given the same exemptions as Christian clergy. Head of Constantine’s colossal statue at the Capitoline Museums. The original statue of marble was acrolithic with the torso consisting of a cuirass in bronze. Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues-following a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors, however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, degrading the equestrian order -at least as a bureaucratic rank -in the process, so that by the end of the 4th century the title of perfectissimus was granted only to mid-low officials. By the new Constantinian arrangement, one could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors, in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). In one inscription in honor of city prefect (336-337) Ceionius Rufus Albinus, it was written that Constantine had restored the Senate “the auctoritas it had lost at Caesar’s time”. The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule; however, such an interpretation remains conjectural, given the fact that we do not have the precise numbers about pre-Constantine conversions to Christianity in the old senatorial milieu-some historians suggesting that early conversions among the old aristocracy were more numerous than previously supposed. Constantine’s reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine’s children. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic “pure” silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces-the solidus, 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine’s later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this bullion minting eventually ceased, de jure , in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis. These bronze pieces continued to be devalued, assuring the possibility of keeping fiduciary minting alongside a gold standard. The anonymous author of the possibly contemporary treatise on military affairs De Rebus Bellicis held that, as a consequence of this monetary policy, the rift between classes widened: the rich benefited from the stability in purchasing power of the gold piece, while the poor had to cope with ever-degrading bronze pieces. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine’s monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscation-taken since 331 and closed in 336-of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate minting-with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Executions of Crispus and Fausta. On some date between 15 May and 17 June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by “cold poison” at Pola (Pula, Croatia). In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of both was condemned. Eusebius, for example, edited praise of Crispus out of later copies of his Historia Ecclesiastica , and his Vita Constantini contains no mention of Fausta or Crispus at all. Few ancient sources are willing to discuss possible motives for the events; those few that do, offer unconvincing rationales, are of later provenance, and are generally unreliable. At the time of the executions, it was commonly believed that the Empress Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect. A popular myth arose, modified to allude to Hippolytus-Phaedra legend, with the suggestion that Constantine killed Crispus and Fausta for their immoralities. One source, the largely fictional Passion of Artemius , probably penned in the eighth century by John of Damascus, makes the legendary connection explicit. As an interpretation of the executions, the myth rests on only “the slimmest of evidence”: sources that allude to the relationship between Crispus and Fausta are late and unreliable, and the modern suggestion that Constantine’s “godly” edicts of 326 and the irregularities of Crispus are somehow connected rests on no evidence at all. Although Constantine created his apparent heirs “Caesars”, following a pattern established by Diocletian, he gave his creations a hereditary character, alien to the tetrarchic system: Constantine’s Caesars were to be kept in the hope of ascending to Empire, and entirely subordinated to their Augustus, as long as he was alive. Therefore, an alternative explanation for the execution of Crispus was, perhaps, Constantine’s desire to keep a firm grip on his prospective heirs, this-and Fausta’s desire for having her sons inheriting instead of their half-brother-being reason enough for killing Crispus; the subsequent execution of Fausta, however, was probably meant as a reminder to her children that Constantine would not hesitate in “killing his own relatives when he felt this was necessary”. The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine’s conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple). Constantine considered Constantinople his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan’s bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia, a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. In the last years of his life Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of Persia, Shapur, Constantine had asserted his patronage over Persia’s Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat them well. The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern frontier in 335. In 336, prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia himself. He treated the war as a Christian crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats came to Constantinople over the winter of 336-337, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. The campaign was called off, however, when Constantine became sick in the spring of 337. The Baptism of Constantine , as imagined by students of Raphael. Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia (present-day Gulf of zmit). There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337. The Constantinian dynasty down to Gratian r. Although Constantine’s death follows the conclusion of the Persian campaign in Eusebius’s account, most other sources report his death as occurring in its middle. Emperor Julian (a nephew of Constantine), writing in the mid-350s, observes that the Sassanians escaped punishment for their ill-deeds, because Constantine died “in the middle of his preparations for war”. Similar accounts are given in the Origo Constantini , an anonymous document composed while Constantine was still living, and which has Constantine dying in Nicomedia; the Historiae abbreviatae of Sextus Aurelius Victor, written in 361, which has Constantine dying at an estate near Nicomedia called Achyrona while marching against the Persians; and the Breviarium of Eutropius, a handbook compiled in 369 for the Emperor Valens, which has Constantine dying in a nameless state villa in Nicomedia. From these and other accounts, some have concluded that Eusebius’s Vita was edited to defend Constantine’s reputation against what Eusebius saw as a less congenial version of the campaign. Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of Emperor Julian. Bronze head of Constantine, from a colossal statue (4th century). Although he earned his honorific of “The Great” from Christian historians long after he had died, he could have claimed the title on his military achievements and victories alone. Besides reuniting the Empire under one emperor, Constantine won major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306-308, the Franks again in 313-314, the Goths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. By 336, Constantine had reoccupied most of the long-lost province of Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 271. At the time of his death, he was planning a great expedition to end raids on the eastern provinces from the Persian Empire. Serving for a total of almost 31 years (combining his years as co-ruler and sole ruler), he was also the longest serving emperor since Augustus and the second longest serving emperor in Roman history. In the cultural sphere Constantine contributed to the revival of the clean shaven face fashion of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Trajan, which was originally introduced among the Romans by Scipio Africanus. This new Roman imperial fashion lasted until the reign of Phocas. The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a “new Constantine”. Ten emperors, including the last emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, carried the name. Monumental Constantinian forms were used at the court of Charlemagne to suggest that he was Constantine’s successor and equal. Constantine acquired a mythic role as a warrior against “heathens”. The motif of the Romanesque equestrian, the mounted figure in the posture of a triumphant Roman emperor, became a visual metaphor in statuary in praise of local benefactors. The name “Constantine” itself enjoyed renewed popularity in western France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Orthodox Church considers Constantine a saint (, Saint Constantine), having a feast day on 3 September, and calls him isapostolos -an equal of the Apostles. The Ni Airport is named “Constantine the Great” in honor of him. A large Cross was planned to be built on a hill overlooking Ni, but the project was cancelled. In 2012, a memorial was erected in Ni in his honor. The Commemoration of the Edict of Milan was held in Ni in 2013. During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Pagans such as Praxagoras of Athens and Libanius showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew (and son-in-law) Julian the Apostate wrote the satire Symposium, or the Saturnalia , which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed. Following Julian, Eunapius began-and Zosimus continued-a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to the Christians. Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622. In both medieval East and West, Constantine was presented as an ideal ruler, the standard against which any king or emperor could be measured. The Renaissance rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources prompted a re-evaluation of Constantine’s career. The German humanist Johann Löwenklau, discoverer of Zosimus’ writings, published a Latin translation thereof in 1576. In its preface, he argued that Zosimus’ picture of Constantine was superior to that offered by Eusebius and the Church historians, offered a more balanced view. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a man of the Counter-Reformation, criticized Zosimus, favoring Eusebius’ account of the Constantinian era. Baronius’ Life of Constantine (1588) presents Constantine as the model of a Christian prince. For his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89), Edward Gibbon, aiming to unite the two extremes of Constantinian scholarship, offered a portrait of Constantine built on the contrasted narratives of Eusebius and Zosimus. In a form that parallels his account of the empire’s decline, Gibbon presents a noble war hero corrupted by Christian influences, who transforms into an Oriental despot in his old age: a hero… Degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch. Modern interpretations of Constantine’s rule begin with Jacob Burckhardt’s The Age of Constantine the Great 1853, rev. Burckhardt’s Constantine is a scheming secularist, a politician who manipulates all parties in a quest to secure his own power. Henri Grégoire, writing in the 1930s, followed Burckhardt’s evaluation of Constantine. For Grégoire, Constantine developed an interest in Christianity only after witnessing its political usefulness. Grégoire was skeptical of the authenticity of Eusebius’ Vita , and postulated a pseudo-Eusebius to assume responsibility for the vision and conversion narratives of that work. Otto Seeck, in Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt (1920-23), and André Piganiol, in L’empereur Constantin (1932), wrote against this historiographic tradition. Seeck presented Constantine as a sincere war hero, whose ambiguities were the product of his own naïve inconsistency. Piganiol’s Constantine is a philosophical monotheist, a child of his era’s religious syncretism. Related histories by A. Jones (Constantine and the Conversion of Europe , 1949) and Ramsay MacMullen (Constantine , 1969) gave portraits of a less visionary, and more impulsive, Constantine. These later accounts were more willing to present Constantine as a genuine convert to Christianity. Beginning with Norman H. Baynes’ Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) and reinforced by Andreas Alföldi’s The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), a historiographic tradition developed which presented Constantine as a committed Christian. Barnes’s seminal Constantine and Eusebius (1981) represents the culmination of this trend. Barnes’ Constantine experienced a radical conversion, which drove him on a personal crusade to convert his empire. Charles Matson Odahl’s recent Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004) takes much the same tack. In spite of Barnes’ work, arguments over the strength and depth of Constantine’s religious conversion continue. Certain themes in this school reached new extremes in T. Elliott’s The Christianity of Constantine the Great (1996), which presented Constantine as a committed Christian from early childhood. A similar view of Constantine is held in Paul Veyne’s recent (2007) work, Quand notre monde est devenu chrétien , which does not speculate on the origins of Constantine’s Christian motivation, but presents him, in his role as Emperor, as a religious revolutionary who fervently believed himself meant “to play a providential role in the millenary economy of the salvation of humanity”. Main article: Donation of Constantine. Latin Rite Catholics considered it inappropriate that Constantine was baptized only on his death-bed and by an unorthodox bishop, as it undermined the authority of the Papacy. Hence, by the early fourth century, a legend had emerged that Pope Sylvester I (314-335) had cured the pagan emperor from leprosy. According to this legend, Constantine was soon baptized, and began the construction of a church in the Lateran Palace. In the eighth century, most likely during the pontificate of Stephen II (752-757), a document called the Donation of Constantine first appeared, in which the freshly converted Constantine hands the temporal rule over “the city of Rome and all the provinces, districts, and cities of Italy and the Western regions” to Sylvester and his successors. In the High Middle Ages, this document was used and accepted as the basis for the Pope’s temporal power, though it was denounced as a forgery by Emperor Otto III and lamented as the root of papal worldliness by the poet Dante Alighieri. The 15th century philologist Lorenzo Valla proved the document was indeed a forgery. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia. During the medieval period, Britons regarded Constantine as a king of their own people, particularly associating him with Caernarfon in Gwynedd. While some of this is owed to his fame and his proclamation as Emperor in Britain, there was also confusion of his family with Magnus Maximus’s supposed wife Saint Elen and her son, another Constantine (Welsh: Custennin). In the 12th century Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that the emperor Constantine’s mother was a Briton, making her the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae , an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole’s daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess. Henry’s source for the story is unknown, though it may have been a lost hagiography of Helena. Documentaries of Constantine include: PBS’ “From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians” Chapter 12 and Hector Galan’s “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine” Episode 6 Constantine. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. 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  • Ruler: Constantine I
  • Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
  • Coin Type: Ancient Roman

Oct 11 2018

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i67754

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i67754

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i67754

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i67754

Item: i67754 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Constantine I’The Great. Rome’s Founding by Romulus & Remus Commemorative. Bronze AE3 17mm (2.33 grams) Cyzicus mint, struck 330-335 A. Reference: RIC 72 (VII, Cyzicus)var VRBS ROMA, Roma helmeted, draped and cuirassed bust left. She-wolf standing left, suckling Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome; two stars above; mintmark SMKA in exergue below. By circa 330 A. Constantine the Great completed his new capital for the Roman empire and called it Constantinople after himself, originally the ancient Greek city named Byzantium. Constantinople lay in a strategically imporant location and could be considered the continuation of the Roman empire in the east until about 1453 A. When it fell to the Ottoman Turks. For this momentous occasion, he issued two coin types commemorating this event, with one celebrating Rome and the other Constantinople. The type that commemorated Rome. Had the personification of Rome, Roma with the inscription VRBS ROMA and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus on the reverse suckling the mythical she-wolf. The type that commemorated Constantinople. Had the personification of Constantinople on the obverse and Victory on a galley sailing with a shield. This was a great way for Constantine the Great to pay homage to both Rome and Constantinople as now the Roman empire had two official capitals. Read the Constantine the Great Ancient Roman Coins Guide. To learn more about his coins. Romulus and Remus are Rome’s twin founders in its traditional foundation myth. They are descendants of the Trojan prince and refugee Aeneas, and are fathered by the god Mars or the demi-god Hercules on a royal Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia, whose uncle exposes them to die in the wild. They are found by a she-wolf who suckles and cares for them. The twins are eventually restored to their regal birthright, acquire many followers and decide to found a new city. Romulus wishes to build the new city on the Palatine Hill; Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. They agree to determine the site through augury. Romulus appears to receive the more favourable signs but each claims the results in his favour. In the disputes that follow, Remus is killed. Ovid has Romulus invent the festival of Lemuria to appease Remus’ resentful ghost. Romulus names the new city Rome, after himself, and goes on to create the Roman Legions and the Roman Senate. He adds citizens to his new city by abducting the women of the neighboring Sabine tribes, which results in the combination of Sabines and Romans as one Roman people. Rome rapidly expands to become a dominant force, due to divine favour and the inspired administrative, military and political leadership of Romulus. In later life Romulus becomes increasingly autocratic, disappears in mysterious circumstances and is deified as the god Quirinus, the divine persona of the Roman people. The legend of Romulus and Remus encapsulates Rome’s ideas of itself, its origins, moral values and purpose: it has also been described as one of the most problematic of all foundation myths. Romulus’ name is thought to be a back-formation from the name Rome; Remus’ is a matter for ancient and modern speculation. The main sources for the legend approach it as history and offer an implausibly exact chronology: Roman historians dated the city’s foundation variously from 758 to 728 BC. Plutarch says Romulus was fifty-three at his death; which reckoning gives the twins’ birth year as c. Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and much disputed. Romulus and Remus are eminent among the feral children of ancient mythography. Caesar (Recognized): 306-309 A. Constantina wife of Hanniballianus. And Helena the Younger wife of Julian II. Constantine the Great Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus ; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. 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 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus , senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers-the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians-even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. Constantine is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. Constantine was a ruler of major historical importance, and he has always been a controversial figure. The fluctuations in Constantine’s reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and detailed, but have been strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period, and are often one-sided. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine’s life and rule. The nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea’s Vita Constantini , a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. Written between 335 AD and circa 339 AD, the Vita extols Constantine’s moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters. Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum , a political Christian pamphlet on the reigns of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, provides valuable but tendentious detail on Constantine’s predecessors and early life. The ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret describe the ecclesiastic disputes of Constantine’s later reign. Written during the reign of Theodosius II (408-50 AD), a century after Constantine’s reign, these ecclesiastic historians obscure the events and theologies of the Constantinian period through misdirection, misrepresentation and deliberate obscurity. The contemporary writings of the orthodox Christian Athanasius and the ecclesiastical history of the Arian Philostorgius also survive, though their biases are no less firm. The epitomes of Aurelius Victor (De Caesaribus), Eutropius (Breviarium), Festus (Breviarium), and the anonymous author of the Epitome de Caesaribus offer compressed secular political and military histories of the period. Although not Christian, the epitomes paint a favorable image of Constantine, but omit reference to Constantine’s religious policies. The Panegyrici Latini , a collection of panegyrics from the late third and early fourth centuries, provide valuable information on the politics and ideology of the tetrarchic period and the early life of Constantine. Contemporary architecture, such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome and palaces in Gamzigrad and Córdoba, epigraphic remains, and the coinage of the era complement the literary sources. Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, (today Ni, Serbia) part of the Dardania province of Moesia on 27 February, probably c. His father was Flavius Constantius, an Illyrian, and a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis). Constantine probably spent little time with his father who was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard. Being described as a tolerant and politically skilled man, Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian, another of Aurelian’s companions from Illyricum, in 284 or 285. Constantine’s mother was Helena, possibly a Bithynian woman of low social standing. It is uncertain whether she was legally married to Constantius or merely his concubine. It is unclear if Constantine could speak Thracian, his main language being Latin, and during his public speeches he needed Greek translators. Constantine’s parents and siblings, the dates in square brackets indicate the possession of minor titles. In July 285 AD, Diocletian declared Maximian, another colleague from Illyricum, his co-emperor. Each emperor would have his own court, his own military and administrative faculties, and each would rule with a separate praetorian prefect as chief lieutenant. Maximian ruled in the West, from his capitals at Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) or Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), while Diocletian ruled in the East, from Nicomedia (zmit, Turkey). The division was merely pragmatic: the Empire was called “indivisible” in official panegyric, and both emperors could move freely throughout the Empire. In 288, Maximian appointed Constantius to serve as his praetorian prefect in Gaul. Constantius left Helena to marry Maximian’s stepdaughter Theodora in 288 or 289. Diocletian divided the Empire again in 293 AD, appointing two Caesars (junior emperors) to rule over further subdivisions of East and West. Each would be subordinate to their respective Augustus (senior emperor) but would act with supreme authority in his assigned lands. This system would later be called the Tetrarchy. Diocletian’s first appointee for the office of Caesar was Constantius; his second was Galerius, a native of Felix Romuliana. According to Lactantius, Galerius was a brutal, animalistic man. Although he shared the paganism of Rome’s aristocracy, he seemed to them an alien figure, a semi-barbarian. On 1 March, Constantius was promoted to the office of Caesar, and dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels Carausius and Allectus. In spite of meritocratic overtones, the Tetrarchy retained vestiges of hereditary privilege, and Constantine became the prime candidate for future appointment as Caesar as soon as his father took the position. Constantine went to the court of Diocletian, where he lived as his father’s heir presumptive. Head from a statue of Diocletian, Augustus of the East. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian’s court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius-none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted their colleagues-Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius’s best behavior. Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296 AD, and fought the Persians under Diocletian in Syria (297 AD) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298-299 AD). By late 305 AD, he had become a tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi. In late 302, Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. On 23 February 303 AD, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia’s new church, condemned its scriptures to the flames, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned. It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent of Diocletian’s “sanguinary edicts” against the “worshippers of God”, but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability throughout his life. On 1 May 305 AD, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304-305 AD, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius’ allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian’s resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian’s son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximinus Daia, Galerius’ nephew, were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine’s life in the months following Diocletian’s abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and wars. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius’s court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305 AD, Constantius requested leave for his son to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine’s later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul, at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305 AD. Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father’s side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius’s campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus, a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius’ memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father’s domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius’s death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested recognition as heir to his father’s throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had “forced it upon him”. Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine’s claims would mean certain war. Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title “Caesar” rather than “Augustus” (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor’s traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision, knowing that it would remove doubts as to his legitimacy. Constantine’s share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, driving back the tribes of the Picts and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father’s rule, and ordered the repair of the region’s roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The Franks, after learning of Constantine’s acclamation, invaded Gaul across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306-307 AD. Constantine drove them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of Trier’s amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed. Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by Constantine. More than 100 metres (328 ft) wide by 200 metres (656 ft) long, and capable of serving several thousands at a time, the baths were built to rival those of Rome. Constantine began a major expansion of Trier. He strengthened the circuit wall around the city with military towers and fortified gates, and began building a palace complex in the northeastern part of the city. To the south of his palace, he ordered the construction of a large formal audience hall, and a massive imperial bathhouse. Constantine sponsored many building projects across Gaul during his tenure as emperor of the West, especially in Augustodunum (Autun) and Arelate (Arles). According to Lactantius, Constantine followed his father in following a tolerant policy towards Christianity. Although not yet a Christian, he probably judged it a more sensible policy than open persecution, and a way to distinguish himself from the “great persecutor”, Galerius. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father’s reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father’s deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine’s military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a “renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign”. Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the “barbarians” beyond the frontiers. After Constantine’s victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen-”The Alemanni conquered”-beneath the phrase “Romans’ rejoicing”. There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. Dresden bust of Maxentius. Following Galerius’ recognition of Constantine as caesar, Constantine’s portrait was brought to Rome, as was customary. Maxentius mocked the portrait’s subject as the son of a harlot, and lamented his own powerlessness. Maxentius, envious of Constantine’s authority, seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306 AD. Galerius refused to recognize him, but failed to unseat him. Galerius sent Severus against Maxentius, but during the campaign, Severus’ armies, previously under command of Maxentius’ father Maximian, defected, and Severus was seized and imprisoned. Maximian, brought out of retirement by his son’s rebellion, left for Gaul to confer with Constantine in late 307 AD. He offered to marry his daughter Fausta to Constantine, and elevate him to Augustan rank. In return, Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and offer support to Maxentius’ cause in Italy. Constantine accepted, and married Fausta in Trier in late summer 307 AD. Constantine now gave Maxentius his meagre support, offering Maxentius political recognition. Constantine remained aloof from the Italian conflict, however. Over the spring and summer of 307 AD, he had left Gaul for Britain to avoid any involvement in the Italian turmoil; now, instead of giving Maxentius military aid, he sent his troops against Germanic tribes along the Rhine. In 308 AD, he raided the territory of the Bructeri, and made a bridge across the Rhine at Colonia Agrippinensium (Cologne). In 310 AD, he marched to the northern Rhine and fought the Franks. When not campaigning, he toured his lands advertising his benevolence, and supporting the economy and the arts. His refusal to participate in the war increased his popularity among his people, and strengthened his power base in the West. On 11 November 308 AD, Galerius called a general council at the military city of Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria) to resolve the instability in the western provinces. Maximian was forced to abdicate again and Constantine was again demoted to Caesar. Licinius, one of Galerius’ old military companions, was appointed Augustus in the western regions. The new system did not last long: Constantine refused to accept the demotion, and continued to style himself as Augustus on his coinage, even as other members of the Tetrarchy referred to him as a Caesar on theirs. Maximinus Daia was frustrated that he had been passed over for promotion while the newcomer Licinius had been raised to the office of Augustus, and demanded that Galerius promote him. Galerius offered to call both Maximinus and Constantine “sons of the Augusti”, but neither accepted the new title. By the spring of 310 AD, Galerius was referring to both men as Augusti. In 310 AD, a dispossessed Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine’s army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine’s army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310 AD, Maximian hanged himself. In spite of the earlier rupture in their relations, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father’s devoted son after his death. He began minting coins with his father’s deified image, proclaiming his desire to avenge Maximian’s death. Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 311 AD, however, he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. Along with using propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine’s public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy. In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 310 AD, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II, a 3rd Century emperor famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine’s ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine’s right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: “No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor, ” the orator declares to Constantine. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted “rule of the whole world”, as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration’s religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine’s coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 AD on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally identified with Apollo. There is little reason to believe that either the dynastic connection or the divine vision are anything other than fiction, but their proclamation strengthened Constantine’s claims to legitimacy and increased his popularity among the citizens of Gaul. See also: Civil wars of the Tetrarchy. By the middle of 310 AD, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311 AD, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict’s proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximinus mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius. Maxentius’ rule was nevertheless insecure. By 312 AD, he was a man barely tolerated, not one actively supported, even among Christian Italians. In the summer of 311 AD, Maxentius mobilized against Constantine while Licinius was occupied with affairs in the East. He declared war on Constantine, vowing to avenge his father’s “murder”. To prevent Maxentius from forming an alliance against him with Licinius, Constantine forged his own alliance with Licinius over the winter of 311-312 AD, and offered him his sister Constantia in marriage. Maximin considered Constantine’s arrangement with Licinius an affront to his authority. According to Eusebius, inter-regional travel became impossible, and there was military buildup everywhere. There was “not a place where people were not expecting the onset of hostilities every day”. Constantine’s advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312 AD, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine’s army encircled Maxentius’ cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers’ iron-tipped clubs. Constantine’s armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius’ retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312 AD, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia’s army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona, where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius’ praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine’s expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine’s forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia, Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna. The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome’s praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region’s support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius’ support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312 AD, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, “the enemy of the Romans” would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. The description from 28th October 312,’A cross centered on the Sun fits with modern-day photographs of Sun dogs. Constantine and his army adopt the Greek letters for Christ’s initials: Chi Rho. Further information: Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano. Maxentius organized his forces-still twice the size of Constantine’s-in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine’s army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers’ shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers… By means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields. ” Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer”; in Eusebius’s account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum , for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi traversed by Rho : , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 AD a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho , and coins issued at Siscia in 317/318 AD repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius’ line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius’ cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius’ infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius’ troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius’ horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. Colossal head of Constantine, from a seated statue: a youthful, classicising, other-worldly official image (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Constantine entered Rome on 29 October 312. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius’ body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, Maxentius’ disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this, Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius’ supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him “title of the first name”, which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as “the greatest Augustus”. He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius’ imprisoned opponents. An extensive propaganda campaign followed, during which Maxentius’ image was systematically purged from all public places. Maxentius was written up as a “tyrant”, and set against an idealized image of the “liberator”, Constantine. Eusebius, in his later works, is the best representative of this strand of Constantinian propaganda. Maxentius’ rescripts were declared invalid, and the honors Maxentius had granted to leaders of the Senate were invalidated. Constantine also attempted to remove Maxentius’ influence on Rome’s urban landscape. All structures built by Maxentius were re-dedicated to Constantine, including the Temple of Romulus and the Basilica of Maxentius. At the focal point of the basilica, a stone statue of Constantine holding the Christian labarum in its hand was erected. Its inscription bore the message the statue had already made clear: By this sign Constantine had freed Rome from the yoke of the tyrant. Where he did not overwrite Maxentius’ achievements, Constantine upstaged them: the Circus Maximus was redeveloped so that its total seating capacity was twenty-five times larger than that of Maxentius’ racing complex on the Via Appia. Maxentius’ strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. The tombstones of the Imperial Horse Guard were ground up and put to use in a basilica on the Via Labicana. On November 9, 312 AD, barely two weeks after Constantine captured the city, the former base of the Imperial Horse Guard was chosen for redevelopment into the Lateran Basilica. The Legio II Parthica was removed from Alba (Albano Laziale), and the remainder of Maxentius’ armies were sent to do frontier duty on the Rhine. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine’s half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan, officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian’s persecution. It repudiates past methods of religious coercion and used only general terms to refer to the divine sphere-”Divinity” and “Supreme Divinity”, summa divinitas. The conference was cut short, however, when news reached Licinius that his rival Maximin had crossed the Bosporus and invaded European territory. Licinius departed and eventually defeated Maximin, gaining control over the entire eastern half of the Roman Empire. Relations between the two remaining emperors deteriorated, as Constantine suffered an assassination attempt at the hands of a character that Licinius wanted elevated to the rank of Caesar; Licinius, for his part had Constantine’s statues in Emona destroyed. In either 314 or 316 the two Augusti fought against one another at the Battle of Cibalae, with Constantine being victorious. They clashed again at the Battle of Mardia in 317, and agreed to a settlement in which Constantine’s sons Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius’ son Licinianus were made caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia and took residence at Sirmium, whence he could wage war on the Goths and Sarmatians in 322, and on the Goths in 323. In the year 320, Licinius allegedly reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders. Although this characterization of Licinius as anti-Christian is somewhat doubtful, the fact is that he seems to have been far less open in his support of Christianity than Constantine. Therefore, Licinius was prone to see the Church as a force more loyal to Constantine than to the Imperial system in general – the explanation offered by the Church historian Sozomen. This dubious arrangement eventually became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries, represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine’s army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus, the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont, and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius’s son (the son of Constantine’s half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople. Licinius’ defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire. Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia), as he was reported saying that ” Serdica is my Rome “. Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium, which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was thus founded in 324, dedicated on 11 May 330 and renamed Constantinopolis (“Constantine’s City” or Constantinople in English). Special commemorative coins were issued in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy relics, though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the’old’ Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana , the “New Rome of Constantinople”. Further information: Constantine I and Christianity, Constantine I and paganism, and Constantine the Great and Judaism. Constantine the Great , mosaic in Hagia Sophia, c. Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practise their religion but did not restore any property to them. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine possibly retained the title of pontifex maximus , a title emperors bore as heads of the ancient Roman religion priesthood until Gratian r. 375-383 renounced the title. According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy e. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica. Apparently Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt. In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens. In the year 323, he issued a decree banning Christians from participating in state sacrifices Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, as well on the coin itself. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e. Most notably the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. His influence over the early Church councils was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity; what proper worship and doctrines and dogma consisted of was for the Church to determine, in the hands of the participating bishops. Most notably, from 313 to 316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire. Constantine made some new laws regarding the Jews, but while some of his edicts were unfavorable towards Jews, they were not harsher than those of his predecessors. It was made illegal for Jews to seek converts or to attack other Jews who had converted to Christianity. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. On the other hand, Jewish clergy were given the same exemptions as Christian clergy. Head of Constantine’s colossal statue at the Capitoline Museums. The original statue of marble was acrolithic with the torso consisting of a cuirass in bronze. Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues-following a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors, however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, degrading the equestrian order -at least as a bureaucratic rank -in the process, so that by the end of the 4th century the title of perfectissimus was granted only to mid-low officials. By the new Constantinian arrangement, one could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors, in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). In one inscription in honor of city prefect (336-337) Ceionius Rufus Albinus, it was written that Constantine had restored the Senate “the auctoritas it had lost at Caesar’s time”. The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule; however, such an interpretation remains conjectural, given the fact that we do not have the precise numbers about pre-Constantine conversions to Christianity in the old senatorial milieu-some historians suggesting that early conversions among the old aristocracy were more numerous than previously supposed. Constantine’s reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine’s children. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic “pure” silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces-the solidus, 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine’s later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this bullion minting eventually ceased, de jure , in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis. These bronze pieces continued to be devalued, assuring the possibility of keeping fiduciary minting alongside a gold standard. The anonymous author of the possibly contemporary treatise on military affairs De Rebus Bellicis held that, as a consequence of this monetary policy, the rift between classes widened: the rich benefited from the stability in purchasing power of the gold piece, while the poor had to cope with ever-degrading bronze pieces. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine’s monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscation-taken since 331 and closed in 336-of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate minting-with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Executions of Crispus and Fausta. On some date between 15 May and 17 June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by “cold poison” at Pola (Pula, Croatia). In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of both was condemned. Eusebius, for example, edited praise of Crispus out of later copies of his Historia Ecclesiastica , and his Vita Constantini contains no mention of Fausta or Crispus at all. Few ancient sources are willing to discuss possible motives for the events; those few that do, offer unconvincing rationales, are of later provenance, and are generally unreliable. At the time of the executions, it was commonly believed that the Empress Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect. A popular myth arose, modified to allude to Hippolytus-Phaedra legend, with the suggestion that Constantine killed Crispus and Fausta for their immoralities. One source, the largely fictional Passion of Artemius , probably penned in the eighth century by John of Damascus, makes the legendary connection explicit. As an interpretation of the executions, the myth rests on only “the slimmest of evidence”: sources that allude to the relationship between Crispus and Fausta are late and unreliable, and the modern suggestion that Constantine’s “godly” edicts of 326 and the irregularities of Crispus are somehow connected rests on no evidence at all. Although Constantine created his apparent heirs “Caesars”, following a pattern established by Diocletian, he gave his creations a hereditary character, alien to the tetrarchic system: Constantine’s Caesars were to be kept in the hope of ascending to Empire, and entirely subordinated to their Augustus, as long as he was alive. Therefore, an alternative explanation for the execution of Crispus was, perhaps, Constantine’s desire to keep a firm grip on his prospective heirs, this-and Fausta’s desire for having her sons inheriting instead of their half-brother-being reason enough for killing Crispus; the subsequent execution of Fausta, however, was probably meant as a reminder to her children that Constantine would not hesitate in “killing his own relatives when he felt this was necessary”. The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine’s conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple). Constantine considered Constantinople his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan’s bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia, a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. In the last years of his life Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of Persia, Shapur, Constantine had asserted his patronage over Persia’s Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat them well. The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern frontier in 335. In 336, prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia himself. He treated the war as a Christian crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats came to Constantinople over the winter of 336-337, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. The campaign was called off, however, when Constantine became sick in the spring of 337. The Baptism of Constantine , as imagined by students of Raphael. Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia (present-day Gulf of zmit). There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337. The Constantinian dynasty down to Gratian r. Although Constantine’s death follows the conclusion of the Persian campaign in Eusebius’s account, most other sources report his death as occurring in its middle. Emperor Julian (a nephew of Constantine), writing in the mid-350s, observes that the Sassanians escaped punishment for their ill-deeds, because Constantine died “in the middle of his preparations for war”. Similar accounts are given in the Origo Constantini , an anonymous document composed while Constantine was still living, and which has Constantine dying in Nicomedia; the Historiae abbreviatae of Sextus Aurelius Victor, written in 361, which has Constantine dying at an estate near Nicomedia called Achyrona while marching against the Persians; and the Breviarium of Eutropius, a handbook compiled in 369 for the Emperor Valens, which has Constantine dying in a nameless state villa in Nicomedia. From these and other accounts, some have concluded that Eusebius’s Vita was edited to defend Constantine’s reputation against what Eusebius saw as a less congenial version of the campaign. Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of Emperor Julian. Bronze head of Constantine, from a colossal statue (4th century). Although he earned his honorific of “The Great” from Christian historians long after he had died, he could have claimed the title on his military achievements and victories alone. Besides reuniting the Empire under one emperor, Constantine won major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306-308, the Franks again in 313-314, the Goths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. By 336, Constantine had reoccupied most of the long-lost province of Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 271. At the time of his death, he was planning a great expedition to end raids on the eastern provinces from the Persian Empire. Serving for a total of almost 31 years (combining his years as co-ruler and sole ruler), he was also the longest serving emperor since Augustus and the second longest serving emperor in Roman history. In the cultural sphere Constantine contributed to the revival of the clean shaven face fashion of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Trajan, which was originally introduced among the Romans by Scipio Africanus. This new Roman imperial fashion lasted until the reign of Phocas. The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a “new Constantine”. Ten emperors, including the last emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, carried the name. Monumental Constantinian forms were used at the court of Charlemagne to suggest that he was Constantine’s successor and equal. Constantine acquired a mythic role as a warrior against “heathens”. The motif of the Romanesque equestrian, the mounted figure in the posture of a triumphant Roman emperor, became a visual metaphor in statuary in praise of local benefactors. The name “Constantine” itself enjoyed renewed popularity in western France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Orthodox Church considers Constantine a saint (, Saint Constantine), having a feast day on 3 September, and calls him isapostolos -an equal of the Apostles. The Ni Airport is named “Constantine the Great” in honor of him. A large Cross was planned to be built on a hill overlooking Ni, but the project was cancelled. In 2012, a memorial was erected in Ni in his honor. The Commemoration of the Edict of Milan was held in Ni in 2013. During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Pagans such as Praxagoras of Athens and Libanius showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew (and son-in-law) Julian the Apostate wrote the satire Symposium, or the Saturnalia , which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed. Following Julian, Eunapius began-and Zosimus continued-a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to the Christians. Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622. In both medieval East and West, Constantine was presented as an ideal ruler, the standard against which any king or emperor could be measured. The Renaissance rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources prompted a re-evaluation of Constantine’s career. The German humanist Johann Löwenklau, discoverer of Zosimus’ writings, published a Latin translation thereof in 1576. In its preface, he argued that Zosimus’ picture of Constantine was superior to that offered by Eusebius and the Church historians, offered a more balanced view. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a man of the Counter-Reformation, criticized Zosimus, favoring Eusebius’ account of the Constantinian era. Baronius’ Life of Constantine (1588) presents Constantine as the model of a Christian prince. For his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89), Edward Gibbon, aiming to unite the two extremes of Constantinian scholarship, offered a portrait of Constantine built on the contrasted narratives of Eusebius and Zosimus. In a form that parallels his account of the empire’s decline, Gibbon presents a noble war hero corrupted by Christian influences, who transforms into an Oriental despot in his old age: a hero… Degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch. Modern interpretations of Constantine’s rule begin with Jacob Burckhardt’s The Age of Constantine the Great 1853, rev. Burckhardt’s Constantine is a scheming secularist, a politician who manipulates all parties in a quest to secure his own power. Henri Grégoire, writing in the 1930s, followed Burckhardt’s evaluation of Constantine. For Grégoire, Constantine developed an interest in Christianity only after witnessing its political usefulness. Grégoire was skeptical of the authenticity of Eusebius’ Vita , and postulated a pseudo-Eusebius to assume responsibility for the vision and conversion narratives of that work. Otto Seeck, in Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt (1920-23), and André Piganiol, in L’empereur Constantin (1932), wrote against this historiographic tradition. Seeck presented Constantine as a sincere war hero, whose ambiguities were the product of his own naïve inconsistency. Piganiol’s Constantine is a philosophical monotheist, a child of his era’s religious syncretism. Related histories by A. Jones (Constantine and the Conversion of Europe , 1949) and Ramsay MacMullen (Constantine , 1969) gave portraits of a less visionary, and more impulsive, Constantine. These later accounts were more willing to present Constantine as a genuine convert to Christianity. Beginning with Norman H. Baynes’ Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) and reinforced by Andreas Alföldi’s The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), a historiographic tradition developed which presented Constantine as a committed Christian. Barnes’s seminal Constantine and Eusebius (1981) represents the culmination of this trend. Barnes’ Constantine experienced a radical conversion, which drove him on a personal crusade to convert his empire. Charles Matson Odahl’s recent Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004) takes much the same tack. In spite of Barnes’ work, arguments over the strength and depth of Constantine’s religious conversion continue. Certain themes in this school reached new extremes in T. Elliott’s The Christianity of Constantine the Great (1996), which presented Constantine as a committed Christian from early childhood. A similar view of Constantine is held in Paul Veyne’s recent (2007) work, Quand notre monde est devenu chrétien , which does not speculate on the origins of Constantine’s Christian motivation, but presents him, in his role as Emperor, as a religious revolutionary who fervently believed himself meant “to play a providential role in the millenary economy of the salvation of humanity”. Main article: Donation of Constantine. Latin Rite Catholics considered it inappropriate that Constantine was baptized only on his death-bed and by an unorthodox bishop, as it undermined the authority of the Papacy. Hence, by the early fourth century, a legend had emerged that Pope Sylvester I (314-335) had cured the pagan emperor from leprosy. According to this legend, Constantine was soon baptized, and began the construction of a church in the Lateran Palace. In the eighth century, most likely during the pontificate of Stephen II (752-757), a document called the Donation of Constantine first appeared, in which the freshly converted Constantine hands the temporal rule over “the city of Rome and all the provinces, districts, and cities of Italy and the Western regions” to Sylvester and his successors. In the High Middle Ages, this document was used and accepted as the basis for the Pope’s temporal power, though it was denounced as a forgery by Emperor Otto III and lamented as the root of papal worldliness by the poet Dante Alighieri. The 15th century philologist Lorenzo Valla proved the document was indeed a forgery. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia. During the medieval period, Britons regarded Constantine as a king of their own people, particularly associating him with Caernarfon in Gwynedd. While some of this is owed to his fame and his proclamation as Emperor in Britain, there was also confusion of his family with Magnus Maximus’s supposed wife Saint Elen and her son, another Constantine (Welsh: Custennin). In the 12th century Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that the emperor Constantine’s mother was a Briton, making her the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae , an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole’s daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess. Henry’s source for the story is unknown, though it may have been a lost hagiography of Helena. Documentaries of Constantine include: PBS’ “From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians” Chapter 12 and Hector Galan’s “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine” Episode 6 Constantine. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. Whether your goal is to collect or give the item as a gift, coins presented like this could be more prized and valued higher than items that were not given such care and attention to. When should I leave feedback? Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens sometimes that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for their order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. How and where do I learn more about collecting ancient coins? Visit the Guide on How to Use My Store. For on an overview about using my store, with additional information and links to all other parts of my store which may include educational information on topics you are looking for. The item “CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Rome Ancient Roman Coin i67754″ is in sale since Monday, March 5, 2018. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Constantine I
  • Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
  • Coin Type: Ancient Roman

Sep 19 2018

Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117, great details

Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117, great details

Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117, great details

Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117, great details

Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117. The item “Ancient Roman Coin, Emperor Trajan AD 98-117, great details” is in sale since Thursday, February 1, 2018. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “larry-and-debbies_treasures” and is located in Apache Junction, Arizona. This item can be shipped to United States.

Sep 1 2018

ALEXANDER the Great BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek Coin Roman Macedonia Koinon i64762

ALEXANDER the Great BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek Coin Roman Macedonia Koinon i64762

ALEXANDER the Great BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek Coin Roman Macedonia Koinon i64762

ALEXANDER the Great BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek Coin Roman Macedonia Koinon i64762

Item: i64762 Authentic Ancient. Greek coin of Macedonia. As Roman Province In Honor of Alexander III the Great. King of Macedonia. Bronze 25mm (10.43 grams) from the Koinon of Macedonia. In Thrace Struck circa 222-238 A. AANPOV, Head of Alexander the Great with loose flowing hair right. KOINON MAKONN B N, Alexander the Great, holding spear on his legendary horse, Bucephalus, charging right with his cloak billowing behind. Numismatic Note: Amazing coin being issued over 500 years after the death of Alexander the Great, featuring his portrait. Alexander the Great was and still is a great hero of antiquity showing the amazing effect one man can have on history in just short while of just 13 years! Macedonia was a province under the control of the Romans, which was created out of the kingdom of Macedonia which Alexander the Great was king of. Interesting to note that this being a pseudo-autonomous issue featuring Alexander the Great instead of the Roman emperor of the time. This coin also celebrates the neocorate status of the province, meaning they were important to the imperial cult of the emperor. Koina, meaning “common” and interpreted as “commonwealth”, “league” or “federation” were a number of associations of cities in ancient and early modern Greek history. Best known as Alexander the Great , he was a king (basileus in Greek) of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. He was born in the city of Pella in 356 BC. By age 20, Alexander succeeded his father Philip II to the throne as king. He spent most of his years as king in an unprecedented military campaign of conquest through Asia, northeast Africa and even reached India. By age 30 he created one of the biggest empires in the ancient world, reaching from Greece to northwestern India. Being undefeated in battle, many consider him as one of history’s most successful military commanders. He could be considered one of history’s most important figures, having spread the Greek civilization far and wide, and was even admired by Julius Caesar along with many other important historical personages as well. The Roman province of Macedonia (Latin: Provincia Macedoniae , Greek:) was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last self-styled King of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia in 148 BC, and after the four client republics (the “tetrarchy”) established by Rome in the region were dissolved. The province incorporated ancient Macedonia, with the addition of Epirus, Thessaly, and parts of Illyria, Paeonia and Thrace. This created a much larger administrative area, to which the name of’Macedonia’ was still applied. The Dardanians, to the north of the Paeonians, were not included, because they had supported the Romans in their conquest of Macedonia. Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great , was a king (basileus) of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle until the age of 16. After Philip’s assassination in 336 BC, Alexander succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father’s Panhellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Following the conquest of Asia Minor, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. Seeking to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea”, he invaded India in 326 BC, but eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander’s surviving generals and heirs. Alexander’s legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander’s settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked among the most influential people in human history, along with his teacher Aristotle. Aristotle tutoring Alexander, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Alexander was born on the sixth day of the ancient Greek month of Hekatombaion, which probably corresponds to 20 July 356BC, although the exact date is disputed, in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon. He was the son of the king of Macedon, Philip II, and his fourth wife, Olympias, the daughter of Neoptolemus I, king of Epirus. Although Philip had seven or eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some time, likely a result of giving birth to Alexander. Several legends surround Alexander’s birth and childhood. According to the ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, Olympias, on the eve of the consummation of her marriage to Philip, dreamed that her womb was struck by a thunder bolt, causing a flame that spread “far and wide” before dying away. Sometime after the wedding, Philip is said to have seen himself, in a dream, securing his wife’s womb with a seal engraved with a lion’s image. Plutarch offered a variety of interpretations of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before her marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb; or that Alexander’s father was Zeus. Ancient commentators were divided about whether the ambitious Olympias promulgated the story of Alexander’s divine parentage, variously claiming that she had told Alexander, or that she dismissed the suggestion as impious. On the day Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalcidice. That same day, Philip received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies, and that his horses had won at the Olympic Games. It was also said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, burnt down. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. Such legends may have emerged when Alexander was king, and possibly at his own instigation, to show that he was superhuman and destined for greatness from conception. In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse, Lanike, sister of Alexander’s future general Cleitus the Black. Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, and by Lysimachus of Acarnania. Alexander was raised in the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the lyre, ride, fight, and hunt. When Alexander was ten years old, a trader from Thessaly brought Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen talents. The horse refused to be mounted and Philip ordered it away. Alexander however, detecting the horse’s fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he eventually managed. Plutarch stated that Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you, and bought the horse for him. Alexander named it Bucephalas, meaning “ox-head”. Bucephalas carried Alexander as far as India. When the animal died (due to old age, according to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after him, Bucephala. When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a tutor, and considered such academics as Isocrates and Speusippus, the latter offering to resign to take up the post. In the end, Philip chose Aristotle and provided the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom. Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy, Hephaistion, and Cassander. Many of these students would become his friends and future generals, and are often known as the’Companions’. Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotle’s tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in particular the Iliad ; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. Regency and ascent of Macedon. Philip II of Macedon, Alexander’s father. At age 16, Alexander’s education under Aristotle ended. Philip waged war against Byzantion, leaving Alexander in charge as regent and heir apparent. During Philip’s absence, the Thracian Maedi revolted against Macedonia. Alexander responded quickly, driving them from their territory. He colonized it with Greeks, and founded a city named Alexandropolis. Upon Philip’s return, he dispatched Alexander with a small force to subdue revolts in southern Thrace. Campaigning against the Greek city of Perinthus, Alexander is reported to have saved his father’s life. Meanwhile, the city of Amphissa began to work lands that were sacred to Apollo near Delphi, a sacrilege that gave Philip the opportunity to further intervene in Greek affairs. Still occupied in Thrace, he ordered Alexander to muster an army for a campaign in Greece. Concerned that other Greek states might intervene, Alexander made it look as though he was preparing to attack Illyria instead. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded Macedonia, only to be repelled by Alexander. Philip and his army joined his son in 338 BC, and they marched south through Thermopylae, taking it after stubborn resistance from its Theban garrison. They went on to occupy the city of Elatea, only a few days’ march from both Athens and Thebes. The Athenians, led by Demosthenes, voted to seek alliance with Thebes against Macedonia. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes’ favour, but Athens won the contest. Philip marched on Amphissa (ostensibly acting on the request of the Amphictyonic League), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes and accepting the city’s surrender. Statue of Alexander in Istanbul Archaeology Museum. As Philip marched south, his opponents blocked him near Chaeronea, Boeotia. During the ensuing Battle of Chaeronea, Philip commanded the right wing and Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of Philip’s trusted generals. According to the ancient sources, the two sides fought bitterly for some time. Philip deliberately commanded his troops to retreat, counting on the untested Athenian hoplites to follow, thus breaking their line. Alexander was the first to break the Theban lines, followed by Philip’s generals. Having damaged the enemy’s cohesion, Philip ordered his troops to press forward and quickly routed them. With the Athenians lost, the Thebans were surrounded. Left to fight alone, they were defeated. After the victory at Chaeronea, Philip and Alexander marched unopposed into the Peloponnese, welcomed by all cities; however, when they reached Sparta, they were refused, but did not resort to war. At Corinth, Philip established a “Hellenic Alliance” (modelled on the old anti-Persian alliance of the Greco-Persian Wars), which included most Greek city-states except Sparta. Philip was then named Hegemon (often translated as “Supreme Commander”) of this league (known by modern scholars as the League of Corinth), and announced his plans to attack the Persian Empire. The marriage made Alexander’s position as heir less secure, since any son of Cleopatra Eurydice would be a fully Macedonian heir, while Alexander was only half-Macedonian. During the wedding banquet, a drunken Attalus publicly prayed to the gods that the union would produce a legitimate heir. At the wedding of Cleopatra, whom Philip fell in love with and married, she being much too young for him, her uncle Attalus in his drink desired the Macedonians would implore the gods to give them a lawful successor to the kingdom by his niece. Then Philip, taking Attalus’s part, rose up and would have run his son through; but by good fortune for them both, either his over-hasty rage, or the wine he had drunk, made his foot slip, so that he fell down on the floor. At which Alexander reproachfully insulted over him: “See there, ” said he, the man who makes preparations to pass out of Europe into Asia, overturned in passing from one seat to another. Plutarch, describing the feud at Philip’s wedding. Alexander fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King Alexander I of Epirus in Dodona, capital of the Molossians. He continued to Illyria, where he sought refuge with the Illyrian king and was treated as a guest, despite having defeated them in battle a few years before. However, it appears Philip never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. In the following year, the Persian satrap (governor) of Caria, Pixodarus, offered his eldest daughter to Alexander’s half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus. Olympias and several of Alexander’s friends suggested this showed Philip intended to make Arrhidaeus his heir. Alexander reacted by sending an actor, Thessalus of Corinth, to tell Pixodarus that he should not offer his daughter’s hand to an illegitimate son, but instead to Alexander. When Philip heard of this, he stopped the negotiations and scolded Alexander for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, explaining that he wanted a better bride for him. Philip exiled four of Alexander’s friends, Harpalus, Nearchus, Ptolemy and Erigyius, and had the Corinthians bring Thessalus to him in chains. The Kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC. In summer 336 BC, while at Aegae attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to Olympias’s brother, Alexander I of Epirus, Philip was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguards, Pausanias. As Pausanias tried to escape, he tripped over a vine and was killed by his pursuers, including two of Alexander’s companions, Perdiccas and Leonnatus. Alexander was proclaimed king by the nobles and army at the age of 20. Alexander began his reign by eliminating potential rivals to the throne. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV, executed. He also had two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a third, Alexander Lyncestes. Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice and Europa, her daughter by Philip, burned alive. When Alexander learned about this, he was furious. Alexander also ordered the murder of Attalus, who was in command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor and Cleopatra’s uncle. Attalus was at that time corresponding with Demosthenes, regarding the possibility of defecting to Athens. Attalus also had severely insulted Alexander, and following Cleopatra’s murder, Alexander may have considered him too dangerous to leave alive. Alexander spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias. News of Philip’s death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use diplomacy, Alexander mustered 3,000 Macedonian cavalry and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander’s force. He then continued south towards the Peloponnese. Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth. Athens sued for peace and Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander’s stay in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was blocking the sunlight. This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes. ” At Corinth, Alexander took the title of Hegemon (“leader) and, like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia. He also received news of a Thracian uprising. The emblema of the Stag Hunt Mosaic, c. 300 BC, from Pella; the figure on the right is possibly Alexander the Great due to the date of the mosaic along with the depicted upsweep of his centrally-parted hair (anastole); the figure on the left wielding a double-edged axe (associated with Hephaistos) is perhaps Hephaestion, one of Alexander’s loyal companions. Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders. In the spring of 335 BC, he advanced to suppress several revolts. Starting from Amphipolis, he travelled east into the country of the “Independent Thracians”; and at Mount Haemus, the Macedonian army attacked and defeated the Thracian forces manning the heights. The Macedonians marched into the country of the Triballi, and defeated their army near the Lyginus river (a tributary of the Danube). Alexander then marched for three days to the Danube, encountering the Getae tribe on the opposite shore. Crossing the river at night, he surprised them and forced their army to retreat after the first cavalry skirmish. News then reached Alexander that Cleitus, King of Illyria, and King Glaukias of the Taulanti were in open revolt against his authority. Marching west into Illyria, Alexander defeated each in turn, forcing the two rulers to flee with their troops. With these victories, he secured his northern frontier. While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander immediately headed south. While the other cities again hesitated, Thebes decided to fight. The Theban resistance was ineffective, and Alexander razed the city and divided its territory between the other Boeotian cities. The end of Thebes cowed Athens, leaving all of Greece temporarily at peace. Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving Antipater as regent. Conquest of the Persian Empire. Main articles: Wars of Alexander the Great and Chronology of the expedition of Alexander the Great into Asia. Further information: Battle of the Granicus, Siege of Halicarnassus, and Siege of Miletus. Map of Alexander’s empire and his route. Alexander’s army crossed the Hellespont in 334 BC with approximately 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry and a fleet of 120 ships with crews numbering 38,000, drawn from Macedon and various Greek city-states, mercenaries, and feudally raised soldiers from Thrace, Paionia, and Illyria. He showed his intent to conquer the entirety of the Persian Empire by throwing a spear into Asian soil and saying he accepted Asia as a gift from the gods. This also showed Alexander’s eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father’s preference for diplomacy. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis; he then proceeded along the Ionian coast, granting autonomy and democracy to the cities. Miletus, held by Achaemenid forces, required a delicate siege operation, with Persian naval forces nearby. Further south, at Halicarnassus, in Caria, Alexander successfully waged his first large-scale siege, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea. Alexander left the government of Caria to a member of the Hecatomnid dynasty, Ada, who adopted Alexander. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities to deny the Persians naval bases. From Pamphylia onwards the coast held no major ports and Alexander moved inland. At Termessos, Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city. At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander “undid” the hitherto unsolvable Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future “king of Asia”. According to the story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone and hacked it apart with his sword. The Levant and Syria. In spring 333 BC, Alexander crossed the Taurus into Cilicia. After a long pause due to illness, he marched on towards Syria. Though outmanoeuvered by Darius’ significantly larger army, he marched back to Cilicia, where he defeated Darius at Issus. Darius fled the battle, causing his army to collapse, and left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother Sisygambis, and a fabulous treasure. He offered a peace treaty that included the lands he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family. Alexander replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone who decided territorial divisions. Alexander proceeded to take possession of Syria, and most of the coast of the Levant. In the following year, 332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre, which he captured after a long and difficult siege. Further information: Siege of Gaza. When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on the route to Egypt quickly capitulated. However, Alexander met with resistance at Gaza. The stronghold was heavily fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. When his engineers pointed out to him that because of the height of the mound it would be impossible… This encouraged Alexander all the more to make the attempt. After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound. Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. He was pronounced son of the deity Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and after his death, currency depicted him adorned with rams horn as a symbol of his divinity. During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-by-Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death. Further information: Battle of Gaugamela. Leaving Egypt in 331 BC, Alexander marched eastward into Mesopotamia (now northern Iraq) and again defeated Darius, at the Battle of Gaugamela. Darius once more fled the field, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamedan), while Alexander captured Babylon. Site of the Persian Gate; the road was built in the 1990s. Further information: Battle of the Persian Gate. From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury. He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Persian Royal Road. Alexander himself took selected troops on the direct route to the city. He then stormed the pass of the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains) which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the treasury. On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days. Alexander stayed in Persepolis for five months. During his stay a fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident or deliberate revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the Second Persian War by Xerxes I. Years later upon revisiting the city he had burnt, Alexander would regret the burning of Persepolis. Plutarch recounts an anecdote in which Alexander pauses and talks to a fallen statue of Xerxes the Great as if it were a live person. Shall I pass by and leave you lying there because of the expeditions you led against Greece, or shall I set you up again because of your magnanimity and your virtues in other respects? Fall of the Empire and the East. Alexander then chased Darius, first into Media, and then Parthia. The Persian king no longer controlled his own destiny, and was taken prisoner by Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. As Alexander approached, Bessus had his men fatally stab the Great King and then declared himself Darius’ successor as Artaxerxes V, before retreating into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. Alexander buried Darius’ remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral. He claimed that, while dying, Darius had named him as his successor to the Achaemenid throne. The Achaemenid Empire is normally considered to have fallen with Darius. Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him. This campaign, initially against Bessus, turned into a grand tour of central Asia. Alexander founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate (“The Furthest”) in modern Tajikistan. The campaign took Alexander through Media, Parthia, Aria (West Afghanistan), Drangiana, Arachosia (South and Central Afghanistan), Bactria (North and Central Afghanistan), and Scythia. Spitamenes, who held an undefined position in the satrapy of Sogdiana, in 329BC betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s trusted companions, and Bessus was executed. However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. Alexander personally defeated the Scythians at the Battle of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai. After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the province of deities and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. A plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers, Philotas, was executed for failing to alert Alexander. The death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus Parmenion, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated at Alexander’s command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day Samarkand in Uzbekistan), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgemental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle. Later, in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life was revealed, this one instigated by his own royal pages. His official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus, was implicated in the plot; however, historians have yet to reach a consensus regarding this involvement. Callisthenes had fallen out of favour by leading the opposition to the attempt to introduce proskynesis. Macedon in Alexander’s absence. When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general Antipater, an experienced military and political leader and part of Philip II’s “Old Guard”, in charge of Macedon. Alexander’s sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained quiet during his absence. The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in the battle of Megalopolis. Antipater referred the Spartans’ punishment to the League of Corinth, which then deferred to Alexander, who chose to pardon them. There was also considerable friction between Antipater and Olympias, and each complained to Alexander about the other. In general, Greece enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Alexander’s campaign in Asia. Alexander sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire. However, Alexander’s constant demands for troops and the migration of Macedonians throughout his empire depleted Macedon’s manpower, greatly weakening it in the years after Alexander, and ultimately led to its subjugation by Rome. Main article: Indian campaign of Alexander the Great. Forays into the Indian subcontinent. After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Raoxshna in Old Iranian) to cement relations with his new satrapies, Alexander turned to the Indian subcontinent. He invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara (a region presently straddling eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan), to come to him and submit to his authority. Omphis (Indian name Ambhi), the ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes (Jhelum), complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), refused to submit. Ambhi hastened to relieve Alexander of his apprehension and met him with valuable presents, placing himself and all his forces at his disposal. Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund (Fox 1973), supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality. On the subsequent advance of the Macedonian king, Taxiles accompanied him with a force of 5000 men and took part in the battle of the Hydaspes River. After that victory he was sent by Alexander in pursuit of Porus, to whom he was charged to offer favourable terms, but narrowly escaped losing his life at the hands of his old enemy. Subsequently, however, the two rivals were reconciled by the personal mediation of Alexander; and Taxiles, after having contributed zealously to the equipment of the fleet on the Hydaspes, was entrusted by the king with the government of the whole territory between that river and the Indus. A considerable accession of power was granted him after the death of Philip, son of Machatas; and he was allowed to retain his authority at the death of Alexander himself (323 BC), as well as in the subsequent partition of the provinces at Triparadisus, 321 BC. In the winter of 327/326 BC, Alexander personally led a campaign against these clans; the Aspasioi of Kunar valleys, the Guraeans of the Guraeus valley, and the Assakenoi of the Swat and Buner valleys. A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually the Aspasioi lost. Alexander then faced the Assakenoi, who fought in the strongholds of Massaga, Ora and Aornos. The fort of Massaga was reduced only after days of bloody fighting, in which Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle. According to Curtius, Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubble. A similar slaughter followed at Ora. In the aftermath of Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians fled to the fortress of Aornos. Alexander followed close behind and captured the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days. Alexander’s invasion of the Indian subcontinent. After Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against King Porus, who ruled a region lying between the Hydaspes and the Acesines (Chenab), in what is now the Punjab, in the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC. Alexander was impressed by Porus’ bravery, and made him an ally. He appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus’ territory land that he did not previously own, towards the south-east, up to the Hyphasis (Beas). Choosing a local helped him control these lands so distant from Greece. Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time. The other was Nicaea (Victory), thought to be located at the site of modern-day Mong, Punjab. Revolt of the army. East of Porus’ kingdom, near the Ganges River, were the Nanda Empire of Magadha and further east the Gangaridai Empire (of the modern-day Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent). Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander’s army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (Beas), refusing to march farther east. This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexander’s conquests. As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand war elephants. Alexander tried to persuade his soldiers to march farther, but his general Coenus pleaded with him to change his opinion and return; the men, he said, “longed to again see their parents, their wives and children, their homeland”. Alexander eventually agreed and turned south, marching along the Indus. Along the way his army conquered the Malhi (in modern-day Multan) and other Indian tribes and Alexander sustained an injury during the siege. Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest back to Persia through the more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and Makran. Alexander reached Susa in 324 BC, but not before losing many men to the harsh desert. Last years in Persia. Alexander, left, and Hephaestion, right. Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed several of them as examples on his way to Susa. As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedon, led by Craterus. His troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis. Painting of Alexander the Great at the desecrated tomb of Cyrus the Great. After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. The Macedonians quickly begged forgiveness, which Alexander accepted, and held a great banquet for several thousand of his men at which he and they ate together. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, Alexander held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Susa, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year. Meanwhile, upon his return to Persia, Alexander learned that guards of the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae had desecrated it, and swiftly executed them. Alexander admired Cyrus, from an early age reading Xenophon’s Cyropaedia , which described Cyrus’s heroism in battle and governance as a king and legislator. During his visit to Pasargadae Alexander ordered his architect Aristobulus to decorate the interior of the sepulchral chamber of Cyrus’ tomb. Afterwards, Alexander travelled to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure. There, his closest friend and possible lover, Hephaestion, died of illness or poisoning. Hephaestion’s death devastated Alexander, and he ordered the preparation of an expensive funeral pyre in Babylon, as well as a decree for public mourning. Back in Babylon, Alexander planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he would not have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly thereafter. Main article: Death of Alexander the Great. A Babylonian astronomical diary c. 323-322 BC recording the death of Alexander (British Museum, London) 19th century depiction of Alexander’s funeral procession based on the description of Diodorus. On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32. There are two different versions of Alexander’s death and details of the death differ slightly in each. Plutarch’s account is that roughly 14days before his death, Alexander entertained admiral Nearchus, and spent the night and next day drinking with Medius of Larissa. He developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to speak. The common soldiers, anxious about his health, were granted the right to file past him as he silently waved at them. In the second account, Diodorus recounts that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of unmixed wine in honour of Heracles, followed by 11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died after some agony. Arrian also mentioned this as an alternative, but Plutarch specifically denied this claim. Given the propensity of the Macedonian aristocracy to assassination, foul play featured in multiple accounts of his death. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and Justin all mentioned the theory that Alexander was poisoned. Justin stated that Alexander was the victim of a poisoning conspiracy, Plutarch dismissed it as a fabrication, while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of completeness. The accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating Antipater, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot. Perhaps taking his summons to Babylon as a death sentence, and having seen the fate of Parmenion and Philotas, Antipater purportedly arranged for Alexander to be poisoned by his son Iollas, who was Alexander’s wine-pourer. There was even a suggestion that Aristotle may have participated. The strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days passed between the start of his illness and his death; such long-acting poisons were probably not available. However, in a 2003 BBC documentary investigating the death of Alexander, Leo Schep from the New Zealand National Poisons Centre proposed that the plant white hellebore (Veratrum album), which was known in antiquity, may have been used to poison Alexander. In a 2014 manuscript in the journal Clinical Toxicology Schep suggested Alexander’s wine was spiked with Veratrum album , and that this would produce poisoning symptoms that match the course of events described in the Alexander Romance. Veratrum album poisoning can have a prolonged course and it was suggested that if Alexander was poisoned, Veratrum album offers the most plausible cause. Another poisoning explanation put forward in 2010 proposed that the circumstances of his death were compatible with poisoning by water of the river Styx (modern-day Mavroneri in Arcadia, Greece) that contained calicheamicin, a dangerous compound produced by bacteria. Several natural causes (diseases) have been suggested, including malaria and typhoid fever. A 1998 article in the New England Journal of Medicine attributed his death to typhoid fever complicated by bowel perforation and ascending paralysis. Another recent analysis suggested pyogenic (infectious) spondylitis or meningitis. Other illnesses fit the symptoms, including acute pancreatitis and West Nile virus. Natural-cause theories also tend to emphasize that Alexander’s health may have been in general decline after years of heavy drinking and severe wounds. The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion’s death may also have contributed to his declining health. See also: Tomb of Alexander the Great. Detail of Alexander on the Alexander Sarcophagus. Alexander’s body was laid in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket. According to Aelian, a seer called Aristander foretold that the land where Alexander was laid to rest “would be happy and unvanquishable forever”. Perhaps more likely, the successors may have seen possession of the body as a symbol of legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a royal prerogative. While Alexander’s funeral cortege was on its way to Macedon, Ptolemy seized it and took it temporarily to Memphis. His successor, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it remained until at least late Antiquity. Ptolemy IX Lathyros, one of Ptolemy’s final successors, replaced Alexander’s sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert the original to coinage. The recent discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, at Amphipolis, dating from the time of Alexander the Great has given rise to speculation that its original intent was to be the burial place of Alexander. This would fit with the intended destination of Alexander’s funeral cortege. Pompey, Julius Caesar and Augustus all visited the tomb in Alexandria, where Augustus, allegedly, accidentally knocked the nose off. Caligula was said to have taken Alexander’s breastplate from the tomb for his own use. Around AD 200, Emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander’s tomb to the public. His son and successor, Caracalla, a great admirer, visited the tomb during his own reign. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are hazy. The so-called “Alexander Sarcophagus”, discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is so named not because it was thought to have contained Alexander’s remains, but because its bas-reliefs depict Alexander and his companions fighting the Persians and hunting. It was originally thought to have been the sarcophagus of Abdalonymus (died 311 BC), the king of Sidon appointed by Alexander immediately following the battle of Issus in 331. However, more recently, it has been suggested that it may date from earlier than Abdalonymus’ death. Division of the empire. Kingdoms of the Diadochi in 281 BC: the Ptolemaic Kingdom (dark blue), the Seleucid Empire (yellow), Kingdom of Pergamon (orange), and Kingdom of Macedon (green). Also shown are the Roman Republic (light blue), the Carthaginian Republic (purple), and the Kingdom of Epirus (red). Alexander’s death was so sudden that when reports of his death reached Greece, they were not immediately believed. Alexander had no obvious or legitimate heir, his son Alexander IV by Roxane being born after Alexander’s death. According to Diodorus, Alexander’s companions asked him on his deathbed to whom he bequeathed his kingdom; his laconic reply was “tôi kratistôi”-”to the strongest”. Arrian and Plutarch claimed that Alexander was speechless by this point, implying that this was an apocryphal story. Diodorus, Curtius and Justin offered the more plausible story that Alexander passed his signet ring to Perdiccas, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating him. Perdiccas initially did not claim power, instead suggesting that Roxane’s baby would be king, if male; with himself, Craterus, Leonnatus, and Antipater as guardians. However, the infantry, under the command of Meleager, rejected this arrangement since they had been excluded from the discussion. Instead, they supported Alexander’s half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. Eventually, the two sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, he and Philip III were appointed joint kings, albeit in name only. Dissension and rivalry soon afflicted the Macedonians, however. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between “The Successors” (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and Antigonid Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered. Diodorus stated that Alexander had given detailed written instructions to Craterus some time before his death. Craterus started to carry out Alexander’s commands, but the successors chose not to further implement them, on the grounds they were impractical and extravagant. Nevertheless, Perdiccas read Alexander’s will to his troops. The testament called for military expansion into the southern and western Mediterranean, monumental constructions, and the intermixing of Eastern and Western populations. Construction of a monumental tomb for his father Philip, “to match the greatest of the pyramids of Egypt”. Erection of great temples in Delos, Delphi, Dodona, Dium, Amphipolis, and a monumental temple to Athena at Troy. Conquest of Arabia and the entire Mediterranean Basin. Development of cities and the transplant of populations from Asia to Europe and in the opposite direction from Europe to Asia, in order to bring the largest continent to common unity and to friendship by means of intermarriage and family ties. Alexander earned the epithet “the Great” due to his unparalleled success as a military commander. He never lost a battle, despite typically being outnumbered. This was due to use of terrain, phalanx and cavalry tactics, bold strategy, and the fierce loyalty of his troops. The Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a spear 6 metres (20 ft) long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and maneuverability to great effect against larger but more disparate Persian forces. Alexander also recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which employed various languages and weapons. He overcame this by being personally involved in battle, in the manner of a Macedonian king. In his first battle in Asia, at Granicus, Alexander used only a small part of his forces, perhaps 13,000 infantry with 5,000 cavalry, against a much larger Persian force of 40,000. Alexander placed the phalanx at the center and cavalry and archers on the wings, so that his line matched the length of the Persian cavalry line, about 3 km (1.86 mi). By contrast, the Persian infantry was stationed behind its cavalry. This ensured that Alexander would not be outflanked, while his phalanx, armed with long pikes, had a considerable advantage over the Persian’s scimitars and javelins. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians. At Issus in 333 BC, his first confrontation with Darius, he used the same deployment, and again the central phalanx pushed through. Alexander personally led the charge in the center, routing the opposing army. At the decisive encounter with Darius at Gaugamela, Darius equipped his chariots with scythes on the wheels to break up the phalanx and equipped his cavalry with pikes. Alexander arranged a double phalanx, with the center advancing at an angle, parting when the chariots bore down and then reforming. The advance was successful and broke Darius’ center, causing the latter to flee once again. When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, Alexander adapted his forces to his opponents’ style. Thus, in Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander successfully used his javelin throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. In India, confronted by Porus’ elephant corps, the Macedonians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants and used their sarissas to strike upwards and dislodge the elephants’ handlers. Roman copy of a herma by Lysippos, Louvre Museum. Plutarch reports that sculptures by Lysippos were the most faithful. Greek biographer Plutarch c. 45-120 AD describes Alexander’s appearance as. ¹ The outward appearance of Alexander is best represented by the statues of him which Lysippus made, and it was by this artist alone that Alexander himself thought it fit that he should be modelled. ² For those peculiarities which many of his successors and friends afterwards tried to imitate, namely, the poise of the neck, which was bent slightly to the left, and the melting glance of his eyes, this artist has accurately observed. ³ Apelles, however, in painting him as wielder of the thunder-bolt, did not reproduce his complexion, but made it too dark and swarthy. Whereas he was of a fair colour, as they say, and his fairness passed into ruddiness on his breast particularly, and in his face. Moreover, that a very pleasant odour exhaled from his skin and that there was a fragrance about his mouth and all his flesh, so that his garments were filled with it, this we have read in the Memoirs of Aristoxenus. Greek historian Arrian Lucius Flavius Arrianus’Xenophon’ c. 86-160 described Alexander as. [T]he strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as the night and one blue as the sky. The semi-legendary Alexander Romance also suggests that Alexander suffered from heterochromia iridum: that one eye was dark and the other light. British historian Peter Green provided a description of Alexander’s appearance, based on his review of statues and some ancient documents. Physically, Alexander was not prepossessing. Even by Macedonian standards he was very short, though stocky and tough. His beard was scanty, and he stood out against his hirsute Macedonian barons by going clean-shaven. His neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. His eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy, feminine quality. He had a high complexion and a harsh voice. Ancient authors recorded that Alexander was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he forbade other sculptors from crafting his image. Lysippos had often used the contrapposto sculptural scheme to portray Alexander and other characters such as Apoxyomenos, Hermes and Eros. Lysippos’ sculpture, famous for its naturalism, as opposed to a stiffer, more static pose, is thought to be the most faithful depiction. Some of Alexander’s strongest personality traits formed in response to his parents. His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire. Olympias’ influence instilled a sense of destiny in him, and Plutarch tells us that his ambition “kept his spirit serious and lofty in advance of his years”. However, his father Philip was Alexander’s most immediate and influential role model, as the young Alexander watched him campaign practically every year, winning victory after victory while ignoring severe wounds. Alexander’s relationship with his father forged the competitive side of his personality; he had a need to out-do his father, illustrated by his reckless behaviour in battle. While Alexander worried that his father would leave him “no great or brilliant achievement to be displayed to the world”, he also downplayed his father’s achievements to his companions. Alexander (left), wearing a kausia and fighting an Asiatic lion with his friend Craterus (detail); late 4th century BC mosaic, Pella Museum. According to Plutarch, among Alexander’s traits were a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature, which undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions. Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond well to orders from his father, he was open to reasoned debate. He had a calmer side-perceptive, logical, and calculating. He had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader. This was no doubt in part due to Aristotle’s tutelage; Alexander was intelligent and quick to learn. His intelligent and rational side was amply demonstrated by his ability and success as a general. He had great self-restraint in “pleasures of the body”, in contrast with his lack of self control with alcohol. Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and sciences. However, he had little interest in sports or the Olympic games (unlike his father), seeking only the Homeric ideals of honour (timê) and glory (kudos). He had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader. His unique abilities were further demonstrated by the inability of any of his generals to unite Macedonia and retain the Empire after his death – only Alexander had the ability to do so. During his final years, and especially after the death of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs of megalomania and paranoia. His extraordinary achievements, coupled with his own ineffable sense of destiny and the flattery of his companions, may have combined to produce this effect. His delusions of grandeur are readily visible in his testament and in his desire to conquer the world, in as much as he is by various sources described as having boundless ambition , an epithet, the meaning of which, has descended into an historical cliché. He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. Olympias always insisted to him that he was the son of Zeus, a theory apparently confirmed to him by the oracle of Amun at Siwa. He began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon. This behaviour cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen. However, Alexander also was a pragmatic ruler who understood the difficulties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king was divine. Thus, rather than megalomania, his behaviour may simply have been a practical attempt at strengthening his rule and keeping his empire together. A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC. The couple are apparently dressed as Ares and Aphrodite. Main article: Personal relationships of Alexander the Great. Alexander married three times: Roxana, daughter of the Sogdian nobleman Oxyartes of Bactria, out of love; and the Persian princesses Stateira II and Parysatis II, the former a daughter of Darius III and latter a daughter of Artaxerxes III, for political reasons. He apparently had two sons, Alexander IV of Macedon of Roxana and, possibly, Heracles of Macedon from his mistress Barsine. He lost another child when Roxana miscarried at Babylon. Alexander also had a close relationship with his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble. Hephaestion’s death devastated Alexander. This event may have contributed to Alexander’s failing health and detached mental state during his final months. Alexander’s sexuality has been the subject of speculation and controversy. No ancient sources stated that Alexander had homosexual relationships, or that Alexander’s relationship with Hephaestion was sexual. Aelian, however, writes of Alexander’s visit to Troy where Alexander garlanded the tomb of Achilles and Hephaestion that of Patroclus, the latter riddling that he was a beloved of Alexander, in just the same way as Patroclus was of Achilles. Noting that the word eromenos (ancient Greek for beloved) does not necessarily bear sexual meaning, Alexander may have been bisexual, which in his time was not controversial. Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient sources that Alexander had much carnal interest in women; he did not produce an heir until the very end of his life. However, he was relatively young when he died, and Ogden suggests that Alexander’s matrimonial record is more impressive than his father’s at the same age. Apart from wives, Alexander had many more female companions. Alexander accumulated a harem in the style of Persian kings, but he used it rather sparingly, showing great self-control in “pleasures of the body”. Nevertheless, Plutarch described how Alexander was infatuated by Roxana while complimenting him on not forcing himself on her. Green suggested that, in the context of the period, Alexander formed quite strong friendships with women, including Ada of Caria, who adopted him, and even Darius’ mother Sisygambis, who supposedly died from grief upon hearing of Alexander’s death. Alexander’s legacy extended beyond his military conquests. His campaigns greatly increased contacts and trade between East and West, and vast areas to the east were significantly exposed to Greek civilization and influence. Some of the cities he founded became major cultural centers, many surviving into the 21st century. His chroniclers recorded valuable information about the areas through which he marched, while the Greeks themselves got a sense of belonging to a world beyond the Mediterranean. Main article: Hellenistic period. Alexander’s most immediate legacy was the introduction of Macedonian rule to huge new swathes of Asia. At the time of his death, Alexander’s empire covered some 5,200,000 km. (2,000,000 sq mi), and was the largest state of its time. Many of these areas remained in Macedonian hands or under Greek influence for the next 200-300 years. The successor states that emerged were, at least initially, dominant forces, and these 300 years are often referred to as the Hellenistic period. Plan of Alexandria c. The eastern borders of Alexander’s empire began to collapse even during his lifetime. However, the power vacuum he left in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent directly gave rise to one of the most powerful Indian dynasties in history, the Maurya Empire. Taking advantage of this power vacuum, Chandragupta Maurya (referred to in Greek sources as “Sandrokottos”), of relatively humble origin, took control of the Punjab, and with that power base proceeded to conquer the Nanda Empire. Over the course of his conquests, Alexander founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most of them east of the Tigris. The first, and greatest, was Alexandria in Egypt, which would become one of the leading Mediterranean cities. The cities’ locations reflected trade routes as well as defensive positions. At first, the cities must have been inhospitable, little more than defensive garrisons. Following Alexander’s death, many Greeks who had settled there tried to return to Greece. However, a century or so after Alexander’s death, many of the Alexandrias were thriving, with elaborate public buildings and substantial populations that included both Greek and local peoples. Main article: Hellenistic civilization. Alexander’s empire was the largest state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 million square km. Hellenization was coined by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen to denote the spread of Greek language, culture, and population into the former Persian empire after Alexander’s conquest. That this export took place is undoubted, and can be seen in the great Hellenistic cities of, for instance, Alexandria, Antioch and Seleucia (south of modern Baghdad). Alexander sought to insert Greek elements into Persian culture and attempted to hybridize Greek and Persian culture. This culminated in his aspiration to homogenize the populations of Asia and Europe. However, his successors explicitly rejected such policies. Nevertheless, Hellenization occurred throughout the region, accompanied by a distinct and opposite’Orientalization’ of the successor states. The core of the Hellenistic culture promulgated by the conquests was essentially Athenian. The close association of men from across Greece in Alexander’s army directly led to the emergence of the largely Attic-based “koine”, or “common” Greek dialect. Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic world, becoming the lingua franca of Hellenistic lands and eventually the ancestor of modern Greek. Furthermore, town planning, education, local government, and art current in the Hellenistic period were all based on Classical Greek ideals, evolving into distinct new forms commonly grouped as Hellenistic. Aspects of Hellenistic culture were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist style, 1st-2nd century AD, Gandhara, ancient India. Some of the most pronounced effects of Hellenization can be seen in Afghanistan and India, in the region of the relatively late-rising Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (250 BC-125 BC) (in modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) and the Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BC – 10 CE) in modern Afghanistan and India. There on the newly formed Silk Road Greek culture apparently hybridized with Indian, and especially Buddhist culture. The resulting syncretism known as Greco-Buddhism heavily influenced the development of Buddhism and created a culture of Greco-Buddhist art. These Greco-Buddhist kingdoms sent some of the first Buddhist missionaries to China, Sri Lanka, and the Mediterranean (Greco-Buddhist monasticism). Some of the first and most influential figurative portrayals of the Buddha appeared at this time, perhaps modeled on Greek statues of Apollo in the Greco-Buddhist style. Several Buddhist traditions may have been influenced by the ancient Greek religion: the concept of Boddhisatvas is reminiscent of Greek divine heroes, and some Mahayana ceremonial practices (burning incense, gifts of flowers, and food placed on altars) are similar to those practiced by the ancient Greeks; however, similar practices were also observed amongst the native Indic culture. One Greek king, Menander I, probably became Buddhist, and was immortalized in Buddhist literature as’Milinda’. The process of Hellenization also spurred trade between the east and west. For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to the 3rd century BC were found in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai Khanoum in modern-day Afghanistan, while the Greek concept of a spherical earth surrounded by the spheres of planets eventually supplanted the long-standing Indian cosmological belief of a disc consisting of four continents grouped around a central mountain (Mount Meru) like the petals of a flower. Greek astronomical treatise and Paulisa Siddhanta texts depict the influence of Greek astronomical ideas on Indian astronomy. This medallion was produced in Imperial Rome, demonstrating the influence of Alexander’s memory. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements. Polybius began his Histories by reminding Romans of Alexander’s achievements, and thereafter Roman leaders saw him as a role model. Pompey the Great adopted the epithet “Magnus” and even Alexander’s anastole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander’s 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness. Julius Caesar dedicated a Lysippean equestrian bronze statue but replaced Alexander’s head with his own, while Octavian visited Alexander’s tomb in Alexandria and temporarily changed his seal from a sphinx to Alexander’s profile. The emperor Trajan also admired Alexander, as did Nero and Caracalla. The Macriani, a Roman family that in the person of Macrinus briefly ascended to the imperial throne, kept images of Alexander on their persons, either on jewelry, or embroidered into their clothes. The Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius reigned c. 200-180 BC, wearing an elephant scalp, took over Alexander’s legacy in the east by again invading India, and establishing the Indo-Greek kingdom (180 BC-10 AD). On the other hand, some Roman writers, particularly Republican figures, used Alexander as a cautionary tale of how autocratic tendencies can be kept in check by republican values. Alexander was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as amicita (friendship) and clementia (clemency), but also iracundia (anger) and cupiditas gloriae (over-desire for glory). Main article: Alexander the Great in legend. Legendary accounts surround the life of Alexander the Great, many deriving from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander himself. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing shortly after Alexander’s death, another participant, Onesicritus, invented a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons. When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander’s general and later King Lysimachus reportedly quipped, I wonder where I was at the time. In the first centuries after Alexander’s death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the legendary material coalesced into a text known as the Alexander Romance , later falsely ascribed to Callisthenes and therefore known as Pseudo-Callisthenes. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, containing many dubious stories, and was translated into numerous languages. In ancient and modern culture. Main articles: Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great and Alexander the Great in the Quran. Alexander the Great depicted in a 14th-century Byzantine manuscript Alexander the Great depicted in a 15th-century Persian miniature painting. Alexander the Great’s accomplishments and legacy have been depicted in many cultures. Alexander has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day. The Alexander Romance , in particular, has had a significant impact on portrayals of Alexander in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to modern Greek. Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so than any other ancient figure. The colloquial form of his name in modern Greek (“O Megalexandros”) is a household name, and he is the only ancient hero to appear in the Karagiozis shadow play. ” The correct answer is “He is alive and well and rules the world! Causing the mermaid to vanish and the sea to calm. In pre-Islamic Middle Persian (Zoroastrian) literature, Alexander is referred to by the epithet gujastak , meaning “accursed”, and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. In Islamic Iran, under the influence of the Alexander Romance (in Persian: Iskandarnamah), a more positive portrayal of Alexander emerges. Firdausi’s Shahnameh (“The Book of Kings”) includes Alexander in a line of legitimate Iranian shahs, a mythical figure who explored the far reaches of the world in search of the Fountain of Youth. Later Persian writers associate him with philosophy, portraying him at a symposium with figures such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, in search of immortality. The Syriac version of the Alexander Romance portrays him as an ideal Christian world conqueror who prayed to “the one true God”. In Egypt, Alexander was portrayed as the son of Nectanebo II, the last pharaoh before the Persian conquest. His defeat of Darius was depicted as Egypt’s salvation, “proving” Egypt was still ruled by an Egyptian. According to Josephus, Alexander was shown the Book of Daniel when he entered Jerusalem, which described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Persian Empire. This is cited as a reason for sparing Jerusalem. The figure of Dhul-Qarnayn (literally “the Two-Horned One”) mentioned in the Quran is believed by some scholars to represent Alexander, due to parallels with the Alexander Romance. In this tradition, he was a heroic figure who built a wall to defend against the nations of Gog and Magog. He then travelled the known world in search of the Water of Life and Immortality, eventually becoming a prophet. In Hindi and Urdu, the name “Sikandar”, derived from Persian, denotes a rising young talent. In medieval Europe he was made a member of the Nine Worthies, a group of heroes who encapsulated all the ideal qualities of chivalry. Main article: Alexander the Great in historiography. Apart from a few inscriptions and fragments, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gathered information from men who served with Alexander were all lost. Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life included Alexander’s campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander’s generals Ptolemy and Nearchus; Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander’s chief helmsman. Their works are lost, but later works based on these original sources have survived. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid-to-late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st to 2nd century AD), and finally Justin, whose work dated as late as the 4th century. Of these, Arrian is generally considered the most reliable, given that he used Ptolemy and Aristobulus as his sources, closely followed by Diodorus. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. Whether your goal is to collect or give the item as a gift, coins presented like this could be more prized and valued higher than items that were not given such care and attention to. When should I leave feedback? Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens sometimes that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for their order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. How and where do I learn more about collecting ancient coins? Visit the “Guide on How to Use My Store”. For on an overview about using my store, with additional information and links to all other parts of my store which may include educational information on topics you are looking for. The item “ALEXANDER the Great BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek Coin Roman Macedonia Koinon i64762″ is in sale since Thursday, October 19, 2017. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Greek (450 BC-100 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Culture: Greek

Aug 31 2018

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring

Authentic Ancient 4th Century AD, about 1700 years Old! Coin of the First Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Set in a 925 Solid Sterling Silver Ring. The Ring’s Size is US 11.5. The coin minted in Lyons, 330 AD (during the lifetime of Constantine the Great). Please take a look at the photos the actual ring pictured. Thank you for looking. To celebrate the establishment of the new capital, Constantinople, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor, issued a bronze coin to honor Rome, the old capital. The coin`s obverse legend reads URBS ROMA (city of Rome), while its reverse shows the she-wolf and twins which recalls Rome`s founding story. Constantine the Great Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: ; 27 February c. 272 AD 22 May 337 AD, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. 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 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiersthe Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatianseven resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. Constantine is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. The item “Ancient Roman She Wolf & Twins Constantine the Great Coin 925 Silver Ring” is in sale since Monday, August 20, 2018. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “sport_authority” and is located in Orlando, Florida. This item can be shipped worldwide.

Aug 23 2018

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

CONSTANTINE I the GREAT 330AD Romulus Remus WOLF Ancient Roman Coin NGC i68936

Item: i68936 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Constantine I’The Great. Rome’s Founding by Romulus & Remus Commemorative. Bronze AE3 15mm Thessalonica mint, struck circa 330-335 A. Reference: RIC VII 229 VRBS ROMA, helmeted, mantled bust of Roma left. She-Wolf ” Lupa Romana” standing left, suckling Rome’s founders, the twins Romulus and Remus; two stars above; on she wolf’s back, SMTS in exergue. By circa 330 A. Constantine the Great completed his new capital for the Roman empire and called it Constantinople after himself, originally the ancient Greek city named Byzantium. Constantinople lay in a strategically imporant location and could be considered the continuation of the Roman empire in the east until about 1453 A. When it fell to the Ottoman Turks. For this momentous occasion, he issued two coin types commemorating this event, with one celebrating Rome and the other Constantinople. The type that commemorated Rome. Had the personification of Rome, Roma with the inscription VRBS ROMA and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus on the reverse suckling the mythical she-wolf. The type that commemorated Constantinople. Had the personification of Constantinople on the obverse and Victory on a galley sailing with a shield. This was a great way for Constantine the Great to pay homage to both Rome and Constantinople as now the Roman empire had two official capitals. Read the Constantine the Great Ancient Roman Coins Guide. To learn more about his coins. Romulus and Remus are Rome’s twin founders in its traditional foundation myth. They are descendants of the Trojan prince and refugee Aeneas, and are fathered by the god Mars or the demi-god Hercules on a royal Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia, whose uncle exposes them to die in the wild. They are found by a she-wolf who suckles and cares for them. The twins are eventually restored to their regal birthright, acquire many followers and decide to found a new city. Romulus wishes to build the new city on the Palatine Hill; Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. They agree to determine the site through augury. Romulus appears to receive the more favourable signs but each claims the results in his favour. In the disputes that follow, Remus is killed. Ovid has Romulus invent the festival of Lemuria to appease Remus’ resentful ghost. Romulus names the new city Rome, after himself, and goes on to create the Roman Legions and the Roman Senate. He adds citizens to his new city by abducting the women of the neighboring Sabine tribes, which results in the combination of Sabines and Romans as one Roman people. Rome rapidly expands to become a dominant force, due to divine favour and the inspired administrative, military and political leadership of Romulus. In later life Romulus becomes increasingly autocratic, disappears in mysterious circumstances and is deified as the god Quirinus, the divine persona of the Roman people. The legend of Romulus and Remus encapsulates Rome’s ideas of itself, its origins, moral values and purpose: it has also been described as one of the most problematic of all foundation myths. Romulus’ name is thought to be a back-formation from the name Rome; Remus’ is a matter for ancient and modern speculation. The main sources for the legend approach it as history and offer an implausibly exact chronology: Roman historians dated the city’s foundation variously from 758 to 728 BC. Plutarch says Romulus was fifty-three at his death; which reckoning gives the twins’ birth year as c. Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and much disputed. Romulus and Remus are eminent among the feral children of ancient mythography. Caesar (Recognized): 306-309 A. Constantina wife of Hanniballianus. And Helena the Younger wife of Julian II. Constantine the Great Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus ; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. 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 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus , senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers-the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians-even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. Constantine is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. Constantine was a ruler of major historical importance, and he has always been a controversial figure. The fluctuations in Constantine’s reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and detailed, but have been strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period, and are often one-sided. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine’s life and rule. The nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea’s Vita Constantini , a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. Written between 335 AD and circa 339 AD, the Vita extols Constantine’s moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters. Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum , a political Christian pamphlet on the reigns of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, provides valuable but tendentious detail on Constantine’s predecessors and early life. The ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret describe the ecclesiastic disputes of Constantine’s later reign. Written during the reign of Theodosius II (408-50 AD), a century after Constantine’s reign, these ecclesiastic historians obscure the events and theologies of the Constantinian period through misdirection, misrepresentation and deliberate obscurity. The contemporary writings of the orthodox Christian Athanasius and the ecclesiastical history of the Arian Philostorgius also survive, though their biases are no less firm. The epitomes of Aurelius Victor (De Caesaribus), Eutropius (Breviarium), Festus (Breviarium), and the anonymous author of the Epitome de Caesaribus offer compressed secular political and military histories of the period. Although not Christian, the epitomes paint a favorable image of Constantine, but omit reference to Constantine’s religious policies. The Panegyrici Latini , a collection of panegyrics from the late third and early fourth centuries, provide valuable information on the politics and ideology of the tetrarchic period and the early life of Constantine. Contemporary architecture, such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome and palaces in Gamzigrad and Córdoba, epigraphic remains, and the coinage of the era complement the literary sources. Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, (today Ni, Serbia) part of the Dardania province of Moesia on 27 February, probably c. His father was Flavius Constantius, an Illyrian, and a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis). Constantine probably spent little time with his father who was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard. Being described as a tolerant and politically skilled man, Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian, another of Aurelian’s companions from Illyricum, in 284 or 285. Constantine’s mother was Helena, possibly a Bithynian woman of low social standing. It is uncertain whether she was legally married to Constantius or merely his concubine. It is unclear if Constantine could speak Thracian, his main language being Latin, and during his public speeches he needed Greek translators. Constantine’s parents and siblings, the dates in square brackets indicate the possession of minor titles. In July 285 AD, Diocletian declared Maximian, another colleague from Illyricum, his co-emperor. Each emperor would have his own court, his own military and administrative faculties, and each would rule with a separate praetorian prefect as chief lieutenant. Maximian ruled in the West, from his capitals at Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) or Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), while Diocletian ruled in the East, from Nicomedia (zmit, Turkey). The division was merely pragmatic: the Empire was called “indivisible” in official panegyric, and both emperors could move freely throughout the Empire. In 288, Maximian appointed Constantius to serve as his praetorian prefect in Gaul. Constantius left Helena to marry Maximian’s stepdaughter Theodora in 288 or 289. Diocletian divided the Empire again in 293 AD, appointing two Caesars (junior emperors) to rule over further subdivisions of East and West. Each would be subordinate to their respective Augustus (senior emperor) but would act with supreme authority in his assigned lands. This system would later be called the Tetrarchy. Diocletian’s first appointee for the office of Caesar was Constantius; his second was Galerius, a native of Felix Romuliana. According to Lactantius, Galerius was a brutal, animalistic man. Although he shared the paganism of Rome’s aristocracy, he seemed to them an alien figure, a semi-barbarian. On 1 March, Constantius was promoted to the office of Caesar, and dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels Carausius and Allectus. In spite of meritocratic overtones, the Tetrarchy retained vestiges of hereditary privilege, and Constantine became the prime candidate for future appointment as Caesar as soon as his father took the position. Constantine went to the court of Diocletian, where he lived as his father’s heir presumptive. Head from a statue of Diocletian, Augustus of the East. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian’s court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius-none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted their colleagues-Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius’s best behavior. Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296 AD, and fought the Persians under Diocletian in Syria (297 AD) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298-299 AD). By late 305 AD, he had become a tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi. In late 302, Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. On 23 February 303 AD, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia’s new church, condemned its scriptures to the flames, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned. It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent of Diocletian’s “sanguinary edicts” against the “worshippers of God”, but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability throughout his life. On 1 May 305 AD, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304-305 AD, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius’ allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian’s resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian’s son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximinus Daia, Galerius’ nephew, were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine’s life in the months following Diocletian’s abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and wars. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius’s court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305 AD, Constantius requested leave for his son to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine’s later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul, at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305 AD. Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father’s side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius’s campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus, a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius’ memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father’s domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius’s death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested recognition as heir to his father’s throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had “forced it upon him”. Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine’s claims would mean certain war. Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title “Caesar” rather than “Augustus” (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor’s traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision, knowing that it would remove doubts as to his legitimacy. Constantine’s share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, driving back the tribes of the Picts and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father’s rule, and ordered the repair of the region’s roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The Franks, after learning of Constantine’s acclamation, invaded Gaul across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306-307 AD. Constantine drove them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of Trier’s amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed. Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by Constantine. More than 100 metres (328 ft) wide by 200 metres (656 ft) long, and capable of serving several thousands at a time, the baths were built to rival those of Rome. Constantine began a major expansion of Trier. He strengthened the circuit wall around the city with military towers and fortified gates, and began building a palace complex in the northeastern part of the city. To the south of his palace, he ordered the construction of a large formal audience hall, and a massive imperial bathhouse. Constantine sponsored many building projects across Gaul during his tenure as emperor of the West, especially in Augustodunum (Autun) and Arelate (Arles). According to Lactantius, Constantine followed his father in following a tolerant policy towards Christianity. Although not yet a Christian, he probably judged it a more sensible policy than open persecution, and a way to distinguish himself from the “great persecutor”, Galerius. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father’s reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father’s deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine’s military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a “renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign”. Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the “barbarians” beyond the frontiers. After Constantine’s victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen-”The Alemanni conquered”-beneath the phrase “Romans’ rejoicing”. There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. Dresden bust of Maxentius. Following Galerius’ recognition of Constantine as caesar, Constantine’s portrait was brought to Rome, as was customary. Maxentius mocked the portrait’s subject as the son of a harlot, and lamented his own powerlessness. Maxentius, envious of Constantine’s authority, seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306 AD. Galerius refused to recognize him, but failed to unseat him. Galerius sent Severus against Maxentius, but during the campaign, Severus’ armies, previously under command of Maxentius’ father Maximian, defected, and Severus was seized and imprisoned. Maximian, brought out of retirement by his son’s rebellion, left for Gaul to confer with Constantine in late 307 AD. He offered to marry his daughter Fausta to Constantine, and elevate him to Augustan rank. In return, Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and offer support to Maxentius’ cause in Italy. Constantine accepted, and married Fausta in Trier in late summer 307 AD. Constantine now gave Maxentius his meagre support, offering Maxentius political recognition. Constantine remained aloof from the Italian conflict, however. Over the spring and summer of 307 AD, he had left Gaul for Britain to avoid any involvement in the Italian turmoil; now, instead of giving Maxentius military aid, he sent his troops against Germanic tribes along the Rhine. In 308 AD, he raided the territory of the Bructeri, and made a bridge across the Rhine at Colonia Agrippinensium (Cologne). In 310 AD, he marched to the northern Rhine and fought the Franks. When not campaigning, he toured his lands advertising his benevolence, and supporting the economy and the arts. His refusal to participate in the war increased his popularity among his people, and strengthened his power base in the West. On 11 November 308 AD, Galerius called a general council at the military city of Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria) to resolve the instability in the western provinces. Maximian was forced to abdicate again and Constantine was again demoted to Caesar. Licinius, one of Galerius’ old military companions, was appointed Augustus in the western regions. The new system did not last long: Constantine refused to accept the demotion, and continued to style himself as Augustus on his coinage, even as other members of the Tetrarchy referred to him as a Caesar on theirs. Maximinus Daia was frustrated that he had been passed over for promotion while the newcomer Licinius had been raised to the office of Augustus, and demanded that Galerius promote him. Galerius offered to call both Maximinus and Constantine “sons of the Augusti”, but neither accepted the new title. By the spring of 310 AD, Galerius was referring to both men as Augusti. In 310 AD, a dispossessed Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine’s army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine’s army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310 AD, Maximian hanged himself. In spite of the earlier rupture in their relations, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father’s devoted son after his death. He began minting coins with his father’s deified image, proclaiming his desire to avenge Maximian’s death. Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 311 AD, however, he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. Along with using propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine’s public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy. In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 310 AD, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II, a 3rd Century emperor famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine’s ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine’s right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: “No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor, ” the orator declares to Constantine. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted “rule of the whole world”, as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration’s religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine’s coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 AD on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally identified with Apollo. There is little reason to believe that either the dynastic connection or the divine vision are anything other than fiction, but their proclamation strengthened Constantine’s claims to legitimacy and increased his popularity among the citizens of Gaul. See also: Civil wars of the Tetrarchy. By the middle of 310 AD, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311 AD, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict’s proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximinus mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius. Maxentius’ rule was nevertheless insecure. By 312 AD, he was a man barely tolerated, not one actively supported, even among Christian Italians. In the summer of 311 AD, Maxentius mobilized against Constantine while Licinius was occupied with affairs in the East. He declared war on Constantine, vowing to avenge his father’s “murder”. To prevent Maxentius from forming an alliance against him with Licinius, Constantine forged his own alliance with Licinius over the winter of 311-312 AD, and offered him his sister Constantia in marriage. Maximin considered Constantine’s arrangement with Licinius an affront to his authority. According to Eusebius, inter-regional travel became impossible, and there was military buildup everywhere. There was “not a place where people were not expecting the onset of hostilities every day”. Constantine’s advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312 AD, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine’s army encircled Maxentius’ cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers’ iron-tipped clubs. Constantine’s armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius’ retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312 AD, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia’s army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona, where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius’ praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine’s expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine’s forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia, Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna. The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome’s praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region’s support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius’ support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312 AD, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, “the enemy of the Romans” would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. The description from 28th October 312,’A cross centered on the Sun fits with modern-day photographs of Sun dogs. Constantine and his army adopt the Greek letters for Christ’s initials: Chi Rho. Further information: Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano. Maxentius organized his forces-still twice the size of Constantine’s-in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine’s army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers’ shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers… By means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields. ” Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer”; in Eusebius’s account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum , for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi traversed by Rho : , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 AD a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho , and coins issued at Siscia in 317/318 AD repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius’ line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius’ cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius’ infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius’ troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius’ horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. Colossal head of Constantine, from a seated statue: a youthful, classicising, other-worldly official image (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Constantine entered Rome on 29 October 312. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius’ body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, Maxentius’ disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this, Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius’ supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him “title of the first name”, which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as “the greatest Augustus”. He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius’ imprisoned opponents. An extensive propaganda campaign followed, during which Maxentius’ image was systematically purged from all public places. Maxentius was written up as a “tyrant”, and set against an idealized image of the “liberator”, Constantine. Eusebius, in his later works, is the best representative of this strand of Constantinian propaganda. Maxentius’ rescripts were declared invalid, and the honors Maxentius had granted to leaders of the Senate were invalidated. Constantine also attempted to remove Maxentius’ influence on Rome’s urban landscape. All structures built by Maxentius were re-dedicated to Constantine, including the Temple of Romulus and the Basilica of Maxentius. At the focal point of the basilica, a stone statue of Constantine holding the Christian labarum in its hand was erected. Its inscription bore the message the statue had already made clear: By this sign Constantine had freed Rome from the yoke of the tyrant. Where he did not overwrite Maxentius’ achievements, Constantine upstaged them: the Circus Maximus was redeveloped so that its total seating capacity was twenty-five times larger than that of Maxentius’ racing complex on the Via Appia. Maxentius’ strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. The tombstones of the Imperial Horse Guard were ground up and put to use in a basilica on the Via Labicana. On November 9, 312 AD, barely two weeks after Constantine captured the city, the former base of the Imperial Horse Guard was chosen for redevelopment into the Lateran Basilica. The Legio II Parthica was removed from Alba (Albano Laziale), and the remainder of Maxentius’ armies were sent to do frontier duty on the Rhine. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine’s half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan, officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian’s persecution. It repudiates past methods of religious coercion and used only general terms to refer to the divine sphere-”Divinity” and “Supreme Divinity”, summa divinitas. The conference was cut short, however, when news reached Licinius that his rival Maximin had crossed the Bosporus and invaded European territory. Licinius departed and eventually defeated Maximin, gaining control over the entire eastern half of the Roman Empire. Relations between the two remaining emperors deteriorated, as Constantine suffered an assassination attempt at the hands of a character that Licinius wanted elevated to the rank of Caesar; Licinius, for his part had Constantine’s statues in Emona destroyed. In either 314 or 316 the two Augusti fought against one another at the Battle of Cibalae, with Constantine being victorious. They clashed again at the Battle of Mardia in 317, and agreed to a settlement in which Constantine’s sons Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius’ son Licinianus were made caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia and took residence at Sirmium, whence he could wage war on the Goths and Sarmatians in 322, and on the Goths in 323. In the year 320, Licinius allegedly reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders. Although this characterization of Licinius as anti-Christian is somewhat doubtful, the fact is that he seems to have been far less open in his support of Christianity than Constantine. Therefore, Licinius was prone to see the Church as a force more loyal to Constantine than to the Imperial system in general – the explanation offered by the Church historian Sozomen. This dubious arrangement eventually became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries, represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine’s army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus, the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont, and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius’s son (the son of Constantine’s half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople. Licinius’ defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire. Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia), as he was reported saying that ” Serdica is my Rome “. Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium, which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was thus founded in 324, dedicated on 11 May 330 and renamed Constantinopolis (“Constantine’s City” or Constantinople in English). Special commemorative coins were issued in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy relics, though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the’old’ Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana , the “New Rome of Constantinople”. Further information: Constantine I and Christianity, Constantine I and paganism, and Constantine the Great and Judaism. Constantine the Great , mosaic in Hagia Sophia, c. Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practise their religion but did not restore any property to them. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine possibly retained the title of pontifex maximus , a title emperors bore as heads of the ancient Roman religion priesthood until Gratian r. 375-383 renounced the title. According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy e. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica. Apparently Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt. In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens. In the year 323, he issued a decree banning Christians from participating in state sacrifices Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, as well on the coin itself. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e. Most notably the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. His influence over the early Church councils was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity; what proper worship and doctrines and dogma consisted of was for the Church to determine, in the hands of the participating bishops. Most notably, from 313 to 316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire. Constantine made some new laws regarding the Jews, but while some of his edicts were unfavorable towards Jews, they were not harsher than those of his predecessors. It was made illegal for Jews to seek converts or to attack other Jews who had converted to Christianity. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. On the other hand, Jewish clergy were given the same exemptions as Christian clergy. Head of Constantine’s colossal statue at the Capitoline Museums. The original statue of marble was acrolithic with the torso consisting of a cuirass in bronze. Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues-following a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors, however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, degrading the equestrian order -at least as a bureaucratic rank -in the process, so that by the end of the 4th century the title of perfectissimus was granted only to mid-low officials. By the new Constantinian arrangement, one could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors, in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). In one inscription in honor of city prefect (336-337) Ceionius Rufus Albinus, it was written that Constantine had restored the Senate “the auctoritas it had lost at Caesar’s time”. The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule; however, such an interpretation remains conjectural, given the fact that we do not have the precise numbers about pre-Constantine conversions to Christianity in the old senatorial milieu-some historians suggesting that early conversions among the old aristocracy were more numerous than previously supposed. Constantine’s reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine’s children. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic “pure” silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces-the solidus, 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine’s later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this bullion minting eventually ceased, de jure , in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis. These bronze pieces continued to be devalued, assuring the possibility of keeping fiduciary minting alongside a gold standard. The anonymous author of the possibly contemporary treatise on military affairs De Rebus Bellicis held that, as a consequence of this monetary policy, the rift between classes widened: the rich benefited from the stability in purchasing power of the gold piece, while the poor had to cope with ever-degrading bronze pieces. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine’s monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscation-taken since 331 and closed in 336-of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate minting-with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Executions of Crispus and Fausta. On some date between 15 May and 17 June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by “cold poison” at Pola (Pula, Croatia). In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of both was condemned. Eusebius, for example, edited praise of Crispus out of later copies of his Historia Ecclesiastica , and his Vita Constantini contains no mention of Fausta or Crispus at all. Few ancient sources are willing to discuss possible motives for the events; those few that do, offer unconvincing rationales, are of later provenance, and are generally unreliable. At the time of the executions, it was commonly believed that the Empress Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect. A popular myth arose, modified to allude to Hippolytus-Phaedra legend, with the suggestion that Constantine killed Crispus and Fausta for their immoralities. One source, the largely fictional Passion of Artemius , probably penned in the eighth century by John of Damascus, makes the legendary connection explicit. As an interpretation of the executions, the myth rests on only “the slimmest of evidence”: sources that allude to the relationship between Crispus and Fausta are late and unreliable, and the modern suggestion that Constantine’s “godly” edicts of 326 and the irregularities of Crispus are somehow connected rests on no evidence at all. Although Constantine created his apparent heirs “Caesars”, following a pattern established by Diocletian, he gave his creations a hereditary character, alien to the tetrarchic system: Constantine’s Caesars were to be kept in the hope of ascending to Empire, and entirely subordinated to their Augustus, as long as he was alive. Therefore, an alternative explanation for the execution of Crispus was, perhaps, Constantine’s desire to keep a firm grip on his prospective heirs, this-and Fausta’s desire for having her sons inheriting instead of their half-brother-being reason enough for killing Crispus; the subsequent execution of Fausta, however, was probably meant as a reminder to her children that Constantine would not hesitate in “killing his own relatives when he felt this was necessary”. The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine’s conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple). Constantine considered Constantinople his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan’s bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia, a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. In the last years of his life Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of Persia, Shapur, Constantine had asserted his patronage over Persia’s Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat them well. The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern frontier in 335. In 336, prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia himself. He treated the war as a Christian crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats came to Constantinople over the winter of 336-337, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. The campaign was called off, however, when Constantine became sick in the spring of 337. The Baptism of Constantine , as imagined by students of Raphael. Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia (present-day Gulf of zmit). There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337. The Constantinian dynasty down to Gratian r. Although Constantine’s death follows the conclusion of the Persian campaign in Eusebius’s account, most other sources report his death as occurring in its middle. Emperor Julian (a nephew of Constantine), writing in the mid-350s, observes that the Sassanians escaped punishment for their ill-deeds, because Constantine died “in the middle of his preparations for war”. Similar accounts are given in the Origo Constantini , an anonymous document composed while Constantine was still living, and which has Constantine dying in Nicomedia; the Historiae abbreviatae of Sextus Aurelius Victor, written in 361, which has Constantine dying at an estate near Nicomedia called Achyrona while marching against the Persians; and the Breviarium of Eutropius, a handbook compiled in 369 for the Emperor Valens, which has Constantine dying in a nameless state villa in Nicomedia. From these and other accounts, some have concluded that Eusebius’s Vita was edited to defend Constantine’s reputation against what Eusebius saw as a less congenial version of the campaign. Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of Emperor Julian. Bronze head of Constantine, from a colossal statue (4th century). Although he earned his honorific of “The Great” from Christian historians long after he had died, he could have claimed the title on his military achievements and victories alone. Besides reuniting the Empire under one emperor, Constantine won major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306-308, the Franks again in 313-314, the Goths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. By 336, Constantine had reoccupied most of the long-lost province of Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 271. At the time of his death, he was planning a great expedition to end raids on the eastern provinces from the Persian Empire. Serving for a total of almost 31 years (combining his years as co-ruler and sole ruler), he was also the longest serving emperor since Augustus and the second longest serving emperor in Roman history. In the cultural sphere Constantine contributed to the revival of the clean shaven face fashion of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Trajan, which was originally introduced among the Romans by Scipio Africanus. This new Roman imperial fashion lasted until the reign of Phocas. The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a “new Constantine”. Ten emperors, including the last emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, carried the name. Monumental Constantinian forms were used at the court of Charlemagne to suggest that he was Constantine’s successor and equal. Constantine acquired a mythic role as a warrior against “heathens”. The motif of the Romanesque equestrian, the mounted figure in the posture of a triumphant Roman emperor, became a visual metaphor in statuary in praise of local benefactors. The name “Constantine” itself enjoyed renewed popularity in western France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Orthodox Church considers Constantine a saint (, Saint Constantine), having a feast day on 3 September, and calls him isapostolos -an equal of the Apostles. The Ni Airport is named “Constantine the Great” in honor of him. A large Cross was planned to be built on a hill overlooking Ni, but the project was cancelled. In 2012, a memorial was erected in Ni in his honor. The Commemoration of the Edict of Milan was held in Ni in 2013. During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Pagans such as Praxagoras of Athens and Libanius showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew (and son-in-law) Julian the Apostate wrote the satire Symposium, or the Saturnalia , which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed. Following Julian, Eunapius began-and Zosimus continued-a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to the Christians. Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622. In both medieval East and West, Constantine was presented as an ideal ruler, the standard against which any king or emperor could be measured. The Renaissance rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources prompted a re-evaluation of Constantine’s career. The German humanist Johann Löwenklau, discoverer of Zosimus’ writings, published a Latin translation thereof in 1576. In its preface, he argued that Zosimus’ picture of Constantine was superior to that offered by Eusebius and the Church historians, offered a more balanced view. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a man of the Counter-Reformation, criticized Zosimus, favoring Eusebius’ account of the Constantinian era. Baronius’ Life of Constantine (1588) presents Constantine as the model of a Christian prince. For his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89), Edward Gibbon, aiming to unite the two extremes of Constantinian scholarship, offered a portrait of Constantine built on the contrasted narratives of Eusebius and Zosimus. In a form that parallels his account of the empire’s decline, Gibbon presents a noble war hero corrupted by Christian influences, who transforms into an Oriental despot in his old age: a hero… Degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch. Modern interpretations of Constantine’s rule begin with Jacob Burckhardt’s The Age of Constantine the Great 1853, rev. Burckhardt’s Constantine is a scheming secularist, a politician who manipulates all parties in a quest to secure his own power. Henri Grégoire, writing in the 1930s, followed Burckhardt’s evaluation of Constantine. For Grégoire, Constantine developed an interest in Christianity only after witnessing its political usefulness. Grégoire was skeptical of the authenticity of Eusebius’ Vita , and postulated a pseudo-Eusebius to assume responsibility for the vision and conversion narratives of that work. Otto Seeck, in Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt (1920-23), and André Piganiol, in L’empereur Constantin (1932), wrote against this historiographic tradition. Seeck presented Constantine as a sincere war hero, whose ambiguities were the product of his own naïve inconsistency. Piganiol’s Constantine is a philosophical monotheist, a child of his era’s religious syncretism. Related histories by A. Jones (Constantine and the Conversion of Europe , 1949) and Ramsay MacMullen (Constantine , 1969) gave portraits of a less visionary, and more impulsive, Constantine. These later accounts were more willing to present Constantine as a genuine convert to Christianity. Beginning with Norman H. Baynes’ Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) and reinforced by Andreas Alföldi’s The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), a historiographic tradition developed which presented Constantine as a committed Christian. Barnes’s seminal Constantine and Eusebius (1981) represents the culmination of this trend. Barnes’ Constantine experienced a radical conversion, which drove him on a personal crusade to convert his empire. Charles Matson Odahl’s recent Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004) takes much the same tack. In spite of Barnes’ work, arguments over the strength and depth of Constantine’s religious conversion continue. Certain themes in this school reached new extremes in T. Elliott’s The Christianity of Constantine the Great (1996), which presented Constantine as a committed Christian from early childhood. A similar view of Constantine is held in Paul Veyne’s recent (2007) work, Quand notre monde est devenu chrétien , which does not speculate on the origins of Constantine’s Christian motivation, but presents him, in his role as Emperor, as a religious revolutionary who fervently believed himself meant “to play a providential role in the millenary economy of the salvation of humanity”. Main article: Donation of Constantine. Latin Rite Catholics considered it inappropriate that Constantine was baptized only on his death-bed and by an unorthodox bishop, as it undermined the authority of the Papacy. Hence, by the early fourth century, a legend had emerged that Pope Sylvester I (314-335) had cured the pagan emperor from leprosy. According to this legend, Constantine was soon baptized, and began the construction of a church in the Lateran Palace. In the eighth century, most likely during the pontificate of Stephen II (752-757), a document called the Donation of Constantine first appeared, in which the freshly converted Constantine hands the temporal rule over “the city of Rome and all the provinces, districts, and cities of Italy and the Western regions” to Sylvester and his successors. In the High Middle Ages, this document was used and accepted as the basis for the Pope’s temporal power, though it was denounced as a forgery by Emperor Otto III and lamented as the root of papal worldliness by the poet Dante Alighieri. The 15th century philologist Lorenzo Valla proved the document was indeed a forgery. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia. During the medieval period, Britons regarded Constantine as a king of their own people, particularly associating him with Caernarfon in Gwynedd. While some of this is owed to his fame and his proclamation as Emperor in Britain, there was also confusion of his family with Magnus Maximus’s supposed wife Saint Elen and her son, another Constantine (Welsh: Custennin). In the 12th century Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that the emperor Constantine’s mother was a Briton, making her the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae , an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole’s daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess. Henry’s source for the story is unknown, though it may have been a lost hagiography of Helena. Documentaries of Constantine include: PBS’ “From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians” Chapter 12 and Hector Galan’s “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine” Episode 6 Constantine. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. Whether your goal is to collect or give the item as a gift, coins presented like this could be more prized and valued higher than items that were not given such care and attention to. When should I leave feedback? 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  • Ruler: Constantine I
  • Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
  • Coin Type: Ancient Roman
  • Certification: NGC
  • Grade: VF

Aug 12 2018

CONSTANTINE I the Great CHARIOT to GOD HAND in HEAVEN Ancient Roman Coin i68030

CONSTANTINE I the Great CHARIOT to GOD HAND in HEAVEN Ancient Roman Coin i68030

CONSTANTINE I the Great CHARIOT to GOD HAND in HEAVEN Ancient Roman Coin i68030

CONSTANTINE I the Great CHARIOT to GOD HAND in HEAVEN Ancient Roman Coin i68030

Item: i68030 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Constantine I’The Great. Divus Constantine Posthumous Christian Deification Issue Constantine in Chariot to Heaven with Hand of God Accepting Him. Bronze AE4 15mm (1.63 grams) Cyzicus mint, struck 337-340 A. Reference: RIC VIII 19 DV CONSTANTINVS P T AVG G, Veiled head of Constantine right. Constantine I, the Great, in quadriga (a four horse chariot) riding heavenward right reaching for manus Dei (hand of God) reaching down toward him above; mint mark SMK in exergue below. Numismatic Note: After the passing of Constantine the Great, a series of coins were issued as was done with many previous emperors, the inscription “DV” stands for “divus” or divine. It was common practice in ancient times to deify an emperor or empress that passed, but this was the first time that it was more Christian-oriented with the motif of him going towards the heavens. It was Constantine that saw a vision from God that said to him “HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS” or “By this sign, conquer” and he painted the Chi-Rho (a monogram of Jesus Christ also known as a Christogram) on the shields of his army and wound beating the opposing army. Interesting to note that even though he professed Christianity then, he waited until his deathbed to be baptized, to cleanse the sins he committed being an emperor, in an especially violent period of history. Constantine the Great is also known as Saint Constantine as he is the one that spread Christianity to Roman empire and making it the official religion. It was also the city of Constantinople that he founded (on the site of an older Greek city called Byzantion) that could be considered the continuation of the Roman empire and a bastion of Christianity for almost a 1000 years after the fall of Rome in the late 1400′s A. Read the Constantine the Great Ancient Roman Coins Guide. Caesar (Recognized): 306-309 A. Constantina wife of Hanniballianus. And Helena the Younger wife of Julian II. Constantine the Great Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus ; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD, also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. 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 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus , senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers-the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians-even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. Constantine is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. Constantine was a ruler of major historical importance, and he has always been a controversial figure. The fluctuations in Constantine’s reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and detailed, but have been strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period, and are often one-sided. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine’s life and rule. The nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea’s Vita Constantini , a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. Written between 335 AD and circa 339 AD, the Vita extols Constantine’s moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters. Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum , a political Christian pamphlet on the reigns of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, provides valuable but tendentious detail on Constantine’s predecessors and early life. The ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret describe the ecclesiastic disputes of Constantine’s later reign. Written during the reign of Theodosius II (408-50 AD), a century after Constantine’s reign, these ecclesiastic historians obscure the events and theologies of the Constantinian period through misdirection, misrepresentation and deliberate obscurity. The contemporary writings of the orthodox Christian Athanasius and the ecclesiastical history of the Arian Philostorgius also survive, though their biases are no less firm. The epitomes of Aurelius Victor (De Caesaribus), Eutropius (Breviarium), Festus (Breviarium), and the anonymous author of the Epitome de Caesaribus offer compressed secular political and military histories of the period. Although not Christian, the epitomes paint a favorable image of Constantine, but omit reference to Constantine’s religious policies. The Panegyrici Latini , a collection of panegyrics from the late third and early fourth centuries, provide valuable information on the politics and ideology of the tetrarchic period and the early life of Constantine. Contemporary architecture, such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome and palaces in Gamzigrad and Córdoba, epigraphic remains, and the coinage of the era complement the literary sources. Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, (today Ni, Serbia) part of the Dardania province of Moesia on 27 February, probably c. His father was Flavius Constantius, an Illyrian, and a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis). Constantine probably spent little time with his father who was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard. Being described as a tolerant and politically skilled man, Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian, another of Aurelian’s companions from Illyricum, in 284 or 285. Constantine’s mother was Helena, possibly a Bithynian woman of low social standing. It is uncertain whether she was legally married to Constantius or merely his concubine. It is unclear if Constantine could speak Thracian, his main language being Latin, and during his public speeches he needed Greek translators. Constantine’s parents and siblings, the dates in square brackets indicate the possession of minor titles. In July 285 AD, Diocletian declared Maximian, another colleague from Illyricum, his co-emperor. Each emperor would have his own court, his own military and administrative faculties, and each would rule with a separate praetorian prefect as chief lieutenant. Maximian ruled in the West, from his capitals at Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) or Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), while Diocletian ruled in the East, from Nicomedia (zmit, Turkey). The division was merely pragmatic: the Empire was called “indivisible” in official panegyric, and both emperors could move freely throughout the Empire. In 288, Maximian appointed Constantius to serve as his praetorian prefect in Gaul. Constantius left Helena to marry Maximian’s stepdaughter Theodora in 288 or 289. Diocletian divided the Empire again in 293 AD, appointing two Caesars (junior emperors) to rule over further subdivisions of East and West. Each would be subordinate to their respective Augustus (senior emperor) but would act with supreme authority in his assigned lands. This system would later be called the Tetrarchy. Diocletian’s first appointee for the office of Caesar was Constantius; his second was Galerius, a native of Felix Romuliana. According to Lactantius, Galerius was a brutal, animalistic man. Although he shared the paganism of Rome’s aristocracy, he seemed to them an alien figure, a semi-barbarian. On 1 March, Constantius was promoted to the office of Caesar, and dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels Carausius and Allectus. In spite of meritocratic overtones, the Tetrarchy retained vestiges of hereditary privilege, and Constantine became the prime candidate for future appointment as Caesar as soon as his father took the position. Constantine went to the court of Diocletian, where he lived as his father’s heir presumptive. Head from a statue of Diocletian, Augustus of the East. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian’s court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius-none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted their colleagues-Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius’s best behavior. Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296 AD, and fought the Persians under Diocletian in Syria (297 AD) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298-299 AD). By late 305 AD, he had become a tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi. In late 302, Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. On 23 February 303 AD, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia’s new church, condemned its scriptures to the flames, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned. It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent of Diocletian’s “sanguinary edicts” against the “worshippers of God”, but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability throughout his life. On 1 May 305 AD, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304-305 AD, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius’ allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian’s resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian’s son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximinus Daia, Galerius’ nephew, were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine’s life in the months following Diocletian’s abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and wars. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius’s court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305 AD, Constantius requested leave for his son to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine’s later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul, at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305 AD. Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father’s side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius’s campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus, a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius’ memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father’s domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius’s death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested recognition as heir to his father’s throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had “forced it upon him”. Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine’s claims would mean certain war. Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title “Caesar” rather than “Augustus” (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor’s traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision, knowing that it would remove doubts as to his legitimacy. Constantine’s share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, driving back the tribes of the Picts and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father’s rule, and ordered the repair of the region’s roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The Franks, after learning of Constantine’s acclamation, invaded Gaul across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306-307 AD. Constantine drove them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of Trier’s amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed. Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by Constantine. More than 100 metres (328 ft) wide by 200 metres (656 ft) long, and capable of serving several thousands at a time, the baths were built to rival those of Rome. Constantine began a major expansion of Trier. He strengthened the circuit wall around the city with military towers and fortified gates, and began building a palace complex in the northeastern part of the city. To the south of his palace, he ordered the construction of a large formal audience hall, and a massive imperial bathhouse. Constantine sponsored many building projects across Gaul during his tenure as emperor of the West, especially in Augustodunum (Autun) and Arelate (Arles). According to Lactantius, Constantine followed his father in following a tolerant policy towards Christianity. Although not yet a Christian, he probably judged it a more sensible policy than open persecution, and a way to distinguish himself from the “great persecutor”, Galerius. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father’s reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father’s deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine’s military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a “renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign”. Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the “barbarians” beyond the frontiers. After Constantine’s victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen-”The Alemanni conquered”-beneath the phrase “Romans’ rejoicing”. There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. Dresden bust of Maxentius. Following Galerius’ recognition of Constantine as caesar, Constantine’s portrait was brought to Rome, as was customary. Maxentius mocked the portrait’s subject as the son of a harlot, and lamented his own powerlessness. Maxentius, envious of Constantine’s authority, seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306 AD. Galerius refused to recognize him, but failed to unseat him. Galerius sent Severus against Maxentius, but during the campaign, Severus’ armies, previously under command of Maxentius’ father Maximian, defected, and Severus was seized and imprisoned. Maximian, brought out of retirement by his son’s rebellion, left for Gaul to confer with Constantine in late 307 AD. He offered to marry his daughter Fausta to Constantine, and elevate him to Augustan rank. In return, Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and offer support to Maxentius’ cause in Italy. Constantine accepted, and married Fausta in Trier in late summer 307 AD. Constantine now gave Maxentius his meagre support, offering Maxentius political recognition. Constantine remained aloof from the Italian conflict, however. Over the spring and summer of 307 AD, he had left Gaul for Britain to avoid any involvement in the Italian turmoil; now, instead of giving Maxentius military aid, he sent his troops against Germanic tribes along the Rhine. In 308 AD, he raided the territory of the Bructeri, and made a bridge across the Rhine at Colonia Agrippinensium (Cologne). In 310 AD, he marched to the northern Rhine and fought the Franks. When not campaigning, he toured his lands advertising his benevolence, and supporting the economy and the arts. His refusal to participate in the war increased his popularity among his people, and strengthened his power base in the West. On 11 November 308 AD, Galerius called a general council at the military city of Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria) to resolve the instability in the western provinces. Maximian was forced to abdicate again and Constantine was again demoted to Caesar. Licinius, one of Galerius’ old military companions, was appointed Augustus in the western regions. The new system did not last long: Constantine refused to accept the demotion, and continued to style himself as Augustus on his coinage, even as other members of the Tetrarchy referred to him as a Caesar on theirs. Maximinus Daia was frustrated that he had been passed over for promotion while the newcomer Licinius had been raised to the office of Augustus, and demanded that Galerius promote him. Galerius offered to call both Maximinus and Constantine “sons of the Augusti”, but neither accepted the new title. By the spring of 310 AD, Galerius was referring to both men as Augusti. In 310 AD, a dispossessed Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine’s army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine’s army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310 AD, Maximian hanged himself. In spite of the earlier rupture in their relations, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father’s devoted son after his death. He began minting coins with his father’s deified image, proclaiming his desire to avenge Maximian’s death. Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 311 AD, however, he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. Along with using propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine’s public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy. In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 310 AD, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II, a 3rd Century emperor famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine’s ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine’s right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: “No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor, ” the orator declares to Constantine. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted “rule of the whole world”, as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration’s religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine’s coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 AD on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally identified with Apollo. There is little reason to believe that either the dynastic connection or the divine vision are anything other than fiction, but their proclamation strengthened Constantine’s claims to legitimacy and increased his popularity among the citizens of Gaul. See also: Civil wars of the Tetrarchy. By the middle of 310 AD, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311 AD, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict’s proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximinus mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius. Maxentius’ rule was nevertheless insecure. By 312 AD, he was a man barely tolerated, not one actively supported, even among Christian Italians. In the summer of 311 AD, Maxentius mobilized against Constantine while Licinius was occupied with affairs in the East. He declared war on Constantine, vowing to avenge his father’s “murder”. To prevent Maxentius from forming an alliance against him with Licinius, Constantine forged his own alliance with Licinius over the winter of 311-312 AD, and offered him his sister Constantia in marriage. Maximin considered Constantine’s arrangement with Licinius an affront to his authority. According to Eusebius, inter-regional travel became impossible, and there was military buildup everywhere. There was “not a place where people were not expecting the onset of hostilities every day”. Constantine’s advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312 AD, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine’s army encircled Maxentius’ cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers’ iron-tipped clubs. Constantine’s armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius’ retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312 AD, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia’s army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona, where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius’ praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine’s expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine’s forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia, Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna. The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome’s praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region’s support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius’ support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312 AD, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, “the enemy of the Romans” would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. The description from 28th October 312,’A cross centered on the Sun fits with modern-day photographs of Sun dogs. Constantine and his army adopt the Greek letters for Christ’s initials: Chi Rho. Further information: Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano. Maxentius organized his forces-still twice the size of Constantine’s-in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine’s army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers’ shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers… By means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields. ” Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer”; in Eusebius’s account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum , for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi traversed by Rho : , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 AD a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho , and coins issued at Siscia in 317/318 AD repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius’ line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius’ cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius’ infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius’ troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius’ horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. Colossal head of Constantine, from a seated statue: a youthful, classicising, other-worldly official image (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Constantine entered Rome on 29 October 312. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius’ body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, Maxentius’ disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this, Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius’ supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him “title of the first name”, which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as “the greatest Augustus”. He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius’ imprisoned opponents. An extensive propaganda campaign followed, during which Maxentius’ image was systematically purged from all public places. Maxentius was written up as a “tyrant”, and set against an idealized image of the “liberator”, Constantine. Eusebius, in his later works, is the best representative of this strand of Constantinian propaganda. Maxentius’ rescripts were declared invalid, and the honors Maxentius had granted to leaders of the Senate were invalidated. Constantine also attempted to remove Maxentius’ influence on Rome’s urban landscape. All structures built by Maxentius were re-dedicated to Constantine, including the Temple of Romulus and the Basilica of Maxentius. At the focal point of the basilica, a stone statue of Constantine holding the Christian labarum in its hand was erected. Its inscription bore the message the statue had already made clear: By this sign Constantine had freed Rome from the yoke of the tyrant. Where he did not overwrite Maxentius’ achievements, Constantine upstaged them: the Circus Maximus was redeveloped so that its total seating capacity was twenty-five times larger than that of Maxentius’ racing complex on the Via Appia. Maxentius’ strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. The tombstones of the Imperial Horse Guard were ground up and put to use in a basilica on the Via Labicana. On November 9, 312 AD, barely two weeks after Constantine captured the city, the former base of the Imperial Horse Guard was chosen for redevelopment into the Lateran Basilica. The Legio II Parthica was removed from Alba (Albano Laziale), and the remainder of Maxentius’ armies were sent to do frontier duty on the Rhine. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine’s half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan, officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian’s persecution. It repudiates past methods of religious coercion and used only general terms to refer to the divine sphere-”Divinity” and “Supreme Divinity”, summa divinitas. The conference was cut short, however, when news reached Licinius that his rival Maximin had crossed the Bosporus and invaded European territory. Licinius departed and eventually defeated Maximin, gaining control over the entire eastern half of the Roman Empire. Relations between the two remaining emperors deteriorated, as Constantine suffered an assassination attempt at the hands of a character that Licinius wanted elevated to the rank of Caesar; Licinius, for his part had Constantine’s statues in Emona destroyed. In either 314 or 316 the two Augusti fought against one another at the Battle of Cibalae, with Constantine being victorious. They clashed again at the Battle of Mardia in 317, and agreed to a settlement in which Constantine’s sons Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius’ son Licinianus were made caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia and took residence at Sirmium, whence he could wage war on the Goths and Sarmatians in 322, and on the Goths in 323. In the year 320, Licinius allegedly reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders. Although this characterization of Licinius as anti-Christian is somewhat doubtful, the fact is that he seems to have been far less open in his support of Christianity than Constantine. Therefore, Licinius was prone to see the Church as a force more loyal to Constantine than to the Imperial system in general – the explanation offered by the Church historian Sozomen. This dubious arrangement eventually became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries, represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine’s army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus, the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont, and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius’s son (the son of Constantine’s half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople. Licinius’ defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire. Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia), as he was reported saying that ” Serdica is my Rome “. Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium, which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was thus founded in 324, dedicated on 11 May 330 and renamed Constantinopolis (“Constantine’s City” or Constantinople in English). Special commemorative coins were issued in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy relics, though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the’old’ Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana , the “New Rome of Constantinople”. Further information: Constantine I and Christianity, Constantine I and paganism, and Constantine the Great and Judaism. Constantine the Great , mosaic in Hagia Sophia, c. Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practise their religion but did not restore any property to them. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine possibly retained the title of pontifex maximus , a title emperors bore as heads of the ancient Roman religion priesthood until Gratian r. 375-383 renounced the title. According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy e. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica. Apparently Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt. In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens. In the year 323, he issued a decree banning Christians from participating in state sacrifices Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, as well on the coin itself. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e. Most notably the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. His influence over the early Church councils was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity; what proper worship and doctrines and dogma consisted of was for the Church to determine, in the hands of the participating bishops. Most notably, from 313 to 316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire. Constantine made some new laws regarding the Jews, but while some of his edicts were unfavorable towards Jews, they were not harsher than those of his predecessors. It was made illegal for Jews to seek converts or to attack other Jews who had converted to Christianity. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. On the other hand, Jewish clergy were given the same exemptions as Christian clergy. Head of Constantine’s colossal statue at the Capitoline Museums. The original statue of marble was acrolithic with the torso consisting of a cuirass in bronze. Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues-following a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors, however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, degrading the equestrian order -at least as a bureaucratic rank -in the process, so that by the end of the 4th century the title of perfectissimus was granted only to mid-low officials. By the new Constantinian arrangement, one could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors, in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). In one inscription in honor of city prefect (336-337) Ceionius Rufus Albinus, it was written that Constantine had restored the Senate “the auctoritas it had lost at Caesar’s time”. The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule; however, such an interpretation remains conjectural, given the fact that we do not have the precise numbers about pre-Constantine conversions to Christianity in the old senatorial milieu-some historians suggesting that early conversions among the old aristocracy were more numerous than previously supposed. Constantine’s reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine’s children. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic “pure” silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces-the solidus, 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine’s later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this bullion minting eventually ceased, de jure , in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis. These bronze pieces continued to be devalued, assuring the possibility of keeping fiduciary minting alongside a gold standard. The anonymous author of the possibly contemporary treatise on military affairs De Rebus Bellicis held that, as a consequence of this monetary policy, the rift between classes widened: the rich benefited from the stability in purchasing power of the gold piece, while the poor had to cope with ever-degrading bronze pieces. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine’s monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscation-taken since 331 and closed in 336-of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate minting-with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Executions of Crispus and Fausta. On some date between 15 May and 17 June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by “cold poison” at Pola (Pula, Croatia). In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of both was condemned. Eusebius, for example, edited praise of Crispus out of later copies of his Historia Ecclesiastica , and his Vita Constantini contains no mention of Fausta or Crispus at all. Few ancient sources are willing to discuss possible motives for the events; those few that do, offer unconvincing rationales, are of later provenance, and are generally unreliable. At the time of the executions, it was commonly believed that the Empress Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect. A popular myth arose, modified to allude to Hippolytus-Phaedra legend, with the suggestion that Constantine killed Crispus and Fausta for their immoralities. One source, the largely fictional Passion of Artemius , probably penned in the eighth century by John of Damascus, makes the legendary connection explicit. As an interpretation of the executions, the myth rests on only “the slimmest of evidence”: sources that allude to the relationship between Crispus and Fausta are late and unreliable, and the modern suggestion that Constantine’s “godly” edicts of 326 and the irregularities of Crispus are somehow connected rests on no evidence at all. Although Constantine created his apparent heirs “Caesars”, following a pattern established by Diocletian, he gave his creations a hereditary character, alien to the tetrarchic system: Constantine’s Caesars were to be kept in the hope of ascending to Empire, and entirely subordinated to their Augustus, as long as he was alive. Therefore, an alternative explanation for the execution of Crispus was, perhaps, Constantine’s desire to keep a firm grip on his prospective heirs, this-and Fausta’s desire for having her sons inheriting instead of their half-brother-being reason enough for killing Crispus; the subsequent execution of Fausta, however, was probably meant as a reminder to her children that Constantine would not hesitate in “killing his own relatives when he felt this was necessary”. The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine’s conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple). Constantine considered Constantinople his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan’s bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia, a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. In the last years of his life Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of Persia, Shapur, Constantine had asserted his patronage over Persia’s Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat them well. The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern frontier in 335. In 336, prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia himself. He treated the war as a Christian crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats came to Constantinople over the winter of 336-337, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. The campaign was called off, however, when Constantine became sick in the spring of 337. The Baptism of Constantine , as imagined by students of Raphael. Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia (present-day Gulf of zmit). There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337. The Constantinian dynasty down to Gratian r. Although Constantine’s death follows the conclusion of the Persian campaign in Eusebius’s account, most other sources report his death as occurring in its middle. Emperor Julian (a nephew of Constantine), writing in the mid-350s, observes that the Sassanians escaped punishment for their ill-deeds, because Constantine died “in the middle of his preparations for war”. Similar accounts are given in the Origo Constantini , an anonymous document composed while Constantine was still living, and which has Constantine dying in Nicomedia; the Historiae abbreviatae of Sextus Aurelius Victor, written in 361, which has Constantine dying at an estate near Nicomedia called Achyrona while marching against the Persians; and the Breviarium of Eutropius, a handbook compiled in 369 for the Emperor Valens, which has Constantine dying in a nameless state villa in Nicomedia. From these and other accounts, some have concluded that Eusebius’s Vita was edited to defend Constantine’s reputation against what Eusebius saw as a less congenial version of the campaign. Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of Emperor Julian. Bronze head of Constantine, from a colossal statue (4th century). Although he earned his honorific of “The Great” from Christian historians long after he had died, he could have claimed the title on his military achievements and victories alone. Besides reuniting the Empire under one emperor, Constantine won major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306-308, the Franks again in 313-314, the Goths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. By 336, Constantine had reoccupied most of the long-lost province of Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 271. At the time of his death, he was planning a great expedition to end raids on the eastern provinces from the Persian Empire. Serving for a total of almost 31 years (combining his years as co-ruler and sole ruler), he was also the longest serving emperor since Augustus and the second longest serving emperor in Roman history. In the cultural sphere Constantine contributed to the revival of the clean shaven face fashion of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Trajan, which was originally introduced among the Romans by Scipio Africanus. This new Roman imperial fashion lasted until the reign of Phocas. The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a “new Constantine”. Ten emperors, including the last emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, carried the name. Monumental Constantinian forms were used at the court of Charlemagne to suggest that he was Constantine’s successor and equal. Constantine acquired a mythic role as a warrior against “heathens”. The motif of the Romanesque equestrian, the mounted figure in the posture of a triumphant Roman emperor, became a visual metaphor in statuary in praise of local benefactors. The name “Constantine” itself enjoyed renewed popularity in western France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Orthodox Church considers Constantine a saint (, Saint Constantine), having a feast day on 3 September, and calls him isapostolos -an equal of the Apostles. The Ni Airport is named “Constantine the Great” in honor of him. A large Cross was planned to be built on a hill overlooking Ni, but the project was cancelled. In 2012, a memorial was erected in Ni in his honor. The Commemoration of the Edict of Milan was held in Ni in 2013. During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Pagans such as Praxagoras of Athens and Libanius showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew (and son-in-law) Julian the Apostate wrote the satire Symposium, or the Saturnalia , which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed. Following Julian, Eunapius began-and Zosimus continued-a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to the Christians. Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622. In both medieval East and West, Constantine was presented as an ideal ruler, the standard against which any king or emperor could be measured. The Renaissance rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources prompted a re-evaluation of Constantine’s career. The German humanist Johann Löwenklau, discoverer of Zosimus’ writings, published a Latin translation thereof in 1576. In its preface, he argued that Zosimus’ picture of Constantine was superior to that offered by Eusebius and the Church historians, offered a more balanced view. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a man of the Counter-Reformation, criticized Zosimus, favoring Eusebius’ account of the Constantinian era. Baronius’ Life of Constantine (1588) presents Constantine as the model of a Christian prince. For his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89), Edward Gibbon, aiming to unite the two extremes of Constantinian scholarship, offered a portrait of Constantine built on the contrasted narratives of Eusebius and Zosimus. In a form that parallels his account of the empire’s decline, Gibbon presents a noble war hero corrupted by Christian influences, who transforms into an Oriental despot in his old age: a hero… Degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch. Modern interpretations of Constantine’s rule begin with Jacob Burckhardt’s The Age of Constantine the Great 1853, rev. Burckhardt’s Constantine is a scheming secularist, a politician who manipulates all parties in a quest to secure his own power. Henri Grégoire, writing in the 1930s, followed Burckhardt’s evaluation of Constantine. For Grégoire, Constantine developed an interest in Christianity only after witnessing its political usefulness. Grégoire was skeptical of the authenticity of Eusebius’ Vita , and postulated a pseudo-Eusebius to assume responsibility for the vision and conversion narratives of that work. Otto Seeck, in Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt (1920-23), and André Piganiol, in L’empereur Constantin (1932), wrote against this historiographic tradition. Seeck presented Constantine as a sincere war hero, whose ambiguities were the product of his own naïve inconsistency. Piganiol’s Constantine is a philosophical monotheist, a child of his era’s religious syncretism. Related histories by A. Jones (Constantine and the Conversion of Europe , 1949) and Ramsay MacMullen (Constantine , 1969) gave portraits of a less visionary, and more impulsive, Constantine. These later accounts were more willing to present Constantine as a genuine convert to Christianity. Beginning with Norman H. Baynes’ Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) and reinforced by Andreas Alföldi’s The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), a historiographic tradition developed which presented Constantine as a committed Christian. Barnes’s seminal Constantine and Eusebius (1981) represents the culmination of this trend. Barnes’ Constantine experienced a radical conversion, which drove him on a personal crusade to convert his empire. Charles Matson Odahl’s recent Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004) takes much the same tack. In spite of Barnes’ work, arguments over the strength and depth of Constantine’s religious conversion continue. Certain themes in this school reached new extremes in T. Elliott’s The Christianity of Constantine the Great (1996), which presented Constantine as a committed Christian from early childhood. A similar view of Constantine is held in Paul Veyne’s recent (2007) work, Quand notre monde est devenu chrétien , which does not speculate on the origins of Constantine’s Christian motivation, but presents him, in his role as Emperor, as a religious revolutionary who fervently believed himself meant “to play a providential role in the millenary economy of the salvation of humanity”. Main article: Donation of Constantine. Latin Rite Catholics considered it inappropriate that Constantine was baptized only on his death-bed and by an unorthodox bishop, as it undermined the authority of the Papacy. Hence, by the early fourth century, a legend had emerged that Pope Sylvester I (314-335) had cured the pagan emperor from leprosy. According to this legend, Constantine was soon baptized, and began the construction of a church in the Lateran Palace. In the eighth century, most likely during the pontificate of Stephen II (752-757), a document called the Donation of Constantine first appeared, in which the freshly converted Constantine hands the temporal rule over “the city of Rome and all the provinces, districts, and cities of Italy and the Western regions” to Sylvester and his successors. In the High Middle Ages, this document was used and accepted as the basis for the Pope’s temporal power, though it was denounced as a forgery by Emperor Otto III and lamented as the root of papal worldliness by the poet Dante Alighieri. The 15th century philologist Lorenzo Valla proved the document was indeed a forgery. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia. During the medieval period, Britons regarded Constantine as a king of their own people, particularly associating him with Caernarfon in Gwynedd. While some of this is owed to his fame and his proclamation as Emperor in Britain, there was also confusion of his family with Magnus Maximus’s supposed wife Saint Elen and her son, another Constantine (Welsh: Custennin). In the 12th century Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that the emperor Constantine’s mother was a Briton, making her the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae , an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole’s daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess. Henry’s source for the story is unknown, though it may have been a lost hagiography of Helena. Documentaries of Constantine include: PBS’ “From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians” Chapter 12 and Hector Galan’s “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine” Episode 6 Constantine. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. 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  • Ruler: Constantine I
  • Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
  • Coin Type: Ancient Roman