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The Emperor Constantine was one of the great, charismatic figures of the ancient world. He was directly responsible for two momentous transformations that greatly affected our history and civilization: the founding of Constantinople as the Roman capital and the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. With knowledge gained from modern research in all relevant fields, including archaeology, papyrology, and art history, Michael Grant traces the controversies that surround this intriguing ruler back to their very beginnings. He draws a compelling portrait of Constantine, assessing the emperor's achievements as a general in command of his armies and as a resourceful politician and reformer. In art, politics, economics, social developments, and particularly in religion, the life of Constantine acts as a bridge between past and present. Michael Grant goes beyond the bias of literary sources and reveals the private man behind the public persona: the superstitious beliefs underpinning Constantine's hallucinatory visions and dreams that heralded his conversion to Christianity; his persecution of paganism in the name of Christianity that set precedents for centuries to come; and the relationship between church and state that gave way to the totalitarianism of the Late Roman Empire. Was he the last notable Roman emperor, or the first medieval monarch? Was the great convert a saint and hero, or should we regard him as a murderer who killed his wife, his eldest son, and many of his friends to further his own ambitions? These are just some of the issues raised in this revelatory biography.
Constantine the Great is a titanic figure in Roman, and indeed world history. Most famed for making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire (and thus ensuring its survival and spread), and for moving the seat of imperial rule to 'New Rome' (Constantinople), he is most often studied for his religious and political impact. But it is often forgotten that his power and success was made possible by the use of armed force, in an impressive military career which is well worthy of study in its own right. Constantine won victories over external barbarian armies as well as defeating the Roman armies of his internal rivals in civil war.
Elizabeth James sets the scene with a discussion of the nature of the Roman army as it emerged in evolved form from the Third Century Crisis, describing the make up of the armies, their weapons and tactics, and the impact of Constantine's policies and reforms. She then examines each of Constantine's campaigns and battles, (including the British campaign which led to his proclamation as emperor at York) to show that he deserves to be remembered as a great general as well as a great emperor. This will be a welcome study of a neglected facet of this historical colossus.
Roman Emperor Constantine is one of the most momentous figures in the history of Christianity, a ruler whose conversion turned the cult of Jesus into a world religion. Classical scholar Baker tells of the changing Roman world in which Constantine rose to power—an empire where feudalism was replacing the old senatorial government and the lands of the empire were split into two regions. It was also a place where customs from the East were replacing the old Roman values, preparing the way for the Byzantine Empire. Baker describes Constantine's unique conversion (which apparently did not prevent him from sacrificing to idols), his wars to control first the Roman army and then the Germans and the lands of Asia Minor, and finally the founding of Constantinople and the establishment of the monarchial system that dominated Europe for over a thousand years.