Constantine and the Christian Empire (Roman Imperial Biographies)
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This biographical narrative is a detailed portrayal of the life and career of the first Christian emperor Constantine the Great (273 – 337). Combining vivid narrative and historical analysis, Charles Odahl relates the rise of Constantine amid the crises of the late Roman world, his dramatic conversion to and public patronage of Christianity, and his church building programs in Rome, Jerusalem and Constantinople which transformed the pagan state of Roman antiquity into the Christian empire medieval Byzantium.
The author’s comprehensive knowledge of the literary sources and his extensive research into the material remains of the period mean that this volume provides a more rounded and accurate portrait of Constantine than previously available.
This revised second edition includes:
- An expanded and revised final chapter
- A new Genealogy and an expanded Chronology
- New illustrations
- Revised and updated Notes and Bibliography
A landmark publication in Roman Imperial, early Christian, and Byzantine history, Constantine and the Christian Empire will remain the standard account of the subject for years to come.
sees where they had been ordained, and not to move to other sees. Clergy excommunicated in one church were not to be accepted in another. Self-castration excluded a man from the clergy; and unmarried clergy were allowed to have only close female relatives living with them. Proper penances were set up for repentant Christians who had lapsed in recent persecutions; and lenient rules for integrating the schismatic Novatian clergy of Italy and Melitian clergy of Egypt were decreed to reunite these
of the “Supreme Divinity” whose many powers had customarily been delegated to a variety of nature gods. While narrowing the focus of public devotions, such syncretism was still built on the soft sands of pagan mythology, and did not meet the increasing private desires for The imperial crisis and the illyrian emperors 23 salvation from a finite material life into an eternal spiritual afterlife.23 Yet, as some thinkers of the crisis era were working on a refocusing of pagan polytheism, other
large crowds in the major cities of the empire. Lactantius described one such church situated in plain sight of the imperial palace in Nicomedia. The growing presence of Christians in Roman society, and the increasing aversion of Christians to pagan religion convinced Diocletian that the Christian Church and the Roman Empire were incompatible.20 A number of famous incidents in the army and at court forced this conclusion upon the emperor. In the autocratic and regimented society of the Tetrarchy,
without any petition of price, with all frustration and ambiguity put aside; let even those who have received them by gift return those places also to the same Christians as soon as possible…. All such places must immediately be handed over to the corporation of the Christians (corpori Christianorum) through your intercession [imperial officials receiving this order] and without delay. And since the same Christians are known to have possessed not only those places to which they were accustomed to
bronze half-folles from mid-317 to late 318 in key mints of his old western domains (Trier, Rome, Aquileia) and his new eastern regions (Siscia and Thessalonica) celebrating the “divine ancestors” from which he and his sons were descended. These coins honored Claudius Gothicus, Constantius I and Maximian as the “Best Princes” or “Best Emperors,” and reminded the old and new subjects of Constantine and his sons of the distinguished heritage from which their rulers were descended—the great Illyrian