Constantine in his rise to power in the Western Empire and his rise to power is not distinct when compared to any other great military officer. At the death of his father, Constantius, he took command of the troops in Britain and Gaul and demanded recognition as his father’s successor. About the same time in the East, Maxentius, the son of Masimian, undertook to succeed his retired father, killed Serverus(who), ensconced himself in Rome, and demanded recognition.
Outside contenders challenged these two leaders for the control of the empires in the West and in the East. The first challengers, considered pagans, were opposed by Constantine who converted to Christianity. ...view middle of the document...
Constantine demonstrated other administrative abilities. Constantine also tried Diocletian’s idea of economic reform, but without enduring results, though Constantine tried to bring some economic relief by creating a gold standard. *footnote
Constantine was conscious of being an innovator. He had an encouraging effect on the people and awakened their confidence. It was necessary for Constantine, as it had been for Diocletian, to wrestle with the currency problem. Diocletian failed to establish a sound silver coinage. Constantine’s efforts were more realistic. Constantine also managed to institute a workable system for both gold and bronze coinages.
Byzantium became very significant to Rome when Constantine decided to transfer the capital to the East. He decided to consecrate the city to Christ, and it became Constantinople. Reasons for the move were evident; the new capital stood close to the main focus of the empire’s trade and it was also a strategic move militarily because it established a bulwark to withstand enemies from the East. In was also a check to the incursions of migratory tribes. Constantine’s political and economic abilities strengthened the empire.
Constantine claimed to have divine rule. But was it so divine? Constantine was not baptized Christian until he lay on his deathbed. He and many others undoubtedly considered him, in some manner, a member of the church and he certainly played a major role in the affairs of the church as well as affording its members something more than simple toleration.
Constantine attributed his success to the divine message that he had read in the sky just before the battle at the Milvian Bridge in 312. He could not totally abandon paganism after his conversion because it would have caused too much change too fast for acceptance within the empire. Constantine necessarily changed the empire slowly; gradually working Christianity into most every facet of the new Christian Roman Empire.
The Christian church of today is greatly affected by the way Constantine infused it into the Eastern Empire. His determination to keep peace within the Empire, was, in large part, due to his belief in his divine commission by God. He felt bound to exercise concern for the church, strengthen it and provide stability necessary to ensure the security and unity of the Roman Empire as won by military and political means. It is for this reason he also felt justified in intervening in church disputes. The Donatists and the Arian disputes were prime examples of problems Constantine had to face.
When Scripture and tradition afforded no incontestable solution, recourse was possible only to the...