Constantine The Great Essay

549 words - 3 pages

Constantine the Great was the first Roman ruler to be converted to Christianity. He was the founder of Constantinople, which remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire until 1453. Constantine the Great was born Flavius Valerius Constantinus in what is now Serbia. He was the son of the commander Constantius Chlorus and Helena. Constantius became co-emperor in 305. Constantine, who had shown military talent in the East, joined his father in Britain in 306. He was popular with the troops, who made him emperor when Constantius died later the same year. Over the next 20 years Constantine had to fight his rivals for the seat as emperor, and he did not finally consider himself as a complete ruler until 324. ...view middle of the document...

" Constantine then defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, near Rome. The Senate named the winner as the savior of the Roman people. Due to this Constantine now looked upon the Christian god as a bringer of victory. Persecution of the Christians was ended, and Constantine's co-emperor, Licinius, joined him in issuing the Edict of Milan (313), which allowed people to follow the Christian religion in the Roman Empire. Because Christianity was Constantine's favored religion, the Christian church was then given legal rights and large donations. A struggle for power soon began between Licinius and Constantine. After all of the fighting in 324 Constantine became a successful Christian champion. Now emperor of both East and West, he began to understand the important things of ruling an empire. The army was reorganized and the separation of civil and military authority was completed. The central government was run by Constantine and his council, known as the sacrum consistorium. The Senate was given back the powers that it had lost in the 3rd century, and new gold coins (solidi) were issued, which were used until the end of the Byzantine Empire. Constantine wanted to achieve unity. He was present in the first ecumenical council of the church at Nicaea in 325. He also began the building of Constantinople in 326 on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium. The city was completed in 330 (later expanded), given Roman institutions, and made better looking by ancient Greek works of art. In addition, Constantine built churches in the Holy Land, where his mother (also a Christian) supposedly found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified. The emperor was baptized shortly before his death, on May 22, 337.

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