How Far Did The Roman Empire Stabilise Between 312 And 324ad

1775 words - 8 pages

‘To what extent did the Emperor Constantine reunite the Roman Empire between 312AD to 324AD?’
On the 28th October 312, Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus and Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius collided on a broad plain in front of the Milvian Bridge. The outcome of this fight would determine who the next Augustus of the Western Roman Empire would be. Maxentius, the current Emperor was facing down the usurper at Rome’s door, the young Constantine. The 40,000 hard-bitten legionnaires of Constantine had fought down through Italia and the 100,000 of Maxentius’s auxiliary and untested forces to the gates of Rome itself. Backed by his sudden belief in Christianity, Constantine and his ...view middle of the document...

Even if Constantine bowed now to the pagan way that the majority of Rome followed, there were still significant amounts of Christians in the Senate and the masses, therefore pleasing both these audiences was not going to be easy for the new emperor of the west. For the pagan traditionalists, things did not start well with the new emperor. After Constantine exchanged his generals’ equipment for a purple toga and laurel crown, he was expected to make the customary sacrifices at the temple of Jupiter. Though fearing his soldier’s reactions, he refused as he saw his victory was under the guidance of the Christian God, rather than Jupiter. This course of action meant he would need every ounce of political skill to now win over those he had just affronted in the meeting in the Senate House.
Constantine broke the ice by showing up his predecessor as a villain. He began with saying that the regime of Maxentius was the responsibility of him and just a few of his henchmen, rather than the Senate and Rome itself. This then excluded many senators from responsibility, and many who had been fearing for themselves now were excused. The new Emperor dealt with the Praetorian Guard with equal skill. They would be redeployed to Rome boarders, the fight and regain their loyalty to the emperor and honour, which was also an effective way to deal with the shortage of well-trained men protecting the empires boarders. Again Constantine impressed by saying under his new regime he would restore the senate’s authority, slightly reverting from the current system where the senate was very much alienated from the Empires affairs while it was controlled by military men. Senators would be given an active hand once again in the running of the Empire, as governors, prefects of Rome and Holders of Office. With this Constantine had won the support of the traditional senators as well as keeping the backing of the Christian ones. With one move he had extinguished the memory of Maxentius and boosted unity by proposing an alliance with the aristocracy of the West. This is a perfect example of Constantine’s brilliance in uniting two very different views under one rule, something which no Emperor had been so successful in doing. This unity was something very unexpected at the time, and by doing so killed much of the unrest that had spread from the persecution of the Christians while keeping the Pagan masses content. He would later come to unite the entire empire, through a bloody civil war and all but announcing Christianity as the Empires religion, still holding the East and West together, and re-uniting the empire.
With Rome now rebranded and reconciled, Constantine had successfully consolidated his power in the Western Empire, and now looked towards the East. To this end, he sent a letter to the Eastern Roman Emperor, Maximinus Daia. It said how Constantine had the support of the Senate, and his new religion, and to stop the persecution of the Christians in the East. This was a...

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