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History Lesson < 500 Words "The Awakening of Constantine I"

Constantine Picture

I am embracing my historian side and have decided to devote this blog to the emperor Constantine I, without whom, Christianity might not be what it is today (good or bad).  As an atheist, I find it fascinating to discover the ways in which various religions have spread.
Who was Constantine I?
Constantine was first co-emperor, and then sole emperor, of the Roman world from 306 C.E. to 337 C.E. during what is thought to be the empire’s transformation from the Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire.
What was his Awakening?
In 312 C.E., Constantine was at war with his co-emperor (of sorts) and nemesis, Maxentius, who had control of Rome.  The decisive point in his war with Maxentius was the Battle of Milvian Bridge, in which Constantine believed he saw the symbol of a cross in the sky and the words “victory through this” (or something similar) written beneath it.  He would go on to win the battle, and would credit his victory to Christ because of the symbol that he saw.
What was his effect on Christianity?
Edict of Milan – After his defeat of Maxentius, Constantine met with another co-emperor, Licinius.  Together they published a document that provided religious toleration for everyone, including Christians.
Council of Nicaea, 325 – As Christianity became more popular, certain issues surrounding it had to be decided.  Constantine presided over the first ecumenical council in 325.  This council discussed the essence of Christ, and found that Christ was equally God with the Father and the Holy Ghost (as compared to the Arian belief that Christ was made by God).  Additionally, the council determined the date of Easter, and created the twenty canons for the governing of the church.
Churches – Constantine built several basilicas during his reign.  Basilicas were used mainly for governmental and imperial purposes, but Constantine transformed them into churches.  These rectangular buildings would serve as the standard for most Christian churches from that point forward.
The Death of Constantine I

Towards the end of his life, Constantine suffered many failures.  He began to question whether the decision made at the Council of Nicaea was correct, and his beliefs moved towards Arianism.  In 337 C.E. he fell ill, and on his deathbed was baptized by bishop Eusebious of Nicomedia.  He was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles.
Only one pagan emperor existed after Constantine.  Christianity became the state religion, and eventually divides would occur between papal and orthodox Christianity.  The Roman Empire was extremely powerful and influential, and Constantine’s acceptance served as a catalyst for Christianity in the ancient world.
Source:  A History of Byzantium, Timothy E. Gregory.

5 responses to “History Lesson < 500 Words "The Awakening of Constantine I"”

  1. Avatar llxt says:

    Interesting…a guy I've never heard of (I slept through history, along with all my other classes) had a Major Influence on my psyche. Stupid "Christianity"!!

  2. Avatar emmyem says:

    Did you also know that Constantine's lover was Christian? You know, before he himself decided to become such. I had a professor who started off the semester with "women think that they haven't had power but you're sorely mistaken….it's just more apparent now and men are afraid that they've finally been found out".

  3. Avatar tee says:

    I had a history prof that gave us a book called "The Woman behind the Man", and it was all about the famous wives of the great men in history, and how much influence they really had. Wish I had kept that book, cause I'd had people I've wanted to give it to over the years… yeah… we hold the power… anyone say "Hilary"?

  4. Avatar Karen says:

    I agree that it is fascinating to learn how different religions have shaped and spread over the years.

  5. hi i really enjoyed your post and i will be sure to read through the rest of your blog… I really appreciate the way in which you look at this subject, looking at this in a new light as they say.. bookmarked!

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Christina About Christina

*Christina “Olives” Lamoureux is the self-fulfilling prophecy of a quirky and sarcastic procrastinator. When faced with the reality of work, she generally takes a nap instead. She currently lives and attends graduate school in Fitchburg, MA, where she spends her time studying really old stuff as an Ancient and Medieval History major. She is very slowly writing a true crime story that has nothing to do with ancient or medieval history, but aspires to write historical fiction as well. The only perfect thing she has done in her life is thrown a 300 game in ten pin bowling; since that occurred in her twenties, it is now ancient history as well. Besides history and bowling, she “sees dead people” as part of a paranormal investigation team. When she cannot afford to indulge in her martini fetish, she reads or watches terrible, pointless TV.

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