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Main References: Barnes, Timothy D. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 1981. Baynes, N.H. Constantine the Great and the Christian.

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Presentation on theme: "Main References: Barnes, Timothy D. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 1981. Baynes, N.H. Constantine the Great and the Christian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Main References: Barnes, Timothy D. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 1981. Baynes, N.H. Constantine the Great and the Christian Church. London: Oxford U. Press, 1972. Burckhardt, Jacob. The Age of Constantine the Great. New York: Doubleday, 1956. Drijvers, J. W. Helena Augustus: the Mother of Constantine the Great and the Legend of Her Finding of the True Cross. Leiden: Brill, 1992. Edwards, Mark, tr. Constantine and Christendom: The Oration to the Saints, The Greek and Latin Accounts of the Discovery of the Cross, The Edict of Constantine to Pope Silvester. Liverpool: Liverpool U. Press, 2003.

2 Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993. -------------------. Constantine the Great: the Man and His Times. New York: Scribner ’ s, 1994. Grubbs, J. E. Law and Family in Late Antiquity: the Emperor Constantine ’ s Marriage Legislation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. Jones, A.H.M. Constantine and the Conversion of Europe. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972. Lenski, Noel, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2006. Lieu, Samuel N.C., et al, eds. Constantine: History, Historiography, and Legend. London: Routledge, 1998.

3 MacMullen, Ramsay. Constantine. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969. McKechnie, Paul. The First Christian Centuries: Perspectives on the Early Church. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001. Pohlsander, Hans A. The Emperor Constantine. London: Routledge, 1996. Williams, Stephen. Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. New York: Routledge, 1985.

4 The Age of Crisis and Recovery: Later Roman Empire was restored and consolidated by Emperors Diocletian and Constantine. 256-280, cost of living increased by 1000% 260s: climax of anarchy Then, the Roman Empire was saved by a series of stern leaders, but with autocracy, that is, no longer disguised by constitutional wrappings; thus, from Principate to Dominate.

5 Political restoration and reorganization by Emperor Diocletian, r. 284-305: Diocletian: cool-headed, bold, imaginative attempts at political reforms; (1) because the empire was too big, he divided the Roman Empire into 2 halves, east and west; and (2) in 293, 2 Caesars were appointed to assure succession (?); it worked effectively only so long as Diocletian himself was in command [usually does not work; political succession cannot be prepared = political successor cannot be trained (perhaps nurtured to a certain extent)]

6 Diocletian, educated, was probably the main hand in shaping the civil administration; (1) freezing peasants, artisans, and businessmen to their jobs; (2) hereditary caste system, now sons had to take up the careers and tax burdens of fathers; (3) farmers were frozen to the land; (4) strict social control under imperial government; (5) heavy- handedly retarded inflation by fixing the price of most commodities by law [opposite to free economy, which believed that the invisible hands will adjust because of the supply and demand theory]; (6) severe persecution of Christianity.

7 Diocletian, the Reformer: (1) inspecting the frontiers; (2) reviewing the administration of the provinces; (3) suppressing revolts; (4) doubled the armed force; (5) made the military service of the sons of veterans compulsory; (6) introduced a new system of conscription from the rural population of all the provinces; (7) established in numerous towns armament frontiers, to ensure regular supplies of arms and uniforms); (8) held to the old system of a continuous line of defense along the frontiers, building new forts, and linking them with additional roads [conservative in strategy]; and (9) moving the center of gravity eastward [necessity].

8 Diocletian ’ s Edict of 301: fixing prices and wages merely drove goods off the market; thus, unsuccessful; and his big government caused more idle mouths than the primitive economic system of the Roman Empire could feed.

9 Nevertheless, to some historians, Diocletian was a great reformer in Roman history; yet, he was absolute lord, therefore the Latin word, dominus [and deus (god) = The Dominate; thus, becoming remote and unapproachable. Diocletian died in 305, then power struggle, civil war again

10 Constantine, r. 312-337 To Eusebius, Constantine was the 13 th apostle of Jesus Christ [exaggerated], ruling with caesaropapacism. But to A.H.M. Jones, Constantine and the Conversion of Europe, Constantine was not great at all, with negative character, ability, and temper, etc., in fact, to Jones, Constantine was a cold-blooded opportunist; perhaps only best as a general in war with rapidity and boldness of decision.

11 According to A.H.M. Jones, Constantine ’ s relations with his God were regulated by fear and hope, and not by love; thus, Constantine was not the 13 th apostle, nor a saint. Yet, Constantine helped (unintentionally) the rise of the Church and Christianity; and with luck, he has a long reign for 25 years, and he died peacefully in bed; thus, good for stabilizing the Roman Empire.

12 Constantine based the imperial defense primarily on mobile field armies under the direct command of himself; made the cavalry his basic military force [instead of traditionally the infantry]; thus, introducing the type of military organization that prevailed throughout the Middle Ages.

13 Construction of a new capital in the east at Byzantium = Constantinople, because of necessity; poor soil in Italy, using food products from Asia Minor and Egypt to support the Roman Empire in the west (cf. the later Tang Dynasty -- using the wealth of the southeast to support the soldiers & horses in the northwest).

14 Constantine ’ s administrative and military reorganization: (1) brought to completion the imperial reorganization initiated by Diocletian; and (2) transformed the Roman military system -- reducing the importance and strength of the frontier garrisons.

15 The reforms of Diocletian and Constantine were those of idealists, visionaries, dreamers, or practical minds? Nevertheless, they saved the Roman Empire temporarily, even though the Empire, which was too big, by dividing it into 2 parts, east and west.

16 Constantine ’ s baptism: in 337, shortly after Easter, Constantine was ill, then he was finally at the hands of Eusebius, the bishop and also his biographer. A few days later, at midday on Whitsunday, Constantine died.

17 To A.H.M. Jones, Constantine knew/cared nothing for metaphysical and ethical teaching of Christianity. Constantine simply wished to enlist on his side a powerful divinity.

18 Nevertheless, the Edict of Milan, 312: (1) the property of the Christian Church was to be restored, and since then there would be full liberty of worship for this religion; (2) that both Christians and others were to enjoy [religious] toleration.

19 Battle of Milvian Bridge, 312 The symbol of Christ -- heavenly vision or ? According to A.H.M. Jones, Constantine had violent temper: executed his eldest son, Caesar Crispus, who was brilliant; and shortly after, the Empress Fausta died mysteriously (rumor: of suffocation in the hot chamber at her bath).

20 To A.H.M. Jones, Constantine was baptized only shortly before his death, probably because he was so sinful and calculating. Baptism, the seal which gives forgiveness, eternal life, blotted out all sins, …… was it not safer to postpone [his] baptism till one could sin no more?!

21 Furthermore, according to A.H.M. Jones, only rarely did Constantine speak of God as the Savior, and never as loving or compassionate; twice only did Constantine refer to God as the Father. Christianity to Constantine was a divine law for Constantine to rule (with hope and fear; God = rewards and punishments, not only in this world, but the next/eternal world, = the lord of judgment).

22 Constantine conceived God mainly as God of power. Constantine ’ s favorite expressions of God were: the Mighty One, the Greatest or the Highest God, the Lord of all, and God Almighty. Constantine represented God as giving victory to God ’ s servants and casting down God ’ s enemies to destruction.


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