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Constantine The Great Essay

1629 words - 7 pages

Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great, first Christian Emperor, originator of Constantinople, creator of the Byzantine Empire, military conqueror, and honored saint, has been labeled by many the most instrumental emperor of the Roman Empire. Constantine played a crucial role in the development of Europe during the Middle Ages, and founded Christianity as the formal religion of the Roman Empire. His dynamic yet effective predominance laid the infrastructure of European development. From his humble beginnings, to his command of the Roman Empire, to his final days, Constantine’s impact on world history and Christianity has left behind an unforgettable legacy. He was described by Eusebius as “such an emperor as all history records not.” Ware compared him to, “a watershed in the history of the Church.” Additionally, Meyendorff states, “No single human being in history has contributed to the conversion of so many to the Christian faith.” Norwich declared that “No ruler in all of history has ever more fully merited his title of ‘the Great’…Constantine has serious claim to be considered the most influential man in all of history.” Some of Constantine’s notable acts in the history of Christianity was his calling of the first Ecumenical Council at Nicaea, his institution of freedom for Christianity with the Edict of Milan, and the relocation of the capital of empire from Rome to Constantinople.
At birth Constantine was named, Flavius Valerius Constantinus, after his father Flavius Constantius. His birth took place in the city of Naissus, Dardania on the 27th of February. The exact year of his birth is unknown, however it is believed that it took place around 272. His father served in the Roman army as an officer and bodyguard. After many years of service Constantine’s father Constantius was advanced to the rank of Caesar. His father’s new position made Constantine his father’s heir presumptive in the court of Dioletian. Diocletian did not entirely trust Constantius, and held Constantine as a hostage in his court to ensure first-rate performance from Constantius. Despite this Constantine remained a distinguished court member, fighting for Diocletian, as well as for Galerius in Asia. He battled the barbarians of Danube in 296, fought the Persians in Syria and Mesopotamia in 297, 298, and 299. Constantine returned to Nicomedia in the spring of 303, to find the beginnings of Diocletian’s “Great Persecution”, beginning to take place. The Great Persecution brought about the demolition of the new church in Nicomedia, the imprisonment of priests, the deprivation of authoritative ranks from Christians, and the destruction of many churches and scriptures. On May 1, 305 Diocletian announced his resignation because of a crippling illness he developed during the previous winter. Galerius was chosen as his imperial successor. It did not take Constantine long to recognize the immediate danger in remaining in the east. Constantius made the request of Galerius...

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