Constantine the Great

  • constantine the great
    augustus
    rome-capitole-statueconstantin.jpg
    colossal head of constantine (4th century), capitoline museum, rome
    emperor of the roman empire
    reign
    • 25 july 306 ad – 29 october 312 ad (caesar in the west; self-proclaimed augustus from 309; recognized as such in the east in april 310. ruled in competition with flavius severus 306–307, maximian 306–308 and 310, maxentius 306–312, and licinius 308–313)
    • 29 october 312 – 19 september 324 (undisputed augustus in the west, senior augustus in the empire)
    predecessorconstantius i (with galerius in the east)
    co-emperors
    • galerius (eastern emperor, 308–311)
    • maximinus ii (eastern emperor, 311–313)
    • licinius (eastern emperor, 313–324)
    reign19 september 324 – 22 may 337 (emperor of whole empire)
    predecessor
    • himself (in the west)
    • licinius (in the east)
    successor
    • constantine ii
    • constantius ii
    • constans
    born27 february c. 272[1]
    naissus, moesia superior, roman empire
    died22 may 337(337-05-22) (aged 65)
    nicomedia, bithynia, roman empire
    burial
    church of the holy apostles, constantinople, but constantius ii, his son, had it moved.
    spouse
    • minervina (may have been his concubine)
    • fausta
    issue
    • constantina
    • helena
    • crispus
    • constantine ii
    • constantius ii
    • constans
    full name
    gaius flavius valerius constantinus; flavius valerius aurelius constantinus
    regnal name
    imperator caesar flavius valerius aurelius constantinus augustus
    greekΚωνσταντίνος Α΄
    dynastyconstantinian dynasty
    fatherconstantius chlorus
    motherhelena
    religion
    • nicene christianity
    • roman religion (previously)
    saint constantine the great
    byzantinischer mosaizist um 1000 002.jpg
    mosaics in the hagia sophia, section: maria as patron saint of constantinople, detail: emperor constantine i with a model of the city
    emperor, confessor and equal to the apostles
    venerated in
    • roman catholicism[2]
    • eastern catholicism
    • eastern orthodoxy
    • oriental orthodoxy
    • anglican communion
    • lutheran church
    major shrinechurch of the holy apostles, constantinople modern day istanbul, turkey
    feast21 may
    attributeschi rho
    labarum
    in hoc signo vinces
    patronageconverts

    constantine the great (latin: flavius valerius aurelius constantinus augustus; ancient greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Αύγουστος, romanizedkōnstantînos ho aúgoustos; 27 february c. ad 272 [1] – 22 may ad 337), also known as constantine i, was a roman emperor who ruled between ad 306 and 337. born in naissus, in dacia ripensis, the city now known as niš (serbian cyrillic: Ниш, located in serbia), he was the son of flavius valerius constantius, a roman army officer of illyrian origins. his mother, helena, was greek. his father became caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in ad 293. constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under emperors diocletian and galerius. in 305, constantius was raised to the rank of augustus, senior western emperor, and constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in britannia (britain). constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at eboracum (modern-day york) after his father's death in ad 306. he emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against emperors maxentius and licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by ad 324 .

    as emperor, constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. he restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. to combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for byzantine and european currencies for more than a thousand years. the roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the roman frontiers—the franks, the alamanni, the goths, and the sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the crisis of the third century.

    constantine was the first roman emperor to convert to christianity.[notes 1] although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by eusebius of nicomedia. he played an influential role in the proclamation of the edict of milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for christianity in the roman empire. he called the first council of nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of christian belief known as the nicene creed.[4] the church of the holy sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of jesus' tomb in jerusalem and became the holiest place in christendom. the papal claim to temporal power in the high middle ages was based on the forged donation of constantine. he has historically been referred to as the "first christian emperor", and he did heavily promote the christian church. some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the christian faith itself.[notes 2]

    the age of constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the roman empire.[7] he built a new imperial residence at byzantium and renamed the city constantinople (now istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "new rome" came later, and was never an official title). it became the capital of the empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern roman empire, now being referred to as the byzantine empire by historians. his more immediate political legacy was that he replaced diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. his reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. the medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity.[8] beginning with the renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign, due to the rediscovery of anti-constantinian sources. trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.

  • sources
  • early life
  • early rule
  • civil wars
  • later rule
  • legacy
  • see also
  • notes
  • references
  • further reading
  • external links

Constantine the Great
Augustus
Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin.jpg
Colossal head of Constantine (4th century), Capitoline museum, Rome
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign
  • 25 July 306 AD – 29 October 312 AD (Caesar in the west; self-proclaimed augustus from 309; recognized as such in the east in April 310. Ruled in competition with Flavius Severus 306–307, Maximian 306–308 and 310, Maxentius 306–312, and Licinius 308–313)
  • 29 October 312 – 19 September 324 (undisputed augustus in the west, senior augustus in the empire)
PredecessorConstantius I (with Galerius in the East)
Co-emperors
Reign19 September 324 – 22 May 337 (emperor of whole empire)
Predecessor
  • Himself (in the West)
  • Licinius (in the East)
Successor
Born27 February c. 272[1]
Naissus, Moesia Superior, Roman Empire
Died22 May 337(337-05-22) (aged 65)
Nicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire
Burial
Spouse
Issue
Full name
Gaius Flavius Valerius Constantinus; Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus
GreekΚωνσταντίνος Α΄
DynastyConstantinian dynasty
FatherConstantius Chlorus
MotherHelena
Religion
Saint Constantine the Great
Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 1000 002.jpg
Mosaics in the Hagia Sophia, section: Maria as patron saint of Constantinople, detail: Emperor Constantine I with a model of the city
Emperor, Confessor and Equal to the Apostles
Venerated in
Major shrineChurch of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople modern day Istanbul, Turkey
Feast21 May
AttributesChi Rho
Labarum
In Hoc Signo Vinces
PatronageConverts

Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Ancient Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Αύγουστος, romanizedKōnstantînos ho Aúgoustos; 27 February c. AD 272 [1] – 22 May AD 337), also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between AD 306 and 337. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, the city now known as Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш, located in Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer of Illyrian origins. His mother, Helena, was Greek. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in AD 293. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in AD 306. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by AD 324 .

As emperor, Constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.[notes 1] Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed.[4] The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the forged Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor", and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.[notes 2]

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire.[7] He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (now Istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" came later, and was never an official title). It became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern Roman Empire, now being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity.[8] Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign, due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.

Other Languages
አማርኛ: ቆስጠንጢኖስ
aragonés: Constantín I
Արեւմտահայերէն: Մեծն Կոստանդին
asturianu: Constantín I
azərbaycanca: I Konstantin
Bân-lâm-gú: Constantinus 1-sè
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Канстантын I Вялікі
български: Константин I
Cymraeg: Cystennin I
español: Constantino I
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Constantinus 1-sṳ
Bahasa Indonesia: Konstantinus Agung
interlingua: Constantino I
italiano: Costantino I
Kiswahili: Konstantino Mkuu
latviešu: Konstantīns I
Lëtzebuergesch: Konstantin de Groussen
lietuvių: Konstantinas I
Lingua Franca Nova: Constantino la Grande
lumbaart: Costantin I
македонски: Константин Велики
Malagasy: Konstantino I
Bahasa Melayu: Constantine I
Mirandés: Custantino I
norsk nynorsk: Konstantin den store
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Konstantin I
پنجابی: قسطنطین I
Piemontèis: Costantin
Plattdüütsch: Konstantin de Grote
português: Constantino
Runa Simi: Constantinus I
русиньскый: Конштантін I
संस्कृतम्: कान्स्टण्टैन १
sardu: Costantinu
sicilianu: Custantinu I
Simple English: Constantine the Great
slovenščina: Konstantin I. Veliki
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Кѡнстантїнъ Вєликꙑи
српски / srpski: Константин Велики
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Konstantin Veliki
татарча/tatarça: Бөек Константин
Türkçe: I. Konstantin
Yorùbá: Constantine 1k
žemaitėška: Kuonstantėns I