Constantine And Christianity Essay

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Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, or Constantine, is commonly referred to as the fist Christian emperor of the Roman Empire and as the defender of Christianity. Such grand titles are not necessarily due for the reasons that people commonly think of them today.
The first clear instance where Christianity is seen in Constantine's life is during his campaign against Maxentius. In the spring of 311, when Constantine was marching to Rome to battle against Maxentius, he saw a vision in the sky, a bright cross along with the words "by this sign conquer." Later that night, he had a dream in which God told him to use that sign as a safeguard to use in all of his future battles. Constantine awoke and immediately ordered his troops
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Once Constantine became the ruler of the entire Western Roman Empire, he met with Licinius, the co-emperor of the eastern empire, in Milan in 313. The intended purpose of this visit was to secure an alliance between the two rulers by the marriage of Constantine's half-sister Constantia to Lucinius. It was at this time that the emperors established what is now known as the Edict of Milan. It granted the freedom to pursue any religion within the empire, not just Christianity. Christianity was merely made legal at this point, not the state-sponsored religion. The edict also granted the return of properties seized from Christians by governors. Maximinus Daia, who was the co-ruler of the eastern empire invaded Lucinian territory in the Balkans and was defeated by Lucinius' army. After a time, relations soured between Constantine and Lucinius. Lucinius eventually went back on the agreement made during the Edict of Milan and in 322 and began persecuting Christians once again (Constantine I). This led to the conflict between him and Constantine in 324, which was viewed as a war of religious beliefs in which Lucinius and his army of Goth mercenaries represented ancient pagan beliefs, and Constantine and his army of Francs represented Christianity. The opposing armies met at Adrianople on the third of July and eventually led to Constantine besieging the city of Byzantium with his ground troops and naval fleet.

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