Constantine I

Obverse image of a coin of Constantine I

Member of the House of Constantine dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 306 until 337.

Gaius Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born in 272 or 273 at Naissus to Helena and Constantius I. He was named Caesar of the west in 306, and gradually consolidated power by marching on Maxentius and conquering Rome, then marching on his co-emperor Licinius and eventually ousting him as well.

Constantine became Augustus in 313, shortly after his defeat of Maxentius. He struggled with Licinius I over the naming of their respective sons as caesars, and only in 317 after a number of battles did they compromise and name Constantine’s two sons as well as Licinius the Younger as caesars.

Constantine converted to Christianity and made it legal in the Roman empire; historians like Eusebius glorify his deeds but in reality he was a tricky military commander and ruthless leader. He was responsible for the deaths of his son Crispus and second wife Fausta, and appears to have practiced both Christianity and worship of the sun-god until at least 312.

He also instituted a number of new measures, including a severe tax on city residents every four years. The Christian minority generally liked the emperor, though they too complained of his taxes. His lasting legacy is probably the demotion of Rome as Constantine founded a new capital at Byzantium. He had rarely lived in Rome anyway, and disbanded the Praetorian Guard—one of the city’s status-markers as the imperial capital.

Constantine was baptized as he lay dying, by Eusebius. He was on campaign against the Persians at the time, and his body was buried in Constantinople.

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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Constantine the Great
  • Full names:
    • Constantine the Great
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Constantius Chlorus
  • Successor:
  • Definition: Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Constantinus; Ancient Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος, romanized: Kōnstantînos; 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine I, was a Roman emperor from AD 306 to 337. Born in Dacia Ripensis (now Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Constantius, an Illyrian army officer who became one of the four emperors of the Tetrarchy. His mother, Helena, was Greek and of low birth. Constantine served with distinction under emperors Diocletian and Galerius campaigning in the eastern provinces against barbarians and the Persians, before being recalled west in 305 to fight under his father in Britain. After his father's death in 306, Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (York). He emerged victorious in the civil wars against emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of the Roman Empire by 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 units (comitatenses), and garrison troops (limitanei) 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. Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian religion 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 tolerance for Christianity in the Roman Empire. He convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. 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 fabricated Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor" and he did favour the Christian Church. While some modern scholars debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of Christianity, he is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (now Istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" emerged in his time, and was never an official title). It subsequently became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, the later Eastern Roman Empire being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by modern historians. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian's Tetrarchy with the de facto principle of dynastic succession, by leaving the empire to his sons and other members of the Constantinian dynasty. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church held him up 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. 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.
  • Parents:
  • Birth place:
  • Death place:
  • Spouse:
    • Other title(s):
      • Consul of the Roman Empire
      • List of Roman emperors
    • Came After:
      • Flavius Gallicanus
      • Diocletian
      • Constantius II
      • Gaius Vettius Cossinius Rufinus
      • Licinius
      • Pompeius Probus
      • Valerius Maximus (consul 327)
      • Crispus
      • Licinius II
      • Petronius Annianus
      • Titus Andronicus (general)
      • Maxentius
      • Antonius Caecina Sabinus
      • Aurelius Valerius Tullianus Symmachus
      • Constantine II
      • Constans
      • Constantine II (emperor)
      • Maxentius
      • Flavius Constantius
      • Valerius Romulus
      • Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus
      • Galerius
    • Came before:
      • Valerius Romulus
      • Diocletian
      • Aradius Rufinus
      • Licinius
      • Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus
      • Galerius
      • Maximinus Daia
      • Vettius Iustus
      • Ianuarinus
      • Maxentius
      • Sextus Anicius Faustus Paulinus (consul 325)
      • Julius Julianus
      • Petronius Annianus
      • Constantius Chlorus
      • Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus
      • Galerius
      • Crispus
    • Subjects on wikipedia:

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