Constantine the Great – mini biography by Justin Woodson Throughout history there are pivotal men and women whose actions are so significant that looking back history may have been unrecognizably different without them. These men and women can be tremendously virtuous or tremendously evil (or somewhere in between).
yet their mark on history is indelible. Names of such people include Attila the Hun, A dol-ph Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, and many more.
For this article I’ll focus on Con-stan tine the Great (ruled 307-337 AD), or more for-mally, Imperator Caesar Flavius Constantin us Pius Felix Invictus Augustus (whew. a mouthful).
One of Constantine’s better known accomplishments is that he made Christianity the official religion of the empire and founded the new imperial capital at the city of Constantinople (today called Istanbul).
and later Byzantium. was the heart of the Byzantine empire. The Byzantines were able to ward off repeated invasions by the Muslims from the south. This literally protected Europe from being overrun. Although Constantine has been portrayed as a man of sincere conviction, it is also true that he was an ex-cep tionally gifted propagandist, general. as well as an unscrupulous manipulator.
Clearly his maneuverings to unite the Roman world in creating an excuse to fight (and defeat) his co-ruler, Licinius. might be considered Machiavellian at the least. Later, he broke an oath to spare Licinius life and had Licinius and his son hanged. Constantine’s role in the death of his wife and son also cast a shadow on the man. Constantine’s “innovative” tax on city dwellers. the chrysargyron.
... master of the Roman Empire. Shortly after the defeat of Licinius, Constantine determined to make Constantinople the future capital of the empire ... scattering the greater part of the remainder. Licinius with 30, 000 men escaped to Nicomedia. But he now saw that further ... by a violent storm which destroyed 130 ships and 5000 men. Constantine crossed the Bosporus, leaving a sufficient corps to maintain ...
was harsh beyond any tax (in penalty) than we can conceive of in modern times. Geographically, Constantine fought major wars to crush the Goths on the Danube and the Alemanni on the Rhine. By expanding Rome’s frontier almost back to the glory days of Trajan, Constantine definitely eased the pressures on the Roman Empire. The new capital, new military structure (frontier troops and central command troops), the integration of Christianity as the official religion of the empire, and his choice of successors (poor) all mark Constantine as a focal point in history.