Saturday, October 1, 2011

30 Interesting Facts About Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great is one of the most prominent personalities in history. He was the first emperor to rule in the name of Christ and he was a major figure in the foundation of medieval Christian Europe.

Here are some interesting facts about this great leader in human history.

1.) Constantine the Great was born about 274 CE and died 337 CE.

2.) He was Roman emperor for 31 years from 306-337 CE.

3.) Constantine the Great was the first Roman ruler to be converted to Christianity.

4.) In 330, he founded Constantinople, now known as İstanbul, as a capital of the Roman Empire.

5.) Constantinople remained the seat of the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman until 1453.



6.) He was born in Nis, now part of Serbia and Montenegro,

7.) Constantine’s complete name is Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus. He is also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine.

8.) His father is Constantius I (Constantius Chlorus), a former military commander.

9.) Constantine’s mother is Helena who became Saint Helena.

10.)  His father, Constantius, became co-emperor in 305 CE but died the following year.

11.) Upon the death of Constantius in 306 CE, Constantine was proclaimed emperor by his troop.

12.) For almost 20 years, he fought his rivals for the throne and finally established himself as sole ruler in 324 CE.

13.) Constantine was a solar henotheist early in his life – meaning he believed that the Roman sun god, Sol, was the visible manifestation of an invisible “Highest God” (summus deus), who was the principle behind the universe.

14.)  In 312 CE, on the eve of a battle against Maxentius, his rival in Italy, Constantine is reported to have dreamed that Christ appeared to him and told him to inscribe the holy sign ΧΡ, the first two letters of the Greek word ΧΡΙSΤΟS (Christos), on the shields of his troops.

15.) The next day he is said to have seen a cross superimposed on the sun and the words “in this sign you will be the victor” (usually given in Latin, in hoc signo vinces).



16.) Constantine then defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, near Rome and the Senate hailed the victor as savior of the Roman people.

17.) Through the Edict of Milan, which was issued in 313 CE, persecutions of the Christians ended. This edict mandated the toleration of Christians.


18.) As guardian of Christianity, the church was then given legal rights and large financial donations by Constantine.

19.) Administrative reforms introduced by Constantine include the separation of civil and military authority.

20.) During his reign, the central government was run by Constantine and his council, known as the sacrum consistorium.

21.) The powers of the Senate were given back and new gold coins (solidi) were issued and remained the standard of exchange until the end of the Byzantine Empire.

22.) Constantine built churches in the Holy Land, where his mother Helena supposedly found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified.

23.) Constantine the Great fell ill in April 337 CE and died one month later on May 22, 337 CE.

24.) He was baptized shortly before his death by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia (now İzmit, Turkey).

25.) Although he was already a complete Christian by the time of the council at Nicaea in 325 CE, he still tolerated paganism among his subjects.



26.) The Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch situated between the Colosseum and the Palatne hill in Rome, was erected to commemorate his victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312.

27.) In June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by "cold poison" at Pola (now Pula, Croatia)

28.)  In July 326, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed at the behest of his mother, Helena. Fausta was left to die in an over-heated bath.

29.) At the time of the executions of Crispus and Fausta, it was commonly believed that the Empress Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect.

30.) The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. 

See also 

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