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Constantine the Great

( Great Roman Emperor)

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Biography Constantine the Great
photo Constantine the Great

Formation of Constantine.
Constantine I, known as the Great (288N - 337), - the Roman emperor. Born on Feb. 27 allegedly 288 years BC. in Naisse (now Niе║) in Upper Moesia (Serbia). He was the illegitimate son of Constance and Flavia Helena (the description of St.. Ambrose, a roadside hotel keeper). Another boy Constantine sent - almost as a hostage - to the court of the rulers of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. In 302, he accompanied the Emperor Diocletian
Constantius I Chlorine - the father of Constantine
a trip to the East, was elevated to the rank of tribune of the first sequence (tribunus primi ordinus) and served in the Army in August Galerius on the Danube. In the year 305 Diocletian and his co-ruler Maximian abdicated the throne, and August were Constantius Chlor and galleries in San same Caesars were erected Fl North Valery and Maximin Daia (for other sources of Maximin Daza). Now Constantius demanded her son back from the gallery, to which he reluctantly agreed to. In fact, tells the story that Constantine had fled from the gallery and got rid of the chase, stealing all the post-horses. He found his father in Gezoriake (Boulogne), will leave in Britain, to reflect the invasion of the Picts and Scots. In victory, Constantius died in Eborake (York), and 25 July, 306 years BC. army proclaimed his son August. However, Constantine took his army appointment to this post with feigned reluctance, and wrote a careful letter to Galerius, and pondered them with responsibility for the actions of the troops, but asking him to acknowledge himself as the Caesar. Galerius was unable to refuse the request, fearing the power of the western army. And in the year Constantine held the title of Caesar, not only in their own provinces, but also the eastern. He successfully fought against the Franks and allemanami and rebuilt in a new fortifications on the Rhine frontier. The revolt of Maxentius in Rome (October 28, 306 years), with the support of his father Maximian led to the defeat, capture and death of the North West in August. Then Maximian declared Constantine Augustus (307), and they sealed their union in marriage of Constantine and Fausta, the daughter of Maximian. Then father and son in law declared themselves consuls, which, however, has not found acceptance in the East. Galerius invaded Italy, but mutiny in the army forced him to retreat from the gates of Rome. Maximian tried to persuade Constantine to attack his retreating army from the flank, but he once again showed determination to strictly follow the path of legality. In the year 308 Diocletian and Galerius at the council in Carnuntum decided to undo the Western rulers. Maximian was removed, Licinius was appointed Augustus of the West (November 11, 308 years), and the title "son of August" (Caesar) were Constantine and Maximian Daia. Constantine tacitly ignored this agreement: he continued to wear the title of August and to 309 years, when the ruler of the East, though a senior, has not been formally announced his August (jointly with Licinius). It domionah no other emperors are not recognized. In the year 310, while Constantine reflect invasion francs, Maximian attempted to regain the title on August Arelate (Arles). Constantine hastily returned to the Rhine and pursued Maximian to Massalit (now Marseilles), which took him prisoner and executed. Since the legitimate right of Constantine on the western part of the empire based on his recognition of Maximian, . he now had to find a new justification for the legality of his power, . and he found it in his descent from the Roman Emperor Claudius Gothic (Gotha), . which was presented as the father of Constance chlorine.,

. The coming to power
. In 311 Galerius died, the. And Maximin Daia (which in 310 he took the title in August East) once led an army to the shores of the Bosphorus and simultaneously entered into negotiations with Maxentius. This threw into the hands of Licinius Constantine, who joined with him in the Union and gave him his bride's half-sister Constance. In the spring of 312 Constantine crossed the Alps - before, . as Maxentius finished their preparations - with the army, . which according to his panegyrist (possibly, . understated its size), . amounted to 25 thousand, . and according to the Zonorasa - about 100 thousand people,
. He stormed Susa, defeated the generals of Maxentius in Turin and Verona, and headed back to Rome. This bold step, . completely off-key with the usual caution Constantine, . seems, . was the result of one event: as stated in the book of Eusebius' Life of Constantine ", . eyes of Constantine was a miraculous vision of the Burning Cross, . appeared in the sky at noon with the inscription beneath it in Greek: "Ev touta vetch (" Sim conquer "), . and it led to his treatment of Christianity,
The first symbols of Christianity
Eusebius says that he heard the story from the lips of Constantine, but he wrote after the death of the Emperor, and she obviously was not familiar to him in this form, when he wrote "History of the Church". From the other essays on the death of the persecutors "(" De mortibus persecutorum ") was well-informed contemporary of Constantine (the essay attributed to Lactantius, . writer and rhetorician, . lived under Diocletian, and died in 317 year), . and he tells us, . that the sign of the Burning Cross appeared to Constantine in a dream, and even Eusebius adds, . that it was not daylight vision, . A night's sleep,
. In any case, Constantine began to wear the monogram of his own invention (cm. on the right).
Maxentius, trusting in overwhelming numbers, made from Rome, ready to contest the crossing in the north of the Tiber through Milev bridge (Pons Vulvius - now Ponte Molle). Army, for six years, well-trained Constantine, immediately proved its superiority. Gallic cavalry drove the left flank of the enemy in the Tiber, and Maxentius was killed with him, they said, because of the collapse of the bridge (October 28, 312). The remnants of his army surrendered on their own, and Constantine incorporated them into the ranks of his army, except for the Praetorian Guard, which was finally dissolved.
Thus, Constantine became the undisputed ruler of Rome and the West, and Christianity, though not yet adopted as the official religion, the Edict of Milan (now Milan) was achieved tolerated throughout the empire. This edict was a result of meetings between Constantine and Licinius in 313 in Mediolane, where the wedding took place last with Constance, the sister of Constantine. In the year 314 between August war broke out, the cause of which, as we are told by historians, was a betrayal Bassiana, husband of Constantine's sister, Anastasia, whom he wanted to elevate the rank of Caesar. After two hard-earned victories of Constantine went to the world, joined his dominions Illyricum and Greece. In 315 Constantine with Licinius occupied the post of consul.
. Coin depicting Licinius - co-ruler of Constantine to 323 years
. Peace was maintained for about nine years, during which Constantine, acting as a wise ruler, strengthened his position, while Licinius (reactivated, the persecution of Christians in 312godu) are constantly losing their positions
. Both the Emperor created a powerful army, and the spring 323 Licinius, whose troops are said to have numerical superiority, has declared war. He twice defeated - first in Andrianopole (1 July), then in Hrizopole (18 September), when he tried to lift the siege of Byzantium, and finally was captured in Nicomedia. Constance intercession saved his life, and interned at Thessalonica, where the next year were executed on charges of criminal correspondence with the barbarians.

. Constantine - Emperor of the East and West.

. The following year, his eldest son Crispus was cast in the floor and there was brought to the death penalty on charges brought against him by Fausta. Shortly thereafter, Constantine seems to be convinced of his innocence, and ordered the execution of Faust. The true nature of the circumstances of this case remains a mystery.
In 326 Constantine decided to transfer the seat of government from Rome to the East, and by the end of the year was laid the first stone in the foundation of Constantinople. Constantine was thinking of at least two locations for the device's new capital: Serdica (now Sofia), and three - before his choice was Byzantium. Perhaps the move was linked to his decision to make Christianity the official religion of the empire. Rome, of course, is a stronghold of paganism, for which clung with fervent devotion Senate Majority.
Remains of fortifications in Istanbul (Constantinople), built by Constantine
Constantine did not want to eradicate this sense of overt violence, and therefore decided to establish a new capital for the empire of its own creation. He announced that the capital was a place for him in a dream; grand opening was done by Christian clergymen 11 May 330, when the city was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin (in another version - the goddess of happy destiny Tihe).
In 332 Constantine was asked to assist in the fight against the Sarmatians ready, over which his son and won a major victory. Two years later, when 300 thousand Sarmatians settled in the territory of the empire, on the Danube again war broke out. In 335, the revolt in Cyprus gave Constantine a pretext for the execution of the young Licinius. In the same year, he divided the empire between his three sons and two nephews - Dalmatia and Annibalianom. The latter was a vassal kingdom of Pontus, and, in defiance of the Persian rulers, the title of king of kings, while others ruled as Caesar in their provinces. Thus Constantine remained the supreme ruler. And finally, in 337 Shapur II, Persian king, said his claim to the province, won Diocletian - and war broke out. Constantine was ready to personally lead his army, but became ill and after unsuccessful treatment baths died in Ankirone, a suburb of Nicomedia, May 22, shortly before his death by adopting Christian baptism from the hands of Eusebius. He was buried in the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople.

Constantine and Christianity.
Constantine received the right to be called "Great" probably because of its affairs than what it was, and it is true that his intellectual and moral qualities were not high enough to give him this title. His claim to greatness rests mainly on the, . that he foresaw the future, . waiting Christianity, . and decided to profit from it for his empire, . as well as the achievements, . completed work, . initiated by Aurelian and Diocletian, . through which quasi-monarchy, . or "Principate" Augusta, . transformed into a naked absolutism, . sometimes called "dominative",
. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the conversion of Constantine to Christianity, although we can not attribute to him a passionate devotion gives way to Eusebius, and can not accept as true those stories that go around his behalf. Moral precepts of the new religion could not fail to impact on his life. And he gave his sons, Christian education. However, for reasons of political expediency Constantine put the full recognition of Christianity as the state religion until then, until he became the sole ruler of the empire. Although he has not only provided a tolerant attitude toward him immediately after his victory over Maxentius, but in 313 g. made to protect him from the opposition currents Donatists and the next year, presided at the council in Arelate. Number of acts he released the Catholic Church and clergy from taxes and given them different privileges, . which did not apply to heretics, . and gradually reveal the attitude of the emperor to paganism: it could be called a contemptuous tolerance,
. From the height of a recognized state religion, it has slipped to a mere superstition. At the same time allowed to practice pagan rites, except for those places where they were regarded as undermining the moral fabric. And even in recent years, the reign of Constantine we find the laws in favor of local priests - flamenov and their colleagues. In 333 or later installed a cult kind of Flavian, as called imperial family, but the sacrifice in the new church was strictly forbidden. Only after the final victory of Constantine over Licinius pagan symbols have disappeared from the coins, and they appeared a distinct Christian monogram (which is already served as the mint mark). Since then, the constant attention of the emperor demanded the heresy of Arianism, . and so, . that he presided at the Council of Nicea, . subsequently, . pronouncing the sentence of exile Athanasius, . He not only openly talked about his previous involvement in Christianity, . and showed determination to assert its supremacy in the affairs of the Church,
. Not a bit of doubt in the fact that his rank of Grand Pontiff gives him supreme authority over religious affairs throughout the empire and bringing order to Christianity is in its competence. In this matter, he changed his insight. It was relatively easy to apply coercion to the Donatists, the resistance which the secular power was not entirely spiritual, but to a large extent the result is not so pure motives. But the heresy of Arianism raised fundamental questions, which are thought of Constantine, it was possible to reconcile, but in fact, as justly believed Athanasius, they expose the essential contradictions of the doctrine of. Result heralded the emergence of the process leading to that Church which Constantine had hoped to make a tool of absolutism, was the strongest opponent of the last. Not worth more than a cursory mention of the legend, . according to which Constantine, . stricken with leprosy after the execution of Crispus and Fausta, . received the remission of sins and was baptized by Sylvester I and his sacrifice of the Bishop of Rome laid the foundation of the secular power papacy.,

. Political System of Constantine.
. Political System of Constantine was the end result of a process which, although it lasted as long as there was empire, took a distinct shape with Aurelian
. That person of the emperor Aurelian surrounded the eastern pomp, . wore a tiara and jeweled robes, . ordained a priest Dominus (lord) and even Daewoosa (God) has turned Italy into a semblance of the province and gave a formal way for economic progress, . the replacement of the contract on the regime status,
. Diocletian tried to defend a new form of despotism of the usurpation by the army, . creating a cunning system of joint rule the empire with two lines of succession of power, . bearing the names of Jupiter and Hercules, . but this is succession was carried out not by inheritance, . and by adoption,
. This artificial system was destroyed by Constantine, who established the dynastic absolutism in favor of his family - sort of Flavian, the evidence of the cult of which are found in Italy, and Africa. In order to surround himself with the king's court, he has created an official aristocracy to replace the senatorial order, who "soldier emperors" 3rd century BC. virtually deprived of any value. This aristocracy, he was showered with titles and special privileges, for example, he created a different version patritsianstvo, freed from the tax burden. Since the Senate is now meant nothing, . Constantine could afford to allow its members to the career of provincial administrators, . which since the reign of Gallienus was almost closed to them, . and grant them certain privileges empty, . example, , . On the other hand, . Senator was taken away the right to be tried by one, . and he came under the jurisdiction of the provincial governor,

The administrative structure of the Roman Empire under Constantine.
In the matter of the administrative organization of the empire begun by Diocletian Constantine concluded by separating civilian and military functions. During his praetorian prefects completely ceased to perform military duties and became the heads of the civil administration, especially in cases of legislation: at 331 g. their decision became final, nor to allow any appeal to the emperor. Civil rulers of the provinces had no authority over the military forces, . commanded by dukes, and to reliably protect against the usurpation, . which served as the division of power, . Constantine hired Komichi, . which accounted for a significant part of the official aristocracy, . that they observe and report on, . like military're doing, . as well as the army of so-called agents, . that under the guise of inspection of the imperial postal service carried out a massive system of espionage,
. Regarding the organization of the army, Constantine conquered the command of military magistrates in charge of the infantry and cavalry. He also opened access to the barbarians, especially the Germans, to the highly responsible positions.

Legislation of Constantine.
The organization of society on the principle of strict heredity in corporations or professions in part, of course, was already over before the arrival of Constantine to power. But his legislation continued to forge the fetters that bound each person to one caste, from which he was a native. Such originales (hereditary estates) are mentioned in the very first laws of Constantine, in 332, the recognized and approved in the life of the ancestral status of the agricultural estates colones.
. Arch of Constantine in Rome, built in honor of his victories
. In addition, municipal dekuriony responsible for collecting taxes, lost all the loopholes of retreat: in 326 they were forbidden to acquire immunity by joining the ranks of the Christian clergy
. In the interest of the government was to ensure such funds are regularly placed in the treasury of taxes, a heavy burden both in money and in kind lozhivshihsya population is under Diocletian and, of course, remains the same burden of Constantine. One of our ancient authorities said about him, . that ten years was an excellent ruler, . twelve years - a robber and another ten - spendthrift, . and he constantly had to impose excessive taxes, . to enrich their favorites and implement such extravagant projects, . as the construction of new capital,
. Thanks to him, there were taxes on the senatorial seats, known as collatio glebalis (on land), and profits from trade - collatio lustralis (paying off).
In general, the law reign of Constantine was a time of feverish activity. Reached us about three hundred of its laws in the codes, especially in the arch of Theodosius. In these vaults are reviewed sincere desire to reform and the influence of Christianity, for example, the requirement of humane treatment of prisoners and slaves and penalties for crimes against morals. Nevertheless, they are often rude to the thoughts and conceited in style and clearly drawn up by official rhetoric, but not experienced scribes. Like Diocletian, Constantine believed that the time has come for society to rebuild the decrees of a despotic power, and it is important to note that from the time we meet with undisguised approval of the will of the emperor as the sole source of law. In fact, Constantine embodies the spirit of absolute power, which was to dominate for many centuries in the Church, and in the state.

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