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Constantine I

( Roman Emperor)

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Biography Constantine I
Constantine I the Great, Gaius Flavius Valery - Roman emperor in 307-337 g. Son of Constance 1 Chlorinators. Genus. 27 February. 272 g. + 22 May 337 g.

The exact place of birth unknown Constantine. He probably came from the city of Ness in Dacia. His mother was a simple woman named Helen, according to tradition, - the daughter of the innkeeper. He was about twenty years old when his father was elevated to the rank of Caesar, the Emperor Diocletian, but was forced to divorce his mother and marry Theodora, stepdaughter of the second of August - Maximian Hercule. Rather than follow his father to the west, Constantine remained in the service of Diocletian (Gibbon: 14). According to Theophanes, he showed an uncanny understanding of youth, physical strength and great ability in the sciences. In all African wars of Diocletian and Persian Gallery, he was distinguished by his courage (Theophanes: 288.293). Little by little it has risen to the honorary rank of tribune of the first level.

After the abdication of Diocletian in 305 g. Constantine was in Nicomedia on the status of honorary captive (Gibbon: 14). Galerius was afraid to let him go because he knew that in the event of death of Constantius, Constantine could easily win over the Gallic and British Legion. Often it intrigues against the young man, but did not dare take anything explicitly, so as not to incur the wrath of citizens and soldiers of hate. Once the emperor as a joke and to test the strength and agility Constantine shoved him into a cage with a lion. But Constantine overcame predator. Meanwhile, 306 g. seriously ill Constantius Galerius sent a letter and asked to send him a son, whom he wanted to see before death. Since Galerius had more decent pretext to prevent the departure of Constantine, he reluctantly gave consent. However, he intended to arrest him on the road and therefore commanded that he set off in the morning. But Constantine in the same evening sped from Nicomedia, crippling the path of all state horses at numerous checkpoints. When Galerius learned about this, he was furious, but could not do anything. With incredible speed Constantine reached Britain, and found his father dying. He only had time to submit it to the soldiers and to transfer power from the hands (Lactantius: 24).

Galerius was forced to admit what happened, and bestowed the title of Caesar, Constantine. In the ensuing civil war and then Constantine initially did not participate, but was clearly on the side of the enemies Gallery. In 307 g. He married the daughter of Maximian's Faust, and took from the hands of rank-law of Augustus, who after his defeat Galerius was compelled him to admit. Constantine took up arms only in 312, when he declared war reigned in Italy, Maxentius. But once the war started, he acted swiftly and decisively. While the gathering forces of Maxentius, Constantine has already exceeded the army across the Alps and invaded Italy. Under Turin Constantine struck his first defeat of the enemy, then all of northern Italy has recognized its power. Under Verona was split-second Army. The decisive battle took place at the Red Rocks in the nine miles from the capital. After a stubborn battle soldiers of Maxentius fled, and he was crossing the Tiber River fell into the water and drowned. Marching into Rome, Constantine ordered the execution of the two sons of the deposed emperor, and took care of the complete extermination of its kind. But when some of the Romans demanded the execution of all adherents of Maxentius, Constantine strongly opposed such cruelty, and declared a general amnesty (Gibbon: 14). Justice was one of the main advantages of Constantine. According to Aurelius Victor, he left all his enemies honor and property and took them to the number of friends. Legions of praetorian guards, and their support units, more suitable for disturbances than to protect the city, he is completely dissolved and at the same time repealed their special weapons and military clothing (Victor: "O Caesar ', 40, 41).

. After spending a short time in Rome, Constantine went to Mediolan here issued for Licinius his sister Constance
. In addition, both the emperor issued an edict to put a definitive end to persecution of Christians. It, . particularly, . said: 'Guided by common sense and the right, . we announce our decision as follows: no one is forbidden to vote freely and to respect the Christian faith and everyone is granted the freedom to draw his thoughts to the faith, . which, . his opinion, . suits him ..,
. Henceforth, anyone who freely and simply selected the Christian faith, can comply with it without any interference was ... ' (Eusebius: 'Ecclesiastical History', 10, 5). By granting freedom of worship to their filed, Constantine himself a few years lived in a dual faith. He is more actively supported the Christians, and continued to sacrifice the old gods gave oolshie money for the restoration of Christian churches and at least generously supported the pagan temples; praised Christ vouchsafed to Apollo. But in subsequent years, admirers of antiquity and ancient Roman mind with pain and anger, convinced that the emperor is gradually leaning towards the new religion. He refused to participate in public molebstvovanii in honor of Jupiter Capitoline (Gibbon: 20), and forbade to put their images in the temples, and then completely stopped going to. Bishops and preachers of the new study were invited to the imperial table, and appointed his children's teachers. In the halls of the palace Constantine gave a kind of church where he prayed with all his court. Eusebius wrote that the emperor spent whole nights without sleep for the study of Scripture and writing sermons. Then, gathering the audience, he rose from drooping face and soft voice, very respectfully, to interpret the teachings of the divine. If then the audience was filled with his cheers, he gave them a sign to build up his eyes and his astonishment, his devout praise honor one God. Sharing the speech part, he then exposed the errors of polytheism, then spoke about edinovlastvuyuschem Godhead, and after that talking about the general and private fishing. Even the gold coins he had commanded to portray themselves with eye, upturned, in the form of prayer (Eusebius: 'Life of Constantine', 4, 15-17, 29). In campaigns Constantine drove to a church made like a tent. Later, each legion was to have the camp chapel and got priests and deacons (Sozomen: 1, 8).

Meanwhile passed not a lot of time and continues unanimity emperors came to an end. After the death of all other Augusta Roman world was divided between Constantine and Li-tsiniem, and the rivalry between them was inevitable. The beginning of strife, as one might expect, put Licinius. Soon after the victory of Constantine erected at Caesars their leader Bassiana and gave him marry his sister, Anastasia. But a short time later, it turned out that Bassian involved in a conspiracy against Constantine. The investigation revealed that the conspiracy stretched eastward to Licinius. Angered by Constantine in 314 g.nachal against war. The first battle occurred in Pannonia near the town Tsibalisa. Hard fighting continued from morning till late evening. Finally managed to Constantine on the right flank to press the legions of Licinius. He retreated to his camp, and at night hurriedly fled to the other side of the Sava and destroyed the bridges behind. The second battle unfolded in Thrace, and was even more stubborn than the first. Cine retreated again - this time in Macedonia. The loss of his were so great that he was forced to sue for peace. Constantine agreed to end the war, but took away from his rival, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Dacia, Macedonia and Greece. Some time later, both in August agreed to declare three new Caesars. These were the sons of Constantine - Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius II, son of Licinius.

Opponents knew that the inmate world - only a postponement, and hard preparing for new war. In 324 g. fighting resumed. Licinius pulled all its forces to Adrianople. Constantine sent its legions through Gebr and attacked the enemy. Lost to thirty thousand only killed, Licinius withdrew to Byzantium. Shortly thereafter, Crispus, Constantine's son, defeated in the Hellespont fleet of Licinius. Licinius passed over Khalkedon in Asia Minor coast and here in a short time assembled a new army. She was defeated near Nicomedia. Then continuation of the war was pointless. After his wife turned to Licinius Constantine asking about the world. He abdicated and was exiled to Salonika. A year later he was executed on charges of treasonable correspondence with the barbarians. Roman Empire gvnov united under one emperor (Gibbon-.14).

Fighting against Licinius had another important consequence. After a lot of time under Byzantium, . Constantine than once had the opportunity to assess and as a warrior, . and as a statesman unparalleled situation of this city, . and then, . how well it preserves the very nature of the enemy attacks and at the same time be open for trade 'Relations,
. It is here that the emperor decided to establish their primary residence, New Rome, which is supposed to make a second capital of the empire. Construction began, apparently in 325, and five years later the town was already consecrated (Gibbon: 17). By extending the former Byzantium, Constantine is surrounded by its huge walls. As for the huge population of former residents of the city were not enough, then in various places on the outskirts of the emperor ordered to build a big house and gave them possession of the famous people, calling them part of Rome, and partly from other places. He adorned the city racecourse, reservoirs, porticos and other buildings. Finally, he established here the Senate and introduced him to the same rights, . What was the Roman (Sozomen: 2, 3) The rapid emergence of a large and beautiful city could be considered one of the great deeds of Constantine, . if it had not known was the price, . paid for it,
. To fulfill its whim Emperor robbed and plundered the empire. Only the construction of city walls, colonnades and covered aqueducts were spent 60 000 pounds of gold. In order to raise the necessary funds, Konstantin overlaid with heavy taxes all their subjects. Even the senators were obliged to pay particular lodge. But Constantine has his - he created the city (after his death, he became known as Constantinople) quickly evolved, and blossomed in a short time eclipsed the old capital (Fedorova: 78).

. The last fourteen years of the reign of Constantine passed in relative peace, and he had more leisure to do the state and religious affairs
. Religious strife is particularly interested him. All the Eastern Christians were divided at the time the supporters of Orthodoxy and the followers of the Arian doctrine. At first, Constantine did not intervene in disputes prelates, but urged them to stop the fatal divisions Christianity (Gibbon: 21). But seeing the words Sozomen that disputes louder voice reconciling, Constantine decided to convene an ecumenical council and all members of the church ordered in 325 g. come to a certain day in Nicaea. Since Constantine was pleased to participate in the council of bishops, they all were called to the palace. In his speech, the Emperor said that he would like to see all the bishops and like-minded consenting opinions, for he considered the perturbation in the Church of God the most painful scourge. After this the priests began to talk about the dogma. Konstantin calmly and without malice listened to the words on both sides, and joined those who spoke well. Arian doctrine was declared heretical (Sozomen: 1, 17, 19, 20). According to Theodoret, all the former palace of the bishops of Constantine called then to his meal. Noticing that some wrest from the right eye, and knowing that the suffering they have undergone for firmness in faith, he touched his lips to their ulcers with full faith that the extract from this a blessing for his love (Theodoret: 1; II).

. The writers of church history have filled pages of his books praises in honor of Constantine, but he wrote at the same pagan historians were not so blinded
. They noted that in recent years, the reign of Emperor began to appear alien to him before intolerance, despotism and cruelty. According to Eutropius, a favorable outcome of all his endeavors heavily damaged the soul of Constantine: he began to pursue their relatives and friends, punishing and executed them for no apparent reason. Thus, if the initial time of his rule, he could be likened to the best rulers, then later - rather mediocre (Eutropius: 10; 6-7). Boundless ambition has always been one of his greatest passions. Having finally their cherished goal and becoming the ruler of the world, Constantine has surrounded himself with pomp and Asian disgraced his age crazy and unheard of extravagance. He dressed and behaved like an oriental despot: wore colored fake hair, long, colorful silk robes, adorned themselves many precious stones, necklaces and bracelets. If before Constantine could not stand the slanderers and informers, it has now become so suspicious that a special edict patted them on the promise of prizes and distinctions. The eldest son Crispus, marked by many virtues and very popular among the people, soon became a cause in the reign of apprehension, which grew into a secret hatred. In 326 g. Constantine ordered the capture Crispus and after a quick trial execution. Immediately after that he ordered to kill his nephew and Licinius. Many attributed the death of Crispus cunning of his stepmother Fausta, who allegedly accused the stepson of an attempt on her honor and chastity. It is not known whether later repented of Constantine in his misconduct, or disclose his wife's machinations, . but he has punished her as severely, . like son: one version, . Empress strangled in the bath, . specially melted to such an extent, . that it was impossible to breathe, . but on the other - Constantine himself had pushed her into a bath of boiling water (Gibbon: 18),
. Philostorgy, however, notes that the emperor dealt with his wife after he discovered her adultery with one of the riders (Philostorgy: 2, 4). Shortly before his death, Constantine had a successful war against the Sarmatians and ready. At the beginning of 337 g. patient emperor went to Elenopolis enjoy baths. But he felt worse, he had to translate myself in Nicomedia and here on his deathbed was baptized (Sozomen: 1, 34). Before his death, gathering of bishops, he admitted that he wanted to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan, but by the will of God takes it from here (Eusebius: 'Life of Constantine', 4, 62). According to Gibbon, the influence of the emperor in his own, and at subsequent time was immense and multifaceted. He began a new policy, built a new capital which supported the new religion. He again raised the greatness of the Roman name and intimidate neighbors. His contemporaries called him the restorer of the state, and many even thought that he, after Romulus founded his second time (Gibbon: 18).

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