Classics Constantine
by
Noel Lenski
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0127

Introduction

Constantine takes his place alongside Augustus and Justinian as one of the longest-reigning and most influential emperors in Roman history. His rule stretched for thirty-one years, from 306 to 337 CE, and witnessed the reconsolidation of the Roman Empire into the hands of a single monarch and the conversion of the social and administrative superstructure to Christianity. Much that characterizes the last three centuries of the Roman Empire and thus the period known as Late Antiquity took its start in the reign of Constantine. This includes the growth of a vastly expanded imperial bureaucracy, the rise of Byzantium-Constantinople as a world capital, the conversion of the Roman aristocracy, the rise of the bishop as a major player in civic and imperial politics, the introduction of imperially mediated ecumenical councils, the introduction of Christian principles into Roman law, the infiltration of Christian rhetoric and symbolism into the Roman military, the rearticulation of daily life around Christian rituals and feast-days, the rise of the holy man and the Christian cult of the saints, the growth of Christian forms of art and architecture, and the reconstruction of Palestine into a Christian Holy Land. The shifts ushered in—or in many instances simply presided over—by Constantine paved the way for the transition from classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages in both East and West, and many of these changes continue to exercise influence on the western world today. Constantine’s reign presents a number of problems for the student of ancient history. The single most common question confronted by scholars of Constantine has been the sincerity and timing of his conversion. Although sources report that this occurred in the period of his war with Maxentius in 312, some have suggested it actually took place earlier and others that it was never fully realized whatsoever. In fact, much evidence remains that Constantine continued to reverence pagan deities, particularly the Unconquerable Sun (Sol Invictus), down to the close of his reign. We are fortunate, however, to possess an unusually high number of writings from Constantine’s own pen which make it fairly certain that, from an early date, Constantine considered himself a devotee of the Christian god. The emphasis on Constantine’s religiosity has, unfortunately, often obscured other important aspects of his reign which were equally epochal. Constantine was, for example, a military genius who succeeded in defeating two imperial armies as well as numerous barbarian nations and in securing the frontiers of the empire throughout his reign. He was also a master politician capable of reunifying the eastern and western halves of the empire and of reintegrating an expanded senatorial aristocracy into leadership roles after these had been largely snubbed under the Tetrarchy. Finally, he was a skilled administrator who reformed the currency, expanded the imperial bureaucracy, and streamlined the justice system to the advantage of his subjects. Recent studies have tended to emphasize these accomplishments achieved by Constantine as Roman emperor rather than continuing to focus on him qua homo religiosus. In so doing, they have brought into even sharper focus why it is that Constantine earned his place in history but also in legend as one of the greatest emperors of Rome.

General Overviews

Numerous introductory studies of Constantine have been written since the 1930s, some of which are still of use. Some of these are listed in Framing the Debate. More recent studies include Bleckmann 2003 for German readers, Marcone 2002 for readers of Italian, and Pohlsander 1996 for readers of English. Lenski 2011 offers broader coverage but is divided into thematic chapters, each of which is easily digestible. The most concise survey of political and military history in Constantine’s reign that could still be called comprehensive can be found in Lenski 2011 at pp. 59–90.

  • Bleckmann, Bruno. 2003. Konstantin der Grosse. 2d ed. Reinbek bei Hamburg, Germany: Rowohlt.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The most incisive of the many introductory volumes on Constantine in German. Shows a comprehensive knowledge of the sources and a willingness to confront the complexities of Constantine’s reign head on.

    Find this resource:

    • Lenski, Noel, ed. 2011. The Cambridge companion to the Age of Constantine. Rev. ed. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Intended as an introduction to all aspects of Constantine and his reign. Includes sections on political history, religion, art and architecture, social and legal history, and foreign policy.

      Find this resource:

      • Marcone, Arnaldo. 2002. Costantino il Grande. Rome: Editori Laterza.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        The best introduction in Italian, with extensive discussion of political and military history in addition to careful treatment of religious issues. Shows broad familiarity with debates in the secondary literature.

        Find this resource:

        • Pohlsander, Hans A. 1996. The Emperor Constantine. London and New York: Routledge.

          DOI: 10.4324/9780203287743Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Very brief introduction focused primarily on political history that offers a solid narrative in sparing prose. Well researched and documented for an introductory volume.

          Find this resource:

          Reference Works and Sourcebooks

          The details of Constantinian history can be confusing, primarily because he ruled conjointly with other emperors throughout his reign, first with fellow Tetrarchs (306–313), then with Licinius (313–324), and thereafter with his own sons as Caesars (324–337). To add to the confusion, he was regularly on the move throughout all but the last ten years of his reign, and he had a number of officials conducting the business of empire all along. The handbooks and sourcebooks listed here can help sort through these details. Most useful is Barnes 1982, which lists all major Realien of the reign in schematic form, including the regnal dates for all emperors in the period and a detailed itinerary of their movements. Emendations to this information based on more recently discovered evidence can be found in Barnes 1996. Kienast 2004 offers some of the same for German readers. Jones, et al. 1971 lists all imperial officials known under Constantine and his successors. Lee 2000 and Lieu and Montserrat 1996 offer a clutch of relevant sources, some of which are not found in Sources.

          • Barnes, Timothy D. 1982. The new empire of Diocletian and Constantine. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Indispensable resource for the study of Diocletian, the Tetrarchs, and Constantine. Includes tables of co-rulers, titles, imperial residences and journeys, major officials, and administrative matters. Some information has been superseded. Many updates provided at Barnes 1996 and Barnes 2011 (cited under Recent Monographic Studies).

            Find this resource:

            • Barnes, Timothy D. 1996. Emperors, panegyrics, prefects, provinces and palaces. Journal of Roman Archaeology 9:532–552.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              An extended review article providing updates to Barnes 1982 based on new discoveries and interpretations.

              Find this resource:

              • Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin, John Robert Martindale, and J. Morris. 1971. The prosopography of the later Roman Empire. Vol. 1, AD 260–395. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Lists most known members of the ruling elite in the late 3rd and 4th centuries, including senators, imperial officials, military leaders, and city councilors. Although it is badly in need of updating, this remains the most important index of materials for reconstructing the prosopography of late Roman officials.

                Find this resource:

                • Kienast, Dietmar. 2004. Römische Kaisertabelle: Grundzüge einer römischen Kaiserchronologie. 3d ed. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Convenient handbook about all Roman emperors, including usurpers, through Theodosius, including the Tetrarchs, Constantine, his co-rulers and successors. Summarizes the most significant factual information about each emperor including early biography, titles, and family relations, and provides basic bibliography on each emperor.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Lee, A. D., ed. and trans. 2000. Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity: A sourcebook. London and New York: Routledge.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Outstanding sourcebook of materials on pagan and Christian religion in the 4th century. The fourth chapter focuses on Constantine and includes translations of important inscriptions, including those from Orcistus (4.9) and Hispellum (4.10).

                    Find this resource:

                    • Lieu, Samuel N. C., and Dominic Montserrat. 1996. From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine views—A source history. London and New York: Routledge.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      A farrago of Constantinian source material in translation, including the “Origin of Constantine” (see also Textual Sources), a Byzantine life of Constantine (BHG 364), and Libanius’s Oration 59, which talks briefly of Constantine and then of his son Constantius II in much more detail.

                      Find this resource:

                      Exhibitions

                      Exhibitions on Constantine have proliferated in the early years of the 21st century as we march through the 1,700th anniversaries of the various events of his reign. The resulting catalogues can be quite useful at orienting the reader in the material remains of the period, which are extensive. All contain thematic essays as well, some of which summarize the state of debate on various themes, but many of which constitute groundbreaking research unto themselves. Ensoli and La Rocca 2000 covers a broader range than just the reign of Constantine but should be consulted for its sheer breadth and complexity. Demandt and Engemann 2007 represents the largest collection of Constantinian material ever assembled for a single show. The Rimini and York shows (Donati and Gentili 2005 and Hartley, et al. 2006) were smaller in scale, but impressive in their own right and useful for their attention to artifacts preserved from the broader contemporary society. The Milan exhibit (Biscottini and Sena Chiesa 2012) is especially welcome for its attention to Constantine’s afterlife in legend, art, and literature.

                      • Biscottini, Paolo, and Gemma Sena Chiesa, eds. 2012. Costantino 313 d.C.: L’Editto di Milano e il tempo della tolleranza. Milan: Museo diocesano Milano.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Exhibition catalogue from a show designed to highlight the “Edict of Milan” in 2013. Includes several recently discovered objects, among which the porphyry head of Galerius found at his villa in Gamzigrad and the 4th-century silver amphora of Baratti with its minute representations of Olympian deities.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Demandt, Alexander, and Josef Engemann, eds. 2007. Konstantin der Grosse: Ausstellungskatalog; Imperator Caesar Flavius Constantinus. Trier, Germany: Konstantin-Ausstellungsgesellschaft.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Catalogue of the most extensive exhibition ever devoted to Constantine, which included c. 1,400 objects. High-quality prints are supplemented with a much fuller catalogue of visual material registered on an accompanying CD-ROM. Studies by experts explore the major themes of Constantine’s reign.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Donati, Angela, and Giovanni Gentili, eds. 2005. Costantino il Grande: La civiltà antica al bivio tra occidente e oriente. Milan: Silvana Editoriale.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Catalogue of an exhibition hosted at the Castel Sismondo in 2005. Especially useful for the quality of its introductory essays and for its catalogue of portraits and coins as well as its assemblage of early material evidence for the diffusion of the chi-rho.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Ensoli, Serena, and Eugenio La Rocca. 2000. Aurea Roma: Dalla città pagana alla città cristiana. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Catalogue of the most ambitious exhibition of objects from Late Antique Rome ever assembled. Includes many objects from the Constantinian period and a number of important studies related to Constantine, particularly that of Serena Ensoli on the bronze head of Constantine in the Conservatori Museum.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Hartley, Elizabeth, J. Hawkes, M. Henig, and F. Mee. 2006. Constantine the Great: York’s Roman emperor. Aldershot, UK: Lund Humphries.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Exhibition catalogue produced in connection with the 1700th anniversary of Constantine’s proclamation in York on 25 July 306. Includes a wide variety of objects found in Britain or presently kept there, especially the York bust of Constantine and the London papyrus fragment of Constantine’s letter to the provincials of Palestine.

                                Find this resource:

                                Conference Volumes and Collected Studies

                                Alongside exhibitions, the early 21st century has seen a number of conferences, only some of which have yet been published. Demandt and Engemann 2007 and Schuller and Wolff 2007 were both assembled in celebration of Constantine’s proclamation in 306. Bonamente, et al. 2012 represents the first of a series of colloquia aimed at reexamining the Edict of Toleration (311), the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), and the Edict of Milan (313). Conference volumes will soon follow from conferences held at Vatican City, Barcelona, Sofia, and Milan. Easily the most important conference ever held on Constantine in terms of the impact of the papers delivered was the Macerata event of 1990, published in Bonamente and Fusco 1992–1993. In addition, several authors who have specialized in Constantine have published volumes of their collected studies that assemble important articles. Listed here are Barnes 1994, Girardet 2009, and Burgess 2011. Finally, the volume of Ehling and Weber 2011 assembles articles for a German book series that emphasizes material evidence for Roman rulers.

                                • Barnes, Timothy David. 1994. From Eusebius to Augustine. Aldershot, UK, and Brookfield, VT: Variorum.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Collected studies of the world’s foremost English-speaking authority on Constantine. Includes important articles on Constantine’s purported law against sacrifice, the beginnings of his planned campaign with Persia, and the composition of Eusebius’s Life of Constantine.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Bonamente, Giorgio, and Franca Fusco, eds. 1992–1993. Costantino il Grande: Dall’antichità all’umanesimo: Colloquio sul cristianesimo nel Mondo Antico, Macerata, 18–20 dicembre 1990. 2 vols. Macerata, Italy: Università degli studi di Macerata.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Studies from the single most important conference held on Constantine, with important contributions by scholars from several generations on topics ranging from history, to art, to politics, to the afterlife of Constantine as a legendary and historical figure.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Bonamente, Giorgio, Noel Lenski, and Rita Lizzi Testa, eds. 2012. Constantine before and after Constantine/Costantino prima e dopo Costantino. Bari, Italy: Edipuglia.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Collected papers from a conference held at Perugia and Spello in 2011 on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of Galerius’s Edict of Toleration, which focus on the historical background to Constantine’s reign and reforms and on the reception of Constantine from his death down to the 20th century.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Burgess, Richard W. 2011. Chronicles, consuls, and coins: Historiography and history in the later Roman Empire. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Collected studies of the world expert on ancient chronicles. Includes important articles on the dating of the editions of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, the death of Constantine, the internecine bloodbath that ensued among his successors, and the earliest translation of the relics of saints to Constantinople.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Demandt, Alexander, and Josef Engemann, eds. 2007. Konstantin der Grosse: Geschichte, Archäologie, Rezeption: Internationales Kolloquium vom 10.-15. Oktober 2005 an der Universität Trier zur Landesausstellung Rheinland-Pfalz 2007 “Konstantin der Grosse.” Trier, Germany: Rheinisches Landesmuseum.

                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Proceedings of a conference held in Trier in anticipation of the exhibition celebrating Constantine’s accession to power, on which see Demandt and Engemann 2007 (cited under Exhibitions).

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Ehling, Kay, and Gregor Weber, eds. 2011. Konstantin der Grosse: Zwischen Sol und Christus. Darmstadt: Philipp von Zabern.

                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Contains brief essays on major questions in Constantine’s reign and career which summarize current debates and break some new ground. Lavishly illustrated with images many of which cannot be found elsewhere.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Girardet, Klaus Martin. 2009. Kaisertum, Religionspolitik und das Recht von Staat und Kirche in der Spätantike. Antiquitas 56. Bonn, Germany: Rudolf Habelt.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              Collected studies of the world’s foremost German-speaking authority on Constantine. Includes important papers on the councils of Rome, Arles, and Nicaea, on Constantine’s “Christian Priesthood,” as well as studies on Constantine’s sons and successors.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Schuller, Florian, and Hartmut Wolff, eds. 2007. Konstantin der Grosse: Kaiser einer Epochenwende. Lindenberg, Germany: Kunstverlag Josef Fink.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Groups a series of papers delivered in Munich that cover Constantine and his transformational role in Roman history.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                Recent Monographic Studies

                                                Monographic studies of Constantine are, by now, legion, and the rate of their publication has only increased in recent years. The list here includes only some of the most important. It begins chronologically with what remains the most indispensable book on Constantine, Barnes 1981, a work even its own author could not surpass with his update in Barnes 2011. Potter 2012 offers the most recent comprehensive biography in a book refreshing for its focus on matters other than the timeworn issue of conversion. Most other significant recent monographs have focused on thematic issues and avoided the pull toward biography. These could be usefully divided into those which focus on the question of Christian conversion, including Drake 2000, Stephenson 2009, and Girardet 2010, and those which focus on other aspects, including Van Dam 2007 and Wienand 2012.

                                                • Barnes, Timothy D. 1981. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Still the most important book on Constantine. Offers a wide-angle look at problems of religious, political, and literary history based on a breathtaking command of the source material. Presents a Constantine whose conversion was decisive and whose opposition to traditional religion became intensive after 324.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • Barnes, Timothy D. 2011. Constantine: Dynasty, religion and power in the later Roman Empire. Chichester, UK, and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Reaffirms and, where necessary, revises Barnes 1981, but in a more polemical and dogmatic fashion.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Drake, H. A. 2000. Constantine and the bishops: The politics of intolerance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Applies contemporary sociological theory to Constantine’s interactions with Christianity as a mass movement. Shows how Constantine’s initial efforts to foster tolerance between differing religious groups eventually gave way to intolerance after he began to vest power in bishops.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Girardet, Klaus Martin. 2010. Der Kaiser und sein Gott: Das Christentum im Denken und in der Religionspolitik Konstantins des Grossen. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter.

                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Uses a series of case studies focused on key religious symbols (like the labarum), events (like the Council of Nicaea), and measures in favor of Christians and against non-Christians to argue for an early (311) and sweeping conversion of Constantine.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Potter, David S. 2012. Constantine the emperor. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          A full-scale biography which redirects attention away from Constantine’s conversion and toward the many problems he confronted and surmounted as a successful general, politician, administrator, and lawgiver.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Stephenson, Paul. 2009. Constantine: Unconquered emperor, Christian victor. London: Quercus.

                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Argues for a Constantine whose obsession with military victory was bolstered by a belief that the Christian god offered him the means toward this end. Not always reliable on details.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Van Dam, Raymond. 2007. The Roman revolution of Constantine. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511819476Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Self-consciously entitled after Ronald Syme’s Roman Revolution; argues for the epochal nature of Constantine’s reign not so much because of its introduction of Christianity to imperial politics but rather because of its movement of the focus of empire eastward.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Wienand, Johannes. 2012. Der Kaiser als Sieger: Metamorphosen triumphaler Herrschaft unter Constantin I. Klio Beihefte, neue Folge 19. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Focuses on Constantine as victorious emperor on coins and in contemporary literature, especially Latin panegyrics and the poet Optatianus Porfyrius.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                Sources

                                                                All discussions of ancient historical figures must begin from the primary sources available. These include textual, documentary, and material remains. The first two of these categories will be treated in the three sections immediately following, while archaeological evidence is discussed in appropriate contexts throughout this bibliography and always through the intermediacy of secondary studies that synthesize it. The textual sources are articulated into two categories: those sources written about Constantine and those written by Constantine himself or his courtiers and administrators. The latter are especially abundant and especially valuable in helping reconstruct an accurate picture of Constantine’s reign. The documentary sources consist primarily of inscriptions and coins since the record of ancient paper texts (papyri) is not especially illuminating for the reign of Constantine.

                                                                Literary Sources

                                                                Fortunately, a number of contemporary or near-contemporary accounts of Constantine’s life and reign exist. Pride of place among these goes to two works of Eusebius of Caesarea (in modern Israel), who had met Constantine personally. The first of these, his Ecclesiastical History (see Eusebius 1932), was composed in the early years of Constantine’s reign in three editions likely published c. 313/314, c. 315/316, and c. 325 (see the article by Neri in Morlet and Perrone 2012, cited under Historiographical Studies). The work covers all of world history up to Eusebius’s own day but slows its pace in the last three of its ten books to cover the Great Persecutions of 303–312 and Constantine’s response to them down to the aftermath of the defeat of Constantine’s co-emperor Maximin Daia, the last great persecutor, in 313. Shortly after Constantine’s death and certainly by 339, Eusebius then wrote his Life of Constantine (Eusebius 1999), which combines narrative with panegyric in four dense books. Although Eusebius overriding interest in portraying Constantine as the Christian God’s elect demands caution from the careful reader, the Life has the virtue of reproducing directly (albeit in Greek translation) a large number of original Constantinian legal and epistolary pronouncements. Eusebius also composed two speeches for Constantine that are still extant, one a panegyric delivered on the occasion of the emperor’s tricennalia and a second delivered at the dedication of his new church over the site of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was thought to have been buried. Lactantius, who was another contemporary and friend of Constantine’s, wrote his On the Deaths of Persecutors c. 315 (see Lactantius 1984). The aim of this work was to prove that those who persecute Christ’s followers will suffer gruesome deaths. It too may seem to be little more than a pious screed, but it also preserves a number of unique details about the early years of Constantine and the reigns of the Tetrarchic co-rulers who preceded or ruled alongside him. We are also fortunate to possess five official speeches (panegyrics) delivered in Latin to Constantine or his courtiers and subjects. We also have two sources that present alternative perspectives and information in The Origin of Constantine, written shortly after Constantine’s death in homely Latin, and Zosimus 1982, written in elaborate Greek in the late 5th century but based on a 4th-century pagan source that was highly critical of Constantine. Finally, we have a number of panegyrics (speeches of praise) written for Constantine or members of his family by various orators, including two by Eusebius (see Eusebius 1975), and six more by various Gallic orators (see In Praise of Later Roman Emperors), all of which offer invaluable spin on Constantinian policies and propaganda from a contemporary perspective. This wealth of material affords us a three-dimensional view of the emperor that is relatively informative in comparison with the material remaining for many emperors, although far from perfect in its coverage and presentation.

                                                                • Eusebius. 1932. The ecclesiastical history. Vol. 2. Edited by H. J. Lawlor; translated by J. E. L. Oulton. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This source is crucial for its contemporary testimony about the early reign of Constantine, although the bulk of it was composed in the eastern empire before Constantine took control of this territory. It preserves a number of Constantinian documents, some unique and others reproduced by Lactantius, including Galerius’s Edict of Toleration and the famous “Edict of Milan.”

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Eusebius. 1975. In praise of Constantine: A historical study and new translation of Eusebius’ Tricennial Orations. Translated with commentary by H. A. Drake. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Translation of two speeches delivered by Eusebius of Caesarea on the occasion of the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 335 and the celebration of Constantine’s Tricennalia (thirtieth jubilee) in July 336 in Constantinople. Both reflect much about shifting notions of divine rulership late in Constantine’s reign.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Eusebius. 1999. Life of Constantine. Translated with introduction and commentary by Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This invaluable text had long been maligned for its tendentiousness in favor of Constantine, whom it treats as a direct agent of the Christian God. Nevertheless, the accuracy of much of what Eusebius reports and above all the authenticity of the many documents he preserves from the pen of Constantine and his chancery make this source indispensable.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The panegyrici Latini. 1994. Translated with introduction and commentary by C. E. V. Nixon and Barbara Saylor Rodgers. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This collection of twelve orations delivered to emperors in the western empire includes one oration to Constantine’s father (VIII), and five to Constantine himself (IV–VII and XII) between the years 307 and 321. They include unique and valuable material both for the events of the reign and for the official spin put on these.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Lactantius. 1984. De mortibus persecutorum. Edited with translation and commentary by J. L. Creed. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Lactantius was not aiming to write a biography of Constantine but rather to prove a thesis: those who persecute the Christian church inevitably died a horrific death. This narrows Lactantius’s focus, but does not prevent him from transmitting much valuable information about Constantine, his rivals (especially Maxentius and Licinius), and his predecessors (especially the Tetrarchs).

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • The origin of Constantine: The anonymous Valesianus pars prior (Origo Constantini). 1996. Translated by Jane Stevenson; annotated by Samuel N. C. Lieu. In From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine views—A source history. Edited by Samuel N. C. Lieu and Dominic Montserrat, 39–62. London and New York: Routledge.

                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            This extremely abbreviated biography, written in simple Latin by an anonymous author with no obvious religious agenda—despite the later addition of quotations from a patently religious source—offers much unique information on the political history of Constantine’s reign, especially its first eighteen years.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Zosimus. 1982. New history. Byzantina Australiensia 2. Translated by Ronald T. Ridley. Canberra, Australia: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Writing c. 500, the staunchly pagan Zosimus relied heavily on the 4th-century author Eunapius for his narrative, which focuses on Constantine in Book 2. He reports much of value although he is no less biased in his opposition to the first Christian emperor than Eusebius is biased in Constantine’s favor. Ridley’s is the only translation of Zosimus widely available in English, but suffers from inaccuracies in its notes and text. More reliable is the French translation of Paschoud 1971 (cited under Historiographical Studies).

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              Writings of Constantine and His Chancery

                                                                              We have a surprisingly large number of texts preserved from Constantine’s own hand and the hands of his administrators. This stems in no small part from the fact that Constantine’s contemporaries and immediate successors recognized almost immediately the seminal nature of his reign and therefore chose to preserve copies of his decrees and pronouncements in their written texts, which were then passed down through the Middle Ages. Eusebius, for example, preserves many Constantinian documents in both his Ecclesiastical History and his Life of Constantine (see Literary Sources). He also appended to the latter a copy of a speech delivered by Constantine himself, likely in 325, known as the Oration to the Assembly of the Saints. A translation of this text can be found in Edwards 2003 (cited under Constantine in Legend), pp. 1–62. The late-4th-century writer Optatus also preserves a number of documents in his work Against the Donatists (see Edwards 1997), which was designed to refute claims to legitimacy by his opponents, the dissident Donatist church. The long-lived and fiercely polemical bishop of Alexandria Athanasius also preserved a collection of documents for use against his religious opponents, the Meletians and Arians, including a number of letters of Constantine (Maraval 2010 and Opitz 1934–1935). Finally, the compilers of the Theodosian Code (Pharr 1952), a collection of imperial constitutions published in book form in 438 CE, took the decision to begin their collection with laws of Constantine preserved to them. All of this adds up to an unusually robust series of texts with which to reconstruct the history of Constantine and his reign.

                                                                              • Edwards, Mark, trans. 1997. Optatus: Against the Donatists. Translated Texts for Historians 27. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Univ. Press.

                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                First written in the 370s and later supplemented in the 390s, this work of the North African bishop Optatus includes a summary of the early part of the religious controversy between Catholic and Donatist Christians as well as a valuable appendix of ten official documents, six of them letters by Constantine.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Maraval, Pierre, ed. and trans. 2010. Constantin le Grand: Lettres et discours. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Assembles all known letters and speeches by Constantine in a convenient volume with French translations and brief commentary.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Opitz, Hans-Georg, ed. 1934–1935. Urkunden zur Geschichte des arianischen Streites. Athanasius Werke 3.1–2. Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Documents preserved in Greek, Latin, and Syriac which discuss the Arian controversy. Some were written by Constantine himself although most were composed by the bishops embroiled in this religious debate. These documents are translated into German and outfitted with more extensive annotation in Brennecke, Hanns Christof, Uta Heil, Annette von Stockhausen, and Angelika Wintjes, eds. Dokumente zur Geschichte des arianischen Streites. Athanasius Werke 3.3. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2007.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Pharr, Clyde, ed. The Theodosian Code and novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions. 1952. Translated by Clyde Pharr, Theresa Sherrer Davidson, and Mary Brown Pharr. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      A treasure trove of imperial laws first published in 438 but stretching back to the early years of Constantine’s reign. The earliest laws date to 311 and, in addition to hundreds of laws of Constantine and his sons, include a handful of constitutions issued by Licinius.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      Documentary Sources

                                                                                      Because he ruled for so very long, Constantine and his subjects have left to us a rich font of documentary sources. The inscriptions from his reign—most of them recorded in Latin, even when they stem from the eastern empire—are abundant enough to constitute the basis for an entire book on Constantinian court propaganda (Grünewald 1990). Few of these are of a length to offer grounds for detailed discussion, but two notable exceptions are the inscription from Orcistus (Dessau 1892–1916, 6091 = Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiquae VII 305), which grants civic rights to a tiny community because of its profession of Christianity, and that from Hispellum (Dessau 1892–1916, 705), which permits this central Italian town to establish an imperial cult temple to Constantine’s family as late as 337. Both are translated in Lee 2000 (cited under Reference Works and Sourcebooks). The coins and medallions of Constantine are especially rich, filling one and a half volumes of The Roman Imperial Coinage (Bruun 1966 and Sutherland 1967) and constituting the basis for thematic studies (Alföldi 1963 and Christodoulou 1998). One final, very peculiar document is preserved in The Book of the Pontiffs, a medieval text that contains a document listing of church foundations and endowments in Rome and Italy from the Constantinian period.

                                                                                      • Alföldi, Maria R. 1963. Die Constantinische Goldprägung: Untersuchungen zu ihrer Bedeutung für Kaiserpolitik und Hofkunst. Mainz, Germany: R. Habelt.

                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Carefully researched study of all gold coins struck under Constantine with a greater emphasis on art historical issues than one finds in most numismatic literature.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Bruun, Patrick M. 1966. The Roman imperial coinage. Vol. 7, Constantine and Licinius AD 313–337. London: Spink.

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Comprehensive collection of all coins minted in the period between Constantine’s defeat of Maxentius in 312 and lasting down to the end of his reign in 337. Articulated by the city in which each coin was minted and furnished with numerous indices using which the reader can find coins by legend or type.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Christodoulou, N. 1998. The figures of ancient gods on the coinage of Constantine the Great (306–326 AD). Athens, Greece: Hellēnikē Nomismatikē Hetaireia.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Handy collection of those coins of Constantine which feature overtly pagan imagery.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Davis, Raymond, trans. 2010. The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis): The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715. Rev. 3d ed. Translated Texts for Historians 6. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Univ. Press.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              A medieval catalogue of popes which preserves, at its thirty-fourth chapter, a document first composed shortly after the reign of Constantine listing most of Constantine’s ecclesiastical foundations in Rome and several other cities in Italy, including their endowments in real and chattel wealth.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Dessau, H. 1892–1916. Inscriptiones latinae selectae. 3 vols. in 5 parts. Berlin: Weidmann.

                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Compendium of the most important Latin inscriptions published through the early 20th century, divided by thematic focus, with inscriptions 612–756 covering the reigns of Diocletian, the Tetrarchs, Constantine, and his successors. Regularly republished and available on Google Books.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Grünewald, Thomas. 1990. Constantinus Maximus Augustus: Herrschaftspropaganda in der zeitgenössischen Überlieferung. Stuttgart: F. Steiner.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Assembles all Latin inscriptions from the reign of Constantine known up to 1990 in a convenient appendix. Provides a thorough analysis of Constantinian political propaganda based on these and other official sources.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Sutherland, C. H. V. 1967. The Roman imperial coinage. Vol. 6, From Diocletian’s reform (A.D. 294) to the death of Maximinus (A.D. 313). London: Spink.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Comprehensive collection of all coins minted under the Tetrarchs and Constantine up to the period immediately following his defeat of Maxentius. Articulated by the city in which each coin was minted and furnished with numerous indices using which the reader can find coins by legend or type.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    Historiographical Studies

                                                                                                    Any attempt to discuss the reign of Constantine must grapple with the fundamentally literary nature of the sources for his reign. Recent studies have attempted to deal with the impact of this discursive approach on all received Constantinian narratives. This work has come in two strains which we might term technical and theoretical. On the former front, a number of excellent commentaries have appeared which offer line-by-line explanations for the often bewildering complexities of the ancient literary texts that treat Constantine (see König 1987, Paschoud 1971, and Eusebius 1999 [cited under Literary Sources]). Also technical are the studies of the production and transmission of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History collected in Morlet and Perrone 2012. A stronger engagement with literary theory is to be found in recent work on Lactantius (Digeser 2000) and Eusebius (Cameron 1997) as well as the highly theorized study of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Van Dam 2011. These last force us to confront the tenuous basis for our own reconstructions of an emperor who survives to us first and foremost as a literary construct of his contemporaries.

                                                                                                    • Cameron, Averil. 1997. Eusebius’ Vita Constantini and the construction of Constantine. In Portraits: Biographical representation in the Greek and Latin literature of the Roman Empire. Edited by Mark J. Edwards and Simon Swain, 245–274. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Debunks theories that Eusebius Life of Constantine consisted of two distinct parts—one panegyric, the other narrative—which were hastily welded together after the emperor’s death in favor of a unitary view of the work that emphasizes its roots in Hellenistic literary traditions coupled with more recent Late Antique biographical trends, some of which Eusebius himself initiated.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Digeser, Elizabeth D. 2000. The making of a Christian empire: Lactantius and Rome. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Contextualizes Lactantius’s thought and works in the broader span of the late 3rd and the early 4th century. Emphasizes Lactantius’s role in personally shaping approaches to religious tolerance espoused by Constantine himself.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • König, Ingemar. 1987. Origo Constantini: Anonymus Valesianus, Teil I, Text und Kommentar. Trier, Germany: Verlag Trierer Historische Forschungen.

                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Extensive and highly learned commentary on the Origo Constantini, a brief but crucial source for Constantine’s reign.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Morlet, S., and L. Perrone, eds. 2012. Eusèbe de Césarée: Histoire ecclésiastique: Commentaire, Vol. 1, Etudes d’introduction. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            The first of a series of planned volumes of text and commentary on Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History. Includes studies on the biography of Eusebius, the manuscript history of the Ecclesiastical History, and a particularly important chapter by V. Neri (“Les éditions de l’Histoire ecclésiastique (livres VIII-IX): Bilan critique et perspectives de la recherche,” at pp. 151–183) on the thorny question of the various editions of this work which appeared in the years between 313 and 324.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Paschoud, Francois. 1971. Zosime: Histoire nouvelle. Vol. 1, Livres I et II. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              The first of five volumes of text, French translation, and commentary on the crucial Byzantine author Zosimus (cited under Literary Sources), whose second book focuses on Constantine. The commentary is invaluable for its insightful treatment of primary and secondary sources for the period.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Van Dam, Raymond. 2011. Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511973048Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Offers the first comprehensive look at Constantinian historiography with a specific focus on the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Uses contemporary theory to investigate the construction of the historical memory of this momentous event.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                Framing the Debate

                                                                                                                Studies on Constantine and his times, as with any field, have been shaped by traditions of scholarship. The first truly modern approach to the Constantinian question was put forth in Burckhardt 2007, a book that revolutionized the study of Late Antiquity by investigating the broader cultural and artistic context in which Constantine operated and by casting a spotlight in the glaring contradictions in his religious, military, and social policies. A whole tradition of what some have termed “anti-Constantinian” literature followed in French- and German-speaking circles (Grégoire 1930). Even those scholars who declined to accept an atheist or overtly pagan Constantine cast a cynical eye on his intentions and accomplishments (Piganiol 1932, Jones 1948, MacMullen 1969). A counter-reaction began with Baynes 1930, which found ample evidence for Constantine’s commitment to Christianity in the emperor’s own writings, and this has had a major impact on English-speaking scholars. Alföldi 1948 offers an interesting perspective well grounded in the material evidence—especially coins—for tension between Constantine and the traditional aristocracy over religion.

                                                                                                                • Alföldi, András. 1948. The conversion of Constantine and pagan Rome. Translated by Harold Mattingly. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Brief and well illustrated, this study places emphasis on Constantine’s conversion and where it positioned the emperor vis-à-vis the Roman Senate. Paints a picture of intolerance and conflict that eventually led to the foundation of Constantinople, the New Rome.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • Baynes, Norman H. 1930. Constantine the Great and the Christian church. The Raleigh Lecture on History. Proceedings of the British Academy 15. London: H. Milford.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    The first major response to the growing welter of revisionist history since Burckhardt. Baynes returned to the sources reporting Constantine’s own words as collected in Eusebius, the Athanasian tradition (see Opitz 1934–1935, cited under Writings of Constantine and His Chancery), and Optatus to demonstrate Constantine’s sincere commitment to Christianity.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Burckhardt, Jacob. 2007. The Age of Constantine the Great. Translated by Moses Hadas. London: The Folio Society.

                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Originally published as Die Zeit Constantins des Grossen in 1853, then significantly revised and expanded in a second edition of 1880. A milestone in Constantinian studies. This English translation of the second edition was first published by Pantheon Books in 1949 and then reprinted in 1956, 1989, and finally in 2007 in this deluxe edition from the Folio Society.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Grégoire, Henri. 1930. La «conversion» de Constantin. Revue de l’Université de Bruxelles 36:231–272.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        The most developed of a series of articles by this eminent Belgian scholar arguing that Constantine’s conversion was insincere and was effected in imitation of Licinius’s own rapprochement with Christians as a way to generate political capital.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin. 1948. Constantine and the conversion of Europe. London: English Universities Press.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Attributes most of the administrative and military changes of the early 4th century to the Tetrarchs and thus downplays the role of Constantine in all but his choice to convert to Christianity, a decision which was of world-changing significance.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • MacMullen, Ramsay. 1969. Constantine. Beckenham, UK, and New York: Dial.

                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Accepts the earnestness of Constantine’s religious convictions, but depicts him as a credulous and often bumbling bully, lacking in discipline and often heedless of the consequences of his impulsive actions.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            • Piganiol, André. 1932. L’empereur Constantin. Paris: Rieder.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              A slim volume describing a Constantine who was not so much a political genius as a pious but impulsive military ruler.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              Christianity

                                                                                                                              It is impossible to study Constantine without raising the question of Christianity, both when, how, and even whether Constantine converted and also what effect his conversion—or pretense to conversion—had on the world around him. Only very few scholars presently believe that Constantine’s conversion was a cynical ploy to win political advantage, although many do continue to question whether Constantine understood the full implications of his conversion or even what precisely conversion might have entailed in his personal life. Unsurprisingly, many studies are devoted to this complex of questions. Weiss 2003 ties together the various testimonies for a heavenly apparition experienced by Constantine in the early 310s to argue that the emperor’s vision was real and that it was gradually reinterpreted into the story we read in Lactantius and Eusebius. Whether or not scholars accept its connection of this vision to a naturally occurring atmospheric phenomenon, they must contend with its carefully developed argument. Calderone 1962 remains important in particular for its careful explication of the church’s role as property holder before and after Constantine. Pietri 1983 documents a quickening of religious intransigence in the aftermath of Constantine’s defeat of Licinius in 324, and Drake 1996 provides the most convincing explanation of the forces driving this process. Several recent studies have moved quite decisively in the direction of portraying Constantine as an early convert and a decidedly chauvinistic proponent of the faith, including Elliott 1996, Odahl 2010, and Veyne 2010. In this sense, many scholars have done an about face from late-19th- and early-20th-century approaches, although the present enthusiasm for an ultra-Christian Constantine may be due for revision.

                                                                                                                              • Calderone, Salvatore. 1962. Costantino e il cattoliceismo. Florence: Felice Le Monnier.

                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                A subtle and complex book with detailed discussions on the early Christian background to Constantine’s reign, the “Edict of Milan,” the problem of ecclesiastical property, and the Licinian persecutions.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Drake, H. A. 1996. Lambs into lions: Explaining early Christian intolerance. Past and Present 153:3–36.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/past/153.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Argues that Constantine and his successors moved from a position of tolerance to intolerance as a way to satisfy activist contingents in the Christian community who desired to control dissent both inside and outside the ranks of their movement.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Elliott, T. G. 1996. The Christianity of Constantine the Great. Scranton, PA, and Bronx, NY: Scranton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Takes the bold position that Constantine never converted because he was raised a Christian by his Christian father Constantius II. Stays close to the evidence, but at times over-interprets this in an effort to build its position.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Odahl, Charles M. 2010. Constantine and the Christian empire. 2d ed. London and New York: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Argues for a staunchly Christian Constantine whose influence penetrates western history across time and space.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Pietri, C. 1983. Constantin en 324: Propagande et théologie impériales d’après les documents de la Vita Constantini. In Crise et redressement dans les provinces européennes de l’empire (milieu du IIIe–milieu du IVe siècle ap. J.-C.). Edited by Edmond Frézouls, 63–90. Strasbourg, France: Université des sciences humaines de Strasbourg.

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Uses the documents preserved in Eusebius’s Life of Constantine Book 2 to show how Constantine broadcast his Christianity much more widely after his defeat of Licinius in 324 and began to act more boldly in his efforts to convert the empire.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Veyne, Paul. 2010. When our world became Christian: 312–394. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Malden, MA: Polity.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Originally published as Quand notre monde est devenu chrétien (312–394) (Paris: Albin Michel, 2007), this study argues vehemently both for Constantine’s definitive conversion to Christianity and for its impact on the history of the west and of the world.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Weiss, Peter. 2003. The vision of Constantine. Translated by A. R. Birley. Journal of Roman Archaeology 16:237–259.

                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Currently the most influential, but also widely debated, interpretation of the vision that led to Constantine’s conversion. Argues that Constantine saw an atmospheric phenomenon known as a “solar halo” in 310 which was immediately interpreted as a sign from the sun god Apollo. Under the influence of Christian advisors, this was then reinterpreted as a vision of the Christian god in subsequent years.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            Paganism

                                                                                                                                            There can be no denying that Constantine’s public propaganda indicated an ongoing devotion to the pagan sun god Sol Invictus down to the end of his reign (Fowden 1991). Moreover, his pagan subjects attributed his successes to support from this same solar deity and other pagan gods, and Constantine’s lasting devotion to the image of light and the power of the sun seemed to resonate with these interpretations. Wallraff 2001 has seen this ongoing valorization of Sol Invictus as rooted in Constantine’s unwillingness to part with aid from this deity or perhaps from a syncretistic tendency that conceived of Sol Invictus and the Christian god as variant manifestations of the same divinity. Bleckmann 1992 has shown that the ancient historiographical tradition preserves clear indications that Constantine believed he had direct contact with the divine and that many contemporaries—and perhaps even Constantine himself—conceived of these supernatural powers in terms of traditional pagan religion. Some of our understanding of this religious hybridity has resulted from portrayals offered by third parties, who sought to align their interpretation of Constantine with their own religious beliefs, as seen in Lenski 2008 and Tantillo 2003. By the same token, some elements of the “pagan Constantine” surely trace to mixed messages emanating from Constantine himself. Ultimately, however, any conceptualization of Constantine as a crypto-pagan must confront the fact that he confiscated temple images and treasuries, as described at Bonamente 1992, and imposed restrictions on pagan religious practice up to and including a ban on animal sacrifice, as argued at Bradbury 1994 and Curran 1996.

                                                                                                                                            • Bleckmann, Bruno. 1992. Pagane Visionen Konstantins in der Chronik des Johannes Zonaras. In Costantino il Grande: Dall’antichità all’umanesimo: Colloquio sul cristianesimo nel mondo antico, Macerata, 18–20 dicembre 1990. Vol. 1. Edited by Giorgio Bonamente and Franca Fusco, 151–170. Macerata, Italy: Università degli studi di Macerata.

                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Surveys the many stories of visions of pagan deities preserved in the alternative historiographical tradition transmitted through the 12th-century Byzantine author Johannes Zonaras.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Bonamente, Giorgio. 1992. Sulla confisca dei beni mobili dei templi in epoca costantiniana. In Costantino il Grande: Dall’antichità all’umanesimo: Colloquio sul cristianesimo nel mondo antico, Macerata, 18–20 dicembre 1990. Vol. 1. Edited by Giorgio Bonamente and Franca Fusco, 171–201. Macerata, Italy: Università degli studi di Macerata.

                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                The most careful and credible study of Constantine’s systematic confiscation of temple treasuries and pagan statuary from cities in the eastern empire in the years around 330.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Bradbury, Scott. 1994. Constantine and the problem of anti-pagan legislation in the fourth century. Classical Philology 89:120–139.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/367402Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Surveys the evidence for and against a purported ban imposed on sacrifice in the years after 324. Mediates an ongoing debate over contradictory testimonies by arguing that Constantine may well have issued such a ban but appears not to have enforced it.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  • Curran, John R. 1996. Constantine and the ancient cults of Rome: The legal evidence. Greece and Rome 43:68–80.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/gr/43.1.68Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Surveys the extant laws of Constantine regulating traditional religious practice and argues that he did not attempt a systematic repression of pagan cults in Rome.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Fowden, Garth. 1991. Constantine’s porphyry column: The earliest literary allusion. Journal of Roman Studies 81:119–131.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/300493Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Charts the construction of Constantine’s porphyry column in his new capital of Constantinople, atop which stood an image of the emperor decked out as the Sun God, proving the emperor’s ongoing reverence for this pagan deity.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Lenski, Noel. 2008. Evoking the pagan past: Instinctu divinitatis and Constantine’s capture of Rome. Journal of Late Antiquity 1:204–257.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/jla.0.0021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Argues that the senate of Rome used the iconography on Constantine’s arch to push him to interpret his victory over Maxentius as the result of support from the Sun God rather than the Christian god.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Tantillo, Ignazio. 2003. Attributi solari della figura imperiale in Eusebio di Cesarea. Mediterraneo Antico 6:41–59.

                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Demonstrates that Constantine’s devotion to the sun and to the image and power of light profoundly affected Eusebius in his ostensibly Christian portrayal of the emperor.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Wallraff, Martin. 2001. Constantine’s devotion to the sun after 324. Studia Patristica 34:256–269.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Summarizes the findings of a much lengthier study in German, published under the title Christus verus sol: Sonnenverehrung und Christentum in der Spätantike, which demonstrates that Constantine never fully abandoned his devotion to the cult of the Sun God.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            Law and Society

                                                                                                                                                            One of the most fruitful fields in Constantinian scholarship in recent years has been the study of the law. Primary source material survives in abundance (see Documentary Sources) and careful analysis of its details has brought significant results. Corcoran 2000 is magisterial in scope and serves as a sort of handbook on how laws were created and distributed in the era of Constantine and the Tetrarchs. Dillon 2012 provides a window into the measures taken by Constantine to streamline the delivery of justice and eliminate corruption. Some studies of the law retain a focus on the question of Christianity. Grubbs 1995 carefully deconstructs long-held beliefs that all of Constantine’s legislation on marriage and the family was rooted in Christian concerns. Along similar lines, Humfress 2007 argues that Constantine’s invention of episcopal jurisdiction (audientia episcopalis) was neither revolutionary nor especially significant. Girardet 2007 recalls, however, that some legal measures, like the institution of Sunday as a judicial holiday, were surely rooted in Christian concerns.

                                                                                                                                                            • Corcoran, Simon. 2000. The empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial pronouncements and government, AD 284–324. Rev. ed. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              An indispensable handbook for anyone approaching law in the Constantinian or Tetrarchic period. Catalogues all imperial pronouncements preserved in all sources, including law codes, literary texts, inscriptions, and papyri. Divides these by category and outlines the circumstances of their issuance.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Dillon, John Noël. 2012. The justice of Constantine: Law, communication, and control. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Examines in detail Constantine’s reforms in judicial procedure and imperial administration. Shows a Constantine highly interested in the benefit of the masses and highly attuned to the problems of official corruption.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Girardet, Klaus Martin. 2007. Vom Sonnen-Tag zum Sonntag: Der dies solis in Gesetzgebung und Politik Konstantins d. Gr. Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 11:279–310.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/ZAC.2007.015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Careful examination of extant laws for Constantine’s introduction of a legal holiday on Sundays. Dispatches arguments that there had been a similar custom in pre-Christian contexts and shows that this measure was rooted in fundamentally Judeo-Christian calendrical practice.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  • Grubbs, Judith Evans. 1995. Law and family in Late Antiquity: The Emperor Constantine’s marriage legislation. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    A careful and comprehensive examination of all Constantinian laws relating to marriage and sexuality. Uses Christian sources and legal comparanda to argue against theories about the Christian motivations behind these laws and favors instead causes rooted in longstanding Roman legal traditions.

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    • Humfress, Caroline. 2007. Orthodoxy and the courts in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208419.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Treats the development of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, a process in which Constantine played a significant role. Argues that Constantine’s involvement in the promotion of bishops as judges was neither revolutionary nor carefully thought out.

                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                      Administration and Economy

                                                                                                                                                                      Much interesting recent work on the Constantinian period has treated questions of administration and economy. Rather than focus specifically on the emperor, these studies discuss the impact of his reign on bureaucratic and social institutions as part of a broader examination of trends played out over the longue durée. For example, Constantine’s introduction of the solidus—a gold coin weighing about 4.5 grams—led to a shift in the Roman monetary system from an emphasis on silver to one on gold, as seen in Hendy 1985. Banaji 2001 shows that, in an already top-heavy Roman economy, this had the effect of further concentrating wealth in the hands of aristocrats. Constantine also continued Diocletian’s expansion of the imperial bureaucracy with the result that the number of officeholders grew to around 35,000 by the mid-4th century, as described in Bowman, et al. 2005; Jones 1964; and Porena 2003. This had obvious consequences for the reach of government into the lives of its subjects. Constantine is also the first to have created huge field armies of mobile soldiers known as comitatenses (“comrades”), who followed the emperor in retinues in excess of 60,000 men rather than remaining stationed in border forts, as seen in Lee 2007. Constantine’s choice to grant these new bureaucrats and many high-ranking officers senatorial status then led to a massive expansion of the senatorial order to about 4,000 members.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Banaji, Jairus. 2001. Agrarian change in Late Antiquity: Gold, labour, and aristocratic dominance. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Describes the shifts in landholding that resulted from Constantine’s alterations to the imperial administration and money supply. Charts how the conversion to a gold-based economy and the massive growth of a highly paid imperial bureaucracy resulted in the dominance of a new and powerful class of aristocrats.

                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Bowman, Alan K., Peter Garnsey, and Averil Cameron. 2005. The Cambridge ancient history. Vol. 12, The crisis of empire A.D. 193–337. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Multi-authored volume that condenses received opinions of the past thirty years in compendious form. Especially valuable are the description of administrative matters, law, the provinces, economy, and religion.

                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                          • Hendy, Michael F. 1985. Studies in the Byzantine monetary economy, c. 300–1450. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511896750Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            The best one-volume treatment of the development of the Byzantine economy. Emphasizes the numismatic evidence and offers especially heavy coverage of the late Roman Empire, where the bulk of the evidence is concentrated.

                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                            • Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin. 1964. The later Roman Empire, 284–602: A social, economic and administrative survey. 3 vols. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              A veritable encyclopedia of the late Roman Empire cast as a comprehensive history of the late 3rd through 6th centuries. Still the best single source for matters of politics and administration as well as military and ecclesiastical organization. Reprinted in two volumes by Johns Hopkins Univ. Press in 1986.

                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                              • Lee, A. D. 2007. War in Late Antiquity: A social history. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                The first social history of warfare in the late Roman period. Also an excellent introduction to the organization of the army and its economic, religious, and sociological ramifications.

                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                • Porena, Pierfrancesco. 2003. Le origini della prefettura del pretorio tardoantica. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  The definitive treatment of the rise of the regional praetorian prefecture, which lays to rest older theories that this postdated the reign of Constantine. Shows how this office, so fundamental to the management of the later empire, came into being to help Constantine administer the empire as he divided it among his sons.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                  Constantinople and Rome

                                                                                                                                                                                  Among Constantine’s most enduring achievements was his creation of an eastern capital on the Bosporus over the site of the ancient city of Byzantium, a city he named after himself, Constantinople. The attention and money he devoted to this project naturally affected his relationship with the traditional capital in Rome, for while previous emperors had already rebuilt cities closer to the frontiers as imperial residences, none lavished these with as many monuments and privileges as Constantine did his new eastern foundation. The relationship between Rome and Constantinople has occasioned considerable debate, debate which has focused on two questions: First, did Constantine intend to elevate Constantinople to the status of a “second” or even “new” Rome? Second, how did Rome react to this new challenge? Dagron 1974 remains the most comprehensive study of Constantinople’s early history and comes down squarely in favor of a developmental model whereby the city was only gradually elevated to the status of a New Rome. Ramskold and Lenski 2012 uses numismatic evidence to argue the opposite. Van Dam 2010 focuses on the related question of the inverse trajectories of the two capitals in the aftermath of Constantine’s foundation of Constantinople. Curran 2000 offers a comprehensive look at the Christianization of Rome, while Holloway 2004 focuses more squarely on the city’s art and architecture. Mango 1990 focuses on the development of urban infrastructure in Constantinople, and Bassett 2004 treats the statuary collections brought to Constantinople from across the empire in an effort to prove that the city had always been intended as a second Rome and a site for the performance of empire.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bassett, Sarah. 2004. The urban image of Late Antique Constantinople. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    A comprehensive look at Constantinople as a site of art collections, initiated by Constantine with his assemblage of statues taken from across the eastern empire, and continued by his Late Antique successors. Includes a catalogue of statues and sculptural monuments known to have been gathered in Constantinople in Late Antiquity.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Curran, John R. 2000. Pagan city and Christian capital: Rome in the fourth century. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Charts the transformation of Rome from a pagan to a Christian city over the course of the 4th and 5th centuries. Uses both material and textual evidence and lays particular emphasis on the role of Constantine.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dagron, Gilbert. 1974. Naissance d’une capitale: Constantinople et ses institutions de 330 a 451. Bibliothèque Byzantine 7. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        The most comprehensive and detailed study of the growth of Constantinople. Argues from both textual and material remains, although it lacks good illustrations. Emphasizes the processual nature of the city’s development and the degree to which it was only reconceptualized as an imperial capital to rival Rome under Constantine’s sons.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Holloway, R. Ross. 2004. Constantine and Rome. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Concise survey of all extant Constantinian monuments in Rome which emphasizes connections with earlier traditions in imperial art and architecture.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mango, Cyril A. 1990. Le développement urbain de Constantinople, IVe-VIIe siècles. Travaux et Mémoires du Centre de recherche d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance 2. Paris: De Boccard.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Brief but reliable survey of the development of Constantinople in its first centuries, including useful information about pre-Constantinian Byzantium.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ramskold, Lars, and Noel Lenski. 2012. Constantinople’s dedication medallions and the maintenance of civic traditions. Numismatische Zeitschrift 119:31–58.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Uses the medallions minted on the occasion of Constantinople’s dedication in May 330 to show that Constantine permitted ongoing veneration of pagan deities in Constantinople and that he intended his capital to serve as a second Rome from the beginning.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Van Dam, R. 2010. Rome and Constantinople: Rewriting Roman history during Late Antiquity. Waco, TX: Baylor Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Brief examination of the complementary yet contentious relationship between these two imperial capitals and why it is that one flourished while the other diminished in the Late Antique world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                The Holy Land

                                                                                                                                                                                                Beginning in the late 320s, Constantine and his mother Helena began to construct churches in Palestine over sites believed to have been connected with the major events of scripture and particularly with the life of Christ. These included the Church of the Nativity, built over what was believed to be the cave in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the alleged site of Christ’s passion and burial in Jerusalem; the Eleona Church, built over the site of his ascension; and the church at Mamre, where Abraham is thought to have met the angels who announced the glory of his Hebrew race. The Constantinian reconstruction of Palestine into a Christian Holy Land has had a lasting impact up to the present. Hunt 1997 offers a brief survey of the question, while Walker 1990 and Taylor 1993 offer more detail. Leeb 1992 constitutes a broader look at Constantinian religious representation but has particularly valuable sections on the Holy Land. Hunt 1982 treats the rise of Holy Land pilgrimage in its broader Late Antique context. No study has yet provided adequate visual material on this question, in no small part because Constantine’s buildings have been largely destroyed or rebuilt since antiquity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hunt, E. David. 1982. Holy Land pilgrimage in the later Roman Empire, AD 312–460. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Concise but comprehensive survey of the rise of pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the wake of Constantine’s church construction in Palestine. Continues with a study of the development of Holy Land pilgrimage through the mid-5th century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hunt, E. David. 1997. Constantine and Jerusalem. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 48:405–424.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0022046900014858Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Weaves a survey of the Constantinian building program in the Holy Land into a broader discussion of religious politics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Leeb, Rudolf. 1992. Konstantin und Christus: Die Verchristlichung der imperialen Repräsentation unter Konstantin dem Grossen als Spiegel seiner Kirchenpolitik und seines Selbstverständnisses als Christlicher Kaiser. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carefully argued text, especially useful on the Christianization of the Holy Land. Suffers from low-quality illustrations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Taylor, Joan E. 1993. Christians and the holy places: The myth of Jewish-Christian origins. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Readable and well-documented survey of the archaeological and textual evidence for the development of the Holy Land as a site of Christian pilgrimage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Walker, Peter W. L. 1990. Holy city, holy places? Christian attitudes to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the fourth century. Oxford: Clarendon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Surveys the evidence for the rise of the Holy Land as a site of Christian devotion with particular attention to Eusebius and his role in valorizing the landscape of his homeland by associating it with the holy places of Christ’s life and passion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Art

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have an abundance of artwork preserved from the reign of Constantine, much of which has been studied in articles but which has never been assembled in a comprehensive monograph on the art of Constantine and his age. Bardill 2012 goes a long way toward remedying this, although its thematic focus on the question of Constantine’s peculiar admixture of religious traditions leaves gaps on certain questions, as for example portrait sculpture, on which see Wright 1987. Elsner 2012 is useful for a briefer survey of art forms in the Constantinian period. The Arch of Constantine in Rome has justifiably constituted the single most common target of study. L’Orange 1939 is crucial for its abundance of plates and attention to detail, while Elsner 2000 and Marlowe 2006 demonstrate the variety of interpretations still to be extracted from the arch. Pensabene and Panella 1999 is mentioned both for its careful defense of the Constantinian origins of the arch’s architecture and for its marvelous diagrams of the techniques used in its construction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bardill, Jonathan. 2012. Constantine, divine emperor of the Christian Golden Age. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The only comprehensive treatment of Constantinian art and architecture in a single volume. The selection of material is not comprehensive but organized in support of an effort to show Constantine’s religious position as a hybrid between Christian and traditional forms. Over 200 illustrations, including a number of reconstructions of lost or damaged monuments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Elsner, Jaś. 2000. From the culture of spolia to the cult of relics: The Arch of Constantine and the genesis of Late Antique forms. Papers of the British School at Rome 68:149–184.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0068246200003901Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A comprehensive look at the arch that integrates discussion of the pre-Constantinian and Constantinian sculptural material by demonstrating that the arch represents the beginnings of a shift toward the valorization of prized material reused from earlier contexts, commonly known as spolia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Elsner, Jaś. 2012. Perspectives in art. In The Cambridge companion to the Age of Constantine. Rev. ed. Edited by Noel Lenski, 255–277. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A brief but broad survey of art and art forms, both those produced by or through the court of Constantine and those produced in the period of his reign.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • L’Orange, Hans Peter. 1939. Der spätantike Bildschmuck des Konstantinsbogens. Studien zur spätantiken Kunstgeschichte 10, with A. von Gerkan. 2 vols. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The most detailed and carefully constructed study of the Constantinian-era decorations on the Roman arch. Demonstrates that the entire monument tells a continuous narrative of Constantine’s conquest of Italy and subsequent victory celebrations in Rome. Includes sixty-five figures and fifty plates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Marlowe, Elizabeth. 2006. Framing the sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Roman cityscape. Art Bulletin 88:223–242.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An insightful and well-illustrated study demonstrating the relationship between the Arch of Constantine and its surrounding monuments, particularly the colossal statue of the Sun God which stood to its north beside the Colosseum and was framed by the arch for viewers approaching from the south.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pensabene, Patrizio, and Clementina Panella, eds. 1999. Arco di Costantino: Tra archeologia e archeometria. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Effectively closes a debate ongoing since the early 20th century by demonstrating that the structure of Constantine’s arch was built under Constantine and not earlier in the Roman Empire. Outfitted with oversized foldouts illustrating the peculiarities of the arch’s construction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wright, David. 1987. The true face of Constantine. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 41:493–507.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/1291584Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Shows the tremendous variety of portrait styles used by Constantine and how these developed over the course of his reign.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Architecture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Much Constantinian architecture has been lost to the vagaries of time, although much still remains, and new monuments have been discovered even in recent years. Johnson 2012 offers a useful starting point with recent bibliography. Bauer 1996 presents readers of German an extremely well-documented survey of public spaces created and adapted by Constantine and his imperial successors by showing how these Late Antique emperors reoriented court ceremony and daily life around grand monuments that focused on the emperor and the Christian god. Krautheimer 1983 offers a strong argument for the recreation of the imperial capitals as Christian cities via the erection of churches collocated initially on the periphery but later in the center of the urban landscape. On these churches, Krautheimer 1992 offers an ambitious empire-wide survey with detailed reference to the sources—archaeological and textual—and Diefenbach 2011 presents a beautifully illustrated summary of more recent discoveries in Rome and how these fit into our existing knowledge of the erection of martyr shrines there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bauer, Franz Alto. 1996. Stadt, Platz und Denkmal in der Spätantike: Untersuchungen zur Ausstattung des öffentlichen Raums in den spätantiken Städten Rom, Konstantinopel und Ephesos. Mainz, Germany: Philipp von Zabern.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Extremely well-documented discussion of architectural development in Rome, Constantinople, and Ephesus which includes considerable discussion of Constantinian monuments. Emphasizes the way in which public spaces and architecture affected cultural and social practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Diefenbach, Steffen. 2011. Kaiserkult und Totenkult: Konstantin und die christliche Sakraltopographie Roms. In Konstantin der Grosse: Zwischen sol und Christus. Edited by Kay Ehling and Gregor Weber, 64–81. Darmstadt: Philipp von Zabern.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A brief survey of the memorial churches of Constantine in and around Rome, including the newly excavated “circiform” churches on the Via Ardeatina and in Ostia. Worth consulting for the updated bibliography and the outstanding illustrations and plans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Johnson, Mark J. 2012. The architecture of empire. In The Cambridge companion to the Age of Constantine. Rev. ed. Edited by Noel Lenski, 278–297. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The most concise and up-to-date survey of Constantinian architecture published in English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Krautheimer, Richard. 1983. Three Christian capitals: Topography and politics. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brief survey by a masterful art historian of the development of Rome, Constantinople, and Milan as capitals for the new Christian empire. Lays especial emphasis on the construction of churches as a way to articulate Christian space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Krautheimer, Richard. 1992. The ecclesiastical building policy of Constantine. In Costantino il Grande: Dall’antichità all’umanesimo: Colloquio sul Cristianesimo nel mondo antico, Macerata, 18–20 dicembre 1990. Vol. 2. Edited by Giorgio Bonamente and Franca Fusco, 509–552. Macerata, Italy: Università degli studi di Macerata.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A richly documented and well-illustrated discussion of Constantine’s ecclesiastical building policy across the entire empire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Constantine in Legend

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Legends began to accrete around Constantine and his family almost immediately after his death, the earliest of which focused on the discovery of the True Cross. While we have solid evidence that Christians believed they had discovered the cross already by the mid-4th century, only at the end of the 4th century do legends arise regarding the role of Constantine’s mother Helena in this process (translations of the relevant sources in Edwards 2003, p. 63–91). Drijvers 1992 shows how Helena is then co-opted into other versions of the Constantine legend, particularly in Byzantine contexts. By the 5th century, we have evidence for the existence of an alternative version of Constantine’s conversion which ignores the story of his vision recounted in Lactantius and Eusebius. These seem to respond to criticisms over the fact that the emperor postponed baptism until the end of his life, when he was then christened by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia. The so-called “Acts of Silvester,” whose Latin text can be found at De Leo 1974, report instead that Constantine was cured of leprosy by the miraculous intervention of the Roman pope Silvester, who then baptized the emperor as an orthodox Christian in Rome, on which see Fowden 1994. Building on this tale, the Roman church of the 8th century added to it a document known as the “Donation of Constantine,” translated at Edwards 2003: 92–115, which purports to be a decree granting temporal and spiritual authority over Italy and the western Empire to the Popes of Rome. This text, which arose in the 8th century as the Roman church sought to assert its territorial claims against the Lombards and its spiritual authority against the iconoclast Byzantines, was famously debunked in 1440 by the Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla (see Valla 2007). The Byzantine East also developed the Constantine legend into a series of romances that incorporated material from contemporary sources with the legend of the discovery of the True Cross as well as fanciful material about Constantine’s background and exploits, as explained in Lieu 1998. One of these (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca 364) is translated by Frank Beetham in Lieu and Montserrat 1996 (cited under Reference Works and Sourcebooks). Braschi and Di Salvo 2013 shows how the Slavic nations of northeastern Europe also had legendary Constantines which came to life just as the mythical Constantine was being laid to rest in the West.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Braschi, Francesco, and Maria Di Salvo, eds. 2013. La figura di Costantino Imperatore e l’ideologia imperiale nella storia culturale, religiosa e civile dei paesi slavi. Slavica Ambrosiana 4. Milan: Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This volume collects a series of articles which reveal the importance of Constantine and Helena as legendary figures in Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Moldavian traditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • De Leo, P. 1974. Il constitutum Constantini: Compilazione agiografica del sec. VIII: Note e documenti per una nuova lettura. Reggio di Calabria, Italy: Editori meridionali riuniti.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Provides a Latin text and commentary of the Acts of Silvester.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Drijvers, Jan Willem. 1992. Helena Augusta: The mother of Constantine the Great and the legend of her finding of the True Cross. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The most authoritative and readable account both of Helena’s life—as it can be reconstructed from the scanty sources—and of the legends that sprang up around her persona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Edwards, Mark, trans. 2003. Constantine and Christendom: The oration to the saints, the Greek and Latin accounts of the discovery of the cross, the Edict of Constantine to Pope Silvester. Translated Texts for Historians 39. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The most up-to-date translation of Constantine’s lengthy “Oration to the Assembly of the Saints” as well as the apocryphal accounts of the discovery of the cross and the so-called Donation of Constantine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fowden, Garth. 1994. The last days of Constantine: Oppositional versions and their influence. Journal of Roman Studies 84:146–170.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/300874Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A concise but groundbreaking introduction to the Silvester legend which lays out the context in which it arose and outlines the events as narrated in the texts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lieu, Samuel N. C. 1998. From history to legend and legend to history: The medieval and Byzantine transformation of Constantine’s Vita. In Constantine: History, historiography and legend. Edited by Samuel N. C. Lieu and Dominic Montserrat, 136–176. London and New York: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A compact and well-annotated summary of all major versions of the Constantine legend in Latin and Greek. Much of the same material is covered in Lieu’s essay on the same subject in Lenski 2011 (cited under General Overviews), pp. 298–321.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Valla, Lorenzo. 2007. On the Donation of Constantine. Edited and translated by Glen Warren Bowersock. I Tatti Renaissance Library 24. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A scholarly tour de force written in the sharp polemical style of the 14th century that lays bare the falsification of this legend, so crucial to the Catholic church’s earlier claims to political supremacy in western Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                back to top

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Down