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The Roman Revolution of Constantine

The Roman Revolution of Constantine

Hardback Language: English / Latin

By (author) Raymond Van Dam

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 458 pages
  • Language: English / Latin
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 234mm x 36mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521882095
  • ISBN 13: 9780521882095
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 1 map
  • Sales rank: 1,567,057

Product description

The reign of the emperor Constantine (306-337) was as revolutionary for the transformation of Rome's Mediterranean empire as that of Augustus, the first emperor three centuries earlier. The abandonment of Rome signaled the increasing importance of frontier zones in northern and central Europe and the Middle East. The foundation of Constantinople as a new imperial residence and the rise of Greek as the language of administration previewed the establishment of a separate eastern Roman empire. Constantine's patronage of Christianity required both a new theology of the Christian Trinity and a new political image of a Christian emperor. Raymond Van Dam explores and interprets each of these events. His book complements accounts of the role of Christianity by highlighting ideological and cultural aspects of the transition to a post-Roman world.

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Author information

Raymond Van Dam is Professor of History and Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History at the University of Michigan. A scholar of the later Roman empire, history, and religion, he is the author of numerous books, most recently Families and Friends in Late Roman Cappadocia and Becoming Christian: The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia.

Review quote

'This diverse, far-reaching book is a penetrating, original study of a second Roman revolution, when the Roman Empire switched to a new universal religion within a generation. Highly recommended.' Choice 'Van Dam's illuminating insights and careful scholarship are matched by playful interpretations of ambiguous evidence and an eminently readable prose. The approach of the book is particularly refreshing as it brings together at least two fields of study which have far too often been separated in late Roman and early Byzantine scholarship: political philosophy and the development of Christian theology. Van Dam's analysis of each in light of the other enriches our understanding of both and exposes the complex internal dynamics of late Roman society and culture that are obscured by a narrower focus on Constantine's biography or conversion. For this reason the book is important for patristic theologians and scholars of early Christianity as well as for Roman, late antique, and Byzantine historians. ... Van Dam's study of Emperor Constantine constitutes a major reappraisal of this pivotal figure for Roman history and western civilisation as a whole.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. A Roman Empire without Rome: 1. Constantine's rescript to Hispellum; 2. His favorite rooster: old Rome and new Rome; 3. 'Hope in His name': the Flavian dynasty; 4. Reading ahead; Part II. A Greek Roman Empire: 5. Constantine's dialogue with Orcistus; 6. 'The most holy religion': petitioning the emperor; 7. 'The Roman language': Latin and the Greek East; 8. Falling water; Part III. Emperor and God: 9. 'Begotten of the gods': the imperial tetrarchy; 10. 'Begotten from the Father': the Christian Trinity; 11. 'Only-begotten son': history becomes theology; 12. The search for the Christian doctrine of the emperor; Epilogue: one emperor.