Constantine the Emperor

Constantine the Emperor

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This year Christians worldwide will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Constantine's conversion and victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage actions. Constantine executed (or drove to suicide) his father-in-law, two brothers-in-law, his eldest son, and his once beloved wife. An unparalleled general throughout his life, even on his deathbed he was planning a major assault on the Sassanian Empire in Persia. Alongside the visionary who believed that his success came from the direct intervention of his God resided an aggressive warrior, a sometimes cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler. These characteristics combined together in a long and remarkable career, which restored the Roman Empire to its former glory. Beginning with his first biographer Eusebius, Constantine's image has been subject to distortion. More recent revisions include John Carroll's view of him as the intellectual ancestor of the Holocaust (Constantine's Sword) and Dan Brown's presentation of him as the man who oversaw the reshaping of Christian history (The Da Vinci Code). In Constantine the Emperor, David Potter confronts each of these skewed and partial accounts to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and readable account of Constantine's extraordinary more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 55 illus., 3 maps
  • 0199755868
  • 9780199755868
  • 324,602

About David Potter

David Potter is Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. His books include The Victor's Crown (OUP), Emperors of Rome, and Ancient Rome: A New more

Review quote

He has examined, with gusto and an unrivalled mastery of detail, the aspects of Constantine neglected by those who concentrate only on his relations with Christianity. Peter Brown, London Review of Books [This is a book] for anyone who really wants to understand how the Roman Empire functioned, how the Church came to be absorbed into imperial structures and administration, and how the Emperor's aims and ideas developed as his experience of running (or at least heading) the empire grew. The Revd Dr Cally Hammond, Church Times Potter's mission is to chip away at the meretricious "facts" of Constantine's life and throw back over him the more truthful shroud of obscurity...[I]t would be hard to find a more convincing account of the military and administrative prowess and the conviction with which Constantine carved out a new style of monarchy against the long shadow of Diocletian. The Tablet Potter's admirably comprehensive account of this most significant of all emperors clearly and judiciously plots the way in which he grew into the role that he was convinced it was his destiny to play. BBC History Magazine Based closely on contemporary evidence, David Potter has written a penetrating and original analysis of the evolution of Constantine's role as Emperor, and of his conception of that role. Military History Monthly [Potter] has produced a new, readable and authoritative account of Constantine's life. The Church of England Newspapershow more

Table of contents

Timeline ; Introduction ; Section 1 Imperial Resurrection ; Chapter 1 The Crisis of 260 ad ; Chapter 2 The Renewal of the Roman Empire ; Section 2 Diocletian ; Chapter 3 The New Emperor ; Chapter 4 Emperors and Subjects ; Chapter 5 A New Look ; Chapter 6 Persia and the Caesars ; Section 3 Constantine and Diocletian ; Chapter 7 The Court of Diocletian ; Chapter 8 Imperial Edicts and Moral Crusades ; Chapter 9 Minervina ; Chapter 10 The Succession ; Section 4 Fathers and Sons ; Chapter 11 The New Regime ; Chapter 12 Maxentius and Fausta ; Chapter 13 The End of Maximian ; Section 5 The Road to Rome ; Chapter 14 The Gathering Storm ; Chapter 15 The Battle of the Milvian Bridge ; Chapter 16 Freedom of Worship ; Chapter 17 The Conversion of Constantine ; Section 6 War and Peace ; Chapter 18 Reworking Past and Future ; Chapter 19 Governing the Empire ; Chapter 20 Maximus and Bassus 319-323 ; Chapter 21 The Donatist Controversy ; Section 7 Triumph and Tragedy ; Chapter 22 Victory in the East ; Chapter 23 The Eastern Empire ; Chapter 24 Constantine Speaks to the Bishops ; Chapter 25 The Arian Controversy ; Chapter 26 Nicaea ; Chapter 27 Constantinople and Rome ; Section 8 Ruler of the World ; Chapter 28 Constantine's Government ; Chapter 29 Constantinople ; Chapter 30 An Ordered Society ; Chapter 31 Christians, Pagans and Jews ; Chapter 32 Neighbours ; Chapter 33 End Times ; Epilogue ; Dramatis Personae ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Customer reviews

This is a must have book for any history junky or as a companion book for any classical history major. Written by Professor of Greek and Roman History, David Potter, aka Francis W. Kelsey, he meticulously lays out the superior reign of one of history's most notable emperors as he not only converted to Christianity and willingly got his subjects to follow as well, but he single-handedly seized control of a vast empire while being raged against by the Goths and Persians. "Whatever people saw when they witnessed an emperor's coming, it was also important that those who could not see him be given a clear image so they could imagine how he looked." Read FULL review here more
by Kim Heimbuch