Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge

Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge

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Constantine's victory in 312 at the battle of the Milvian Bridge established his rule as the first Christian emperor. This book examines the creation and dissemination of the legends about that battle and its significance. Christian histories, panegyrics and an honorific arch at Rome soon commemorated his victory, and the emperor himself contributed to the myth by describing his vision of a cross in the sky before the battle. Through meticulous research into the late Roman narratives and the medieval and Byzantine legends, this book moves beyond a strictly religious perspective by emphasizing the conflicts about the periphery of the Roman empire, the nature of emperorship and the role of Rome as a capital city. Throughout late antiquity and the medieval period, memories of Constantine's victory served as a powerful paradigm for understanding rulership in a Christian society.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3 maps
  • 1139074482
  • 9781139074483

Table of contents

Preface; Abbreviations; 1. Foreword: visions of Constantine; 2. The afterlife of Constantine; 3. Ecclesiastical histories; 4. Constantine's memories; 5. Eusebius' commentary; 6. Shaping memories in the west; 7. Rome after the battle; 8. Backward and forward; 9. Remembering Maxentius; 10. Back word: the bridge; List of editions and translations; Bibliography.
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Review quote

'Van Dam uses contemporary memory theory to arrive at a new interpretation of an age-old problem. Constantine's conversion and victory are explored through a polyptych of interpretive approaches that portray this perennially important figure in a new light.' Noel Lenski, University of Colorado 'Van Dam reinterprets the Milvian Bridge as event and symbol in this clarion call for an updated historical criticism. His finely textured book will revitalize Constantinian studies and become a standard work in the field of late antiquity.' Richard Lim, Smith College, Massachusetts 'Van Dam's study offers a masterful reassessment of Constantine's career in the context of fourth-century ideas about empire and emperorship. It makes a significant contribution not only to late Roman, early Christian, and Constantinian studies but to methodological and historiographical work on the ancient and medieval world as well. Van Dam's research is both broad and rich, his argument is original, and his approach is at once innovative and refreshing. Combining the retro perspective of modern media and postmodern concerns with meticulous historical analysis, Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge is a compelling book for scholars and students alike.' Andrea Sterk, University of Florida
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