Constantine and Christianization - Research Paper Example

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Flavius Valerius Constantinus, otherwise known as Constantine the Great (272-337) is generally remembered as a pivotal figure in the transition from Roman to Christian domination of the known world. The stories that have been passed down about the conversion of the emperor…
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Download file to see previous pages His mother was a Christian and it is assumed that her influence may have been a factor in his conversion, although this is based on speculation since there is no record relating to the reasons for his faith. He was undoubtedly a man of conviction who changed his spiritual allegiance out of sincere motives, but his individual beliefs do not explain the gradual consolidation of the Christian place which took place during his lifetime. In order to explore this fascinating period of history and explain the rapid process of Christianization in this period it is necessary to look at the political and economic conditions of the time as well as some of the religious and philosophical debates which were carried out in clerical and academic circles.
Constantine became emperor of the whole Roman Empire in 324 at a time when most of the Roman authorities were convinced that the stability of the empire depended upon persecuting Christians and promoting the traditional polytheistic religion of Roman antiquity, while admitting some secular and philosophical debate drawn from the widely popular Greek culture of the time. According to Gill (1) Constantine’s conversion to Christianity was one major contribution to Western history but it is matched by his creation of the illustrious city of Constantinople, which became a model for other cities to follow and a rival to the glory of Rome. His massive building plan gave greater credibility to the Christian faith, particularly as he was interested in Church architecture and devoted significant sums of money to Christian projects. Constantine was a remarkably generous patron to the arts and architecture, leaving his mark on the history of European culture in the form of many ambitious buildings which together characterise what came to be known as Byzantine culture.
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