17 Constantine Facts: Know More About The First Roman Emperor

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 06, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Dec 27, 2021
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Constantine I, sometimes known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor (approx. A.D. 280–337) who presided over the Roman Empire's fundamental transition and much more.

The adoption of Christianity by Great Constantine and the establishment of an eastern capital city that would later bear his name emphasize his reign as a critical juncture in ancient and Middle Ages history. Constantine the Great was more interested in forming a strong, unified church than in permitting gnostic traditions.

Therefore, the Council of Nicene was vital for formalizing the essence of Christianity.

Underneath the revolutionary embrace of Christianity, Constantine enacted fundamental social legislation, such as the establishment of serfdom.

Constantine, the first emperor who actively protected Christians, may have known some Greek, but Latin was used in his court, and at the Council of Nicaea, he needed an interpreter to address the Latin-speaking Rome.

If you like this article, you may find it interesting to read these facts articles: facts about Father Serra and Saint Albert facts here at Kidadl.

Constantine Life History Facts

In the year 272, Constantine the Great was born in the Roman province of Upper Moesia, which is now Serbia. Constantine's father, Constantius, was a great administrator and general, and was named Caesar in the Tetrarchy of Diocletian when he was 21 years old.

Constantine the Great was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman army commander, and his wife (or concubine) Helena, and was a typical product of the military governing elite of the late third century.

In 293 CE, Augustus (the Roman emperor) Maximian promoted his father to the title of Caesar, or deputy emperor ( junior emperors), and sent him to the West to serve under Augustus (the Emperor) Maximian.

As part of the dynastic agreement, Constantius had to marry Theodora, the daughter of the emperor Maximian, instead of Constantine's mother, Helena.

Constantine's home life, like that of many Roman emperors, was worthy of a decent soap drama. Constantine's mother had the virtues of a saint. Literally. Saint Helena of Constantinople set off on a well-publicized trip to the Holy Land, where her mother Helena founded churches along the way. Helena's Christianity is an important part of Roman history.

Constantine's father and a man named Galerius became co-emperors in AD 305. Galerius had previously regarded Constantine as a capable subordinate, but he had now become a hostage to his father's good behavior. Constantine the Great escaped to the side of Constantine's father after receiving grudging permission to accompany Constantius on a campaign in Britain.

Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian's court, where he learned Latin and Greek philosophy and had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of pagan and Christian experts. However, it was also a time when Christians were being persecuted in large numbers.

Emperor Diocletian launched a massive persecution of Christians in 303, which resulted in widespread arrests, killings, and the destruction of church property. Constantine would subsequently claim that he was against the measures, although it's more probable that he did nothing.

Emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire in two in 293, resulting in a Western and Eastern Augustus. Constantius' father was raised to the position of Caesar and sent to Gaul to fight local rebellions. Because of his father's advancement through the Roman ranks, Constantine had a good chance of replacing his father.

In 305, Constantine the Great fled Galerius' court to join his father in Britain, where he established a headquarters in York. Constantine was proclaimed Augustus when his father died, a choice Galerius reluctantly accepted.

Constantine was raised at the imperial court of Diocletian, then senior emperor of the Eastern Empire, at Nicomedia (modern-day Zmit, Turkey). Years of upheaval and civil war followed, with Constantine fighting not only outsiders to Roman control but also factions inside the Roman Empire.

Constantine was a brilliant military leader, defeating the Franks and Alamanni in 306-308, as well as the Visigoths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. This bolstered his political clout, as he became known as someone who could bring the splitting Roman Empire together.

After being proclaimed emperor by the army, Constantine the Great threw himself into a complex series of civil wars in which Maxentius, the son of Maximian, rebelled against ancient Rome; with the help of his father, Maxentius suppressed Severus, who had been proclaimed Western emperor by Galerius and was then replaced by Licinius.

Maximian joined Constantine in Gaul when his son rejected him, only to betray Constantine and be assassinated or forced to commit suicide (310).

Invading Italy in 312, Constantine, who had married Maximian's daughter Fausta as his second wife in 307, beat his brother-in-law Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge near ancient Rome after a rapid campaign.

He then reinforced an agreement he had already made with Licinius (Galerius had died in 311): Constantine was the sole ruler of the West, while Licinius would rule the East alongside his adversary Maximinus.

Licinius conquered Maximinus and became the sole emperor, but in 316 he lost Balkan territory to Constantine. Following a period of tension, Constantine attacked Licinius in 324, defeating him at Adrianople and Chrysopolis (modern-day Edirne and Üsküdar, Turkey), and establishing himself as the sole Roman Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire and Western Roman Empire.

Constantine Is Known For

In global history, Constantine the Great was a powerful Christian emperor. Despite our doubts about his Christianity's genuineness, he was the first Roman monarch to publicly tolerate and enable it to thrive.

On his deathbed, he made a solemn conversion, thereby putting an end to centuries of persecution and the ancient Roman pagan faiths. Not only did Constantine ensure the popularity of Christianity, but he also controlled its course.

He not only started the empire's conversion to Christianity, but he also gave birth to a uniquely Christian culture that paved the path for the development of the Byzantine empire and Western medieval civilization.

The 'Chi-Rho' sign, which is made up of the first two Greek letters in the word 'Christ.' Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor, was the first to employ the Christian symbol.

As emperor, Constantine II promoted Arian Christianity, outlawed pagan gods, and imposed restrictions on Jews.

Constantine Contribution As An Emperor

Constantine strengthened the Roman empire by enacting several administrative, financial, social, and military changes throughout his reign as emperor. Once the government was reorganized, civil and military power were separated.

To counteract inflation, the solidus, a new gold currency, was introduced. For almost a thousand years, it would be the benchmark for the Byzantine empire and European currencies.

Constantine was the first emperor to profess conversion to Christianity, and he was instrumental in the issuing of the Edict of Milan in 313, which established tolerance for Christianity across the western Roman empire and the eastern Roman empire.

Emperor Constantine dubbed the old Constantine's city of Byzantium 'New Rome' and designated it the new capital of the Roman Empire in 324.

In 325, he called the First Council of Nicaea, at which the Nicene Creed was proclaimed by Christians. The Roman army was reorganized to include mobile field soldiers and garrison warriors capable of repelling domestic threats as well as barbarian invaders.

Constantine led victorious wars against the Franks, Alamanni, Goths, and Sarmatians on the Roman boundaries, even resettling provinces abandoned by his predecessors during the Third Century Crisis.

Constantine's renown grew over his children's lifetimes and for centuries after he died. He was held up as a model of virtue by the medieval church, while secular monarchs used him as a model, a point of reference, and a symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity.

Apart from relocating the capital of the Roman empire to Constantinople, one of his greatest political legacies was that, in passing the empire on to his sons, he replaced the emperor Diocletian's tetrarchy with the system of dynastic succession.

The Circus Maximus, located in Rome, Italy, is a historic Roman chariot-racing arena and a public entertainment facility. In the first century BCE, it could house 150,000 people.

It was constantly expanded until the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337), when an estimated 250,000 people could be seated and the structure's ultimate dimensions were around 2,000 by 600 ft (609.6 by 182.9 m).

The Battle Fought By Constantine

The Conflict of Milvian Bridge, fought between Constantine I and Maxentius on October 28, 312 CE, was an important battle in the Roman civil war. The Imperial Crisis, as it was often called, was marked by perpetual civil war as several military leaders struggled for control of the empire.

After the Second Tetrarchy of the Roman Empire fell apart, Constantine and Maxentius fought for the imperial crown. At the behest of Maxentius, Constantine invaded the Italian Peninsula. Despite having a lesser force, Constantine won—a victory secured when Maxentius perished while attempting to flee on the Tiber River.

Emperor Constantine had a major event in 312 at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, according to Eusebius of Caesarea and other Christian traditions, after which he claimed the emperorship in the west and converted to Christianity.

On October 28, 312, the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius fought the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. It gets its name from the Milvian Bridge, a major Tiber crossing point. Constantine won the fight and began the process of ending the tetrarchy and establishing himself as the sole Roman emperor of the Roman Empire.

During the fight, Maxentius perished in the Tiber, and his body was subsequently retrieved from the river and beheaded.

Constantine's conversion to Christianity, according to chroniclers like Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, began with this battle. Before the battle, Constantine looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, along with the Greek words N ('in this sign, conquer!'), often rendered as 'in hoc signo vinces,' according to Eusebius of Caesarea.

Emperor Constantine ordered his warriors to paint a Christian emblem (the Chi-Rho) on their shields, and they were victorious as a result. The Arch of Constantine, built to commemorate the triumph, clearly owes Constantine's victory to divine intervention.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

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Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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