Constantine the Great and the impact of his sole rule

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Constantine the Great reunited the Roman Empire under his sole rule in 324 after he defeated Licinius. This ended 20 years of civil war that broke out after the abdication of Diocletian. Constantine would rule over the united Roman Empire from 324 to his death in 337. Although his reign as sole ruler wasn’t long, he made a few important changes during this period. In this article I shall give an overview of his changes.
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How Constantine the Great influenced the development of Christianity

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The early Christian community was merely one of the many religious groups that existed in the Roman Empire. The Roman government however, viewed them with suspicion and persecuted them for their refusal to conform. After centuries of persecution, the destiny of Christianity changed when the Roman emperor Constantine I became Christian. His decision changed the world forever. In this article, I shall outline Constantine’s influence on the development of Christianity.
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Constantine the Great and his personal tragedies

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Constantine the Great was arguably the most powerful man in the world. As the sole emperor of the Roman Empire, he had the power of life and death over millions. But he was a pitiful figure who could not trust anyone. Those around him; family, friends and officials, were constantly trying to use him to further their aims. Complicating matters, he also had to defend himself against potential usurpers. It was Constantine’s suspicious nature that allowed him to survive. But this was a double-edged sword.

Those around Constantine were naturally aware of his suspicious nature. This became a tool they used to exploit him. As a result of these courtly intrigues, Constantine ordered the death of his eldest son Crispus. This would lead to the execution of his wife Fausta as well. Although the reasons behind these executions are unknown, I shall attempt to give an overview of this tragedy.
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How Constantine the Great reunited the Roman Empire

After years of being an imperial hostage, Constantine reunited with his father, the Western Augustus Constantius Chlorus, in 305. Father and son went on to campaign against the Picts in Scotland. Sadly, their reunion was short-lived. Constantius died at York on 25 July, 306, leaving Constantine to inherit his troops and domains in Britain and Gaul. 1

The road to supremacy in the Roman Empire was not an easy one for Constantine. Firstly, the Tetrarchy created many powerful rivals that Constantine had to overcome. There was the Eastern Augustus Galerius and his Caesar Maximinus II Daia. In the West there was the Caesar Severus and the rebel Augusti Maximian and Maxentius. Secondly, although his father’s troops had proclaimed him Augustus of the West, it was illegitimate without the approval of Galerius. Lastly, Constantine’s newly inherited domains also faced attacks from barbarian tribes. In this article I shall outline how Constantine overcame these problems to reunite the Roman Empire. 2
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  1. Michael Grant, The Emperor Constantine (England: Orion Books Ltd, 1998), 19-23; John Julius Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries (England: Penguin Books, 1990), 33-35; Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society (California: Stanford University Press, 1997), 28. []
  2. Grant, The Emperor Constantine, 17-48, 52; Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 33-50; Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society, 28-36. []
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Constantine the Great: How his early years shaped his development

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Flavius Valerius Constantinus or Constantine the Great exercised immense power as Roman emperor. He shaped the development of the world by becoming the first Christian emperor and making Constantinople the capital of the Roman Empire. Yet he was not born superhuman. He spent his early life as a hostage at the mercy of the Roman emperor Diocletian. His time as a hostage however would have a profound impact on his life. In this article, I shall show how the early years of Constantine shaped his development.
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What is a Tetrarchy?

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Tetrarchy, the joint rule of four Roman emperors, was the brainchild of Diocletian. Born out of necessity, its purpose was to defend the Roman Empire from conflicts on multiple fronts. To facilitate his administration, Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into the East and the West. Each division would have an Augustus (senior emperor) and a Caesar (junior emperor). Each emperor had his own court and region to administer. The Eastern Augustus was the most senior ruler in the Tetrarchy. Every twenty years, the Caesars would replace the Augusti who would retire. Merit and ability determined the appointment of new Caesars. In this article I shall explain the creation and the successes of the Tetrarchy. 1
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  1. Michael Grant, The Emperor Constantine (England: Orion Books Ltd, 1998), 17-20; John Julius Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries (England: Penguin Books, 1990), 33-35; Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society (California: Stanford University Press, 1997), 13-27. []
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