CONSTANTINE I the GREAT Cult Heaven Horse Chariot Ancient Roman Coin i40245

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Seller: highrating_lowprice (20,051) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 352531503959 Item: i40245 Authentic Ancient Coin of: Constantine I 'The Great' - Roman Emperor : 307-337 A.D. - POSTHUMOUS After Death Christian Deification Issue Bronze AE4 15mm (1.58 grams) Struck at the mint of Nicomedia 337-340 A.D. Reference: RIC 4 (VIII, Nicomedia) DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG - Veiled head right. No legend Exe: SMNA - Constantine I riding quadriga right, Hand of God above. Posthumous means arising, occurring, or continuing after one's death. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. A quadriga (Latin quadri-, four, and iugum, yoke) is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast (the Roman Empire 's equivalent of Ancient Greek tethrippon ). It was raced in the Ancient Olympic Games and other contests. It is represented in profile as the chariot of gods and heroes on Greek vases and in bas-relief . The quadriga was adopted in ancient Roman chariot racing . Quadrigas were emblems of triumph; Victory and Fame often are depicted as the triumphant woman driving it. In classical mythology , the quadriga is the chariot of the gods; Apollo was depicted driving his quadriga across the heavens, delivering daylight and dispersing the night. The word quadriga may refer to the chariot alone, the four horses without it, or the combination. A veil is an article of clothing or cloth hanging that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. It is especially associated with women and sacred objects. One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space. The actual sociocultural, psychological, and sociosexual functions of veils have not been studied extensively but most likely include the maintenance of social distance and the communication of social status and cultural identity. In Islamic society, various forms of the veil have been adopted from the Arab culture in which Islam arose. The Quran has no requirement that women cover their faces with a veil, or cover their bodies with the full-body burqua or chador . History The first recorded instance of veiling for women is recorded in an Assyrian legal text from the 13th century BC, which restricted its use to noble women and forbade prostitutes and common women from adopting it.[citation needed] The Mycenaean Greek term a-pu-ko-wo-ko meaning "craftsman of horse veil" written in Linear B syllabic script is also attested since ca. 1300 BC. In ancient Greek the word for veil was "καλύπτρα" (kaluptra, Ionic Greek "καλύπτρη" - kaluptrē, from the verb "καλύπτω" - kaluptō, "I cover") and is first attested in the works of Homer . Classical Greek and Hellenistic statues sometimes depict Greek women with both their head and face covered by a veil. Caroline Galt and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones have both argued from such representations and literary references that it was commonplace for women (at least those of higher status) in ancient Greece to cover their hair and face in public. For many centuries, until around 1175, Anglo-Saxon and then Anglo-Norman women, with the exception of young unmarried girls, wore veils that entirely covered their hair, and often their necks up to their chins (see wimple ). Only in the Tudor period (1485), when hoods became increasingly popular, did veils of this type become less common. For centuries, women have worn sheer veils, but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes a veil of this type was draped over and pinned to the bonnet or hat of a woman in mourning , especially at the funeral and during the subsequent period of "high mourning". They would also have been used, as an alternative to a mask, as a simple method of hiding the identity of a woman who was traveling to meet a lover, or doing anything she didn't want other people to find out about. More pragmatically, veils were also sometimes worn to protect the complexion from sun and wind damage (when un-tanned skin was fashionable), or to keep dust out of a woman's face, much as the keffiyeh is used today. Religion In Judaism , Christianity and Islam the concept of covering the head is or was associated with propriety and modesty. Most traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary , the mother of Christ , show her veiled. During the Middle Ages most European and Byzantine married women covered their hair rather than their face, with a variety of styles of wimple , kerchiefs and headscarfs. Veiling, covering the hair rather than the face, was a common practice with church-going women until the 1960s, typically using lace, and a number of very traditional churches retain the custom. Lace face-veils are still often worn by female relatives at funerals. In North India, Hindu women may often veil for traditional purposes, it is often the custom in rural areas to veil in front of male elders. This veil is called the Ghoonghat or Laaj. This is to show humility and respect to those elder to the woman, in particular elder males. The ghoonghat is customary especially in the westerly states of Gujarat and Rajasthan . Although religion stands as a commonly held reason for choosing to veil, it has also reflects on political regimes and personal conviction, allowing it to serve as a medium through which personal character can be revealed. Praying Jewish woman wearing Tichel Judaism After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem , the synagogues that were established took the design of the Tabernacle as their plan. The Ark of the Law , which contains the scrolls of the Torah , is covered with an embroidered curtain or veil called a parokhet . (See also below regarding the veiling – and unveiling – of the bride.) The Veil of our Lady is a liturgical feast celebrating the protection afforded by the intercessions of the Virgin Mary. Traditionally, in Christianity, women were enjoined to cover their heads in church, just as it was (and still is) customary for men to remove their hat as a sign of respect. This practice is based on 1 Corinthians 11:4–16 , where St. Paul writes: Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head. But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil. A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man; for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears his hair long it is a disgrace to him, whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been given (her) for a covering? But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God (New American Bible translation) In many traditional Eastern Orthodox Churches , and in some very conservative Protestant churches as well, the custom continues of women covering their heads in church (or even when praying privately at home). In the Roman Catholic Church , it was customary in most places before the 1960s for women to wear a headcovering in the form of a scarf, cap, veil or hat when entering a church. The practice now continues where it is seen as a matter of etiquette, courtesy, tradition or fashionable elegance rather than strictly of canon law. Traditionalist Catholics also maintain the practice. The wearing of a headcovering was for the first time mandated as a universal rule for the Latin Rite by the Code of Canon Law of 1917 , which code was abrogated by the advent of the present (1983) Code of Canon Law. Traditionalist Catholics majorly still follow it, generally as a matter of ancient custom and biblically approved aptness, some also supposing St. Paul's directive in full force today as an ordinance of its own right, without a canon law rule enforcing it. The photograph here of Mass in the Netherlands in about 1946, two decades before the changes that followed the Second Vatican Council , shows that, even at that time, when a hat was still considered part of formal dress for both women and men, wearing a headcovering at Mass was not a universal practice for Catholic women. A veil over the hair rather than the face forms part of the headdress of some religiouss of nuns or religious sisters; this is why a woman who becomes a nun is said "to take the veil". In medieval times married women normally covered their hair outside the house, and nun's veils are based on secular medieval styles, reflecting nuns position as "brides of Christ". In many institutes, a white veil is used as the "veil of probation" during novitiate , and a dark veil for the "veil of profession" once religious vows are taken – the color scheme varies with the color scheme of the habit of the order. A veil of consecration , longer and fuller, is used by some orders for final profession of solemn vows . Nuns also wear veils Nuns are the female counterparts of monks, and many monastic orders of women have retained the veil. Regarding other institutes of religious sisters who are not cloistered but who work as teachers, nurses or in other "active" apostolates outside of a nunnery or monastery, some wear the veil, while some others have abolished the use of the veil, a few never had a veil to start with, but used a bonnet-style headdress even a century ago, as in the case of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton . The fullest versions of the nun's veil cover the top of the head and flow down around and over the shoulders. In Western Christianity, it does not wrap around the neck or face. In those orders that retain one, the starched white covering about the face neck and shoulders is known as a wimple and is a separate garment. The Catholic Church has revived the ancient practice of allowing women to profess a solemn vow as consecrated virgins . These women are set aside as sacred persons who belong only to Christ and the service of the church. They are under the direct care of the local bishop , without belonging to a particular order and receive the veil as a sign of consecration . There has also been renewed interest in the last half century in the ancient practice of women and men dedicating themselves as anchorites or hermits , and there is a formal process whereby such persons can seek recognition of their vows by the local bishop – a veil for these women would also be traditional. Some Anglican women's religious orders also wear a veil, differing according to the traditions of each order. In Eastern Orthodoxy and in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, a veil called an epanokamelavkion is used by both nuns and monks, in both cases covering completely the kamilavkion , a cylindrical hat they both wear. In Slavic practice, when the veil is worn over the hat, the entire headdress is referred to as a klobuk . Nuns wear an additional veil under the klobuk, called an apostolnik , which is drawn together to cover the neck and shoulders as well as their heads, leaving the face itself open. Islam A variety of headdresses worn by Muslim women and girls in accordance with hijab (the principle of dressing modestly) are sometimes referred to as veils. The principal aim of the Muslim veil is to hide that which men find sexually attractive. Many of these garments cover the hair, ears and throat, but do not cover the face. The khimar is a type of headscarf . The niqāb and burqa are two kinds of veils that cover most of the face except for a slit or hole for the eyes. The Afghan burqa covers the entire body, obscuring the face completely, except for a grille or netting over the eyes to allow the wearer to see. The boshiya is a veil that may be worn over a headscarf; it covers the entire face and is made of a sheer fabric so the wearer is able to see through it. It has been suggested that the practice of wearing a veil – uncommon among the Arab tribes prior to the rise of Islam – originated in the Byzantine Empire , and then spread. The wearing of head and especially face coverings by Muslim women has raised political issues in the West; see for example Hijab controversy in Quebec , Islamic dress controversy in Europe , Islamic scarf controversy in France , and United Kingdom debate over veils . There is also high debate of the veil in Turkey , a Muslim majority country but secular, which banned the headscarves in universities and government buildings, due to the türban (a Turkish styled headscarf) being viewed as a political symbol of Islam , see Headscarf controversy in Turkey . Frances Perkins wearing a veil after the death of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt Hats Veils pinned to hats have survived the changing fashions of the centuries and are still common today on formal occasions that require women to wear a hat. However, these veils are generally made of netting or another material not actually designed to hide the face from view, even if the veil can be pulled down. Wedding veils An occasion on which a Western woman is likely to wear a veil is on her white wedding day. Brides once used to wear their hair flowing down their back at their wedding to symbolise their virginity. Veils covering the hair and face became a symbolic reference to the virginity of the bride thereafter. Often in modern weddings, the ceremony of removing a face veil after the wedding to present the groom with a virgin bride is skipped, since many couples have already entered into conjugal relations prior to their wedding day – the bride either wears no face veil, or it is lifted before the ceremony begins, but this is not always the case. Further, if a bride is a virgin, she often wears the face veil through the ceremony, and then either her father lifts the veil, presenting the bride to her groom, or the groom lifts the veil to symbolically consummate the marriage, which will later become literal. Brides who are virgins may make use of the veil to symbolize and emphasize their status of purity during their wedding however, and if they do, the lifting of the veil may be ceremonially recognized as the crowning event of the wedding, when the beauty of the bride is finally revealed to the groom and the guests. It is not altogether clear that the wedding veil is a non-religious use of this item, since weddings have almost always had religious underpinnings, especially in the West. Veils, however, had been used in the West for weddings long before this. Roman brides, for instance, wore an intensely flame-colored and fulsome veil, called the flammeum, apparently intended to protect the bride from evil spirits on her wedding day. Later, the so-called velatio virginum became part of the rite of the consecration of virgins , the liturgical rite in which the church sets aside the virgin as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ. In the 19th century, wedding veils came to symbolize the woman's virginity and modesty . The tradition of a veiled bride's face continues even today wherein, a virgin bride, especially in Christian or Jewish culture, enters the marriage ritual with a veiled face and head, and remains fully veiled, both head and face, until the ceremony concludes. After the full conclusion of the wedding ceremony, either the bride's father lifts the veil giving the bride to the groom who then kisses her, or the new groom lifts her face veil in order to kiss her, which symbolizes the groom's right to enter into conjugal relations with his bride. The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient wedding ritual, symbolizing the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval. A bride wearing a typical wedding veil In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times. According to the Torah in Genesis 24:65 , Isaac is brought Rebekah to marry by his father Abraham's servant. It is important to note that Rebekah did not veil herself when traveling with her lady attendants and Abraham's servant and his men to meet Isaac, but she only did so when Isaac was approaching. Just before the wedding ceremony the badeken or bedeken is held. The groom places the veil over the bride's face, and either he or the officiating Rabbi gives her a blessing. The veil stays on her face until just before the end of the wedding ceremony – when they are legally married according to Jewish law – then the groom helps lift the veil from off her face. The most often cited interpretation for the badeken is that, according to Genesis 29 , when Jacob went to marry Rachel, his father in law Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, Rachel's older and homlier sister. Many say that the veiling ceremony takes place to make sure that the groom is marrying the right bride. Some say that as the groom places the veil over his bride, he makes an implicit promise to clothe and protect her. Finally, by covering her face, the groom recognizes that he his marrying the bride for her inner beauty; while looks will fade with time, his love will be everlasting. In some ultra-orthodox traditions the bride wears an opaque veil as she is escorted down the aisle to meet her groom. This shows her complete willingness to enter into the marriage and her absolute trust that she is marrying the right man. In Judaism, a wedding is not considered valid unless the bride willingly consents to it. In ancient Judaism the lifting of the veil took place just prior to the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or unveiling that takes place in the wedding ceremony is a symbol of what will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this. In the Western world , St. Paul's words concerning how marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and His Church may underlie part of the tradition of veiling in the marriage ceremony. Dance Veils are part of the stereotypical images of courtesans and harem women. Here, the mysterious veil hints at sensuality, an example being the dance of the seven veils. This is the context into which belly dancing veils fall, with a large repertoire of ways to wear and hold the veil, framing the body and accentuating movements. Dancing veils can be as small as a scarf or two, silk veils mounted on fans, a half circle, three-quarter circle, full circle, a rectangle up to four feet long, and as large as huge Isis wings with sticks for extensions. There is also a giant canopy type veil used by a group of dancers. Veils are made of rayon, silk, polyester, mylar and other fabrics (never wool, though). Rarely used in Egyptian cabaret style, veil dancing has always played an important part in the international world of belly dance, extending the range of the dance and offering lovely transitory imagery. Courtesans Conversely, veils are often part of the stereotypical image of the courtesan and harem woman. Here, rather than the virginity of the bride's veil, modesty of the Muslim scarf or the piety of the nun's headdress, the mysterious veil hints at sensuality and the unknown. An example of the veil's erotic potential is the dance of the seven veils . In this context, the term may refer to a piece of sheer cloth approximately 3 x 1.5 metres, sometimes trimmed with sequins or coins, which is used in various styles of belly dancing . A large repertoire of ways to wear and hold the veil exists, many of which are intended to frame the body from the perspective of the audience. Veils for men Among the Tuareg , Songhai , Moors , Hausa . and Fulani of West Africa , women do not traditionally wear the veil, while men do. The men's facial covering originates from the belief that such action wards off evil spirits, but most probably relates to protection against the harsh desert sands as well; in any event, it is a firmly established tradition. Men begin wearing a veil at age 25 which conceals their entire face excluding their eyes. This veil is never removed, even in front of family members. In India , Pakistan , Bangladesh , and Nepal , men wear a sehra on their wedding day. This is a male veil covering the whole face and neck. The sehra is made from either flowers, beads, tinsel, dry leaves, or coconuts. The most common sehra is made from fresh marigolds. The groom wears this throughout the day concealing his face even during the wedding ceremony. In India today you can see the groom arriving on a horse with the sehra wrapped around his head. Etymology "Veil" came from Latin vēlum, which also means "sail". There are two theories about the origin of the word vēlum:- Via the "covering" meaning, from (Indo-European root ) *wel- = "to cover, to enclose". Via the "sail" meaning, from Indo-European *weghslom, from root *wegh- = "way" or "carry in a vehicle", because it makes the ship move. Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to be converted to Christianity , Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars. He also fought successfully against the Franks , Alamanni , Visigoths , and Sarmatians during his reign — even resettling parts of Dacia which had been abandoned during the previous century. Constantine built a new imperial residence at Byzantium , naming it New Rome . However, in Constantine's honor, people called it Constantinople , which would later be the capital of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire for over one thousand years. Because of this, he is thought of as the founder of the Byzantine Empire. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, Dardania province of Moesia , in present-day Niš, Serbia , on 27 February of an uncertain year, probably near 272. His father was Flavius Constantius , a native of Dardania province of Moesia (later Dacia Ripensis ). Constantius was a tolerant and politically skilled man. Constantine probably spent little time with his father. Constantius was an officer in the Roman army, part of the Emperor Aurelian 's imperial bodyguard. Constantius advanced through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from Emperor Diocletian , another of Aurelian's companions from Illyricum , in 284 or 285.Constantine's mother was Helena , a Bithynian woman of low social standing.It is uncertain whether she was legally married to Constantius or merely his concubine Helena gave birth to the future emperor Constantine I on 27 February of an uncertain year soon after 270 (probably around 272). At the time, she was in Naissus (Niš, Serbia ). In order to obtain a wife more consonant with his rising status, Constantius divorced Helena some time before 289, when he married Theodora , Maximian's daughter.(The narrative sources date the marriage to 293, but the Latin panegyric of 289 refers to the couple as already married). Helena and her son were dispatched to the court of Diocletian at Nicomedia, where Constantine grew to be a member of the inner circle. Helena never remarried and lived for a time in obscurity, though close to her only son, who had a deep regard and affection for her. She received the title of Augusta in 325 and died in 330 with her son at her side. She was buried in the Mausoleum of Helena , outside Rome on the Via Labicana . Her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum , although the connection is often questioned, next to her is the sarcophagus of her granddaughter Saint Constantina (Saint Constance). The elaborate reliefs contain hunting scenes. During her life, she gave many presents to the poor, released prisoners and mingled with the ordinary worshippers in modest attire. Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian's court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. On 1 May 305, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304–5, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius' allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian's resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian's son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximin were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius' court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305, Constantius requested leave for his son, to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine's later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake.By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul , at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305. From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in northern Britain at his father's side, campaigning against the Picts beyond Hadrian's Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius's campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king Chrocus , a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius' memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father's domain for less than a year, rejected it. Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius's death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay . He requested recognition as heir to his father's throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, claiming they had "forced it upon him".Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine's claims would mean certain war.Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title "Caesar" rather than "Augustus" (the latter office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius personally sent Constantine the emperor's traditional purple robes . Constantine accepted the decision. Constantine's share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father's reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father's deeds as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine's military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that Constantine was a "renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father's life and reign". Constantinian coinage, sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the "barbarians" beyond the frontiers. After Constantine's victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic tribesmen—"The Alemanni conquered"—beneath the phrase "Romans' rejoicing".There was little sympathy for these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: "It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe." In 310, a dispossessed and power-hungry Maximian rebelled against Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with a contingent of Constantine's army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine's army remained loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saône), he moved his troops onto waiting boats to row down the slow waters of the Saône to the quicker waters of the Rhone . He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon).Maximian fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long siege than Arles. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310, Maximian hanged himself. The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine's public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy.In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 310, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II , a third-century emperor famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech emphasizes Constantine's ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine's right to rule. Indeed, the orator emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: "No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected consequence of favor, made you emperor," the orator declares to Constantine. A gold multiple of "Unconquered Constantine" with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol's image appealed to both the educated citizens of Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo's patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to Christians, who found solar monotheism less objectionable than the traditional pagan pantheon. The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter and Hercules . Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted "rule of the whole world", as the poet Virgil had once foretold. The oration's religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine's coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus , a god conventionally identified with Apollo. By the middle of 310, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict's proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximin mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war.He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome , Eusebius . Constantine's advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312,Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000.The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy ), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy. At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. In the ensuing battle Constantine's army encircled Maxentius' cavalry, flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers' iron-tipped clubs. Constantine's armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius' retreating forces, opening its gates to Constantine instead. Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested his army in Milan until mid-summer 312, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). Brescia's army was easily dispersed, and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona , where a large Maxentian force was camped. Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius' praetorian prefect, was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige . Constantine sent a small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter Constantine's expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine's forces successfully surrounded the town and laid siege. Ruricius gave Constantine the slip and returned with a larger force to oppose Constantine. Constantine refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed.Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by Aquileia , Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna . The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He still controlled Rome's praetorian guards, was well-stocked with African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly impregnable Aurelian Walls . He ordered all bridges across the Tiber cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region's support without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the Via Flaminia , allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his regime further into turmoil. Maxentius' support continued to weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312, the sixth anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, "the enemy of the Romans" would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in battle. Maxentius organized his forces—still twice the size of Constantine's—in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine's army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers' shields. Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised "to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers...by means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields." Eusebius describes the sign as Chi (Χ) traversed by Rho (Ρ): ☧, a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of Maxentius' line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke Maxentius' cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius' infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius' troops were broken before the first charge. Maxentius' horse guards and praetorians initially held their position, but broke under the force of a Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the Tiber, and drowned. In Rome Constantine entered Rome on 29 October.He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius' body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter . He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius' supporters.In response, the Senate decreed him "title of the first name", which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as "the greatest Augustus". He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius' imprisoned opponents. In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius and Constantine's half-sister Constantia . During this meeting, the emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan ,officially granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire.The document had special benefits for Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian's persecution. In the year 320, Licinius reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian office-holders.That became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries , represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks marched under the standard of the labarum , and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired by their zeal, Constantine's army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople . Licinius fled across the Bosphorus and appointed Martius Martinianus , the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle of the Hellespont , and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324.Licinius and Martinianus surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius's son (the son of Constantine's half-sister) was also killed. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Foundation of Constantinople Licinius' defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire . Among the various locations proposed for this alternative capital, Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day Sofia ), as he was reported saying that "Serdica is my Rome". Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the Greek city of Byzantium , which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla , who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was then renamed Constantinopolis ("Constantine's City" or Constantinople in English), and issued special commemorative coins in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the relics of the True Cross , the Rod of Moses and other holy relics , though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism . Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite . Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot, and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople". Constantine the Great, mosaic in Hagia Sophia, c. 1000 Religious policy Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first "Christian" Roman emperor. Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena 's Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone.Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution.His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre , and Old Saint Peter's Basilica . However, Constantine certainly did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch—the Arch of Constantine —was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is most notably decorated with images of the goddess Victoria and, at the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo , Diana , and Hercules were made. Most notably absent from the Arch are any depictions whatsoever regarding Christian symbolism. Later in 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the venerable day of the sun, referencing the sun-worship that Aurelian had established as an official cult. Furthermore, and long after his oft alleged "conversion" to Christianity, Constantine's coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appeared only as Constantine's personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum , but never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem ; no Christian symbols were present at this dedication. Constantine made new laws regarding the Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. Administrative reforms Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of acute defense needs), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues—following a practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors however, still needed the talents and the help of the very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing equestrians office-holders to senator, eventually wiping out the equestrian order—at least as a bureaucratic rank—in the process. One could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors , in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly creating new magistrates (adlectio). The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule. Constantine's reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by Constantine's children. Monetary reforms After the runaway inflation of the third century , associated with the production of fiat money to pay for public expenses, Diocletian had tried unsuccessfully to reestablish trustworthy minting of silver and billon coins. The failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic "pure" silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the billon currency continued to be used until the 360s. From the early 300s on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces—the solidus , 72 of which made a pound of gold. New (and highly debased) silver pieces would continue to be issued during Constantine's later reign and after his death, in a continuous process of retariffing, until this billon minting eventually ceased, de jure, in 367, with the silver piece being de facto continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the centenionalis . Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. Constantine's monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was associated with measures of confiscation—taken since 331 and closed in 336—of all gold, silver and bronze statues from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate minting—with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the beautification of the new capital in Constantinople. Later campaigns Constantine considered Constantinople as his capital and permanent residence. He lived there for a good portion of his later life. He rebuilt Trajan's bridge across the Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia , a province that had been abandoned under Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, Constantine campaigned with the Sarmatians against the Goths . The weather and lack of food cost the Goths dearly: reportedly, nearly one hundred thousand died before they submitted to Rome. In 334, after Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their leaders, Constantine led a campaign against the tribe. He won a victory in the war and extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate.Constantine resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. Sickness and death Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself.It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of İzmit. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen , and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan , where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom". He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia , bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Pascha (or Easter), on 22 May 337.[246] Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II , Constantius II and Constans . A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine's nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus , presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena , wife of Emperor Julian . Legacy The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a "new Constantine". Ten emperors, including the last emperor of Byzantium, carried the name. Most Eastern Christian churches consider Constantine a saint (Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος, Saint Constantine). In the Byzantine Church he was called isapostolos (Ισαπόστολος Κωνσταντίνος) —an equal of the Apostles . Niš airport is named Constantine the Great in honor of his birth in Naissus. 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