Today in Ancient History – 22 May – Death of Emperor Constantine

Arguably the greatest of the Roman Emperors, Emperor Constantine was the first amongst them who was baptised a Catholic.  As was common among early adult converts to this underground religion, Constantine was baptised as late as possible due to the fact that on baptism all sins and temporal punishment for those sins are washed away.  Constantine really gambled as it was on his deathbed that he was actually baptised.


Arch of Constantine adjacent to the Coliseum

The date of the death of Emperor Constantine was today – 22nd May in 337 A.D.


It was Constantine who legalised Christianity and the Catholic Church when he took power after his victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.  He attributed this victory to God as foretold by a dream he had in which he saw the symbol of the Cross as the key to the battle.  This unprecedented shift in status of Christians from a persecuted minority to an in favour majority was truly remarkable.  He is of course also the namesake of the great Byzantian city of Constantinople (now known as Istanbul).


Constantine and his mother St Helena were responsible for many of the religious artifacts in Rome due to their efforts to collect them from their resting places and bring them to Rome.  Examples include the wood of the Cross, the nails used in the crucifixion of Christ, thorns from the crown of thorns, and even the steps on which Christ was presented bleeding to Pontius Pilate – known as the Holy Steps (Santa Scala) to be found now opposite the papal basilica of St John Lateran.


Constantine the Great had one of the greatest effects on history and the development of western civilization we know of.

Today in Ancient History – 22 May – Death of Emperor Constantine was last modified: August 28th, 2014 by Tom

About Tom

Tom Chambers is a nice fellow with a plethora of strings to his intellectual bow. With degrees in Chemistry, Law, Computer Science and Philosophy, he is also an avid fan of history and the growth of civilization. He also enjoys arm wrestling and leg wrestling.
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