Test your knowledge about Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of Rome by taking this quiz.
Constantine I or Constantine the Great, whose full name was Flavius Valerius Constantinus, was born at Naissus (later Nis) on February 26, 272. Son of the Roman official Constantius Chlorus and Helen, he spent most of his childhood and youth at the court of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), the Roman emperor who waged the most relentless of all persecutions against Christians.
Constantine I was the first Christian emperor of Rome. He began the construction of Constantinople, over the ancient city of Byzantium, and in 330 A.D he inaugurated the new capital of the Empire.
The reign of Constantine marked an interesting evolution of imperial power. The sources are contradictory as far as he is concerned: while Christians praise him as a colossus of history, the pagans condemn him for destroying the traditional system of government. In the Byzantine era both Constantine and Helen became emblematic and quasi-legendary figures. Moreover, a series of emperors symbolically take the title of ‘New Constantine’.
Politically, it can be said that with Constantine the authoritarian and dictatorial tendencies of Diocletian’s reign culminate, completing the evolution of the Empire towards absolutism: the Senates of Rome and Constantinople became merely municipal representative assemblies; the Army -especially the interior-, the police and the information services were reinforced; the Administration was restructured in a centralist sense; a hierarchically organized bureaucracy developed under a Crown Council, and a rigorous court ceremonial was established tending to highlight the supremacy of the emperor and his divine character.
Constantine’s reforms are not limited to the political and administrative sphere of the Empire, he also attempted to revive the economy.
By reuniting the Roman Empire under his authority and legalizing Christianity, Constantine I earned his place in history.
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