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CONSTANTI'NUS I., FLA'VIUS VALERIUS AURE'LIUS or Constantinus Magnus or Constantine the Great or Constantine Magnus

surnamed MAGNUS or the Great, Roman emperor, A. D. 306-337, the eldest son of the emperor Constantius Chlorus by his first wife Helena. His descent and the principal members of his family are represented in the following genealogical table:--

Constantine was born in the month or February, A. D. 272. There are many different opinions respecting his birth-place; but it is most probable, and it is now generally believed, that he was born at Naissus, now Nissa, a well-known town in Dardania or the upper and southern part of Moesia Superior. 1

Constantine was distinguished by the choicest gifts of nature, but his education was chiefly military. When his father obtained the supreme command in Gaul, Britain, and Spain, he did not accompany him, but remained with the emperor Diocletian as a kind of hostage for the fidelity of his parent, and he attended that emperor on his celebrated expedition in Egypt. After the capture of Alexandria and the pacification of that country in A. D. 296, Constantine served under Galerius in the Persian war, which resulted in the conquest and final cession to the Romans of Iberia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, and the adjoining countries, for which Diocletian and Maximian celebrated a triumph in Rome in 303. In these wars Constantine distinguished himself so much by personal courage as well as by higher military talents, that he became the favourite of the army, and was as a reward appointed tribunus militum of the first class. But he was not allowed to enjoy quietly the honours which he so justly deserved. In his position as a kind of hostage he was exposed to the machinations of the ambitious, the jealous, and the designing; and the dangers by which he was surrounded increased after the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian and the accession of his father and Galerius as emperors (A. D. 305). He continued to live in the East under the eyes of Galerius, whose jealousy of the superior qualities of Constantine was so great, that he meditated his ruin by exposing him to personal dangers, from which Constantine, however, escaped unhurt. In such circumstances he was compelled to cultivate and improve his natural prudence and sagacity, and to accustom himself to that reserve and discretion to which he afterwards owed a considerable part of his greatness, and which was the moreremarkable in him as he was naturally of a most lively disposition. The jealousy of Galerius became conspicuous when he conferred the dignity of Caesar upon his sons, Severus and Maximin, a dignity to which Constantine seemed to be entitled by his birth and merits, but which was withheld from him by Galerius and not conferred upon him by his father. In this, however, Constantius Chlorus acted wisely, for as his son was still in the hands of Galerius, he would have caused his immediate ruin had he proclaimed him Caesar; so that if Constantine spoke of disappointment he could only feel disappointed at not being in the camp of his father. To bring him thither became now the great object of the policy of both father and son. Negotiations were carried on for that purpose with Galerius, who, aware of the consequences of the departure of Constantine, delayed his consent by every means in his power, till at last his pretexts were exhausted, and he was obliged to ailow him to join his father. Justly afraid of being detained once more, or of being cut off by treachery on his journey, Constantine had no sooner obtained the permission of Galerius than he departed from Nicomedeia, where they both resided, without taking leave of the emperor, and travelled through Thrace, Illyricum, Pannonia, and Gaul with all possible speed, till he reached his father at Boulogne just in time to accompany him to Britain on his expedition against the Picts, and to be present at his death at York (25th of July, 306). Before dying, Constantius declared his son as his successor.

The moment for seizing the supreme power, or for shrinking back into death or obscurity, had now come for Constantine. He was renowned for his victories in the East, admired by the legions, and beloved by the subjects, both heathen and Christian, of Constantius, who did not hesitate to believe that the son would follow the example of justice, toleration, and energy set by the father. The legions proclaimed him emperor; the barbarian auxiliaries, headed by Crocus, king of the Alemanni, acknowledged him; yet he hesitated to place the fatal diadem on his head. But his hesitation was mere pretence; he was well prepared for the event; and in the quick energy with which he acted, he gave a sample of that marvellous combination of boldness, cunning, and wisdom in which but a few great men have surpassed him. In a conciliatory letter to Galerius, he protested that he had not taken the purple on his own account, but that he had been pressed by the troops to do so, and he solicited to be acknowledged as Augustus. At the same time he made preparations to take the field with all his father's forces, if Galerius should refuse to grant him his request. But Galerius dreaded a struggle with the brave legions of the West, headed by a man like Constantine. He disguised his resentment, and acknowledged Constantine as master of the countries beyond the Alps, but with the title of Caesar only: he conferred the dignity of Augustus upon his own son Severus.

The peace in the empire was of short duration. The rapacity of Galerius, his absence from the capital of the empire, and probably also the example of Constantine, caused a rebellion in Rome, which resulted in Maxentius, the son of Maximian, seizing the purple; and when Maximian was informed of it, he left his retirement and reassumed the diadem, which he had formerly renounced with his colleague Diocletian. The consequence of their rebellion was a war with Galerius, whose son, Severus Augustus, entered Italy with a powerful force; but he was shut up in Ravenna; and, unable to defend the town or to escape, he surrendered himself up to the besiegers, and was treacherously put to death by order of Maxentius. (A. D. 307.) Galerius chose C. Valerius Licinianus Licinius as Augustus instead of Severus, and he was forced to acknowledge the claims of Maximin likewise, who had been proclaimed Augustus by the legions under his command, which were stationed in Syria and Egypt. The Roman empire thus obeyed six masters: Galerius, Licinius, and Maximin in the East, and Maximian. Maxentius, and Constantine in the West (308). The union between the masters of the West was cemented by the marriage of Constantine, whose first wife Minervina was dead, with Fausta, the daughter of Maximian, which took place as early as 306; and at the same time Constantine was acknowledged as Augustus by Maximian and Maxentius. But before long serious quarrels broke out between Maxentius and Maximian; the latter was forced by his son to fly from Rome, and finally took refuge with Constantine, by whom he was well received. Maximian once more abdicated the throne; but during the absence of Constantine, who was then on the Rhine, he reassumed the purple, and entered into secret negotiations with his son Maxentius for the purpose of ruining Constantine. He was surprised in his plots by Constantine, who on the news of his rebellion had left the Rhine, and embarking his troops in boats, descended the Saône and Rhône, appeared under the walls of Arles, where Maximian then resided, and forced him to take refuge in Marseilles. That town was immediately besieged; the inhabitants gave up Maximian, and Constantine quelled the rebellion by one of those acts of bloody energy which the world hesitates to call murder, since the kings of the world cannot maintain themselves on their thrones without blood. Maximian was put to death (A. D. 309); he had deserved punishment, yet he was the father of Constantille's wife. [MAXIMIANUS.]

The authority of Constantine was now unrestrained in his dominions. He generally resided at Trier (Trèves), and was greatly beloved by his subjects on account of his excellent administration. The inroads of the barbarians were punished by him with great severity : the captive chiefs of the Franks were devoured by wild beasts in the circus of Trier, and many robbers or rebels suffered the same barbarous punishment. These occasional cruelties did not prejudice him in the eyes of the people, and among the emperors who then ruled the world Constantine was undoubtedly the most beloved, a circumstance which was of great advantage to him when he began his struggle with his rivals. This struggle commenced with Maxentius, who pretended to feel resentment for the death of his father, insulted Constantine, and from insults proceeded to hostile demonstrations. With a large force assembled in Italy he intended to invade Gaul, but so great was the aversion of his subjects to his cruel and rapacious character, that Roman deputies appeared before Constantine imploring him to deliver them from a tyrant. Constantine was well aware of the dangers to which he exposed himself by attacking Maxentius, who was obeyed by a numerous army, chiefly composed of veterans, who had fought under Diocletian and Maximian. At the same time, the army of Constantine was well disciplined and accustomed to fight with the brave barbarians of Germany, and while his rival was only obeyed by soldiers he met with obedience among both his troops and his subjects. To win the affections of the people he protected the Christians in his own dominions, and he persuaded Galerius and Maximin to put a stop to the persecutions to which they were exposed in the East. This was a measure of prudence, but the Christians in their joy, which increased in proportion as Constantine gave them still more proofs of his conviction, that Christianity had become a moral element in the nations which would give power to him who understood how to wield it, attributed the politic conduct of their master to divine inspiration, and thus the fable became believed, that on his march to Italy, either at Autun in France, or at Verona, or near Audernach on the Rhine in Germany as some pretend, Constantine had a vision, seeing in his sleep a cross with the inscription ἐν τούτῳ νίκα. Thus, it is said, he adopted the cross, and in that sign was victorious. 2

Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps (Mount Cénis), defeated the vanguard of Maxentius at Turin, entered Milan, and laid seige to Verona, under the walls of which Maxentius suffered a severe defeat. Another battle fought near Rome on the 28th of October, 312, decided the fate of Maxentius : his army was completely routed, and while he tried to escape over the Milvian bridge into Rome, he was driven by the throng of the fugitives into the Tiber and perished in the river. [MAXENTIUS.] Constantine entered Rome, and displayed great activity in restoring peace to that city, and in removing the causes of the frequent disturbances by which Rome had been shaken during the reign of Maxentius; he disbanded the body of the Praetorians, and in order that the empire might derive some advantage from the existence of the senators, he subjected them and their families to a heavy poll-tax. He also accepted the title of Pontifex Maximus, which shews that at that time he had not the slightest intention of elevating Christianity at the expense of Paganism.

The fruit of Constantine's victories was the undisputed mastership of the whole western part of the empire, with its ancient capital, Rome, which, however, had then ceased to be the ordinary residence of the emperors. At the same time, important events took place in the East. The emperor Galerius died in A. D. 311, and Licinius, having united his dominions with his own, was involved in a war with Maximin, who, after having taken Byzantium by surprise, was defeated in several battles, and died, on his flight to Egypt, at Tarsus in Cilicia, in 313. [MAXIMINUS.] Thus Licinius became sole master of the whole East, and the empire had now only two heads. In the following year, 314, a war broke out between Licinius and Constantine. At Cibalis, a town on the junction of the Sau with the Danube, in the southernmost part of Pannonia, Constantine defeated his rival with an inferior force; a second battle, at Mardia in Thrace, was indecisive, but the loss which Licinius sustained was immense, and he sought for peace. This was readily granted him by Constantine, who perhaps felt himself not strong enough to drive his rival to extremities; but, satisfied with the acquisition of Illyricum, Pannonia, and Greece, which Licinius ceded to him, he established a kind of mock friendship between them by giving to Licinius the hand of his sister Constantina. During nine years the peace remained undisturbed, a time which Constantine employed in reforming the administration of the empire by those laws of which we shall speak below, and in defending the northern frontiers against the inroads of the barbarians. Illyricum and Pannonia were the principal theatres of these devastations, and among the various barbarians that dwelt north of the Danube and the Black Sea, the Goths, who had occupied Dacia, were the most dangerous. Constantine chastised them several times in Illyricum, and finally crossed the Danube, entered Dacia, and compelled them to respect the dignity of the Roman empire. His fame as a great monarch, distinguished both by civil and military abilities, increased every year, and the consciousness of his talents and power induced him to make a final struggle for the undivided government of the empire. In 323, he declared war against Licinius, who was then advanced in years and was detested for his cruelties, but whose land forces were equal to those of Constantine, while his navy was more numerous and manned with more experienced sailors. The first battle took place near Adrianople on the 3rd of July, 323. Each of the emperors had above a hundred thousand men under his command ; but, after a hard struggle, in which Constantine gave fresh proofs of his skill and personal courage, Licinius was routed with great slaughter, his fortified camp was stormed, and he fled to Byzantium. Constantine followed him thither, and while he laid siege to the town, his eldest son Crispus forced the entrance of the Hellespont, and in a three days' battle defeated Amandus, the admiral of Licinius, who lost one-third of his fleet. Unable to defend Byzantium with success, Licinius went to Bithynia, assembled his troops, and offered a second battle, which was fought at Chrysopolis, now Skutari, opposite Byzantium. Constantine obtained a complete victory, and Licinius fled to Nicomedeia. He surrendered himself on condition of having his life spared, a promise which Constantine made on the intercession of his sister Constantina, the wife of Licinius; but, after spending a short time in false security at Thessalonica, the place of his exile, he was put to death by order of his fortunate rival. We cannot believe that he was killed for forming a conspiracy; the cause of his death was undoubtedly the dangerous importance of his person. [LICINIUS; CONSTANTINA.] Constantine acted towards his memory as, during the restoration in France, the memory of Napoleon was treated by the Bourbons: his reign was considered as an usurpation, his laws were declared void, and infamy was cast upon his name.

Constantine was now sole master of the empire, and the measures which he adopted to maintain himself in his lofty station were as vigorous, though less bloody, as those by which he succeeded in attaining the great object of his ambition. The West and the East of the empire had gradually become more distinct from each other, and as each of those great divisions had already been governed during a considerable period by different rulers, that distinction became dangerous for the integrity of the whole, in proportion as the people were accustomed to look upon each other as belonging to either of those divisions, rather than to the whole empire. Rome was only a nominal capital, and Italy, corrupted by luxury and vices, had ceased to be the source of Roman grandeur. Constantine felt the necessity of creating a new centre of the empire, and, after some hesitation, chose that city which down to the present day is a gate both to the East and the West. He made Byzantium the capital of the empire and the residence of the emperors, and called it after his own name, Constantinople, or the city of Constantine. The solemn inauguration of Constantinople took place in A. D. 330, according to Idatius and the Chronicon Alexandrinum. The possibility of Rome ceasing to be the capital of the Roman empire, had been already observed by Tacitus, who says (Hist. 1.4), " Evulgato imperii arcano, posse principem alibi quam Romae fieri." Constantinople was enlarged and embellished by Constantine and his successors; but when it is said that it equalled Rome in splendour, the cause must partly be attributed to the fact, that the beauty of Constantinople was ever increasing, while that of Rome was constantly decreasing under the rough hands of her barbarian conquerors. (Comp. Ciampini, De Sacris Aedificiis a Constantino Magno constructis.) By making Constantinople the residence of the emperors, the centre of the empire was removed Irom the Latin world to the Greek; and although Latin continued to be the official language for several centuries, the influence of Greek civilization soon obtained such an ascendancy over the Latin, that while the Roman empire perished by the barbarians in the West, it was changed into a Greek empire by the Greeks in the East. There was, however, such a prestige of grandeur connected with Rome, that down to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, in 1453, the rulers of the Eastern empire retained the name of Roman emperors as a title by which they thought that they inherited the government of the world. The same title and the same presumption were assumed by the kings of the German barbarians, seated on the ruins of Rome, and they were the pride of their successors till the downfall of the Holy Roman empire in Germany in 1806.

The year 324 was signalized by an event which caused the greatest consternation in the empire, and which in the opinion of many writers has thrown indelible disgrace upon Constantine. His accomplished son, Crispus, whose virtues and glory would perhaps have been the joy of a father, but for their rendering him popular with the nation, and producing ambition in the mind of Crispus himself, was accused of high treason, and, during the celebration at Rome of the twentieth anniversary of Constantine's victory over Maxentius, was arrested and sent to Pola in Istria. There he was put to death. Licinius Caesar, the son of the emperor Licinius and Constantina, the sister of Constantine, was accused of the same crime, and suffered the same fate. Many other persons accused of being connected with the conspiracy were likewise punished with death. It is said, that Crispus had been calumniated by his step-mother, Fausta, and that Constantine, repenting the innocent death of his son, and discovering that Fausta lived in criminal intercourse with a slave, commanded her to be suffocated in a warm bath. As our space does not allow us to present more than a short sketch of these complicated events, some additions to which are given in the lives of PRISCUS and FAUSTA, we refer the reader to the opinion of Niebuhr, who remarks (History of Rome, ed. by Dr. L. Schmitz, vol. v. p. 360), " Every one knows the miserable death of Constantine's son, Crispus, who was sent into exile to Pola, and then put to death. If however people will make a tragedy of this event, I must confess that I do not see how it can be proved that Crispus was innocent. When I read of so many insurrections of sons against their fathers, I do not see why Crispus, who was Caesar, and demanded the title of Augustus, which his father refused him, should not have thought,-- 'Well, if I do not make anything of myself, my father will not, for he will certainly prefer the sons of Fausta to me, the son of a repudiated woman.' Such a thought, if it did occur to Crispus, must have stung him to the quick. That a father should order his own son to be put to death is certainly repulsive to our feelings, but it is rash and inconsiderate to assert that Crispus was innocent. It is to me highly probable that Constantine himself was quite convinced of his son's guilt : I infer this from his conduct towards the three step-brothers of Crispus, whom he always treated with the highest respect, and his unity and harmony with his sons is truly exemplary. It is related that Fausta was suffocated, by Constantine's command, by the steam of a bath; but Gibbon has raised some weighty doubts about this incredible and unaccountable act, and I cannot therefore attach any importance to the story."

During the latter part of his reign, Constantine enjoyed his power in peace. As early as 315, Arius denied at Alexandria the divinity of Christ. His doctrine, which afterwards gave rise to so many troubles and wars, was condemned by the general council assembled at Nicaea in 325, one of the most important events in ecclesiastical history. Constantine protected the orthodox fathers, though he must be looked upon as still a Pagan, but he did not persecute the Arians; and the dissensions of a church to which he did not belong, did not occupy much of his attention, since the domestic peace of the empire was not yet in danger from them. Notwithstanding the tranquillity of the empire, the evident result of a man of his genius being the sole ruler, Constantine felt that none of his sons was his equal; and by dividing his empire among them, he hoped to remove the causes of troubles like those to which he owed his own accession. He therefore assigned to Constantine, the eldest, the administration of Gaul, Britain, Spain, and Tingitania; to Constantius, the second, Egypt and the Asiatic provinces, except the countries given to Hannibalianus; to Constans, the youngest, Italy, Western Illyricum, and the rest of Africa : they all received the title of Augustus. He conferred the title of Caesar upon his nephew Dalmatius, who obtained the administration of Eastern Illyricum, Macedonia, Thrace, and Greece; and his nephew Hannibalianus, who received the new title of Nobilissimus, was placed over Pontus, Cappadocia, and Armenia Minor, with Caesareia as capital. They were to govern the empire, after his death, as a joint property. Among the three Augusti, Constantine, the eldest, was to be the first in rank, but they were to be equal in authority : the Caesar and the Nobilissimus, though sovereign in their dominions, were inferior in rank, and, with regard to the administration of the whole empire, in authority also to the Augusti. The failure of this plan of Constantine's is related in the lives of his sons.

In 337, Constantine was going to take the field against Sapor II., king of Persia, who claimed the provinces taken from him by Galerius and Maximian. But his health was bad; and having retired to Nicomedeia for the sake of the air and the waters, he died there, after a short illness, on the 22nd of May, 337. Shortly before his death, he declared his intention of becoming a Christian, and was accordingly baptized. His death was the signal for the massacre of nearly all his kinsmen, which was contrived by his own sons, and subsequently of the violent death of two of his sons, while the second, Constantius, succeeded in becoming sole emperor.

The following were the most important ot the laws and regulations of Constantine. He devel oped and brought to perfection the hierarchical system of state dignities established by Diocletian on the model of the Eastern courts, and of which the details are contained in the Notitia Dignitatum. The principal officers were divided into three classes : the Illustres, the Spectabiles, and the Clarissimi; for officers of a lower rank other titles were invented, the pompous sounds of which contrasted strangely with the pettiness of the functions of the bearers. The consulship was a mere title, and so was the dignity of patricius; both of these titles were in later years often conferred upon barbarians. The number of public officers was immense, and they all derived their authority from the supreme chief of the empire, who could thus depend upon a host of men raised by their education above the lower classes, and who, having generally nothing but their appointments, were obliged to do all in their power to prevent revolutions, by which they would have been deprived of their livelihood. A similar artificial system, strengthening the government, is established, in our days, in Prussia, Austria, France, and most of the states of Europe. The dignity and dangerous military power of the praefecti praetorio were abolished. Under Diocletian and Maximian there were four praefecti, but they were only lieutenants of the two Augusti and their two Caesars. Constantine continued the number, and limited their power by making them civil officers : under him there was the Praefectus Orienti over the Asiatic provinces and Thrace; the Praefectus Italiae, over Italy, Rhaetia, Noricum, and Africa between Egypt and Tingitania; the Praefectus Illyrico, who had Illyricum, Pannonia, Macedonia, and Greece; and the Praefectus Galliae, over Gaul, Britain, Spain, and Tingitania or the westernmost part of Africa. Rome and Constantinople had each their separate praefect. Under the praefecti there were thirteen high functionaries, who were civil governors of the thirteen dioceses into which the empire was divided, and who had either the title of comes or count, or of vicarious or vice praefect. Between these officers and the praefecti there were three proconsuls, of Asia, Achaia, and Africa, who however were but governors of provinces, the whole number of which was one hundred and sixteen, and which were governed, besides the proconsuls, by thirty-seven consulares, five correctores, and seventy-one presidentes.

The military administration was entirely separated from the civil, and as the Praefecti Praetorio were changed into civil officers, as has been mentioned above, the supreme military command was conferred at first upon two, then four, and finally eight Magistri Militum, under whom were the military Comites and Duces. The number of legions was diminished, but the army was nevertheless much increased, especially by barbarian auxiliaries, a dangerous practice, which hastened the overthrow of the Western and shook the Eastern empire to its foundations. The increase of the army rendered various oppressive taxes necessary, which were unequally assessed, and caused many revolts. There were seven high functionaries, who may be compared with some of the great officers of state in our country, viz. the Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi, or Lord Chamberlain the Magister Officiorum, who acted in many concerns as a secretary for home affairs; the Quaestor, or Lord Chancellor and Seal-Keeper; the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, or Chancellor of the Exchequer for the public revenue; the Comes Rerum Privatarun Divinae Domus for the private property of the emperor; and, finally, two Comites Domesticorum, or simply Domestici, the commanders of the imperial life-guard. For further details we refer to the authorities enumerated at the end of this article, and to Gutherius, " De Officiis Domus Augustae."

Constantine deserves the name of Great : he rose to the highest pinnacle of power, and owed his fortune to nobody but himself. His birth was a source of dangers to him; his exalted qualities caused jealousy among his enemies, and during the greater part of his reign his life was one continued struggle. He overcame all obstacles through his own exertions; his skill vanquished his enemies; his energy kept the hydra of anarchy headless; his prudence conducted him in safety through conspiracies, rebellions, battles, and murder, to the throne of Rome; his wisdom created a new organization for an empire, which consisted of huge fragments, and which no human hand seemed powerful enough to raise to a solid edifice. Christianity was made by him the religion of the state, but Paganism was not persecuted though discouraged. The Christianity of the emperor himself has been a subject of warm controversy both in ancient and modern times, but the graphic account which Niebuhr gives of Constantine's belief seems to be perfectly just. Speaking of the murder of Licinius and his own son Crispus, Niebuhr remarks (Hist. of Rome, vol. v. p. 359), " Many judge of him by too severe a standard, because they look upon him as a Christian; but I cannot regard him in that light. The religion which he had in his head must have been a strange compound indeed. The man who had on his coins the inscription Sol invictus, who worshipped pagan divinities, consulted the haruspices, indulged in a number of pagan superstitions, and, on the other hand, built churches, shut up pagan temples, and interfered with the council of Nicaea, must have been a repulsive phaenomenon, ard was certainly not a Christian. He did not allow himself to be baptized till the last moments of his life, and those who praise him for this do not know what they are doing. He was a superstitious man, and mixed up his Christian religion with all kinds of absurd superstitions and opinions. When, therefore, certain Oriental writers call him ἰσαπόστολος they do not know what they are saying, and to speak of him as a saint is a profanation of the word."

The blame which falls upon Constantine for the death of Maximian, Licinius, and Crispus, will fall upon many kings, and we have only fabulous accounts of the mental sufferings which his bloody deeds might have caused him. Constantine was not so great during the latter part of his reign. In proportion as he advanced in years he lost that serene generosity which had distinguished him while he was younger; his temper grew acrimonious, and he gave way to passionate bursts of resentment which he would have suppressed while he was in the bloom of manhood. He felt that the grandenr of Rome could be maintained only in the East, and he founded Constantinople; but the spirit of the East overwhelmed him, and he sacrificed the heroic majesty of a Roman emperor to the showy pomp and the vain ceremonies of an Asiatic court. His life is an example of a great historical lesson : the West may conquer the East, but the conqueror will die on his trophies by the poison of sensuality.

As Constantine the Great was a successful political reformer, and the protector of a new religion, he has received as much undeserved reproaches as praise; the Christian writers generally deified him, and the Pagan historians have cast infamy on his memory. To judge him fairly was reserved for the historians of later times.

(Euseb. Vita Constantini ; Eutrop. lib. x. ; Sextus Rufus, Brev. 26; Aurel. Vict. Epit. 40, 41, de Caes. 40, &c.; Zosim. lib. ii., Zosimus is a violent antagonist of Constantine; Zonar. lib. xiii.; Lactant. de Mort. Persecut. 24-52; Oros. lib. vii.; Amm. Marc. lib. xiv., &c., Excerpta, p. 710, &c., ed. Valesius. The accounts of, and the opinions on, Constantine given by Eumenius, Nazarius, &c., in the Panegyrics (especially vi.--xi.), and by the emperor Julian, in his Caesars as well as in his Orations, are of great importance, but full of partiality : Julian treats Constantine very badly, and the Panegyrics are what their name indicates. Among the ecclesiastical writers, Eusebius, Lactantius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theophanes, &c., are the principal; but it has already been observed that their statements must be perused with great precaution. The Life of Constantine by Praxagoras, which was known to the Byzantines, is lost. Besides these sources, there is scarcely a writer of the time of Constantine and the following centuries, who does not give some account of Constantine; and even in the works of the later Byzantines, such as Constantine Porphyrogenitus and Cedrenus, we find valuable additions to the history of that great emperor. The most complete list of sources, with critical observations, is contained in Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs. See also Manso, Leben Constantins des Grossen.)


1 * Stephanus Byzantinus (s. v. Ναϊσσός calls this town Κτίσμα καὶ πατρὶρ Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ βασιλέως, meaning by Κτίσμα that that town was enlarged and embellished by Constantine, which was the case. The opinion that Constantine was born in Britain is ably refuted in Schöpflin's dissertation, "Constantinus Magnus non fuit Britannus," contained in the author's "Commentationes Historicae," Basel, 1741, 4to.

2 * Compare " Dissertation sur la Vision de Constantin le Grand," by Du Voisin, bishop of Nantes.

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