Roman Emperor, Christian Victor

Book - 2010
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Surveys the life and legacy of the first Christian Roman emperor, describing the vision that inspired his religious conversion and subsequent conquest of the imperial capital, his founding of Constantinople, and his role in promoting a unified Christian Europe.
Publisher: New York : Overlook Press, 2010, c2009
ISBN: 9781590203248
Branch Call Number: B CONSTANTINE
Characteristics: 358 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm


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Nov 05, 2015

This is a history book (pp.358) which I found quite readable even though I am not a Roman history buff. Written by a British professor I confess to having felt obliged to skim through much of it as I wasn't keen at the time to savour all the details the professor provides, such as in the accounting of the Roman coins used as historical/archaeological sources to describe the designs on the shields Constantine’s warriors used in battle. A Roman history student would naturally pay attention to such detail and would certainly find it here.

I chose to read about Constantine because of my interest in learning more about the accelerated rise of Christianity (i.e., the Catholic church) during his reign as emperor (300 A.D., approximately). I indeed learned more about it and the larger, and of course, more complicated aspects surrounding his historically famous “conversion” to Christianity and it being adopted by him, as Emperor, thereby helping to propagate its influence across the Empire. Like with any other human-related topic, there are always the gradations of reality (“shades of Gray,” they say nowadays) surrounding any historical event and this was no exception.

Professor Stephenson’s Constantine also confirmed my previous understanding of the seemingly perennial challenge the Romans faced in seeking to avoid being overrun by the “Barbarians.” He also enlightened me with regard to the relationship between the city of Rome and what would become the new capital in the eastern half of the Empire, Constantinople, along with the extension of the Roman Empire and its culture all the way to Syria. Even though I skimmed a lot I learned a lot.


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