Constantine by Paul Stephenson
Roman Emperor, Christian Victor

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Synopsis

A fascinating survey of the life and enduring legacy of perhaps the greatest and most unjustly ignored of the Roman emperors-written by a richly gifted historian.

In 312 A.D., Constantine-one of four Roman emperors ruling a divided empire-marched on Rome to establish his control. On the eve of the battle, a cross appeared to him in the sky with an exhortation, "By this sign conquer." Inscribing the cross on the shields of his soldiers, Constantine drove his rivals into the Tiber and claimed the imperial capital for himself.

Under Constantine, Christianity emerged from the shadows, its adherents no longer persecuted. Constantine united the western and eastern halves of the Roman Empire. He founded a new capital city, Constantinople. Thereafter the Christian Roman Empire endured in the East, while Rome itself fell to the barbarian hordes.

Paul Stephenson offers a nuanced and deeply satisfying account of a man whose cultural and spiritual renewal of the Roman Empire gave birth to the idea of a unified Christian Europe underpinned by a commitment to religious tolerance.
 

About Paul Stephenson

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PAUL STEPHENSON is a professor of history at the University of Durham and a specialist in the early and middle Byzantine periods. His publications include The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-slayer (2003) and Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900–1204 (2003). Stephenson has researched and taught in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the United States.
 
Published June 10, 2010 by Overlook Books. 377 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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Scholar Stephenson (History/Univ. of Durham; Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204, 2000, etc.) offers a stately though academic biography of the first Roman emperor who converted to Christianity, with a heavy emphasis on the archaeological record.

Jan 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Constantine: Roman Emperor, C...

Open Letters Monthly

It’s no exaggeration to say, as the University of Michigan’s David Potter does right at the beginning of his new book, that the Roman emperor Constantine “changed the world.” No biographer of Constantine has refrained from saying this – indeed, the man’s last English language biographer, Paul Ste...

Dec 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Constantine: Roman Emperor, C...

BBC History Magazine

So when Constantine had shown on the battlefield that the Christian god was invincible, he changed his name from Invictus Constantine, with its faintly pagan associations, to the novel and positive Victor Constantine, proclaiming the triumph of Constantine, his army and his god;

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