Constantine: History, Historiography and Legend by Samuel N. C. Lieu, Dominic Montserrat

By Samuel N. C. Lieu, Dominic Montserrat

Constantine examines the reign of Constantine, the 1st Christian emperor and the founding father of Constantinople. From various angles: historic, historiographical and legendary. the amount examines the situations of Constantine's reign and the historic difficulties surrounding them, the various money owed of Constantine's existence and the plethora of well known medieval legends surrounding the reign, to bare different visions and representations of the emperor from saint and consumer of the Western church to imperial prototype. Constantine: historical past, Historiography and Legend provides a entire and arresting learn of this crucial and debatable emperor.

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40 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS It was a great honour and a great pleasure to address the symposium organised by Sam Lieu and Dominic Montserrat at the University of Warwick in April 1993 to celebrate the establishment of the Centre for Research in East Roman Studies. I must thank Sam Lieu for choosing Constantine as the theme of the symposium and for inviting me to speak on a controversial subject upon which I have unorthodox views. [Editors’ note: We are grateful to Harvard University Press for kind permission to publish this chapter which includes material published in the author’s book, Athanasius and Constantius: Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire, Cambridge, MA 1993].

What he did was to write to them in the name of a council of bishops over which he presided to inform them that the council had condemned the clergy in question—and to request that they remove or exile them in accordance with the rule laid down by Constantine. The authorities then took action without further ado: since there was no need for any sort of judicial hearing in their court, they simply enforced the ecclesiastical condemnation by bundling the condemned men into exile. Constantine gave bishops important privileges in the new Christian empire.

But if he found that there was a prima facie case, he thereupon convened a council of bishops and submitted the whole matter to them. Constantine’s attested dealings with Athanasius fall into this pattern. When he heard Athanasius at Psammathia in 331–2, it is wrong to describe the proceedings as an imperial trial or cognitio, as Girardet does:28 had Constantine not dismissed the charges as 13 TIMOTHY BARNES unfounded, he would not have condemned or deposed Athanasius himself, but would have submitted the case to a council of bishops.

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