If there was no divine intervention, Constantine had, in any case, great luck. Because its location was in the year 312 anything other than rosy. The Bulk of his troops held the border in the vulnerable Rhine. His opponent, Maxentius, had occupied many cities of Northern Italy with strong garrisons. He had holed up with a numerically superior army in Rome, the Aurelian built walls made it almost impregnable. Twice he had rubbed with this tactic already opponent.
But Konstantin continued to the Whole. He had already done, as the army him of the death of his father Constantius I. Chlorus 306 in Eboracum (York) had declared against the succession to the Emperor. Now he sat on the swiftness of his fight usual legions. 28. October Constantinople before Rome. Maxentius opposed him and lost the army and the life. How soon should show changes in the battle, the course of history.
Since Constantine’s seizure of power broke the ascent of the Christianity train. “The beaming winner Konstantin motivated his Triumph with the victory of the granted support ,of his’ of God – the losers, Constantine would have no one to hear, and his preferred deity want no one to worship,” explains the Bamberg historian Hartwin Brandt, in his great Konstantin biography with the ironic twist that, of all things, a bloody battle, the peace message of Jesus prepared the way. The Triumph at the Milvian bridge, Constantine reasoned of the turn, the made from the pagan Empire to a Christian Empire.
Already in the order, the destroyed struts Constantine with his power, had Religion played a much greater role than in the previous centuries. The Imperial crisis of the 3. Century, in of the of their soldiers proclaimed Emperor alternated almost in the year rhythm, had finished the swashbuckler Diocletian with powerful resources and a new concept of domination.
As the Empire was on many fronts in its defense, there were many generals who succumbed to the lure of the purple. Therefore, Diocletian created the so-called tetrarchy (rule of four). Each Augustus took over the rule in the West and the East, which were each associated with two Caesars as an assistant and designated successor. They were experienced generals, and commanded the great armies, so that the usurpers could only calculate low chances.
At the same time, the Tetra surrounded themselves of a monarch with a new religious Aura, the Augusti, but as incarnations of the Iovius (Jupiter), Supreme God of the Roman Pantheon, and the Caesares as a Herculii worship, incarnate visitations of the great half-God Hercules. The participation in the cult was the monarch a pledge of Loyalty to the Tetra. So it was quite logical that Diocletian ruled in his power, which included Asia minor, to Egypt, a country wide persecution of the group, the refused this card, the of the Christians.
Constantine’s rise in the tetrarchy in the year 306 had not been foreseen, but had the rest of the tetrarchs, the Power of the Factual bent and the son of the Augustus Constantius as the Caesar of the West in your circle. As with Maxentius, another tetrarch’s son (of the Augustus Maximian) was for the Emperor to be proclaimed and his reign successfully in Italy established, was Diocletian procedure basically broken already, when Constantine in 312 to the final battle in the West Pacific.
At the end of Constantine’s long reign – he died in 337 – described two Christian authors of the real reason for his victory. “In his sleep Constantine was admonished, the heavenly sign of God on the shields to install and start the battle,” wrote the rhetoric teacher Lactantius. And Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea affirmed, the Emperor himself had told him later, the announcement of the “incredible sign of God”. What was it, fills whole libraries. Constantine’s biographer, Brandt solves the Problem with source criticism and common sense.
Many years before Eusebius wrote his history of the Emperor, he wrote a history of the Church. In the no word of the victory, is auspicious sign. This would suggest that the later appearance is in the biography of a response to a narrative, the bypassed, when Christianity was become the privileged Religion. This is also the rhetorical ductus of Eusebius and Lactantius was speaking. You tried to defend a quite critical behind asked legend.
This would also speak to the plausibility of the event itself. The Bulk of the troops, with which Constantine moved to the battle, believed in all sorts of gods, but certainly not in Christ. A christogram paint as Siegesmal on the weapons, would be not only pointless, but could have in the event of a crisis, even suicidal consequences. Also, it would have been hardly possible to paint any sign for a few hours before the fight to shields.
Nevertheless, the narrative of the “over the sun, the sign of victory” (Eusebius) could reflect an earlier Episode in the life of Constantine. In the year 310, a speaker in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) was a hymn to the Caesar Constantine. In it, he described his visit to a Gaulish Apollo-sanctuary. There, Constantine saw his “the protection of the God Apollo, you … with Laurel wreaths presented, each of which brings the auspicious signs of thirty years”. Perhaps it was this vision experience a Halo, a cross of light appearance, as if its author is the sun and God of light, Apollo has been detected, the characters in the Rest of Constantine’s troops probably would have without a murmur on their shields worn.
anyway. For the final battle, both opponents put less on symbols and more on tactics. As the Roman historian Aurelius Victor reported, Maxentius a part of his troops at Saxa Rubra (Red rocks) a few miles North of the Milvian bridge. Of this he ordered the stone covering to be removed and a fragile wooden construction to replace, which could be quickly destroyed.
This would indicate that Maxentius, pursued the Plan to lure Constantine between the rocks and the bridge in order to attack him from both sides. In another report it is said that Maxentius had sought because of the hostile attitude of the Romans, the quick decision to defend rather than behind the high walls.
Constantine continued to speed and to handle promptly the enemy units to the Saxa Rubra. This could not keep the rush and fled in the direction of the bridge. Maxentius is not opened, then only the gate, but moved with his guard troops, Constantine. It came to a desert battle on the banks of the Tiber, in the order of the troops went by each other. The force of Constantine’s soldiers had to counter your opponent a little. Maxentius was carried away, fell into the river and drowned.
Constantine was the sole Augustus of the West. 29. In October, he moved to Rome. That he renounced the sacrifice at the temple of Jupiter, can you explain the fact that he celebrated a non-traditional triumphal procession; and, finally, the battle against Maxentius had been a civil war. Nevertheless, Hartwin Brandt recognizes in the action of the winner from now on, a “qualitative leap”. Shortly thereafter, he substantiated his victory with the worship of the Christian God. 313 granted to Constantine, together with Licinius, the Augustus of the East, in Milan, to all the inhabitants of the Empire makes the “free … to choose their Religion”.
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