Can’t we all get along?
I guess that we can’t.
Hurrying to that next meeting
Constantine – historical notes
Constantine I (Flavius Valerius Constantinus, 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from AD 306 to 337. He was the first emperor to convert to Christianity. Born in Naissus, Dacia Mediterranea (now Niš, Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Constantius, a Roman army officer of Illyrian origin who had been one of the four rulers of the Tetrarchy. His mother, Helena, was a Greek woman of low birth and a Christian. Later canonized as a saint, she is traditionally attributed to the conversion of her son. Constantine served with distinction under the Roman emperors Diocletian and Galerius. He began his career by campaigning in the eastern provinces (against the Persians) before being recalled in the west (in AD 305) to fight alongside his father in the province of Britannia. After his father’s death in 306, Constantine was acclaimed as imperator by his army at Eboracum (York, England). He eventually emerged victorious in the civil wars against emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire by 324.
Upon his ascension to emperor, Constantine enacted numerous reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation, he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganized to consist of mobile units (comitatenses) and garrison troops (limitanei) which were capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—such as the Franks, the Alemanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—and resettled territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century with citizens of Roman culture.
Although Constantine lived much of his life as a pagan and later as a catechumen, he began to favor Christianity beginning in 312, finally becoming a Christian and being baptized by either Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian bishop or by Pope Sylvester I, which is maintained by the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared tolerance for Christianity in the Roman Empire. He convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem and was deemed the holiest place in all of Christendom. The papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the fabricated Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the “First Christian Emperor” and he did favor the Christian Church. While some modern scholars debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of Christianity, he is venerated as a saint in Eastern Christianity, and he did much for pushing Christianity toward the mainstream of Roman culture.
The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire and a pivotal moment in the transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages. He built a new imperial residence in the city of Byzantium and renamed it New Rome, later adopting Constantinople after himself, where it was located in modern Istanbul. It subsequently became the capital of the empire for more than a thousand years, the later Eastern Roman Empire often being referred to in English as the Byzantine Empire, a term never used by the Empire, invented by German historian Hieronymus Wolf. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian’s Tetrarchy with the de facto principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons and other members of the Constantinian dynasty. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church held him up as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign with the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.
In the last years of his life, Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of Persia, Shapur, Constantine asserted his patronage over Persia’s Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat them well. The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern frontier in 335. In 336, Prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia. He treated the war as a Christian crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats came to Constantinople over the winter of 336–337, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. However, the campaign was called off when Constantine became sick in the spring of 337.
From his recent illness, Constantine knew death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia (present-day Gulf of İzmit). There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism immediately, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, “performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom”. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which postponed baptism until after infancy. It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost.
Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles, in a porphyry sarcophagus that was described in the 10th century by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the De Ceremoniis. His body survived the plundering of the city during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 but was destroyed at some point afterward. Constantine was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine’s nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, the wife of Emperor Julian.
** The Yellowstone prequel, 1944, is in development for those of you who watch the Yellowstone Universe.
** FBI=Following Biden’s Instructions? I think that it likely works the other way in this dysfunctional federal government.
From the Days of Fighting Sail
Battle of Copenhagen, 2nd April 1801
The Battle of Copenhagen, 2 April 1801, fought to force Denmark out of the hostile ‘Armed Neutrality’ of the Northern Powers – Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia – was the second of Nelson’s great battles and, like the Battle of the Nile, also against an enemy at anchor. Nelson’s intention was to concentrate on parts of the Danish defense and defeat it in detail but despite careful preparations, the issue remained in doubt.
Nelson ignored his superior’s signal of recall: ‘Leave off action!… Now damn me if I do. You know, Foley, I have only one eye – I have a right to be blind sometimes… I really do not see the signal.’
Eventually, he offered a truce to save the Danish wounded in sinking and burning ships. As against this show of humanity, he used diplomacy, threat, and bluff to engineer an armistice. With the arrival of the news of the assassination the Tsar Paul I of Russia, which in fact preceded the battle, the Armed Neutrality collapsed.
Don’t let this aircraft ID backfire on you…