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What Difference Did Constantine Make?

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Just to add two bits worth here ... one of Constantine's major achievements was to stabilize the currency which had been in runaway inflation mode up to this point. (The new coinage of the  libra, solidus and denarius made up the £.S.d which anyone familiar with British currency until a few decades ago will recall.) This stabilization was done by using temple treasure, and in the process peeving quite a few devout pagans.

 

Therefore C. needed political support to balance those alienated pagans. This support was most easily obtained from those who had no interest in keeping treasure in the temples - i.e. the Christians. Not saying this was Constantine's only reason for backing the Christians, but given his general cynicism, I'd say it was certainly on the list. (Have you noted the total lack of Christian iconography on his triumphal arch, which was built somewhat earlier?)

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It's his behaviour. Constantine was a martial man (and successful too), a skilled propagandist (Visions in the sky), and had his own son executed for apparently sleeping with Constantines missus. Now I don't call that sociopathic as such, nor do I accept he needed to be, but he defintiely had a ruthless streak as any good Roman emperor required if he was going to survive and hold the reins. Nonetheless, Constantine was definitely shameless in his patronage of christianity which he supported for political reasons, not any spiritual motive.

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