Constantine I (c. 27 February 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire.
The foremost general of his time, Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars. He also fought successfully against the Franks, Alamanni, Visigoths, and Sarmatians during his reign – even resettling parts of Dacia which had been abandoned during the previous century. Constantine built a new imperial residence in the city of Byzantium, renaming the city Constantinople, which would later be the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over one thousand years. He is thought of as the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire, a.k.a. the Byzantine Empire.
Constantine I in Justinian
The reign of Constantine the Great, particularly his conversion to Christianity, was an important milestone for the Roman Empire centuries after Constantine died. In his memoir, Justinian II frequently referenced Constantine's importance. The Forum of Constantine still stood during his day, and a statue of Constantine stood, wearing a gilded crown with sun-rays spiking out from it.
When Constantine IV died, he was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles. His son, Justinian II, inspected the names of the tombs, and saw Constantine the Great among them. Justinian concluded that his father would rest in worthy company.
- Justinian, pg. 73.
- Ibid., pg. 116.
|Emperor of Rome/Byzantium
With: Galerius, Licinius and Maximinus Daia