Who was Constantine?
Constantine (273-336 AD) was a Roman emperor who converted to Christianity as a result of a vision during battle, issued edicts of toleration for Christianity that ended centuries of persecution, and called the Council of Nicea to resolve the Arian Controversy.
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, surnamed Magnus or the Great, was born Feb. 27, probably in 274, at Naissus (Nissa), in Dardania or Upper Moesia, where his family had for some time been settled. His father, Constantius Chlorus, was still young at the time of his son's birth. He was of a good family, being nephew by the mother's side of the emperor Claudius. A few years later we find him high in favour with Carus, who intended, it was said, to make him Caesar. Constantine's mother Helena, on the other hand, was of mean position, and apparently was married after her son's birth. Constantine was brought up at Drepanum in Cicilia, his mother's birthplace (Procop. de Aedif. Justin. v. 2).
His father, on becoming Caesar and taking another wife, sent him, when about 16 years old, as a sort of hostage to Diocletian at Nicomedia, who treated him with kindness. His first military service was to accompany that emperor against Achillaeus in 296, and Eusebius saw him as a young and handsome man passing through Palestine into Egypt (V. C. i, 19). In 297 he took part in the successful war of Galerius against the Persians; and about this time married Minervina. Constantine continued in the East while his father was fighting in Gaul and Britain. In 303 he was present when the edict of persecution against the Christians was promulgated at Nicomedia and the palace soon after struck by lightning. The concurrence of these two events made a strong impression upon him (Orat. ad Sanct. Coet. 25). He also witnessed in 305 the abdication of the two Augusti, Diocletian and Maximian.
A higher destiny awaited him in another part of the empire. His father insisted upon his return, and Galerius at length was persuaded to give permission and the seal necessary for the public posts, ordering him not to start before receiving his last instructions on the morrow. Constantine took flight in the night. He had probably good reasons for his mistrust, and to stop pursuit maimed the public horses at many stations on his road (Zos. ii. 8; Anon. Val. 4; Victor, Caes. 21), which lay partly through countries where the persecution was raging.
He arrived at Gesoriacum (Boulogne) just in time to accompany his father to Britain on his last expedition against the Picts (Eumen. in Nat. Urb. Trev. vii.). Constantius died at York, July 306, in the presence of his sons, after declaring Constantine his successor (de M. P. xxiv.). He was almost immediately proclaimed Augustus by the soldiers (Σεβαστὸς πρὸς τῶν στρατοπέδων ἀναγορευθείς, Eus. H. E. viii. 13). Almost at the same time another claimant of imperial power appeared at Rome in Maxentius, son of the retired Maximian, who now came forward again to assist his son.
Constantine's first act was to show favour to the Christians (de M. P. xxiv.), who had been exposed to little of the violence of persecution under the mild rule of Constantius. (V. C. i. 13–17. Eusebius seems here to exaggerate. Cf. Episcopor. partis Majorini preces ad Constantinum, in Op. Const. Migne, col. 747.) Constantine had at once to defend Gaul against the Franks and German tribes, who had risen during the absence of Constantius in Britain (Eumen. ib., x.).
In 307 Maximian, who had quarrelled with his son, crossed the Alps and allied himself with the Caesar of the West. Constantine received as wife his daughter Fausta, and with her the title of Augustus (Pan. Max. et Const. v.). For three years after marriage he found sufficient employment in consolidating his government in the West, and in wars upon the frontier of the Rhine, over which he began to build a bridge at Cologne.
The seat of his court was Treves, which he embellished with many buildings, including several temples and basilicas, and the forum. Meanwhile Galerius was seized with a painful illness, and on April 30, 311, shortly before his death, issued his haughty edict of toleration, the first of the series, to which the names of Constantine and Licinius were also affixed.
Constantine remained in the West engaged in wars with the Alemanni and Cherusci, and in restoring the cities of Gaul (cf. Eumen. Gratiarum actio Flaviensium Nomine, on the restoration of the schools of Autun). He is said to have interfered by letter on behalf of the Eastern Christians whom Maximinus Daza now began to molest, and this is in itself probable (de M. P. xxxvii.). We must remember that there were now four Augusti, Licinius and Maximinus in the East; Maxentius and Constantine in the West.
The two latter had for some time acknowledged one another (see below, § VI. Coins), and probably by tacit consent the four restricted themselves pretty nearly to the limits which afterwards bounded the four great prefectures. But there was little united action between them, and sole empire was perhaps the secret aim of each.
Maxentius now felt himself strong enough to break with Constantine, and declared war against him. The latter determined to take the initative, and crossed the Cottian Alps, by the pass of Mont Genévre, with a force much smaller than that of his opponent.
Later historians affirm that the Romans besought him by an embassy to free them from the tyrant (Zon. Ann. xiii.; Cedrenus, § 270), and this is probable, for Maxentius, by folly, insolence, and brutality had greatly alienated his subjects. Constantine had allied himself with one of the Eastern Augusti, Licinius, whom he engaged in marriage with his sister Constantia, but had to proceed against the counsels and wishes of his generals and the advice of the augurs (Pan. de Vict. adv. Maxent. ii.).
After taking Turin, he rested some days at Milan, where he was received in triumph, and gave audience to all who desired it (ib. vii.). We may assume that at the same place and time, the spring or summer of 312, occurred also the betrothal of Constantia with Licinius, and the issue of a second edict of toleration to the Christians, that somewhat hard edict to which the emperors refer in the more celebrated announcement of 313 (see below § III. B. Religious Policy, and cf. Keim, Uebertritt, note 11).
After taking Verona, Constantine apparently met with little resistance till within a few miles of Rome, though this is not quite consistent with the statement of Lactantius (de M. P. xliv.). He had turned the advanced guard of the enemy at Saxa Rubra, close to the Cremera, and then pressed forward along the Flaminian road to the walls of the city itself. With great rashness Maxentius had determined to give battle exactly in front of the Tiber, with the Milvian bridge behind him, about a mile from the gates of Rome.
It was Oct. 26, and during the night, according to our earliest authority, Constantine was warned in a dream to draw the monogram of Christ, the chi rho, upon the shields of his soldiers, and now, if not before, learnt to invoke the name of Christ to help his arms (H. E. ix. 9, 12). For the different accounts of the vision see below, § V. Maxentius, meanwhile, spent the night in sacrifices and divination (Zos. ii. 16, etc.).
Next morning the two armies met. That of Maxentius was totally routed, although the praetorians vigorously resisted. The fugitives crowded upon the bridge, and upon the pontoons at its side which Maxentius had devised, according to an almost incredible statement, so as to give way beneath his opponent (Eus. H. E. ix, 9; 5, 6; V. C. i. 38; Zos. ii. 15). He was himself precipitated into the river, where his body was found the next day. The victor entered Rome in triumph, and was received with great joy (Pan. de Vict. adv. M. xix.).
He used his victory on the whole with moderation. Eusebius tells us that he set up a statue of himself with a spear terminating in a cross in his right hand, and an inscription to the effect that by this salutary sign (or standard) he had restored the Roman senate and people to their ancient glory and freedom (H. E. ix. 9; cf. V. C. i. 40). He now enlarged and endowed many churches in and near Rome ( V. C. i. 42), and wrote the letters to Anulinus in behalf of the Catholic church in Africa which led to such important consequences (ap. Eus. H. E. x. 5, 7).
From these documents it is evident that Constantine had already a strong disposition to favour the Christians, especially the Catholic body. The answers to one of them brought the case of Caecilian and the Donatists to his notice, and involved him in the affairs of the African church. He accepted the title and insignia of Pontifex Maximus, and both were borne by his successors till Gratian (Zos. iv. 36).
Life of Constantine 312–324
Commencement of the cycle of Indictions, Sept. 1, 312. Constantine sole emperor of the West.—Constantine at the age of about 30 was now sole Augustus of the West. Having settled the affairs of Rome, he proceeded early in 313 to meet Licinius at Milan. There the marriage of the latter with Constantia was consummated, and the full edict of toleration, the Edict of Milan, was promulgated. The emperors then separated, Licinius to defend himself against Maximinus Daza, Constantine to guard the Rhine. Both were victorious. Licinius soon after became sole master of the East by the death of Maximus at Tarsus (Zos. ii. 17; de M. P. xlix.).
The latter had followed the edict of Milan, at the behest of the other emperors, by an act of toleration of his own, but of a less full and generous nature. This did not prevent him from taking advantage of the absence of Licinius to invade his territory, who had in consequence to fight Maximinus at Adrianople with a force half as large as that opposed to him. The battle was in many details like that against Maxentius—Licinius was favoured with a mysterious dream, and solemnly put his army under the protection of the God of the Christians, and on the morning of the battle repeated aloud three times with his officers a prayer to the holy and supreme God (de M. P. xlvi.).
After his victory he entered Nicomedia in triumph, proclaimed the edict of Milan, June 13, and then pursued Maximinus into Cilicia, where he found that last of the persecutors dying a horrible and painful death (de M. P. xlix.; Eus. H. E. ix, 10, 24). The brothers-in-law were thus raised to an equality of power, and were not likely to remain long at peace. The occasion of their quarrel is obscure. Constantine accused Licinius of fomenting a conspiracy against him. Licinius was defeated and made peace by the cession of Illyricum—i.e. of the whole peninsula of which Greece is the extremity.
Constantine was not too busy during this campaign to attend to the arrangement of the council of Arles, and to interest himself vehemently in the Donatist disputes. Peace followed for nine years, during which the emperor employed himself with barbarian wars, and with legislation civil and religious, as detailed below. His Decennalia were celebrated at Rome 315, 316, and the triumphal arch dedicated.
Two years later his son Crispus, now a young man, and his infant son and nephew Constantine and Licinianus, were raised to the rank of Caesar at Arles (Zos. ii. 20, etc.). His other sons by Fausta were born also in this period, Constantius in 317 and Constans in 323. Licinius meanwhile began to oppress his subjects, especially the Christians. He forbade the synods of bishops, interfered with their worship, and in many cases destroyed their churches (even Julian, Caes. p. 315, is unfavourable to Licinius).
Constantine was engaged in defending his Danubian frontier from Goths and Sarmatians, and took the Sarmatian king Rausimodes prisoner (Zos. ii. 21). In some of these expeditions he had trespassed across the boundaries of Licinius, and this was the pretext for a quarrel, which was increased by the expostulations of Constantine against the treatment of the Christians, and after some changes of temper on the part of Licinius, an open rupture took place.
The character of the former war was ambiguous. This one was in great measure a religious war or crusade (Eus. H. E. x. 9). Before any conflict was fought (it was said) the subjects of Licinius thought they saw the victorious legions of Constantine marching through their streets at midday (V. C. ii. 6). The monogram of Christ was now stamped on almost all his coinage (infra, § VI.). The labarum became a talisman of victory (οἱονεί τι νικητικὸν ἀλεξιφάρμακον, V. C. ii, 7), The emperor surrounded himself with Christian priests, and believed himself favoured with visions as he prayed in the tent containing the standard of the cross, and leapt up as if inspired to victory (ib. 12).
The sentiment of a divine vocation was probably a real one to him, and was fostered by the approbation of the Christians. Licinius, on the very scene of his conflict as a Christian champion with Maximinus, prepared for battle by sacrifice and worship of the gods, against whom he had then fought, and Constantine prepared by prayer and by giving the watchword Θεὸς σωτήρ (V. C. ii. 5 and 6; cf. Soz. H. E. i. 7 on the perversion of Licinius). The battle of Adrianople, July 3, 323, was a second victory for the Christian arms. Constantine pursued his opponent to Byzantium. Meanwhile Crispus, who had already won his youthful laurels against the Franks, shewed himself most active in command of the fleet, and defeated the admiral Amandus in the Hellespont.
This caused Licinius to quit Byzantium for Chalcedon, where he appointed one of his chief officers, Martinianus, as Caesar. Constantine pursued him, and on Sept. 10, after some negotiations, achieved a final victory at Chrysopolis. Licinius, on the entreaty of Constantia, was permitted to retire to Thessalonica; but was not allowed to live above a year longer. Socrates relates that after remaining quiet a short time, " he collected some barbarians, and attempted to repair his defeat" (H. E. i. 4; so Zonaras and Niceph. Call.), and Eusebius justifies his execution by the law of war (V. C. ii. 19). Zosimus and the heathen historians make it an instance of the emperor's faithlessness (Zos. ii. 28; Victor, Epit. l.c.; Eutrop. Brev. x. 6), as does also the chronicle of Jerome (ann. 2339. "Licinius Thessalonicae contra jus sacramenti privatus occiditur").
Yet apparently Constantia did not resent the execution of her husband, nor Fausta the death of her father. Constantine was thus master of the whole empire, and his first act was to issue edicts of toleration and favour to the Christians of the East (V. C. ii. 24 seq., cited as Provincialibus Palestinae and 48 seq. Prov. Orientis). He now specially assumed the title of Victor (νικήτης). (V. C. ii. 19). He had won it by his constant successes against barbarians on the Rhine and Danube and rival emperors from the Tiber to the Bosphorus: his twenty years of empire had brought him from London in the far West to Byzantium, the centre of the Eastern world, and had been years of uninterrupted conquest. He was not unthankful to the Providence which had guided him, nor indisposed to acknowledge that something was due from him in return (Prov. Pal. V. C. ii. 28, 29). But his progress had not led him to a victory over himself, or rather his success made him forget his own liability to crime.
Life of Constantine 324–337
The history of the last twelve years of Constantine's reign is of a very different character from that of preceding periods. As sole emperor he loses rather than gains in our estimation. He had no longer a religious cause to fight for nor a dangerous rival to overthrow. The hardness of his character fitted him for a life of strong excitement, but not for the intrigues of an Eastern court and the subtle questions of Eastern theology. His immoderate profusion in building and other expensive operations gained him the name of "spend-thrift," and his liberality towards the church was by no means free from the evils that attend prodigal benevolence.
But he had no less a providential part to play in the internal history of that church than he had had up to this time in the destruction of her persecutors. As emperor of the West he had been led to interfere in her councils by the African schism, on which his decision was desired by both parties. As monarch also of the East he was brought directly into contact with speculations on points of Christian doctrine which had their origin and home there. He again attempted to realize his idea of unity. Taking as precedent the great council of Western bishops he had summoned at Arles (Aug. 34) in the case of Caecilian, he determined to call together representatives of the whole empire to decide on the doctrines of Arius and the Paschal controversy (see below, § III. 2).
To Constantine is due in great measure the holding of the council of Nicaea (June and July, 325). But the success of that great meeting unfortunately filled him with overweening pride. The conclusion of their session fell at the beginning of the 20th year of his reign, and he celebrated the condemnation of Arius as a second triumph (V. C. iii. 14). He entertained all the bishops at his table.
"The guards," says Eusebius, "kept watch with drawn swords round the vestibule of the palace; the men of God passed through their midst without fear, and entered the inmost parts of the royal dwelling. Some of them reclined by his side, and others were placed on couches on either hand. One might have seemed to picture to oneself an image of Christ's kingdom; the whole thing was more like a dream than a reality" (ib. 15). The same writer suggests that the church of the Anastasis, built by Constantine, fulfilled the prophecies about the New Jerusalem (V. C. iii. 33).
Constantine's interest in the success of the council did not end with its dispersion. He wrote to those concerned in its decrees, strongly enforcing conformity with them. The same feelings led him to compose and deliver theological declamations, and to attempt the conversion of his courtiers. Large crowds attended to listen to the philosophizing prince, who did not spare their faults.
But the matter was not one merely of philosophy. It may be, as Burckhardt suggests (p. 454), that he took such opportunities of seriously warning or even denouncing those of his "companions" and "palatines" whose presumption on his his favour had become intolerable. The passionate and almost eloquent law of this year, promulgated at Nicomedia, calls upon any one who feels wronged by such officials to declare their grievances freely, and promises personal vengeance on those "who up to this time have deceived us by simulated integrity"; and when Constantine felt himself wronged he did not hesitate to strike (Cod. Th. ix. 1, 4 in 325).
After a prolonged sojourn in the East his presence was now required in Rome. He advanced thither by slow stages, arriving about July 8, in time to celebrate the completion of his 20th year of empire, July 25, 326. He left it certainly before the end of Sept.; but in that short space of time all that was tragical in his life seems to have reached its climax. There was much in the city itself to irritate and disturb him.
The ancient aristocracy, in the absence of a resident emperor, preserved many of its old heathen traditions. Though he came determined to be tolerant (Cod. Th. xv. 1, 3) and desirous of gaining the favour of the senate (id. xv. 14; 3, 4), it soon became evident that he was out of harmony with Rome. He would not join in the solemn review of the knights held on July 15, and in their procession and sacrifice to Jupiter Capitolinus; but viewed it contemptuously from the Palatine and ridiculed it to those around him (Zos. ii. 29).
Such an action, joined with his Oriental dress and general bearing, seems to have aroused popular indignation against him. Though tempted to revenge himself by force, he was wise enough to refrain. (See esp. de Broglie, l.c. ii. c. 5, for the events of this year. He puts together Liban. Or. 12, p. 393; Or. 15, p. 412, and Chrys. Or. ad Pop. Antioch. 21.) But this outburst was followed by far heavier tragedies within his own household. In relating them we have to rely on the vague and inconsistent tales of later writers, those nearest the emperor, Eutropius and Eusebius, being markedly silent. They seem to have originated with divisions, such as easily arose in a family composed of so many different elements. The half-brothers of Constantine, the sons of Constantius and Theodora, naturally took part with their mother's half-sister, Fausta, and her sons. On the other hand, Helena had reason to sympathize with her grandson Crispus, the son of Minervina. Probably it was in connexion with these divisions that Crispus was suddenly arrested and conveyed to an unknown death at Pola in Istria (Amm. Marc. xiv. 11).
Niebuhr thought it probable that the accusation of treason against his father, reported by Gregory of Tours (Hist. Franc. i. 36), had some foundation of truth. Another, but not an early account, represents Fausta as playing to Crispus the part of Phaedra towards Hippolytus (Zos. ii. 29), and other authors name her as his accuser without specifying the nature of the charge (Vict. Epit. 41, Philostorgius, ii. 4. Sozomen, H. E. i. 5, implies that the death of Crispus was required of Constantine by others). The young and promising Caesar Licinianus was at the same time unjustifiably put to death (Eutrop. x. 6 ; Hieron. Chron. Ann. 2342). The following satirical distich, attributed to the city prefect Ablavius, was found on the palace doors after the death of Crispus (Sidon. Apollin. Ep. v. 8):—But he was avenged much more tragically, and at no distant date. (Jerome puts it three years later, the others connect the two events.) Fausta herself was executed in as sudden and as dark a way as Crispus. The complaints of Helena seemed to have aroused her son to this dire act of retribution (Zos. ii. 29; Vict. Epit. 41). Later writers represent the empress as guilty of adultery (Philost. ii. 4.; Sidon. Apoll. l.c.; Greg. Turon. H. F. i. 34), and her punishment is said to have been suffocation in the steam of a hot bath.
There cannot, we think, despite the doubts raised by Gibbon, be any real doubt that Crispus and Fausta perished, both probably in 328, by the orders of Constantine, acting as the instrument of family jealousies. The death of Fausta was followed by the execution of many of her friends, presumably those who had taken part against Crispus (Eutrop. x. 4). Popular traditions represent Constantine as tormented by remorse after his delirium of cruelty had passed, and as seeking everywhere the means of expiation; and nothing can be more in harmony with the character of Constantine and of the age than to suppose this. Christian bishops could only urge him to repentance to be followed by baptism. But for reasons which we do not thoroughly know, Constantine put off this important step, and also the baptism of his sons. That he bestowed some possessions on the church at this time, and built or handed over basilicas to it, is very probable. Among the many which claim foundation at his hand we may name the Vatican, which was destroyed to make room for the modern St. Peter's; St. Agnes, which has an inscription referring to his daughter Constantina; and the Lateran, once the palace of Fausta and the seat of the first council about the Donatists, and still the real cathedral of the pope. Probably the pilgrimage of Helena to Palestine in pursuance of a vow, and the "Invention of the Cross," is to be assigned to the time that immediately follows. Constantine gave her every assistance, and authorized her to spend money freely both in alms and buildings (Paulinus of Nola, Ep.11, ad Sulpic. Sever.; cf. V. C. iii. 47, 3). Possibly he delayed his own Baptism in the hope that he might soon follow her example and be washed in the holy waters of Jordan (V. C. iv. 62). He now left Rome never to return, but with the project of founding a new Rome in the East, which should equal if not surpass the old.
The beauty and convenience of the site of Byzantium had long been noticed (cf. Herod. iv. 144); it was the birthplace of Fausta, and its immediate neighbourhood had seen the final defeat of Licinius. The emperor had perhaps already formed the idea of embellishing it and calling it by his own name. He had probably moved a mint thither as early as 325, and used the name (Constantinopolis) upon his coins. But now his intention may have been strengthened by his distaste for Rome, and by a superstition that Rome's fall from power was at hand (Chron. Pasch. ed. Bonn, p. 517). Other cities had attracted his attention; his final choice was Byzantium. Many stories are told of the ceremonies with which he laid out the plan of the new Rome, enclosing like its prototype the tops of seven hills. De Broglie places the foundation in 328 or 329 (l.c. ii. 441). The Christian historians assert that the absence of heathenism from the city was the express desire of the emperor (e.g. V. C. iii. 48).
The removal of Sopater perhaps gave room for the power of Helena to reassert itself. She communicated to her son the success of her pilgrimage, and forwarded him certain relics, which he received with great joy. The death about the same time of his sister Constantia had important consequences. She was much under the influence of Eusebius of Nicomedia, and had in her household an Arian priest, who persuaded her that Arius had been most unjustly treated. She had not courage to speak on the subject herself to her brother, but on her deathbed strongly recommended this priest to him, and he was taken into the imperial family, soon gaining influence over the emperor. The result, it is said, was Constantine's gradual alienation from the Catholics (Socr. i. 25; see de Broglie, c. v., at the end).
Meanwhile the building of the new capital went on with great vigour, temples and cities, especially in Greece and Asia Minor, being despoiled to beautify it and to fit it for the residence of a new nobility, some created, and others transferred from Rome. Of the population that gathered into it almost all the pagans and many of the Jews became Christians. The city was solemnly consecrated on May 11, 330, followed by a feast of forty days (Idatius, fasti, Chron. Pasch. a.d. 330), and the anniversary was long kept as the nativity of Constantinople. It is indeed a very important era, marking the greatest political transformation that the Roman empire underwent. With it were connected the great constitutional changes detailed below, § III. 1, under which grew up the Byzantine spirit with its peculiar character, turbulent, slavish, and unimaginative, but yet capable of endurance tempered with a certain kind of morality.
The years that followed brought Constantine more than ever into the debates of the church. The emperor recalled Arius, but Athanasius, now bishop of Alexandria, refused to receive him. In the middle of his 30th year, 335, Constantine distributed the territories under his dominion between his three sons and two nephews. The eldest, Constantine, received the provinces of his grandfather, Britain, Spain, and Gaul; Constantius, Asia, Syria, and Egypt; Constans, Italy and Africa. Dalmatius, with the title of Caesar, had the large province of Illyricum; and Hanniballian, Armenia and Pontus, with the extraordinary name of king. The evidence of coins would lead us to see in this measure a reconciliation of the two branches of the family.
The end of Constantine's eventful life was now at hand, and as some of his first military services had been against the Persians, so now he was obliged at its close to prepare for war against that people, though he never actually engaged in it (V. C. iv. 57). The labarum had now been for many years the recognized standard of the empire, wherever the emperor was present; and as in the time of the war with Licinius, the monogram of Christ was in these last years largely stamped upon its coins (see § VI.). Constantine made also other preparations for the use of religious service in war, especially of a tent for his own chapel (V. C. iv. 56; Socr. i. 18), and he had some time before taught his soldiers, heathen as well as Christian, a common daily prayer, and ordered Sunday to be kept as a holy day (V. C. iv. 19 and 20; L. C. ix. 10; cf. Cod. Th. II. 8, 1, in 321).
At Easter 337 he completed and dedicated his great church of the Holy Apostles, in which he desired to be buried. In the week that followed, his health, hitherto extremely good, gave way, and he sought relief in the warm baths at Helenopolis. Feeling his death approaching, he confessed his sins in the church of the martyrs (of the martyr Lucianus?), and now first received imposition of hands as a catechumen. Then he moved back to the villa Ancyrona, a suburb of Nicomedia (Eutrop. x. 8; Vict. Caes. 41), and desired Baptism of the bishops whom he there assembled (V. C. iv. 61). He had wished once, he said, to be baptized in Jordan, but God had decided otherwise.
He felt that now the blessing he had so long hoped for was offered him. "Let there be no doubt about it," he added, "I have determined once for all, if the Disposer of life and death sees fit to raise me up again to fellowship with His people, to impose upon myself rules of life such as He would approve" (V. C. iv. 62, see Heinichen's note). Baptism was administered to him by the Arian predate Eusebius of Nicomedia (Hieron. Chron. ann. 2353). From that moment he laid aside the purple robe, and wore only the white garment of a neophyte. He died on Whitsunday 337, in the 31st year of his reign, dating from July 25, 306.
The text of this article is excerpted from the Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the Sixth Century, edited by Henry Wace, and is in the public domain. Formatting, images and further resources added by the editor.