Constantine was born at Naissus in the province of Moesia Superior on February 27, 272 or 273. Constantius, Constantine’s father, was a military officer. Constantine’s mother’s name was Helena and was known to be a humble person. Throughout his life, Constantine proved himself to the Roman people. On March 1st of 293, he exceeded the rank of Caesar. Shortly after, he married Theodora, the daughter of Maximian . When Diocletian retired on May 1st of 305, Constantine made the rank of Augustus.
In 306, when Constantine’s father Constantius Chlorus died, Constantine was announced Augustus by his troops at York. Galerius (Constantine’s opponent) refused to accept Constantine. This didn’t last long. In 308, Constantine was required to give up his title and return to the rank of Caesar. He refused, and to prove himself, he went campaigning against the Germans. He marched his German armies into Gaul, and forced Maximian to flee to Massilia. Maximian was Fausta ’s father, which was Constantine’s wife. Maximian either committed suicide of was executed in 310.
The persecution of Christians was had already begun (started in 303). Constantine supported the Christians. He put an end to the persecution of Christians by the Edict of Mulan in 313. One night when Constantine and his army were on a march toward Rome, it has been said that Christ appeared to Constantine and told him to “place the heavenly sign on the battle standards of his army.” He then told his men to place a cross on their shield for battle. He later learned the cross was the symbol of the Christian Faith. From that day forward, Constantine was committed to the Christian Faith.
Just before the tenth anniversary of his approval from the Senate as Emperor, the Arch of Constantine was finished. There were many celebrations. All sacrifices to the pagan gods were not allowed.
Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in 312. The opposing army’s boats collapsed, and thousands of men drowned including Maxentius himself. From then on, Constantine saw himself as the ‘emperor of the Christian People’.
Politically, Constantine wanted sole power, and so did Licinius. In 313, an agreement was reached because of obligation, not at all mutual. This was not enough, however, because of political greed. In 316, a war began. There were two battles in the first war, at Cibalae, Pannonia, and on the campus Ardiensis in Thrace. Licinius took a loss, but the second battle had no victory. Licinius had to sign an agreement that he would remain at the rank of Augustus.
In 317, Crispus and Constantine II, sons of Constantine, and Licinius, who was the son of the eastern emperor Licinius were positioned to Caesars. But Constantine was sympathetic towards the Christians, and Licinius resisted such type of actions. He started exiling Christians in 320 and 321 from his eastern part of the empire. Gothic invaders (Constantine’s army) attacked Licinius’ Thracian territory in 323. Licinius took this engagement as a reason to refuel warfare with Constantine. Constantine attacked first, however. He came in 324 with 120,000 infantry and 100 cavalry. In July of that year, Constantine defeated Licinius both in land battles and sea battles. Licinius fled to the Bosporus to Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Constantine caught up with him and killed him.
Constantine was a very religious man. He joined the First Ecumenical Council of the Church. The first meeting was held on May 20 in 325. It was held in the “great hall in the palace of Nicaea.” Constantine helped develop the Nicene Creed. This prayer has lived through the Christian Faith, and still exists in great form today.
In 326, Constantine ordered the execution of his son, Crispus. He was the oldest son, and he opposed his father’s beliefs in religion. He had been appointed to the rank of Caesar in 317. That very same year, Constantine ordered the death of the mother of his other three children, Fausta. Fausta, was believed to have “been involved” with Crispus. Many generals had testified of witnessing intimate acts between them. Crispus and Fausta suffered from “damnatio memoriae” and never recovered.
Constantine renamed Byzantium to Constantinople and made it capital of the empire. This new capital was in a relatively beneficial geographic location. The Balkan Provinces were “right next door” and Rome was able to control commerical traffic through the Bosporus. In