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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The empire from Constantine the Great to Justinian

The Conversion of Constantine


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
Page 4

Duruy, the author of The History of Rome and of the Roman People, wrote somewhat under the influence of Burckhardt in evaluating Constantine's activities; he referred to honest and calm deism, which, was shaping Constantine's religion. According to Duruy, Constantine very early became aware of the fact that Christianity in its fundamental dogmas corresponds with his own belief in one God." But in spite of this, Duruy continued, political considerations were of primary importance to Constantine:  

As Bonaparte sought to conciliate the Church and the Revolution, so Constantine proposed to have the old and the new religions live peaceably side by side, at the same time favoring the latter. He understood which way the world was moving, and aided its movement without precipitating it. It is to the honor of this Emperor that he made good his claim to the tide assumed by him on his triumphal arch, quietis custos (custodian of peace) We have sought to penetrate the deepest recesses of Constantines mind, and have found there a policy of government rather than a religious conviction.  

Duruy remarked elsewhere, however, that the Constantine pictured by Eusebius often saw between earth and heaven things which no one else ever noticed.  

Two of the large number of publications which appeared in 1913 in connection with the celebration of the sixteenth centennial of the so-called Edict of Milan were: Kaiser Constantin und die christliche Kirche, written by E. Schwartz, and Collected Papers (Gesammelte Studien), edited by F. Dolger. Schwartz stated that Constantine, with the diabolical perspicacity of a world-master, realized the importance which the alliance with the church had for the universal monarchy which he was planning to build, and he had the courage and energy to accomplish this union against all traditions of Caesarism. E. Krebs, in the Papers edited by Dolger, wrote that all the steps taken by Constantine toward Christianity were but secondary causes of the acceleration of the victory of the church; the main cause lay in the supernatural power of Christianity itself.  

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