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Re: FW: OT Re: FW: OT Re: FW: Dinosaur Calendar Project
dale mcinnes <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I was referring to the original mechanism behind "turning" the
> 1st Christian Emperor. Constantine I didn't do it on his own.
> (or at least I'm not aware).
Constantine's mother (Helena) was a Christian, so she may have had something to
do with his later conversion. She was later canonized by the Eastern Orthodox
Church as St Helena.
Constantine I converted to Christianity in 312 AD after achieving victory at
the Battle of Milvian Bridge over a rival emperor. According to Christian
lore, he received a sign from the Christian God before the battle (there are
different versions on the precise nature of the sign).
> If untrue, it then does seem to be a persistent myth out there that
> eventually ensnared me as well.
Yes, history is very similar to paleontology in this respect. Certain myths
persist, and if they are mentioned enough they eventually snowball into
"facts". Like, "Stegosaurus had an extra brain above its hips" or
"Tyrannosaurus was principally a scavenger" or "Sauropods spent most of their
time in water". Sometimes the superficial intuitive attraction of an idea
overrides the hard data that argue against an idea.
> What, if anything, was the reason for Constantine to
> take this particular path??
Why not? If we discount the divine inspiration tale (I do), there was the
influence of his mother. Also, some of Constantine's predecessors were
experimenting with eastern monotheistic religions. For example, Emperor
Aurelian (one of the more successful 3rd century emperors) adopted a form of
sun-worship practiced in the East. As you noted, the date of their holiest day
was co-opted by the Christians as Christmas Day.
> I had always thought that he did it out
> of some sort of self-preservation (notwithstanding the
> power he wielded).
Self-preservation? Unless he was protecting himself against the wrath of God,
this is unlikely. Constantine I succeeded because he ruthlessly eliminated all
his rivals, either by execution or civil war. He even had his wife and eldest
son executed. Religion had nothing to do with Constantine's self-preservation.