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Re: FW: OT Re: FW: OT Re: FW: Dinosaur Calendar Project

dale mcinnes <wdm1949@hotmail.com> 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.