The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine

Cambridge University Press
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The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine offers students a comprehensive one-volume survey of this pivotal emperor and his times. Richly illustrated and designed as a readable survey accessible to all audiences, it also achieves a level of scholarly sophistication and a freshness of interpretation that will be welcomed by the experts. The volume is divided into five sections that examine political history, religion, social and economic history, art, and foreign relations during the reign of Constantine, who steered the Roman Empire on a course parallel with his own personal development. Each chapter examines the intimate interplay between emperor and empire, and between a powerful personality and his world. Collectively, they show how both were mutually affected in ways that shaped the world of Late Antiquity and even affect our own world today.
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About the author

Noel Lenski is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. A specialist in the history of Late Antiquity, he is the author of numerous articles on military, political, cultural and social history, and the monograph Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century AD.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Nov 14, 2005
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Pages
54
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ISBN
9781139826884
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / History / Ancient & Classical
History / Ancient / General
Literary Criticism / Ancient & Classical
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Over the course of the fourth century, Christianity rose from a religion actively persecuted by the authority of the Roman empire to become the religion of state—a feat largely credited to Constantine the Great. Constantine succeeded in propelling this minority religion to imperial status using the traditional tools of governance, yet his proclamation of his new religious orientation was by no means unambiguous. His coins and inscriptions, public monuments, and pronouncements sent unmistakable signals to his non-Christian subjects that he was willing not only to accept their beliefs about the nature of the divine but also to incorporate traditional forms of religious expression into his own self-presentation. In Constantine and the Cities, Noel Lenski attempts to reconcile these apparent contradictions by examining the dialogic nature of Constantine's power and how his rule was built in the space between his ambitions for the empire and his subjects' efforts to further their own understandings of religious truth.

Focusing on cities and the texts and images produced by their citizens for and about the emperor, Constantine and the Cities uncovers the interplay of signals between ruler and subject, mapping out the terrain within which Constantine nudged his subjects in the direction of conversion. Reading inscriptions, coins, legal texts, letters, orations, and histories, Lenski demonstrates how Constantine and his subjects used the instruments of government in a struggle for authority over the religion of the empire.

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