Uncategorized December 12, 2022
Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constance`s death and his own acclamation. With the note, he inserted a portrait of himself into Augustus` robes.  The portrait was crowned in the bay.  He applied to be recognized as heir to his father`s throne and transferred responsibility for his illegal accession to the throne to his army, claiming they had “forced” him into his army.  Galerius was furious with the embassy; He almost set fire to the portrait and the messenger.  His advisers reassured him, arguing that a complete denial of Constantine`s claims would mean certain war.  Galerius was forced to compromise: he gave Constantine the title of “Caesar” instead of “Augustus” (the latter service went to Severus instead).  Galerius wanted to clarify that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy and personally sent Constantine the emperor`s traditional purple robes.  Constantine accepted the decision, knowing full well that it would dispel doubts about its legitimacy.  Diocletian`s plan failed. After his father`s death in 306, Constantine was declared emperor by his father`s soldiers.
He spent the next 18 years fighting against the other three Roman rulers – his rivals – to become the sole emperor. Despite the earlier breakdown of their relationship, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father`s devoted son after his death.  He began minting coins bearing his father`s likeness and announced his desire to avenge Maximian`s death.  Constantine first described suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. In 311, however, he spread a different version. According to this, Maximian, after Constantine forgave him, planned to assassinate Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the conspiracy and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his place in his bed. Maximian was arrested when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted.  Parallel to the propaganda, Constantine introduced a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating all public works bearing his image.
 While indigenous cults and traditions were preserved, Constantine favored Christians both financially and theologically. As their supreme patron, Constantine endowed Christians with funds to build their basilicas and acquire property, return confiscated property, appoint Christians to high-ranking positions, and exempt Christian clergy from taxes. Theologically, his position at the head of the church and empire contributed to the imperial dictates that favored the unity of the Christian faith. In 321, he decreed that the venerable Sunday should be a day of rest for all citizens.  In 323 he issued a decree forbidding Christians to participate in state sacrifices.  After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coins, Christian symbols appeared as attributes of Constantine, the Chi Rho in his hands or on his labarum, as well as on the coin.  The reign of Constantine set a precedent for the emperor, who had great influence and authority in early Christian councils, especially in the dispute over Arianism. Constantine did not like the risks to social stability posed by religious conflicts and controversies and preferred to establish an orthodoxy.  His influence on the councils of the Church was to apply doctrine, eradicate heresy, and maintain ecclesiastical unity; The role of the church was to determine correct worship, doctrines, and dogmas.  All emperors promoted their family cults on their coins.
However, we stop finding such coins after 319 AD, for unknown reasons. In 321 AD, Constantine forbade Christians to make offerings in local temples. During the reorganization of fiscal policy, he melted down many indigenous statues to mint new coins. (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, IV, chapter X, quoted in Schaff) In 313, Constantine and Licinius proclaimed “that it is fitting that Christians and all others should have the freedom to follow the kind of religion that seems best to them”, thus granting tolerance to all religions, including Christianity. The Edict of Milan went further than the previous edict of Serdica of Galerius in 311 and returned the confiscated property of the church. This edict made the empire officially neutral in terms of religious worship; he made neither traditional religions illegal nor Christianity the state religion, as he later did with the Edict of Thessalonica of 380. However, the Edict of Milan increased the existence of Christianity within the empire and affirmed the importance of religious worship for the welfare of the state.  The most influential people in the empire, especially senior officers, had not converted to Christianity and still participated in Rome`s traditional religions; Constantine`s reign showed at least a willingness to appease these factions.
Roman coins, minted up to eight years after the battle, still bore images of Roman gods.  The monuments he first commissioned, such as the Arch of Constantine, contained no reference to Christianity.   From the middle of the 3rd century, emperors began to favor members of the order of chivalry over senators who had a monopoly on the most important functions of the state. The senators were deprived of command of the legions and most of the provincial governors, believing that they lacked the specialized military education necessary at a time when defence needs were acute;  Such positions were given to horsemen by Diocletian and his colleagues, according to a practice that was gradually imposed by their predecessors. However, the emperors still needed the talents and help of the very rich to rely on to maintain social order and cohesion through a powerful network of influence and contacts at all levels. The exclusion of the former senatorial nobility threatened this regulation. According to Eusebius, Constantine had commissioned him in 331 to provide fifty volumes of writings for the churches of Constantinople, bound in leather and easily transportable.  It is only known that three or four churches existed during the reign of Constantine, but others seem to have been planned or founded for which the writings were commissioned.  The volumes were probably gospels containing the canonical gospels of the four evangelists rather than complete Bibles containing the entire biblical canon, which were very rare in antiquity.  In the 3rd century, the production of fiat money to cover public spending led to runaway inflation, and Diocletian tried unsuccessfully to restore the reliable minting of silver and billon coins. Silver money was overvalued in terms of actual metal content and could therefore only circulate at very low rates.
Constantine stopped minting Diocletian`s “pure” silver silver shortly after 305, while billon money was used until the 360s. Beginning in the early 300s, Constantine abandoned any attempt to restore silver coinage and instead focused on minting large amounts of gold solidus, 72 of which yielded a pound of gold. New heavily devalued silver coins were issued during his later reign and after his death in a continuous process of re-pricing, until this minting of gold was interrupted in 367 and the silver coin was continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important of which was the Centenionalis.  These bronze coins continued to be devalued, allowing the fiat minting to be kept next to a gold standard.