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Friday, 10 July 2015

Constantine's Christ

Emperor Constantine I is credited with making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

However it was a gradual process.
Initially Constantine, like most Roman Caesars and Emperors, venerated a number of deities.
Sol Invictus came to be the deity that featured most often on his coins.
Below, an AE Half Follis of Constantine from the mint of Trier, dated to 310-311 AD, with Sol Invictus on the reverse:

The Edict of Milan in 313 AD granted freedom for Christians to practise without oppression.
Constantine ordered the construction of a Basilica upon the tomb of St. Peter, either between 318 - 322 AD.
Below, photo showing a deity, on the entrance to the "Tomb of the Julii", part of the Vatican Necropolis complex under the Basilica of St. Peter's.
In 321 AD he made the day of Sol Invictus a day to be venerated both by Pagans and Christians.
We call this day Sunday.
In 330 AD at the centre of his new capital, Constantinople, he had erected a column upon which was a statue of himself in the guise of Apollo.
Below, detail from a porphyry sarcophagus, thought by Dr. Jonathan Bardill to be that of Constantine, outside Haghia Eirene, Istanbul:

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