Constantine I & Visions

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Kitsune
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Constantine I & Visions

Post by Kitsune » 2008-07-04 05:48pm

According to a lecture series I just finished on DVD about the Emperors of Rome, Constantine I had visions of Gods promising victory in battle even before his vonversion to Christianity. Has anyone else read anything else on this?
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Post by StarshipTitanic » 2008-07-04 06:06pm

One story is that God showed him the chi-rho sign (the X with a P through it) and said something like "In this sign you will conquer" so he had his troops paint it on their shields before an important battle against a rival emperor he defeated. That inspired him to proclaim toleration of Christianity, though his version wasn't entirely orthodox.
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Post by Thanas » 2008-07-04 06:24pm

^That is the general fairytale told by Eusebius, "En touto nika" In all likelihood Constantine simply mistook the very rare "crucifix halo" phenomenon as some sort of godly sign.

However I belive Kitsune might be rather asking for similar instances before this one, I think (although Constantine did surely not convert to christianity after the battle with Maxentius, I get the drift that this is what he/she means).

What lectures are these, and what source material do they give? Because I admit I have never heard of this tale.
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Post by Kitsune » 2008-07-04 06:34pm

Give you the lectures wording later but it is from "Emperors of Rome" with the lecturer Professor Garret G. Fagan
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Thomas Paine

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)

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Post by weemadando » 2008-07-04 06:36pm

I wrote a paper on this at uni.

In my opinion it was more of an opportunism on his part than anything else.

The P crossed with an X sign was both an early Christian and traditional Roman symbol, and his statements were ambiguous enough to get support from both camps during the civil war.

It was all about politics and getting enough support to win the civil war at the time, than it was about actually converting to any system.

Ambiguity ftw.

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Post by Thanas » 2008-07-04 06:48pm

^Again, not what we are talking about here, although you are correct about the ambiguity.
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Post by Kitsune » 2008-07-04 07:13pm

According to the lecture, in 310, following the death of Maximium he had a vision of Apollo in his temple in Gaul and claimed special protection under that Deity. Also at the same time, he included "Sol Invictus" on his coins.

edit: Wanted to add that he also appears to have worn both Christian and non-Christian symbols. He has the Ki-Ro symbol on his helmet but Romulas and the Wolf on his shield in some images.
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Thomas Paine

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)

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Post by Thanas » 2008-07-04 08:03pm

^That helps a lot. I'll see what I can dig up over the weekend and get back to you.

Oh, and as for images, Constantine always used a lot of images. Sol invictus=Christ in some paintings, and his death arrangements show Constantine taking the place of Jesus. He certainly wasn't a christian in the modern sense (and that is putting it mildly).
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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My LPs

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Post by Setzer » 2008-07-04 09:09pm

I think John Julius Norwich wrote that his men supposedly all had the same dream. However, he is skeptical that 96,000 men would have the same vision and say nothing about it.
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