Constantine, The Irony of Christian Kingship

Conquer by this!

Eusebius, Life of Constantine

On the eve of the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312, the Roman emperor Constantine I claimed to have been overcome by a vision - a cross of light blazing above the sun and bearing the inscription "Conquer by this!" With Constantine’s profound spiritual epiphany - the sincerity of which many scholars have placed into question - the Roman Empire passed into the hands of Christ. One of the world’s great kingdoms was to be ruled by a crucified King crowned with thorns and enthroned on a tree. And yet, Constantine and the Roman world he ruled never became a strictly Christian empire. The old vices persisted, pagan senators still held considerable political power, and pagan symbols and rituals remained everywhere apparent - even in the great Christian city of Constantinople itself. Christian kingship was riddled with contradiction and irony, but none was more perplexing than this - the suffering servant had ascended the throne of royal power.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,
Art Gallery of Ontario, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Malcove Collection, University of Toronto, Musée de la civilisation,

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