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Constantine the Great. From Constantinople to Istanbul. England, York Minster. Outline. Introduction Part I. His life and achievement Part II. Conversion to Christianity Part III. Foundation of Constantinople Conclusion References.

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Constantine the Great

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constantine the great

Constantine the Great

From Constantinople to Istanbul

  • Introduction
  • Part I. His life and achievement
  • Part II. Conversion to Christianity
  • Part III. Foundation of Constantinople
  • Conclusion
  • References

Constantine the Great was the first emperor of Rome to convert to Christianity. During his reign, Christians, previously persecuted, gained freedom of worship. He gave huge estates and other gifts to the Christian church. He established a capital in the eastern provinces, naming it Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey)

  • Istanbul was founded in the 7th century BC as Byzantium
  • In the 4th century AD it was renamed Constantinople by Roman emperor Constantine the Great
  • The city served as the capital of the Byzantine Empire until it was captured by the Ottomans in the 15th century and made the capital of the Ottoman Empire
  • The Ottomans called the city Istanbul for centuries, but it was not until 1930, seven years after Turkey gained independence, that Istanbul became its official name
part i his life and achievement
Part I. His life and achievement
  • Constantine (274-337), born at Naissus, now Nisch in Serbia, the son of emperor Constantius and St. Helena (feast: Aug. 18 )
  • 306 Proclaimed emperor at York in Britain after the death of his father, Constantius I
  • 312 Defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge outside Rome to become sole ruler in the western empire
  • 313 Issued jointly with eastern emperor Licinius the Edict of Milan, which granted civil rights and toleration to all religions including Christianity
  • 324 Defeated Licinius, become ruler of the Roman world
part ii conversion to christianity
Part II. Conversion to Christianity
  • Constantine said that he saw a cross and the words "in hoc signo vinces" (in this sign you will be the victor) in the sky before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, and sent his army into battle with crosses painted on their shields
  • Constantine intervened in ecclesiastical affairs to achieve unity; in 325 he presided over the Council of Nicaea to resolve divisive issues within the Christian church
  • Constantine built churches in the Holy Land, where his mother (also a Christian) supposedly found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified
part iii foundation of constantinople
Part III. Foundation of Constantinople
  • Constantine began the building of Constantinople in 326 on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium
  • In 330, hemoved the empire's capital to Byzantium, and renamed the city Constantinople (now called Istanbul)
  • In Constantinople, the emperor built a great cathedral, named Santa Sophia, which was destroyed by fire in the 6th century
  • Strategic position of the city, surrounded by water on all sides except the west, which is protected by walls

Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) was built in Constantinople (now Istanbul) between 532 and 537 under the auspices of Emperor Justinian I. The original dome fell after an earthquake and was replaced in 563. The church became a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of 1453, and is now a museum

  • Constantine's religious affiliation remained ambiguous for much of his life, and he was not baptized until shortly before his death
  • He reorganized the Roman state, and set the stage for the final victory of Christianity
  • As the first emperor to rule in the name of Christ, he was a major figure in the foundation of medieval Europe
  • Constantinople remained capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire until 1453