Constantine The Great

             Constantine was one of the best known of the Roman emperors. Some important events of his reign include the Edict of Milan, which ended the persecution of Christians and made their worship legal, the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and the completion of the political and economic reforms that begun under Diocletian. Constantine was born in Naissus in Serbia. The date of his birth is not certain, being giving as early as 274 and as late as 288. His father Constantius was a member of an important Roman family. His mother, Helena, was the daughter of an innkeeper. When his father had become Casear of Gaul and Britain, he sent his son to the Eastern Emperor Galerius as a hostage. There he was kept at the court of Galerius. But Constantine returned soon after that to his dying father's side in Britain. Soon after his father's death, Constantine was immediately proclaimed Caesar by his troops. For five years Constantine was content with ruling Gaul and Britain.
             On of the famous stories about Constantine is of his vision from God on the night before the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Maxentius, the Roman emperor in Italy, had gathered a great number of legions against Constantine. Galerius had decided to tax the citizens of Italy, who had been exempt from taxes ever since Republican days. The Italian citizens resented this and proclaimed Maxentius emperor in an effort to get the taxes removed. According to the legend, Constantine saw the symbol of Jesus Christ's power in the clouds and a message written in Latin, that read "In this sign thou shalt conquer." Immediately, Constantine ordered artisans to place the sign of Christ on his soldier's shields. Constantine won that day with a great victory. Maxentius, was thrown from the Milvian Bridge into the Tiber River, making Constantine sole emperor of the Western half of the empire. After his victory he gave gratitude to the God

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