Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance

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JHU Press, Sep 17, 2002 - History - 632 pages

Historians who viewed imperial Rome in terms of a conflict between pagans and Christians have often regarded the emperor Constantine's conversion as the triumph of Christianity over paganism. But in Constantine and the Bishops, historian H. A. Drake offers a fresh and more nuanced understanding of Constantine's rule and, especially, of his relations with Christians.

Constantine, Drake suggests, was looking not only for a god in whom to believe but also a policy he could adopt. Uncovering the political motivations behind Constantine's policies, Drake shows how those policies were constructed to ensure the stability of the empire and fulfill Constantine's imperial duty in securing the favor of heaven.

Despite the emperor's conversion to Christianity, Drake concludes, Rome remained a world filled with gods and with men seeking to depose rivals from power. A book for students and scholars of ancient history and religion, Constantine and the Bishops shows how Christian belief motivated and gave shape to imperial rule.

 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This book paints a very comprehensive and interesting portrait of political processes brewing behind the scenes when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The author works ... Read full review

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Contents

Constantinople AD 335
3
The Game of Empire
35
The Church Becomes a Player
72
Opportunies
111
The Old Guard Changes
113
In Search of a Vision
154
Building a Coalition
192
Consequences
233
Controlling the Agenda
309
Unintended Consequences
353
The Fine Print
355
Power Players
393
Milan 390
441
The First Sirmondian Constitution
485
Notes
489
Works Cited
541

Consensus Politics
235
Controlling the Message
273

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About the author (2002)

H. A. Drake is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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