The Effect of Constantine's Conversion on the Roman Society and Christianity

Essay by slemaCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2004

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When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, it not only affected him and his religious lifestyle but more importantly, his Roman Empire and the Christian religion. At the time of his coming of power in 312 AD, Christianity was forbidden and followers were often tortured or executed. But with the conversion to Christianity by the ruler Constantine, the religion became more accepted and soon grew to be the official religion of Rome. Another effect of Constantine's conversion on the Roman society was the bringing together of church and state, while up until this point was kept mostly separate. His position as a government ruler and great interest in Christianity brought together the two worlds. Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity had many radical effects on the Roman society and the future of the religion.

Before Constantine came into power, Maxentius ruled Italy. During his reign, many Romans were slaughtered and Christianity was looked down upon.

Constantine was planning to go into battle with Maxentius, but "he sought divine assistance" (266). He received a vision where he was told to bear the Saviour's name on a cross and be victorious in battle. He did this and later defeated Maxentius at The Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Soon after becoming ruler, he made the gradual conversion to Christianity and abandoned his old pagan practices. In the Edict of Milan (313), Constantine officially made the Christian religion legal and thus protecting it. In the past Christian followers suffered great persecution and the religion itself was forbidden and shunned. But with the conversion of Constantine, much of that changed,

For in the first place, the tyrants, being themselves alienated from the true God, had enforced by every compulsion the worship of false deities: Constantine convinced mankind by actions as well as words, that these...