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Old June 9th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Helena, Constantine's Mother


What was the life of Helena and did she become the closest adviser of Constantine the Great ???

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_(Empress)

Helena's birthplace is not known with certainty. The 6th-century historian Procopius is the earliest authority for the statement that Helena was a native of Drepanum, in the province of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Her son Constantine renamed the city "Helenopolis" after her death in 330, which supports the belief that the city was her birthplace.[2] Although he might have done so in her honor, Constantine probably had other reasons for doing so. The Byzantinist Cyril Mango has argued that Helenopolis was refounded to strengthen the communication network around his new capital in Constantinople, and was renamed simply to honor Helena, not to mark her birthplace.

IMHO, Helena may have taught some Christianity to Constanine which gave him a basis to favor the God she worshiped.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #2

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There is an alternative which intrigues me a bit: that Helene was member of a Celtic clan. When the British legend says that she was daughter of King Cole of Camulodunum [linking her tot the dynasty of Camelot, by the way ...], probably shows an interpretation of something happened in the Celtic world: adoption by a clan.

Celtic clans adopted persons who became "sons" and "daughters" of the chief of the clan [King Cole in this case]. But this doesn't mean that Helene was born in Camulodunum.

There is who suggests that Helene was born in Nassius, Nis, [where her son was born, and this is historical], in Serbia, land of a Celtic population. This would have made it easy for her to be accepted [adopted] by a Celtic clan in British land.

In the north, she was forced to leave Flavius Valerius Constantius [who died at Eboracum, in British land].

Regarding Christianity and the Empress, an eventual Celtic origin and a linkage with Celtic British clans would be quite positive: Christianity arrived really early in Britain and the Celtic Roman population adopted it in a certain measure.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #3
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I don't buy any of the claims of her British background.

She was born in drepanum (Turkey) as the daughter of a resturant owner and worked as a waitress. On her way back to York, Constantine was born in Naissus (Serbia). Constantine's father had to divorce her so that the Roman inheritance would be proper. She lived mostly in Trier (Germany) where Constantius (living in York), her now ex, supported her and Constantine and gave her a castle. Constantius obviously loved her very much and protected Constantine from being killed by his new royalty-wife and her kin.

http://www.roman-emperors.org/helena.htm

Last edited by laketahoejwb; June 9th, 2012 at 11:26 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 02:46 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by laketahoejwb View Post
I don't buy any of the claims of her British background.

She was born in drepanum (Turkey) as the daughter of a resturant owner and worked as a waitress. On her way back to York, Constantine was born in Naissus (Serbia). Constantine's father had to divorce her so that the Roman inheritance would be proper. She lived mostly in Trier (Germany) where Constantius (living in York), her now ex, supported her and Constantine and gave her a castle. Constantius obviously loved her very much and protected Constantine from being killed by his new royalty-wife and her kin.

Roman Emperors - DIR - St. Helen
Restaurant Owner? Waitress? That's a bit anachronistic, isn't it?
There was no such thing as a restaurant in Roman times, there were eating booths, chop-houses, thermopolii and tabernii-but nowhere respectable.
No taberna owner, even of the lowest sort, would allow his daughter to be an ancilla (serving girl)astheir main function was toget the customers to drink as much as possible. They were effectively a class of fornix (whore) and a job best suited to slaves.
But slapper, is probably what she was. Plenty of prostitutes rose to high rank in Rome. The only difference between a whore and a courtesan is the wealth of the client.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Restaurant Owner? Waitress? That's a bit anachronistic, isn't it?
There was no such thing as a restaurant in Roman times, there were eating booths, chop-houses, thermopolii and tabernii-but nowhere respectable.
No taberna owner, even of the lowest sort, would allow his daughter to be an ancilla (serving girl)astheir main function was toget the customers to drink as much as possible. They were effectively a class of fornix (whore) and a job best suited to slaves.
But slapper, is probably what she was. Plenty of prostitutes rose to high rank in Rome. The only difference between a whore and a courtesan is the wealth of the client.
Name the restaurant in them days as you wish, Pub, fast food, chop-house, drive-in anything as long as the beginner poster in this forum looking at this topic can understand.

A waitress is quite appropriate for her fathers restaurant to distribute food and wash dishes not to sell beverages. A slapper (what ever this is), definitely not. Constantinus would never take a slapper when his army could bring him an aristocratic Cleopatra babe.

Me thinks you have read to to many Britannia tabloids.

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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #6

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All I know of her, off the top of my head, is that her full name was Julia Helena, she was born in the province of Bithynia, and was working in a tavern in Naissus when Constantius Chlorus met her, probably in the early 280s CE.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Salah View Post
All I know of her, off the top of my head, is that her full name was Julia Helena, she was born in the province of Bithynia, and was working in a tavern in Naissus when Constantius Chlorus met her, probably in the early 280s CE.
thanx salah:

Good for you. Tell us about her from a Jewish perspective.! She should have as good authority and beauty as did Esther? Buy the way, the met in a tavern in Drepanum ca. 270.

Lake

Last edited by laketahoejwb; June 9th, 2012 at 03:46 PM.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:41 PM   #8

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To whatever degree there is a Jewish perspective of Helena, I'm not familiar with it; her offspring is certainly not a hero in Jewish history, however, even if he did not take his anti-Judaic stance to the same degree as the Theodosian dynasty a century later.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 04:10 PM   #9

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One can not be certain of dates and exact historical facts when so many other ancient sources have been lostdestroyed. Procopius (AD 325 / 326 – 27 May 366 was a member of the Constantinian Dynasty and his facts may be closer to the truth. Eusebius (AD 263 – 339) also lived at this time and wrote extensively on the Life of Constanine and his facts are similar yet there are variations:

Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine" Fifth Five Years.

"But apart from this shadow, the period was hardly less brilliant, in its way, than preceding ones. It was a time of gigantic and, as some said, extravagant internal improvements. Among various enterprises was the refounding, in 327, of Drepanum, his mother’s city, as Helenopolis (Hieron. An. 2343; Chron. Pasch. p. 283(?); Socr. H. E. 1. 18; Soz. 2. 2; Theoph. p. 41), and greatest of all, the transformation of the insignificant Byzantium into the magnificent Constantinople. The date of the beginning of the work is curiously uncertain. Socrates (1. 6) puts it directly after the Council of Nicća, and Philostorgius in 334, while there is almost equal variety among the modern historians. Burckhardt says Nov. 4, 326; De Broglie, 328 or 329; Wordsworth as early as 325. It is possible that the strangeness which he felt in visiting Rome in 326, and the hostility with which he was met there (Zos. 2. 29, 30), may have been a moving cause in the foundation of this “New Rome,” and that it was begun soon after his visit there. He first began to build his capital near the site of Ilium (Soz. 2. 3; Zos. 2. 30), but “led by the hand of God” (Soz.), he changed his plan to that city whose site he so much admired (Soz.). which was dedicated in 330"

What other motives of benefits would Constantine have in mind for Helenoplis when before he death he visited the hot mineral springs there.?

Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine"

"A year having passed, the Emperor Constantine having just entered the sixty-fifth year of his age, was taken with a sickness; he therefore left Constantinople, and made a voyage to Helenopolis, that he might try the effect of the medicinal hot springs which are found in the vicinity of that city."

Justinian later built an aqueduct, baths, and other monuments. Yet it does not seem ever to have grown in prosperity, and hence it was slightingly called Eleinou Polis, "the wretched town". It has been identified with the modern village of Hersek in the vilayet of Broussa. The mineral springs are those of Coury near Yalova.

Last edited by MinoanGoddess; June 9th, 2012 at 04:11 PM. Reason: correction
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Old June 9th, 2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinoanGoddess View Post
One can not be certain of dates and exact historical facts when so many other ancient sources have been lostdestroyed. Procopius (AD 325 / 326 – 27 May 366 was a member of the Constantinian Dynasty and his facts may be closer to the truth. Eusebius (AD 263 – 339) also lived at this time and wrote extensively on the Life of Constanine and his facts are similar yet there are variations:

Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine" Fifth Five Years.

"But apart from this shadow, the period was hardly less brilliant, in its way, than preceding ones. It was a time of gigantic and, as some said, extravagant internal improvements. Among various enterprises was the refounding, in 327, of Drepanum, his mother’s city, as Helenopolis (Hieron. An. 2343; Chron. Pasch. p. 283(?); Socr. H. E. 1. 18; Soz. 2. 2; Theoph. p. 41), and greatest of all, the transformation of the insignificant Byzantium into the magnificent Constantinople. The date of the beginning of the work is curiously uncertain. Socrates (1. 6) puts it directly after the Council of Nicća, and Philostorgius in 334, while there is almost equal variety among the modern historians. Burckhardt says Nov. 4, 326; De Broglie, 328 or 329; Wordsworth as early as 325. It is possible that the strangeness which he felt in visiting Rome in 326, and the hostility with which he was met there (Zos. 2. 29, 30), may have been a moving cause in the foundation of this “New Rome,” and that it was begun soon after his visit there. He first began to build his capital near the site of Ilium (Soz. 2. 3; Zos. 2. 30), but “led by the hand of God” (Soz.), he changed his plan to that city whose site he so much admired (Soz.). which was dedicated in 330"

What other motives of benefits would Constantine have in mind for Helenoplis when before he death he visited the hot mineral springs there.?

Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine"

"A year having passed, the Emperor Constantine having just entered the sixty-fifth year of his age, was taken with a sickness; he therefore left Constantinople, and made a voyage to Helenopolis, that he might try the effect of the medicinal hot springs which are found in the vicinity of that city."

Justinian later built an aqueduct, baths, and other monuments. Yet it does not seem ever to have grown in prosperity, and hence it was slightingly called Eleinou Polis, "the wretched town". It has been identified with the modern village of Hersek in the vilayet of Broussa. The mineral springs are those of Coury near Yalova.

Excellent Post minoan.

Helena has a high place in Byzantine and Christian history and even an Augusta. Many foul tales surround her for some reason but fortunately we do have some of her story in Eusebius. What else do you have? Trier??

thanx, Lake
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