The Circle of Life - First Christian Symbol

Nov 2016
778
Germany
#11
Mother God and Bull God,
The Egyptians came up with a strange variant of the relationship between mother goddess and son-god=bull and the resulting cycle of life. The idea of the bull god as son of the supreme mother goddess only emerged about 8,000 BCE in the course of the introduction of animal breeding, when the male contribution to female fertility was discovered, thus about 20,000 years after the Paleolithic invention of the mother goddess.

Now, in the 16th century BCE, at the beginning of the New Kingdom, Egyptian priests developed the idea of a self-generation of the Son-God, who in the meantime had advanced to become the supreme God, by fertilizing his own mother in order to be reborn by her. This concept of course seems illogical, but this was no reason for the Egyptians to reject it, on the contrary, it was theologically processed in many variations.

This type of god was called Kamutef, which means ´bull of his mother´, from which the derivation from Neolithic religion is easily recognizable. He originated from the ithyphallic god Min, who, as the adjective suggests, is characterized by an impressive genitalia. The basic idea is that the bull as fertility god, because of his origin as a god of cyclically dying vegetation, was thought to be mortal. The relation between vegetation and bull consisted in the idea of fertility. The connection is illustrated by the ancient practice of bull sacrifice, from whose blood or semen new animal and plant life was magically to emerge. Therefore, the idea of giving the god the possibility, as soon as he is dying, to create himself anew with the Mother Goddess, is understandable.

The proximity of the Christian idea of the Son sacrifice to the benefit of mankind to such concepts is obvious. In this sense, the Christian idea is only a cover version of the archaic motif of the bloody sacrifice of the Son God=bull.

The actual illogic of the Kamutef concept does not consist in the idea of a son fertilizing his mother in order to be recreated, but in the impossibility of a beginning: what was there first, the mother or the son (and later begetter)? The priests, however, did not care about resolving the dilemma, which anyway exists only if one presupposes a first cause.

The best known Kamutefs are Amun-Re, Min-Horus and Osiris. Min-Horus has either Hathor (originally) or Isis (later) as his mother, with whom he also reproduces. Also the vegetation and bull god Osiris, in other myths the father of Horus, is at the same time son and begetter of Isis. Amun-Re has Hathor as his mother and wife, with whom he begets himself.

One variant of the concept is the morning birth of the sun god Re from the womb of the goddess Nut and the evening return as a dying god (setting sun) into this womb, from which he is reborn the next morning.
 
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#12
That's right. This makes it even more likely that the later alleged vision of the sign of Christ is a propagandistic fake. There are a number of reasons for this anyway. For example, Eusebius´ version contains two clichés, as they are often described in antique reports about conversions etc.: a vision AND a dream. This case of a combination is unique. Since Eusebius doesn't always take the truth very seriously in his reports anyway (to put it mildly), one should assume here that the thing is invented.
I agree that the vision is plausibly an invention of Constantine (Eusebius claims that Constantine himself told him of the vision). The combination of dream and vision does indeed seem unusual, and the fact that Lactantius does not mention the vision in 313/4 is also a hurdle for believing that it happened (unless Lactantius just wasn't in the know at that time - some have suggested that he was writing in the east at that time). The dream perhaps did happen. In any case, I'm not a Christian, so whatever happened, I don't think that anything that Constantine believed had actually happened had anything to do with a divine creator.
 
Jul 2017
208
Neverland
#13
There's serious doubt among today's historians, that Eusebius of Caesaria is the author of ' Life of Constantine'.I've personally encountered several events in ancient history, that are described in a tangent from all others.
Instead of blaming Eusebius, can we at least give credit to Costantine for being a brilliant military startegos and adept propagandist
and public relations(PR) artist too !?

The Emperor is first follower of Mars, then we find him in July of 310 AD hiring an anonymous orator to turn a few tricks, like depicting a vision of Costantine the Great, Apollo and Victory, calling on him to conquer the world.
On the eve of the battle of Ponte Milvano yet another vision- Chi Rho(XP) sign in mid day, then the following night a visitation by non
other than Jesus Christ.He preaches with abandon how his family tree goes back to a Roman Emperor of the III century.

People love him for that and for the masterful handling of the economy, low taxes, plenty of games at the gladiatorial arenas in the West and later in Rome.Compare that with his opponent - Maxentius- Caesar in Rome and foe at Milvian Bridge.While at the Circus Maximus, Maxentius is taunted and made fun of, that Constantine is invinsible by the fans.

Once victorious in Rome, Constantine for a first time in the history of Rome doesn't pay visit to Capitoline Hill to celebrate his victory, instead he is easy on Christians(his mother is one too), restore property to them that was being seized by Diocletan a few years back. Then another PR coup - this time sending his mother - Empress Helena to retrieve the Cross of the Crucifixion and artefacts too.

A brilliant propaganda that uncovers 3 crosses, but only one has healing faculties. New churches built in Jerusalem- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and others.Halt the population of the Empire is Christian by then and he earns their true love and admiration.
Continuing construction projects galore. Circus Maximus is enlarged and people, pagan and Christian are smitten with the "Best of Roman Emperors' like the title from the Senate. Im sure, if Allah was around in 312 AD, HE WOULD HAVE VISITED Constantine in a vision too.

Constantine only get baptized at his deathbed by Eusebius of Nicomedia, he is careful all his life not to prematurely antagonize the pagan portion of Rome. Back to Linear and Circular geometrics.
1.Mortals are Linear - life starts at point A and ends at point Z - STRAIGHT LINE
2 Celestials have Circular design - from point A to point...A.

Congartulations ! Our team won, no more Goddesses and Gods in charge of different departments,-
like big multinationl , corporations - president of distribution,manufacturing,HR, finance, marketing etc. and a CEO.
All we have is 1 CEO God - per flock, just like Rome - 1 Emperor.

Gone are the baby eating Bull Gods with fire bellies of Ammonites,Israelites, Canaanites,Phoenicians, Carthaginians ...the Molochs, Baals,Tanaits of the world


1558356887381.png

King Josiah of Israel puts an end to roasting babies to DEATH in the 600s BCE.The Torah and Yahweh warn of death penalty for each parent passing his/her seed(child) thru fire.In Carthage's final days with Scipio Africanus in front of the gates 500 infants are thrown in the fiery belly of Moloch to no avail - Carthage is down and out - babies killed in vain.
 
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Nov 2016
778
Germany
#14
There's serious doubt among today's historians, that Eusebius of Caesaria is the author of ' Life of Constantine'.I've personally encountered several events in ancient history, that are described in a tangent from all others.
German historians such as F. Vittinghoff and J. Vogt have put forward good counterarguments against Gregoire's theses about an allegedly falsified Vita. In detail, this is too complicated to reproduce here. The fact that the Vita is not mentioned or quoted in the 4th century by any contemporaries is strange, but not a compelling argument in itself. On the whole, most of it speaks for the authenticity of the Vita.

Instead of blaming Eusebius, can we at least give credit to Costantine for being a brilliant military startegos and adept propagandist and public relations(PR) artist too !?
People love him for that and for the masterful handling of the economy, low taxes, plenty of games at the gladiatorial arenas in the West and later in Rome.
A nice hymn, but here are more facts:

Constantine had his father-in-law, Emperor Maximian, hanged 310 in Missilia (Marseille).

He had his brothers-in-law Licinius and Bassanius, spouses of his sisters Konstantia and Anastasia, strangled.

He had the prince Licinianus, son of Licinius, demoted to slavery in 336, whipped and killed in Carthage.

In 326 he killed his own son Krispus (conceived with concubine Minervina shortly before his marriage to Fausta).

He probably poisoned many friends.

Finally he suffocated his wife Fausta, mother of three sons and two daughters, in the bath, after which the Pope got all her possessions on former Laterani territory.

Gone are the baby eating Bull Gods with fire bellies of Ammonites,Israelites, Canaanites,Phoenicians, Carthaginians ...the Molochs, Baals,Tanaits of the world
What have these invented horror stories to do with the epoch of Constantine?

King Josiah of Israel puts an end to roasting babies to DEATH in the 600s BCE.The Torah and Yahweh warn of death penalty for each parent passing his/her seed(child) thru fire.In Carthage's final days with Scipio Africanus in front of the gates 500 infants are thrown in the fiery belly of Moloch to no avail - Carthage is down and out - babies killed in vain.
Again, these are propagandistic horror stories invented to put the enemy in a bad light.
 
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#15
Instead of blaming Eusebius, can we at least give credit to Costantine for being a brilliant military startegos and adept propagandist
and public relations(PR) artist too !?

The Emperor is first follower of Mars, then we find him in July of 310 AD hiring an anonymous orator to turn a few tricks, like depicting a vision of Costantine the Great, Apollo and Victory, calling on him to conquer the world.
On the eve of the battle of Ponte Milvano yet another vision- Chi Rho(XP) sign in mid day, then the following night a visitation by non
other than Jesus Christ.He preaches with abandon how his family tree goes back to a Roman Emperor of the III century.

People love him for that and for the masterful handling of the economy, low taxes, plenty of games at the gladiatorial arenas in the West and later in Rome.Compare that with his opponent - Maxentius- Caesar in Rome and foe at Milvian Bridge.While at the Circus Maximus, Maxentius is taunted and made fun of, that Constantine is invinsible by the fans.
Constantine was a clever propagandist, but since you mention him, so was Maxentius. When we think of Maxentius we tend to think of him as the man who lost to Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Constantine framed him as a tyrant, and this characterization continues to predominate the popular understanding of this emperor: a tyrant who was defeated in a victory granted by God. But Maxentius was so much more than a foil for Constantine, and for those six years when they both ruled (306-312), he was arguably the more interesting emperor.

Maxentius (like Constantine) was the son of a Tetrarch who, when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated, had not been allowed to succeed to the purple. Taking matters into his own hands, he used discontent in the city of Rome herself to seize power. The people of Rome and the senate were upset with the fact that the Tetrarchs had been mostly absent from the city, and they resented that Diocletian and Galerius had removed their tax privileges. Moreover, Diocletian and then Galerius had been gradually disbanding and dispersing the praetorians among the legions on the frontiers, much to their chagrin. Maxentius used these discontented parties to take power in Rome, and he ended the persecution and began the restitution of church property in Italy and Africa to gain Christian support as well.

Maxentius' coins and building program then advertised him as the one true Roman emperor, the 'Preserver of His Own City' (Conservator Urbis Suae). He encouraged the inhabitants of His City to compare him to the Tetrarchs, men who had been born on the empire's periphery and who ruled from the provinces rather than Rome. He made especial use of this 'true-Roman' self-presentation from 308 onwards, after he lost the support of his father Maximian (whom he had brought out of retirement to help himself). His building program still determines much of what we see of Ancient Rome today: the Basilica of Maxentius, his Via Appia complex (consisting of palace, circus and mausoleum), his epic restorations to Hadrian's Temple of Venus and Roma, his restorations to the Aurelian Wall. And these are only the most famous contributions of his building program. It has even been argued that the Arch of Constantine was originally an Arch of Maxentius, and that the Colossus of Constantine, found in the Basilica of Maxentius, is a re-cut Colossus of Maxentius. He made special efforts to support the praetorians, the Senate and the Urban Prefect.

Constantine was forced to react to such efforts when he took Rome. He framed Maxentius as a tyrant, minted coins that called him 'Liberator of His Own City' (Liberator Urbis Suae), claimed some of Maxentius' buildings as his own, and permanently disbanded and destroyed the camps of the Praetorian Guard and the Imperial Horse Guard, avowed loyalists of Maxentius, many of whom fought to the death at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

Moreover, on the subject of military and political skill, it's worth noting that Maxentius defeated a major usurpation in Africa (by Domitius Alexander) - albeit by delegation - and survived two different military expeditions against himself and the city of Rome, the first by Severus II and the second by Galerius. The second by Galerius is especially impressive since Maxentius wasn't accompanied by his militarily-experienced father, and Galerius himself was the man who had avenged the Romans upon the Persians after the embarrassments of the mid-third century, a truly intimidating figure with the military mettle to match. As it happened, Maxentius used the walls of Rome, the propaganda value of representing Rome as well as bribery to defeat the invader. He probably would have done the same when Constantine showed up, but the food shortages caused by the African usurpation and an enemy holding Egypt may have helped to force him to avoid a siege. Constantine's defeat of his armies under subordinates in northern Italy may have also contributed to his distrust of his subjects' loyalty were a siege to happen, and may have forced him to seek out a win in battle, to his detriment.

In 308 he also defeated his own father's attempt to oust him from power, all the more spectacular since his father had been emperor for more than twenty years. As Lactantius relates (On the Deaths of the Persecutors 28):

"After the flight of Galerius, Maximian, having returned from Gaul, held authority in common with his son; but more obedience was yielded to the young man than to the old: for Maxentius had most power, and had been longest in possession of it; and it was to him that Maximian owed on this occasion the imperial dignity. The old man was impatient at being denied the exercise of uncontrolled sovereignty, and envied his son with a childish spirit of rivalry; and therefore he began to consider how he might expel Maxentius and resume his ancient dominion. This appeared easy, because the soldiers who deserted Severus had originally served in his own army. He called an assembly of the people of Rome, and of the soldiers, as if he had been to make an harangue on the calamitous situation of public affairs. After having spoken much on that subject, he stretched his hands towards his son, charged him as author of all ills and prime cause of the calamities of the state, and then tore the purple from his shoulders. Maxentius, thus stripped, leaped headlong from the tribunal, and was received into the arms of the soldiers. Their rage and clamour confounded the unnatural old man, and, like another Tarquin the Proud, he was driven from Rome."
 
Jul 2017
208
Neverland
#16
German historians such as F. Vittinghoff and J. Vogt have put forward good counterarguments against Gregoire's theses about an allegedly falsified Vita. In detail, this is too complicated to reproduce here. The fact that the Vita is not mentioned or quoted in the 4th century by any contemporaries is strange, but not a compelling argument in itself. On the whole, most of it speaks for the authenticity of the Vita.




A nice hymn, but here are more facts:

Constantine had his father-in-law, Emperor Maximian, hanged 310 in Missilia (Marseille).

He had his brothers-in-law Licinius and Bassanius, spouses of his sisters Konstantia and Anastasia, strangled.

He had the prince Licinianus, son of Licinius, demoted to slavery in 336, whipped and killed in Carthage.

In 326 he killed his own son Krispus (conceived with concubine Minervina shortly before his marriage to Fausta).

He probably poisoned many friends.

Finally he suffocated his wife Fausta, mother of three sons and two daughters, in the bath, after which the Pope got all her possessions on former Laterani territory.



What have these invented horror stories to do with the epoch of Constantine?



Again, these are propagandistic horror stories invented to put the enemy in a bad light.

Nothing propagandistic about the early humans and their demonic looking Gods - male and female.
We all started as cannibals - no exceptions. Being such, we humans projected our fears, shortcomings
and imperfections unto our Gods too. Hence, demonic looking Gods with gnarly teeth, insatiable hunger and thirst.

As we evolved, or Gods became more debonair, compassionate and human looking too. Gone are the sacrifices of old men in the river Tiber in Rome, burnt offerings in the Middle East and other horrid practices.We need to know our savage roots.The Gods of Greece are out of a job - Kronos, so no more devouring their own children. The father of Jupiter - Saturn in Rome is also on the unemployment rolls - no eating his son, as depicted by Peter Paul Reubens in the painting below.

1558476351476.png

The continuity of culture transfer from the learned( Egypt) to the aspiring(Greece) - Greece to Rome and to the barbarians - Germans, Slavs, Celts, Scythians is now complete.Congats, we are now the Learned !

As to Crispus and poor Fausta - their story we won't find in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History - Eusebius was careful as a contemporary of Constantine to compromise himself with negative stories about the Emperor. And why would he, Constantine was on his way to legitimize Christianity - the religion of Eusebius !?

Plus, Constantine had high ratings with all of Rome. Who cares about the love affair between same age love birds - Fausta and Crispus. The son got himself a trip to the gallows, Fausta, already probably pregnant with Crispus' child tried a new Olympic discipline - swimming and drowning in boiling water Nothing new in Rome - business as usual.
 
Jul 2017
208
Neverland
#17
Constantine was a clever propagandist, but since you mention him, so was Maxentius. When we think of Maxentius we tend to think of him as the man who lost to Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Constantine framed him as a tyrant, and this characterization continues to predominate the popular understanding of this emperor: a tyrant who was defeated in a victory granted by God. But Maxentius was so much more than a foil for Constantine, and for those six years when they both ruled (306-312), he was arguably the more interesting emperor.

Maxentius (like Constantine) was the son of a Tetrarch who, when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated, had not been allowed to succeed to the purple. Taking matters into his own hands, he used discontent in the city of Rome herself to seize power. The people of Rome and the senate were upset with the fact that the Tetrarchs had been mostly absent from the city, and they resented that Diocletian and Galerius had removed their tax privileges. Moreover, Diocletian and then Galerius had been gradually disbanding and dispersing the praetorians among the legions on the frontiers, much to their chagrin. Maxentius used these discontented parties to take power in Rome, and he ended the persecution and began the restitution of church property in Italy and Africa to gain Christian support as well.

Maxentius' coins and building program then advertised him as the one true Roman emperor, the 'Preserver of His Own City' (Conservator Urbis Suae). He encouraged the inhabitants of His City to compare him to the Tetrarchs, men who had been born on the empire's periphery and who ruled from the provinces rather than Rome. He made especial use of this 'true-Roman' self-presentation from 308 onwards, after he lost the support of his father Maximian (whom he had brought out of retirement to help himself). His building program still determines much of what we see of Ancient Rome today: the Basilica of Maxentius, his Via Appia complex (consisting of palace, circus and mausoleum), his epic restorations to Hadrian's Temple of Venus and Roma, his restorations to the Aurelian Wall. And these are only the most famous contributions of his building program. It has even been argued that the Arch of Constantine was originally an Arch of Maxentius, and that the Colossus of Constantine, found in the Basilica of Maxentius, is a re-cut Colossus of Maxentius. He made special efforts to support the praetorians, the Senate and the Urban Prefect.

Constantine was forced to react to such efforts when he took Rome. He framed Maxentius as a tyrant, minted coins that called him 'Liberator of His Own City' (Liberator Urbis Suae), claimed some of Maxentius' buildings as his own, and permanently disbanded and destroyed the camps of the Praetorian Guard and the Imperial Horse Guard, avowed loyalists of Maxentius, many of whom fought to the death at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

Moreover, on the subject of military and political skill, it's worth noting that Maxentius defeated a major usurpation in Africa (by Domitius Alexander) - albeit by delegation - and survived two different military expeditions against himself and the city of Rome, the first by Severus II and the second by Galerius. The second by Galerius is especially impressive since Maxentius wasn't accompanied by his militarily-experienced father, and Galerius himself was the man who had avenged the Romans upon the Persians after the embarrassments of the mid-third century, a truly intimidating figure with the military mettle to match. As it happened, Maxentius used the walls of Rome, the propaganda value of representing Rome as well as bribery to defeat the invader. He probably would have done the same when Constantine showed up, but the food shortages caused by the African usurpation and an enemy holding Egypt may have helped to force him to avoid a siege. Constantine's defeat of his armies under subordinates in northern Italy may have also contributed to his distrust of his subjects' loyalty were a siege to happen, and may have forced him to seek out a win in battle, to his detriment.

In 308 he also defeated his own father's attempt to oust him from power, all the more spectacular since his father had been emperor for more than twenty years. As Lactantius relates (On the Deaths of the Persecutors 28):

"After the flight of Galerius, Maximian, having returned from Gaul, held authority in common with his son; but more obedience was yielded to the young man than to the old: for Maxentius had most power, and had been longest in possession of it; and it was to him that Maximian owed on this occasion the imperial dignity. The old man was impatient at being denied the exercise of uncontrolled sovereignty, and envied his son with a childish spirit of rivalry; and therefore he began to consider how he might expel Maxentius and resume his ancient dominion. This appeared easy, because the soldiers who deserted Severus had originally served in his own army. He called an assembly of the people of Rome, and of the soldiers, as if he had been to make an harangue on the calamitous situation of public affairs. After having spoken much on that subject, he stretched his hands towards his son, charged him as author of all ills and prime cause of the calamities of the state, and then tore the purple from his shoulders. Maxentius, thus stripped, leaped headlong from the tribunal, and was received into the arms of the soldiers. Their rage and clamour confounded the unnatural old man, and, like another Tarquin the Proud, he was driven from Rome."

One thing to remember though, if Maxentius were to wind up winning at Ponte Milvio, we may be wandering in the desert of paganism for a long time.Who knows how the Dark Ages would have developed without Christ ?

Constantine managed to win the battle with 40 000 vs Maxentius' 75000 soldiers.Incompetency at a full display for Maxentius.
The latter, also managed to Mismanage Rome's economy. Some of the towns simply opened the gates for Constantine, thus adding to his fame as invincible.

There were hired actors and orators thruout the Empire, extolling Constantine's qualities and virtues. PR artist extraordinaire.
And while Galerius hated the ' son of harlot ', Constantine succeeded in defeating him too. Kudos for Empress Helena, being a Christian, she was victorius in persuading her son to make Christianity the new religion for the whole Empire.

Vae Victis - Gloria Victris
 
#18
Plus, Constantine had high ratings with all of Rome. Who cares about the love affair between same age love birds - Fausta and Crispus. The son got himself a trip to the gallows, Fausta, already probably pregnant with Crispus' child tried a new Olympic discipline - swimming and drowning in boiling water Nothing new in Rome - business as usual.
But we don't know much that is reliable about the popularity of emperors. I mean, of course Eusebius would represent Constantine as beloved by all. One wonders how the inhabitants of the City of Rome really felt knowing that a distant emperor who had taken power in Britain and had spent most of his time in Gaul and Germany was now taking his army of northerners and Germanic auxiliaries to overthrow the emperor who had ruled in their city for six years, the first emperor to do so since Severus Alexander. Of course, once Constantine had marched into Rome, had executed Maxentius' closest supporters and had disbanded the praetorians and equites singulares, the senate were going to do anything he told them (although most probably would not have approved of his failure to visit the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter). Indeed, Constantine certainly had his critics. The empire's majority were pagans, and no doubt many pagans strongly disapproved of his banning of blood sacrifice and gutting of certain temples for wealth so that he could build more churches and the city of Constantinople. No doubt many Romans resented the attention he lavished on Constantinople and the the fact that he spent very little time in the City of Rome, in the same way that the citizens of Rome resented the Tetrarchs for the time they spent in Milan, Trier, Nicomedia, Sirmium, Thessalonica and Antioch. The contemporary pagan poet Palladas expresses his disdain for Constantine's Christianization of the empire, and the emperor Julian and the fourth-century historian Eunapius despised Constantine as a greedy war-monger and murderer who overthrew his rivals simply to gain sole rule, who taxed the empire's inhabitants too heavily and who converted to Christianity because it offered a chance at forgiveness (in the sense that Constantine could keep committing crimes and keep being forgiven as long as he confessed his sins). Moreover, Romans definitely would have cared about Constantine killing his relatives, because to do so is supremely impious. The fact that we don't have a very clear idea of the events surrounding the deaths of Fausta and Crispus probably has a lot to do with Constantine's court covering it up. After all, Nero's reputation was destroyed by his murdering his mother, and Caracalla was refused entry into a legionary camp after he killed his brother Geta. Whether or not all these criticisms of Constantine are fair, the reality is that Constantine must have been a very divisive figure.
 
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#19
One thing to remember though, if Maxentius were to wind up winning at Ponte Milvio, we may be wandering in the desert of paganism for a long time.Who knows how the Dark Ages would have developed without Christ ?

Constantine managed to win the battle with 40 000 vs Maxentius' 75000 soldiers.Incompetency at a full display for Maxentius.
The latter, also managed to Mismanage Rome's economy. Some of the towns simply opened the gates for Constantine, thus adding to his fame as invincible.

There were hired actors and orators thruout the Empire, extolling Constantine's qualities and virtues. PR artist extraordinaire.
And while Galerius hated the ' son of harlot ', Constantine succeeded in defeating him too. Kudos for Empress Helena, being a Christian, she was victorius in persuading her son to make Christianity the new religion for the whole Empire.

Vae Victis - Gloria Victris
It is unfair to speak in terms of a desert of paganism. Classical Greek and Roman culture was incredibly rich and sophisticated long before the advent of Christianity. This was a culture of poetry, philosophy, science, engineering, legal writing, fine arts, comedy, tragedy, athletics, architecture and satire. The fact that they had, for example, gladiator fights, should not allow such a simple assessment of Graeco-Roman civilization.

And while Constantine was clearly a better general than Maxentius, we shouldn't trust the numbers supplied by Constantine's propagandists and pro-Constantinian authors - number exaggeration is normal in ancient accounts. In any case, what I was arguing above was not that Maxentius was the better general, but that, between 306 and 310, he was the more interesting and perhaps more impressive politician (for the reasons outlined above). Who knows what he could have achieved had he not been overthrown after six years. There is no evidence that he mismanaged the economy beyond the propaganda of Constantine and Eusebius - of course they would claim that about Constantine's chief rival. Indeed, their claims about Maxentius fall into the standard repertoire that Roman courts made about the emperors they have overthrown. They violate aristocratic women, over-tax the citizens and perform weird sacrifices. These are useless cliches with a Christian flavour thrown in. Notably, the contemporary Christian author Lactantius makes no such claims about Maxentius. Scholars universally agree that Lactantius is a more reliable author on secular matters than Eusebius. The only negatives that scholars accept when it comes to Maxentius' economy is that there were food shortages probably caused by a lack of access to grain in Africa and Egypt (a result of civil war, not mismanagement) and that some citizens were upset that they were being taxed after initially not being taxed by Maxentius (but everyone hates being taxed, and Maxentius no doubt needed to tax his subjects because, again, he was embroiled in civil war). And towns open their gates out of fear. Constantine had defeated the armies of Maxentius' generals. The town councils must have realised that they had two choices at that point - open the gates or be sacked. A great book on all these matters is Cullhed, Conservator Urbis Suae: The Politics and Propaganda of the Emperor Maxentius, although Potter, Constantine the Emperor, is also particularly good on the topic of Maxentius. No scholar I'm aware of still buys into the Constantinian-Eusebian take on Maxentius. Essentially, one needs to be very critical of what they read about Maxentius, since he was essentially the forge in which Constantine constructed his greatness (one should consider Maxentius beyond how he is presented by Eusebius). It's the same issue with Carthage. They were traditionally dismissed as savage and superstitious barbarians, but of course they would be presented in such a manner. Rome's very ascendancy came about because of their defeat of Carthage.

As for Galerius, Constantine never defeated him. He never faced him in battle. Constantine's propagandists and pro-Constantinian authors claim that he escaped Galerius' court out of fear of an assassination attempt. Perhaps this is true, but several scholars consider this to be Constantinian propaganda and little else. In any case, Constantine provides evidence by his own actions that he did not want to start a war with Galerius (and with good reason! As I said above, Galerius had a reputation for great military success). After he succeeded his father in 306, he was demoted by Galerius from Augustus (his initial title) to the more junior Caesar. In a gutsy manner, he did later make an alliance with Maximian and Maxentius in late 307, but he also made various positive gestures to Galerius in an attempt to avoid an invasion (his mints produced coins honouring Galerius, he recognized Galerius as consul in 308, and he did not attack Galerius as he was withdrawing from Italy, despite Maximian's attempts to make him do so).
 
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Likes: Tammuz
Nov 2016
778
Germany
#20
It is unfair to speak in terms of a desert of paganism. Classical Greek and Roman culture was incredibly rich and sophisticated long before the advent of Christianity. This was a culture of poetry, philosophy, science, engineering, legal writing, fine arts, comedy, tragedy, athletics, architecture and satire. The fact that they had, for example, gladiator fights, should not allow such a simple assessment of Graeco-Roman civilization
True. Bleda sometimes gets things confused.