Before beginning this lecture you may want to

Read Archibald Robertson's (ed.) Athanasius: Select Works and Letters.

On May 11, 330 A.D., Constantine formally dedicated the new capital of the Empire in the East, Constantinople.

Pagan and Christian mixed in this new city.

The founder's statue in the Forum of Constantine is emblematic of that.

Constantine built at least three major churches, Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia), Holy Peace (Hagia Eirene), and Holy Apostles.

The Baptism of Constantine

Stanza di Constantino fresco (detail) by Raphael's workshop, 1523-1525


Constantine received baptism and died in 337 A.D. His body was laid in the Church of the Holy Apostles. His reign charted a new course both for the Empire and the Church.

The conversion of the imperial family made Christianity not only broadly acceptable, but actually a religion of the elite. Conversions grew exponentially.


Paganism survived, but it became less and less important. Eventually it came to be seen as either antiquarian, or an ideology of the intellectual elite.

Constantine's sons succeeded him in power. Murder and rebellion, though, eventually eliminated all of them except Constantius (337 A.D. -361 A.D.).

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