The Roman Empire under
Constantine Map

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Map of the Roman Empire under Constantine
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Please note that many stretches of the
boundaries in the Constantine map are
only approximate. The provincial boundaries
within Britain are unknown.

Roman Emperor Diocletian lived from circa 245 to circa 312 A.D. He reigned as Emperor from November 20, 284 to May 1, 305 A.D. Diocletian carried out Rome's tenth and last officially sanctioned persecution of Christians in 303 A.D. Constantine (also known with the ending "the Great"), lived from February 27, 272 to May 22, 337 A.D. He ruled as Emperor from 306 to 337 A.D. After his vision in Gaul in 312 A.D., whereby he is said to have become a Christian, he became the first Roman ruler to treat favorably those who stated they were Christians.

History states that Constantine saw a flaming cross in the sky before an important battle with Maxentius (the then current Roman Emperor) and, taking it as a sign from God, went on to be victorious. There is, however, more to the story of what actually occurred.

"After Constantine’s victorious battle against Maxentius in the fall of 312 AD, he then became the Supreme Emperor, presiding over the entire realm of Rome . . .

"The so-called sun cross, or sun dog is, of course, a naturally occurring phenomenon, which can take many forms, but frequently has the star-like cross or X figure. This is the form that is seen in the Celtic cross, and in other cultures that well predate Christianity. It most often occurs when the sun is low on the horizon, near a 22-degree angle.

"But exactly when Constantine had the vision of a sun cross, and what he believed it to mean, is unclear. What is well documented, however, is the vision’s association with the evolved cult of the Sol Invictus, which had become quite popular among soldiers of the Roman army of that day. This term, Sol Invictus, referring to the 'unconquered sun,' was a patron slogan of soldiers. By the 3rd century AD, 'Sol Invictus' was well embedded in the military culture, inscribed upon shields of combat, and also used in the minting of coins.

"An obvious extension of the long established worship of the sun god, Baal, the phrase 'Sol Invictus' became a familiar battle cry, when soldiers in times of war appealed for the help of their invincible god, the sun (Baal). So for Constantine to say that in the conquest of his rival, Maxentius, he had a vision or dream from God, with the command to conquer under the sign of a cross in the sun, is, to say the least, highly suspicious" (Music of the Appointed Times by Dwight Blevins, page 22)

Map of Roman Empire at its Peak

The Roman Coliseum

Map showing Rome's Rise and Fall!

After coming to power, the Emperor wanted to build a 'new Rome' somewhere in the east since that was where the Empire's economic life in the fourth century was centered. He eventually selected a spot on the Bosphorus called Byzantium. Although at the time Byzantium was a small village, it soon grew much bigger. One of the primary reasons for selecting this location as the new capital was that, like Rome itself, it was seated on seven hills. This made the 'New Rome' a City of Seven Hills just like its predecessor. After several years of construction, the city was officially made the capital of the Empire in 330 A.D.

Byzantium was renamed Constantinople, in honor of the emperor, after his death. In 337 A.D., at the age of twenty-one, one of the sons of Constantine began to jointly rule the Empire. His failed invasion of Italy cost him his life in 340.

Additional Study Materials
Did Christians approve of the Roman games?
Map of the Byzantine Empire
Is it WRONG to wear a cross?
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