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Ancient History
Roman Empire

Will there be a second Constantine?


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July 16, 2015 1:41PM

Emperor Constantine I was a ruthless tyrant who had few compunctions about killing those who got in his way. He was a successful military leader, but not a great administrator. He debased the currency used by the lower and middle classes, while maintaining the value of the gold currency used by the state and by the wealthy. He plundered the pagan temples to provide precious metals to pay for his extravagance. And he persecuted those who chose to worship the ancient gods. He destroyed the ancient Roman culture and set in train the process that led to the fall of the western Roman Empire. Certainly, his policies led to the eventual domination of the empire by Christianity, but at great cost. In summary, he was a product of his times, a flawed leader without moral scruples, who is best remembered for his one great achievement, the growth of Christianity.

Since the time of Constantine there have been many other leaders with some of the qualities of Constantine, and there will no doubt be more to come.