Historians who viewed imperial Rome in terms of a conflict between pagans and Christians have often regarded the emperor Constantine's conversion as the triumph of Christianity over paganism. But in Constantine and the Bishops, historian H. A. Drake offers a fresh and more nuanced understanding of Constantine's rule and, especially, of his relations with Christians.
Constantine, Drake suggests, was looking not only for a god in whom to believe but also a policy he could adopt. Uncovering the political motivations behind Constantine's policies, Drake shows how those policies were constructed to ensure the stability of the empire and fulfill Constantine's imperial duty in securing the favor of heaven.
Despite the emperor's conversion to Christianity, Drake concludes, Rome remained a world filled with gods and with men seeking to depose rivals from power. A book for students and scholars of ancient history and religion, Constantine and the Bishops shows how Christian belief motivated and gave shape to imperial rule.
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