Ideological Background of Emperor Constantine’s Religious Policy
TheoRhēma 10/2 (2015)
Posted: 18 Apr 2016 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016
Date Written: 2015
By the middle of the 3rd century the once glorious Roman Empire was past its prime. It was considerably weakened both economically and socially. Emperor Constantine the Great expected the intensification of monotheistic religiousness to solve the severe–seemingly hopeless–situation. He was hardly familiar with matters of theology, but was quite sure that he can achieve the stability of his own power by combining the strongest religions of the Empire ideologically. In the spirit of this policy, Christianity and sun-worship got close to each other, and the emperor supported both. What is interesting about the aforementioned process of combining religions is that the Christians of the 4th century did not object to this tendency. On the contrary, they considered it to be the evidence of divine Providence.
Keywords: syncretism, sun-worship, genius, solar monotheism, political stability, Romanism, Byzantinism
JEL Classification: A10
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