Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Constantine and the Christian Empire

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Constantine and the Christian Empire

Article excerpt

Ancient Constantine and the Christian Empire. By Charles Matson Odahl. (New York: Routledge. 2004. Pp. xviii, 400. $104.95.)

In his work Constantine and the Christian Empire, Charles Odahl strives to present a biographical study of Constantine in a style that will be useful for both the educated public and fellow scholars (p. ix). He begins the work with a chapter on the ancient sources, followed by ten chapters that cover the era of Constantine, with a final chapter dedicated to modern historiography. Odahl's stated aim is to incorporate the material sources of the period such as coins, buildings, and monuments in order to add depth to the large body of existing biographies of Constantine.

One highlight of this work is the detailed description of the political landscape of the late third and early fourth centuries. Chapters 2-5 provide a very thorough and useful description of the Crisis of the Third Century, the tetrarchy of Diocletian, and other events leading up to the emergence of Constantine as emperor in the west. Chapters 6-11 outline the reign of Constantine, highlighting the role that his faith played in his imperial policies, material building programs, and imperial coinage. The heavily-illustrated chapters make clear Odahl's emphasis upon the material sources and serve the work well. In the final chapter on modern interpretations, Odahl situates his work within recent studies on Constantine. In this chapter, he states that he follows T D. Barnes' interpretation in Constantine and Eusebius (1981) that Constantine was a religious reformer who intended to convert the empire to Christianity (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.