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Church And State In The Fourth Century

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Chapter Summary

Constantine's adoption of the Christian God following his victory over Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 is a watershed moment in world history for it ushered in a new relationship between Christian church and Roman state that would have consequences affecting both institutions for the remainder of their respective histories. In the period following the reign of Constantine, many of his Christianizing measures were retained by his successors. In his surviving writings Julian claims great success in bringing his troops back to the traditional religion. The church started to address the role of Christians within the Roman army in the very first ecumenical council at Nicaea in 325. The death of Constantine himself exemplifies the continuing religious ambiguity of the Constantinian dynasty, for, before drawing his last breath, he remembered to accept formal baptism into the Christian faith.

Keywords: Christians; Constantine; Julian; Nicaea; Roman army; Roman state

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