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The Long Shadow of Constantine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2014

Kate Cooper*
Affiliation:
University of Manchester

Extract

The fifth-century Christian writer Sozomen of Constantinople preserves a story told by certain pagans about the philosopher Sopater of Apamea, whom the emperor Constantine put to death in a.d. 333 on the advice of the Christian Flavius Ablabius, then Praetorian Prefect of the East. Constantine had consulted the philosopher — so the story goes — in an attempt to redress his guilt at having ordered the murder of some of his nearest relations, among them his son Crispus. But Sopater replied that such moral defilement could admit of no purification. Afterwards, on meeting some Christian bishops, Constantine was delighted to learn that the sins of those who truly repented could be washed away in Christian baptism. It was this that led him to adopt the faith, and to encourage his subjects to do the same.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2014. Published by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies 

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References

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