Roman Empire

Constantine I, Emperor AD 307/10-337

RIC 10; Depeyrot 22/5; cf. Calicó 5194b (bust), Superb Extremely Fine

Treveri, AD 316. CONSTANTI-NVS P F AVG, laureate head of Constantine I right. Reverse: VICTORIBVS AVGG NN VOTIS, Victory standing facing, holding wreath inscribed X/XX; PTR.

Although he was excluded from the succession when his father became the Western Augustus in AD 305, Constantine I assumed this rank and defended it through the support of the army in Britannia and Gaul, sweeping away Maximian and Maxentius in the West (AD 310-312) and Licinius in the East (AD 324). The two halves of the Empire were again joined together under the reign of one Emperor. Cosntantine I is perhaps most famous for his reported vision before the battle of the Milvian Bridge (AD 313) that defeated Maxentius. In it he was said to have seen a cross superimposed on the sun with the words “In this sign conquer.” Although this story is probably a revised Christian version of a claimed vision of Sol Invictus, Constantine I went on to lay the foundations for a Christian Roman Empire, first through the Edict of Milan (AD 313) that ended persecution and restored confiscated church property, and by his later favor of Christians in official positions. At last, in AD 337, Constantine fell ill and had himself baptized before accepting the embrace of death. The very first Christian Emperor, Constantine left the Empire and the Western World on a new trajectory and forever changed.