RESEARCH EXERCISE 2
The Conversion of Constantine by David Potter Oxford
Emperor Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. During the battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a revelation, when he looked up to the sky he saw a cross of light above the sun with the words “in hoc signo vinces” that translates “by this win”, he ordered his troops to paint their shield with the characters chi and rho assures them of divine support and true to this Constantine won the battle.
The impact of the fall of the Western Empire of the Church
The Latin-Greek Christian philosophy continued its journey east. During the year A.D 330 the Constantine dynasty shifted the Roman Empire capital from Rome to Byzantine and renamed it the Constantinople where it thrived until its fall in 1453 when the Turks conquered it as well as the Mohammedan creed. It also allowed the Bishop of Rome rise to power. The fall of the western segment of the territory birthed the rise in status of the Bishop of Rome who remained in the west where he gained the respect of the barbarians who were nominal professing Christians. The Bishop also gained political power as Emperor in the east that fuelled the papal system. With the tumble of the Roman Domain, the church took it upon itself to educate and convert the pagan tribes that remained. By the year 1000 most tribes were converted and practicing missionary work in Europe. It also follows that after the Roman Empire tumbled, monastic living expanded. Men separated themselves from earthly practices and massed together in abbeys. They played the role of preserving the Roman along with Greek civilizations as well as spiritual strength.The fall of Rome facilitated the King and Frank tribe converting to Christianity. In A.D 496 Clovis, king of the Franks claimed to see a sign from God assuring him his victory in battle. After he won his battle he and his 3000 warriors avowed Christianity in unison, being the first case where a whole tribe professed Christianity because of their king.
The role of heretical Christianity on the advent of Islam
A heresy is a theory or a belief that is strongly in disagreement with the existing customs and beliefs. One of the heresies of the early church is the Arian conflict/Arianism. Arianism supports the notion that Christ Jesus is a lesser created being. Arianism arose in the 4th Century C.E when the church sought to find out Jesus meant in defining divinity. Arius, a Libyan priest declared that Jesus was not a divine in equal measures as God. Bishop Alexander, an absolute opponent of this view excommunicated Arius as well as all those who seconded him. Bishop Alexander claimed that these views were heretical.It is such heretical issues that may have led to the advent of Islam. The Islam religion is originally believed to be a Christian sect. Heresy in the church or heretical Christianity therefore was key in the advent of another religious grouping, Islam in particular.
List of References
Charles, Freeman. “A.D. 381- Heretics,Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State.”(2008)
Harris, Jonathan. “Byzantium and the Crusades”, Hambledon and London (2003)
Robert Browning, “The Byzantine Empire” (Washington D. C.: The Catholic U of America
P, 1992), 242.