Thursday, August 31, 2006

the names of God

God (right) creates Adam; Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo Buonarroti.In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title. It represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relation of God to the Jewish people. In awe at the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for them, the scribes of sacred texts took pause before copying them, and used terms of reverence so as to keep the true name of God concealed. The various names of God in Judaism represent God as he is known, as well as the divine aspects which are attributed to him.

The numerous names of God have been a source of debate amongst biblical scholars — some have advanced the variety as proof that the Torah has many authors, while others declare that the different aspects of God have different names, depending on the role God is playing, the context in which he is referred to and the specific aspects which are emphasized.

The most important and most often written name of God in Judaism is the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter name of God. This name is first mentioned in the book of Genesis and is usually translated as 'the LORD'. Because Judaism forbids pronouncing the name outside the Temple, the correct pronunciation of this name has been lost—the original Hebrew texts only included consonants. Some scholars conjecture that it was pronounced "Yahweh". Hebraist Joel M. Hoffman suggests that it never had a pronunciation. The Hebrew letters are named Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh: יהוה; note that Hebrew is written from right to left, rather than left to right as in English. In English it is written as YHWH, YHVH, or JHVH depending on the transliteration convention that is used. The Tetragrammaton was written in contrasting Paleo-Hebrew characters in some of the oldest surviving square Aramaic Hebrew texts, and it is speculated that it was, even at that period, read as Adonai, "My Lord", when encountered.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Josephus on Jesus

A woodcut of Flavius Josephus by John C. Winston.In 93, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus published his work Antiquities of the Jews. The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources, even the recently recovered Arabic version, contain two passages about Jesus. The one directly concerning Jesus has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum, and its authenticity has been disputed since the 17th century. The other passage concerns James the brother of Jesus.

Testimonium Flavianum, Greek version
The passage appears in Antiquities of the Jews xviii 3.3, which, in the translation of William Whiston, reads:

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

As usual with ancient texts, the surviving sources for this passage are Greek manuscripts, all minuscules, the oldest of which dates from the 9th century. It is likely that these all derive from a single exemplar written in uncial, as is the case with most other ancient Greek texts transmitted to the present in medieval copies,
and have come down through the hands of the church. The text of Antiquities appears to have been transmitted in two halves — books 1–10 and books 11–20. But other ad hoc copies of this passage also exist. However, other manuscripts existed which did not contain this passage, and one such was known to Isaac Vossius.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Jacob Wrestling with the Angel – Gustave Doré, 1855

Jacob or Ya'akov, (יַעֲקֹב "Holder of the heel"), later known as Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל "Prince of God") is the third Biblical patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis.

Jacob was born 20 years after Isaac and Rebekah were married, at which time his father was 60 (Gen. 25:26), and Abraham, 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.

During Rebekah's pregnancy, "the children struggled together within her" (Genesis 25:22).


Sunday, August 27, 2006


The oval forum and cardo of Gerasa (Jerash) The Decapolis (Greek: deka, ten; polis, city) was a group of ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in Syria and Judea (renamed Palestine in 135 AD). The ten cities were not an official league or political unit, but they were grouped together because of their language, culture, location, and political status. The Decapolis cities were centers of Greek and Roman culture in a region that was otherwise Semitic (Jewish, Nabatean, and Aramean).

With the exception of Damascus, the "Region of the Decapolis" was located in modern-day northeastern Israel, northwestern Jordan, and southwestern Syria. Each city had a certain degree of autonomy and self-rule.

The names of the traditional Ten Cities of the Decapolis come from the Roman historian Pliny the Elder (N.H. 5.16.74).


Friday, August 25, 2006

The Last Supper

Statue of The Last Supper, used during the Good Friday procession in Qormi, MaltaIn the Christian faith, the Last Supper was the last meal Jesus shared with his apostles before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many different paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci. Christians celebrate the related events quasi-annually (annually on a Lunar Calendar) as Maundy Thursday. To the right is a Statue of The Last Supper, used during the Good Friday procession in Qormi, Malta.

In the New Testament
The meal is discussed at length in recorded in the gospel of Luke, chapter 22 of the canonical Bible. It was the seder for the Passover, and it was in the morning of the same day the Paschal lamb, for the meal, had been sacrificed.

However, under the Jewish method of reckoning time, the day was considered to begin straight after dusk, and so the Passover feast would be regarded as ocurring on the day after the lamb was sacrificed.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cradle of Humanity

States believed by some to be the Cradle of Humanity, lands falling within a 1,000-mile radius of the location described in the bible book of Genesis (2:10-14)The evangelical Protestants of the 19th century, considered the inventors of the term "Cradle of Humanity," made claims that the term originated in Mesopotamia in the 2nd century, and that it was used by early non-Christian Arabs, to refer to a geographic area that falls within a 1,000 mile radius of the spot they believed to be the birthplace of humankind. No documentation of such a historical use has been forthcoming. Nevertheless, the term has been used not only in religious, but also in secular contexts, and may therefore refer to different locations, depending on the views of the user.

Creationist View
Jewish, Christian and Muslim creationists believe that man was created by God in a place called Eden and then placed in a garden located east of Eden. In the Christian Bible, Genesis 2:10-14 indicates the Garden of Eden was supplied by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Some early Christians (A.D second century) used the term to refer to a geographic area falling within a 1,000 mile radius of that location as the birthplace of mankind.


history of Ancient Israel

1759 map of the tribal allotments of Israel  Early History
The Semitic culture followed on from the Ghassulians. People became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of which was Jericho. The area's location at the center of routes linking three continents made it the meeting place for religious and cultural influences from Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor. It was also the natural battleground for the great powers of the region. It was also subject to domination by adjacent empires, beginning with Egypt in the late 3rd millennium BCE.

Traditions regarding the early history found in later works such as the Kebra Nagast and commentaries of Rashi, Philo, and numerous others, (besides of course, the Tanakh) refer to the early inhabitants as the sons of Shem and also speak of an invasion by the people known as Canaanites descended from Ham.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Tabgha (Hebrew עין שבע Eyn Sava‘), a town situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, is the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes in Christianity (Mark 6:30-46). Its name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon ("seven springs"). St. Jerome referred to Tabgha as "the solitude" (eremos). The earliest building at Tabgha was a small chapel built in the 4th century AD.

This was probably the shrine described by the pilgrim Egeria at the end of the 4th century:

"In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish."


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Ruins of MachaerusMachaerus is a fortress fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river, in the wild and desolate hills that overlook the Dead Sea from the east. The fortress was originally built by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus (104 BC-78 BC) in about the year 90 BC (Josephus, Wars 7.6.2). It was destroyed by Pompey's general Gabinius in 57 BC (Wars 1.8.5), but later rebuilt by Herod the Great.

Flavius Josephus tells us that the Machaerus as the site of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist.

When Herod the Great died, it passed into the hands of Herod Antipas, and his foreign relations with Nabatea made the place, strategically oriented in the direction of Nabatea, of special importance to him.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Cave of Machpelah

Cave of MachpelahThe Cave of Machpelah (also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs) is considered to be the spiritual center of the ancient city of Hebron. It lies in the southwest part of the West Bank, in the heart of ancient Judea. In Hebrew it is called Me'arat HaMakhpela (מערת המכפלה, "The Cave of the 'double' caves or tombs or 'Cave of Machpelah'") because according to Jewish tradition its hidden twin caves are the burial place of four Biblical couples: (1) Adam and Eve; (2) Abraham and Sarah; (3) Isaac and Rebekah; (4) Jacob and Leah.

According to Midrashic sources, it also contains the head of Esau.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Babylonian exile

Jews being carried away to the banks of the EuphratesBabylonian captivity, or Babylonian exile, is the name generally given to the deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II.

Three separate occasions are mentioned (Jeremiah 52:28-30). The first was in the time of Jehoiachin in 597 BCE, when the temple of Jerusalem was partially despoiled, and a number of the leading citizens were removed.

After eleven years (in the reign of Zedekiah) a fresh rising of the Judaeans occurred; the city was razed to the ground, and a further deportation ensued.

Finally, five years later, Jeremiah records a third captivity. After the overthrow of Babylonia (see Babylon) by the Persians (see Persian Empire), Cyrus the Great gave the Jews permission to return to their native land (537 BCE), and more than forty thousand are said to have availed themselves of the privilege. (See Jehoiakim; Ezra; Nehemiah and Jews.) Previously, the northern tribes had been taken captive by Assyria and never returned; survivors of the Babylonian exile were all that remained of the Children of Israel. The Persians had a different political philosophy of managing conquered territories than the Babylonians or Assyrians. Under the Persians, local personages were put into power to govern the local populace.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Restored section of the fortifications that protected Constantinople during the medieval periodConstantinople was the name of the modern city of Istanbul, Turkey over the centuries that it served as the second capital of the unified Roman Empire, and after its division into East and West, of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire (from the city's ancient Greek name, Byzantium). Constantinople was located strategically between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara at the point where Europe met Asia, and was highly significant as the successor to ancient Rome and the largest and wealthiest city in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, known as the "Queen of Cities".

The city had many names throughout history. Depending on the background of people, and their language and ethnicity, it often had several different names at any given time; among the most common were Byzantium, New Rome, Constantinople and Stamboul were some.

The name of Constantinople is an honorific eponym referencing its founder, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

High Priests of Israel

The breastplate of the High Priest.This page gives one list (partly traditional) of the High Priests of Israel up to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. Because of gaps in the historical record, this list is naturally incomplete and there may be gaps.

The Kohen Gadol or Kohen ha-Gadol (Heb. כהן גדול "Great Priest") was the High Priest of early Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.

Biblical data
Aaron, though he is but rarely called "the great priest," being generally simply designated "as ha-kohen" (the priest), was the first incumbent of the office, to which he was appointed by God (Ex. xxviii. 1, 2; xxix. 4, 5). The succession was to be through one of his sons, and was to remain in his own family (Lev. vi. 15; comp. Josephus, "Ant." xx. 10, § 1).


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant may have looked similar to this chest - found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun.The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses's prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). Its primary function was for God to communicate with Moses, "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses and a later one made by Bezalel (Hertz 1936).

During the journeys of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests in advance of the host (Numbers 4:5, 6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). The Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Joshua 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17, 18). The Ark was moreover borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6, 8, 11, 12). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in badger skins, a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Roman Legion

The Roman legion (from Latin legio, legionis, f., from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) was the basic military unit of the ancient Roman army. It consisted of a core of heavy infantry (legionaries), with auxiliary cavalry and ranged troops, typically skirmishers. The size of a typical legion varied widely throughout the history of ancient Rome, with complements ranging from 5000-6000 men in the republican period of Rome, to the fairly standard number of around 5,400 in the early and middle imperial period and finally to on average 1000-2000 men in the very late imperial period. As legions were not standing armies until the Marian reforms (c. 107 BC), and were instead created, used, and disbanded again, several hundred Legions were named and numbered throughout Roman history. To date, about 50 have been identified. In the time of the Early Roman Empire, there were usually about 28 standing Legions plus their Auxiliaries, with more raised as needed.

Due to the enormous military successes of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire the legion has long been regarded as the prime ancient model for military efficiency and ability.


Byzantine Empire

Map of the Roman Empire ca. 395, showing the dioceses and praetorian prefectures of Gaul, Italy, Illyricum and Oriens (east), roughly analogous to the four Tetrarchs‘ zones of influence after Diocletian's reformsByzantine Empire (Greek: Βασιλεία) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. In certain specific contexts, usually referring to the time before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it is also often referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire. There is no consensus on the starting date of the Byzantine period. Some place it during the reign of Diocletian (284–305) due to the administrative reforms he introduced, dividing the empire into a pars Orientis and a pars Occidentis. Some consider Constantine the Great its founder. Others place it during the reign of Theodosius I (379–395) and Christendom's victory over Roman religion, or, following his death in 395, with the division of the empire into western and eastern halves. Others place it yet further in 476, when the last western emperor, Romulus Augustus, was forced to abdicate, thus leaving sole imperial authority to the emperor in the Greek East.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Miracles of Jesus

Resurrection of Lazarus by Juan de Flandes, around 1500.According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus performed many miracles in the course of His ministry. The majority of them are various cures, although there are a large number of exorcisms, three instances of raising the dead, and various other miracles that do not fit into these categories.

Power over death
The Gospels report three cases where Jesus calls a dead person back to life. In one, the daughter of Jairus had just died, and Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her with a word. Another case involves a young man being brought out for burial. When Jesus sees his widowed mother, he has pity and raises him from the dead. The third case involves a close friend of Jesus, Lazarus (right), who has been four days in the tomb.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum  The Rosetta Stone is a dark grey-pinkish granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Koine Greek. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs (a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements).

Ptolemy V assumed the crown at the age of five after a rather turbulent time in Egyptian history. The young ruler was faced with the daunting task of reclaiming lands lost to various invaders and reunifying his country's populace. As an attempt to reestablish legitimacy for the ruler and create a royal cult, Ptolemy's priests issued a series of decrees. The decrees were inscribed on stones and erected throughout Egypt. The Rosetta stone is a copy of the decree issued in the city of Memphis.


Ancient Egypt

The Great Sphinx Giza Plateau, Cairo. Khafre‘s Pyramid in the background.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization located along the Lower Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north to as far south as Jebel Barkal at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). It lasted for three millennia, from circa 3200 BC to 343 BC, ending when Artaxerxes III conquered Egypt. As a civilization based on irrigation it is the quintessential example of a hydraulic empire.

Egypt was a transcontinental nation located mostly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula lying in Asia.

The country has shorelines on the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Suez; it borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip, Palestine and Israel to the east.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


the River Nile, with the Blue and White Nile marked in those coloursThe Nile in Africa, is one of the two longest rivers on Earth.

The word "Nile" ('nIl) comes from the word Neilos (Νειλος), a Greek name for the Nile. Another Greek name for the Nile was Aigyptos (Αιγυπτος), which itself is the source of the name "Egypt."

There are two great branches of the Nile: the White Nile, from equatorial East Africa, and the Blue Nile, from Ethiopia. Both branches formed on the western flanks of the East African Rift, which is the southern African part of the Great Rift Valley.

Lake Victoria, which lies between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, is considered to be the source of the Nile, although the lake itself has feeder rivers of considerable size from the other Great Lakes of Africa. In particular, the farthest headstream of the Nile is the Ruvyironza River in Burundi, which is an upper branch of the Kagera River. The Kagera flows for 690 km (429 miles) before reaching Lake Victoria.


Tribe of Judah

The lion is the symbol of the Tribe of Judah. It is often represented in Jewish art, such as this sculpture outside a synagogueThe Tribe of Judah (hebrew: יְהוּדָה, "praise";) is one of the Hebrew tribes of Israel, founded by Judah, son of Jacob. (see also sons of Jacob)

Together with the Tribe of Benjamin, descendants of Judah eventually formed the southern kingdom of Judah in the ancient land of Israel, when the kingdom of Israel was divided. These two tribes were thus not carried into captivity with the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel when it fell. This started the tradition (some say myth) of the ten lost tribes of Israel.

As the Tribe of Benjamin was always very much the minor partner, in time the tribe of Judah became identified with the entire Israelite nation, and even the entire Hebrew nation, and gave their name to the Jews.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Temple of Herod

A Greek language inscription from the Temple of Herod, late 1st century BCE. It warns gentiles to refrain from entering the Temple enclosure, on pain of death.
Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was a massive expansion of the Second Temple along with renovations of the entire Temple Mount. Herod the Great's expansion project began around 19 BCE. The renovation by Herod began with the building of giant underground vaults upon which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small flat area on top of Mount Moriah. Ground level at the time was at least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking the Western Wall tunnels. The edge of this platform remains everywhere; part of it forms the Western Wall.

In 1948, Jordan destroyed the Jewish Quarter and much more of the wall was revealed along the southern side.


Friday, August 04, 2006


Depiction of Richard I overlooking Jerusalem, in Punch Magazine, December 1917.The Crusades were a series of several military campaigns—usually sanctioned by the Papacy—that took place during the 11th through 13th centuries. Originally, they were Roman Catholic Holy Wars to recapture Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims, but some were directed against other Europeans, such as the Fourth Crusade against Constantinople, the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars of southern France and the Northern Crusades.

Beyond the medieval military events, the word "crusade" has evolved to have multiple meanings and connotations. For additional meanings see usage of the term "crusade" below and/or the dictionary definition.

The origins of the crusades lie in developments in Western Europe earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the deteriorating situation of the Byzantine Empire in the east.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Edom (אֱדוֹם)

Map showing kingdom of Edom (in red) at its largest extent, c. 600 BCE. Areas in dark red show the approximate boundary of classical-age Idumaea.Edom (אֱדוֹם), a Hebrew word meaning "red", is a name given to Esau in the Hebrew Bible (Gen. 25:30), as well as to the nation purportedly descended from him. The nation's name in Assyrian was Udumi; in Greek, Idoumaía; in Latin, Idumæa or Idumea.

The Edomite people were a Semitic-speaking tribal group inhabiting the Negev Desert and the Aravah valley of what is now southern Israel and adjacent Jordan. The region has much reddish sandstone, which may have given rise to the name "Edom". The nation of Edom is known to have existed back to the 8th or 9th Century BCE, and the Bible dates it back several centuries further. Recent archeological evidence may indicate an Edomite nation as long ago as the 11th Century BCE, but the topic is controversial. The nation ceased to exist with the Jewish-Roman Wars.



David and Goliath by Caravaggio, c. 1599.King David (Standard Hebrew דָּוִד, Davíd, "Beloved", Tiberian Hebrew Dāwíð; Arabic داوود, Dā'ūd, "Beloved") was the second king of the united kingdom of Israel (c. 1005 BC – 965 BC) and successor to King Saul. His life and rule are recorded in the Hebrew Bible's books of First Samuel (from chapter 16 onwards), Second Samuel, First Kings and Second Kings (to verse 4). First Chronicles gives further stories of David, mingled with lists and genealogies.

He is depicted as the most righteous of all the ancient kings of Israel - although not without fault - as well as an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet (he is traditionally credited with the authorship of many of the Psalms). 2 Samuel 7:12-16 states that God was so pleased with David that He promised that the Davidic line would endure forever; Jews therefore believe that the Jewish Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David, and Christians trace the lineage of Jesus back to him through both Mary and Joseph.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The Roman Forum was the central area around which ancient Rome developed
Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew out of the city-state of Rome, founded on the Italian peninsula around 800 BC. During its twelve-century existence, the Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an oligarchic republic to a vast empire. It came to dominate Western Europe and the entire area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea through conquest and assimilation. The western half of the empire, including Hispania, Gaul, and Italia, eventually succumbed to a number of factors and broke into independent kingdoms in the 5th century (see The Roman Empire). The eastern empire, governed from Constantinople, is referred to as the Byzantine Empire after 476 AD.

The city of Rome grew from settlements around a ford on the river Tiber, a crossroads of traffic and trade. According to archaeological evidence, the village of Rome was probably founded sometime in the 9th century BC by members of two central Italian tribes, the Latins and the Sabines, on the Palatine, Capitoline, and Quirinal Hills.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Constantine the Great

Head of Constantine's colossal statue at Musei CapitoliniGaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (Latin: IMP CÆSAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTINVS PIVS FELIX INVICTVS AVGVSTVS) (February 27, 272–May 22, 337), commonly known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or (among Orthodox Christians) Saint Constantine, was proclaimed Augustus by his troops on July 25, 306 and ruled an ever-growing portion of the Roman Empire until his death. Constantine is famed for his refounding of Byzantium (modern Istanbul) as "Nova Roma" (New Rome) or Constantinople (Constantine's City).

Constantine is best remembered in modern times for the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Council of Nicaea in 325, which fully legalized Christianity in the Empire for the first time. These actions are considered major factors in that religion's spread, and his reputation as the "first Christian Emperor" has been promulgated by historians from Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea to the present day, though he himself was baptized only on his death bed.





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