Constantine: Turning Point for Popular Religion - An examination of the advantages and disadvantages for the Church, and a discussion on how the conversion of Constantine was a turning point

Garner, Gary O. (2003) Constantine: Turning Point for Popular Religion - An examination of the advantages and disadvantages for the Church, and a discussion on how the conversion of Constantine was a turning point. (Unpublished)

PDF (42kB)


The period leading up to the rein of Constantine over the Western Roman Empire was one often plagued with Christian persecution. Whilst oppression of the Jews did feature prior to establishment of the Roman Empire, the capturing of Jerusalem by the Roman General Pompey in 63BC meant that all the Holy Land including the provinces of Palestine became subject to Rome.

Thus commenced Roman persecution of the Church - not to mention the death of thousands of Christian martyrs - for the next 400 years. The nature and extent of the persecution varied, however some of the more grisly episodes included burning Christians alive to illuminate Emperor Nero’s gardens in the early first century, a particularly savage but short-lived torturing and execution of Christians at Gaul (Lyons and Vienne), attempted complete extermination of Christianity under Decius around 250, and arguably the worst persecution of all in the very early fourth century under the Roman Emperor Diocletion.

Diocletion carried out a major remodelling of the Empire until his abdication in 305. In March 303 the order was given to exterminate all churches and scriptures, with Christians losing their entire civil rights and where imprisonment, torture and execution lay ahead for those unwilling to sacrifice to the Emperor. Whilst the edict for these terrible persecutions applied mainly in the East, upon Diocletian’s abdication his successor, Galerius, continued the goal of exterminating Christianity. However, the population at large was becoming increasingly sickened by the bloodbath, paving the way for an ending of the era of persecution.

This paints the picture prior to the conversion of Constantine and his subsequent ascension as sole ruler of the Empire in 324 AD whereupon comparative total freedom for Christians was achieved.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

889 since deposited on 27 Apr 2007
60 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 7233
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Keywords: Church, conversion, Constantine, Western Roman Empire, Christian, persecution, Jew, General Pompey, Palestine, martyr, Emperor Nero, torture, execution, Decius, Emperor Diocletion
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History) (220401)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Gary Garner
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:39

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page