After the death of Nero, the last emperor of the Caesar Augustus line, in 68 CE, Rome began a slow but inexorable decline. The next two and a half centuries yielded crisis after crisis, with four new dynasties occupying the throne, all but a handful forgotten.
Not until the fourth century CE was the glory of Rome restored. In 305 CE, Constantine I became emperor. Not since the heyday of the Julio-Augustan dynasty has a Roman Emperor exerted such profound influence on the world.
In 312, while at battle, Constantine had a vision of a flaming cross in the sky at noon. He interpreted this as a sign that he should engage his legions in a holy war to wrest control of the entire Roman Empire, and to proclaim Christianity as the state religion. Guided by divine inspiration, he succeeded, winning territory from the Franks, the Visigoths, and the Sarmatians, and expanding imperial territory.
Constantine the Great’s other accomplishments include issuing the Edict of Milan, which made legal the practice of Christianity; founding the Byzantine Empire in the city that bore his name, Constantinople (now Istanbul); working with Pope Sylvester I to establish the Papacy in Rome; and building the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Arch of Constantine.
His sons—Constantine II, Constans I and Constantius II—all ascended to the throne, establishing the Constantinian Dynasty, the most significant since the days of Caesar Augustus. These four genuine ancient Roman bronze coins honor the four emperors.
DATA: Obverse: 4 bronze portrait coins of the Constantine Dynasty Reverse: Variations on allegorical figures or personifications Weight: 1-3.5 grams Diameter: 13-21 mm Album open measures: 10 13/16” x 7 6/16” Album folded measures: 5 6/16” x 7 6/16”
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