The Conversion of Constantine

[The first of my series of posts where I’ll be processing what I’m learning in school. Follow along to see an English major struggle through history class.]

For my Medieval European History class we had to read selections from Eusebius: The Conversion of Constantine. It’s time for me to (ever so gingerly) get my feet wet with my first history homework assignment.



In this chapter, the writer lists the reasons for Constantine’s interest in conversion. Chief among these reasons is that rulers who worship or follow several gods have all perished.

Reviewing, I say, all these considerations, he judged it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who were no gods, and, after such convincing evidence, to err from the truth; and therefore felt it incumbent on him to honor his father’s God alone.


This chapter seems to tell of the actual conversion of Constantine. He prays, asking to know God, and then sees a divine sign.

He saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, CONQUER BY THIS.


In this segment Constantine is trying to understand the meaning of the sign, and falls asleep still trying to figure it out. While he is sleeping, the sign is given to him once again. Christ charges him to make a replication of the sign and “to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.”


These chapters describe the making of the sign in the form of a cross. It is made with gold, jewels, and other precious things– an obvious representation of Constantine’s great wealth.

The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies.


In this chapter Constantine summons biblical scholars and leaders to teach him more about the God that he now serves. The priests also interpret the heavenly sign for Constantine, saying that it is a symbol of immortality, or life after death. Constantine is pleased to have more knowledge of God, and commits to read the Bible. He makes the priests his counselors, which is probably very important.

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