Historians have argued for centuries – in the face of contradictory primary sources – both about when and how the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and the nature and extent of his faith. Was he a convinced believer, brought to a new understanding of God and the world by his own Damascene moment? And, if so, what exactly did he believe in? Or was he a pragmatist who saw his in new religious affiliation great opportunities for cementing both his own authority and the stability of the Empire he controlled? This lecture will explore the nature of religious affiliation more generally in the world of the later Roman Empire, and use it to offer new perspectives both on the received narratives of Constantine’s conversion and the broader process by which Christianity turned itself, as a result, from minority sect to world religion.
This is a video of a live lecture by Peter Heather given at Kings College London (October 2012) – “The conversion of Constantine and the Christianisation of Europe” Peter Heather is currently Professor of European Medieval History at Kings College London.