"The interested reader could find no better starting point for exploring the man and the era than David Potter's Constantine the Emperor." The Wall Street Journal
Constantine the Emperorby David Potter
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No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity, but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage, actions. Constantine executed (or drove to suicide) his father-in-law, two brothers-in-law, his eldest son, and his once beloved wife. An unparalleled general throughout his life, planning a major assault on the Sassanian Empire in Persia even on his deathbed. Alongside the visionary who believed that his success came from the direct intervention of his God resided an aggressive warrior, a sometimes cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler. These characteristics combined together in a long and remarkable career, which restored the Roman Empire to its former glory. Beginning with his first biographer Eusebius, Constantine's image has been subject to distortion. More recent revisions include John Carroll's view of him as the intellectual ancestor of the Holocaust (Constantine's Sword) and Dan Brown's presentation of him as the man who oversaw the reshaping of Christian history (The Da Vinci Code). In Constantine the Emperor, David Potter confronts each of these skewed and partial accounts to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and readable account of Constantine's extraordinary life.
- Oxford University Press
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Meet the Author
David Potter is Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. His books include Theodora, The Victor's Crown, Emperors of Rome, and Ancient Rome: A New History.
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This is a must have book for any history junky or as a companion book for any classical history major. Written by Professor of Greek and Roman History, David Potter, aka Francis W. Kelsey, he meticulously lays out the superior reign of one of history’s most notable emperors as he not only converted to Christianity and willingly got his subjects to follow as well, but he single-handedly seized control of a vast empire while being raged against by the Goths and Persians. “Whatever people saw when they witnessed an emperor’s coming, it was also important that those who could not see him be given a clear image so they could imagine how he looked.” Potter does a superb job with breaking up the historiography of Constantine into eight parts totaling 33 chapters. Nothing is left out or sugar coated from this pertinent time in history; throughout the book you will find photographs, sketches, as well as maps to add further depth to your reading experience. While I found the book to be titillating and packed full of historical adventure, I can see where someone who isn’t into classical and ancient history might find it a bit of a dry read. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book as a wonderful addition to any home library. *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review* *You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review
This book was great. It took a bit to get into it but after a few pages it was amazing very detailed and descriptive.