Constantine the Populist

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It has long been acknowledged that although the reign of Constantine (d. 337 c.e.) brought new prosperity to the Christian churches, it was also an age of ever-escalating division. This essay suggests that recent scholarship on populism can help us to understand the role of conflict in Constantinian Christianity. Structured conflict, we suggest, had a recognized value as a tool for cultivating the loyalty of a following. The creation of factional loyalty, rather than spiritual unity, seems to have been the aim of the fourth-century Christian bishops and clergy. Yet it is less clear whether this goal was shared by the emperor himself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-270
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Early Christian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2019

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