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Sacred FoundersWomen, Men, and Gods in the Discourse of Imperial Founding, Rome through Early Byzantium$
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Diliana N. Angelova

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284012

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284012.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2019

The Christian Founders Constantine and Helena

The Christian Founders Constantine and Helena

Chapter:
(p.111) 4 The Christian Founders Constantine and Helena
Source:
Sacred Founders
Author(s):

Diliana N. Angelova

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520284012.003.0004

This chapter examines how Constantine transformed the discourse of imperial founders that Augustus had bequeathed to later emperors—first, by breaking with ancestral myths and religion and, second, by empowering Helena. It argues that Constantine’s founding of Constantinople interrupted the symbolic line of sacred founders that stretched back to Romulus and elevated instead Constantine as the head of a new, Christian, line of founders. In his new capital, the emperor signaled these ruptures of tradition with his mausoleum and with urban development. Constantine pioneered another innovation by granting his mother, the Augusta Helena, unprecedented authority. Over the course of the 400s and the 500s, Helena’s legacy of energetic actions, urban development, and travel steered the discourse of imperial founding in novel ways, ones that prompted imperial women to act.

Keywords:   Constantine, divination, arch of Constantine, battle of the Milvian Bridge, Apollo, Constantiniana Dafne coins, Holy Apostles, Eusebius, Helena, Sessorian Palace, Helenopolis

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