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Constantine and the Captive Christians of PersiaMartyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity$
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Kyle Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520289604

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520289604.001.0001

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Memories of Constantine in the Acts of the Persian Martyrs

Memories of Constantine in the Acts of the Persian Martyrs

(p.154) Six Memories of Constantine in the Acts of the Persian Martyrs
Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia

Kyle Smith

University of California Press

This chapter examines how the Syriac martyrdom narratives that are set during Shapur II's persecution narrate and conceptualize the role and influence of Constantine. More specifically, it considers images of Constantine (and, more vaguely, “Caesar”) in several late ancient Syriac martyrdom narratives in order to determine how, when, and under what circumstances references to the emperor are deployed. It also explores how the authors of Syriac martyrdom narratives positioned the Christians of Persia vis-à-vis the Roman Empire and how the Constantine of the Acts of the Persian Martyrs is at once a multiple and an ephemeral character. Finally, it discusses two stories that have been told about Constantine, Shapur, and the persecution of Persian Christians: the Western account and the Eastern account. Two texts are analyzed in this regard: the History of Mar Ma'in and the History of Mar Qardagh.

Keywords:   persecution, Syriac martyrdom, Shapur II, Constantine, Roman Empire, Acts of the Persian Martyrs, Persian Christians, History of Mar Ma'in, History of Mar Qardagh

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