Constantine defeats Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge; the vision of Constantine is a Greek cross with ἐν τούτῳ νίκα written on it. A solidus of Constantine as well as a gold medallion from his reign depict the Emperor's bust in profile jugate with Sol Invictus, with the legend INVICTUS CONSTANTINUS. Constantine’s conversion to the Cross may have been prompted by a dream of victory. Gerberding and Moran Cruz, 55; cf. Maxentius then decided to order a retreat, intending to make another stand at Rome itself. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. Holding it was crucial if Maxentius was to keep his rival out of Rome, where the Senate would surely favour whoever held the city. But with only a narrow strip of stone and a rocking, heaving pathway of wood as a crossing, the retreat across the Tiber became a rout as Constantine’s men surged forward from their rear. After Diocletian stepped down on 1 May 305, his successors began to struggle for control of the Roman Empire almost immediately. In his later Life of Constantine, Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the Emperor himself. Oktober 312 n. Chr.’. He was a less faithful friend to Rome itself, though. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. [14] The official cults of Sol Invictus and Sol Invictus Mithras were popular amongst the soldiers of the Roman Army. over the Tiber near Rome as part of the Flaminian Way Flaminian Way, one of the principal Roman roads, the greatest artery from Rome to Cisalpine Gaul. Brian Tran Professor Stefen Chrissanthos HIST 110A 9 May 2017 Battle of Milvian Bridge While Diocletian’s inauguration as emperor in 284 A.D. managed to temporarily end the anarchy and reestablish peace and order in the Roman Empire, his unprecedented retirement as emperor 21 years later would establish a period of civil war amongst the Roman generals fighting for the throne. Surprisingly, he decided otherwise, choosing to meet Constantine in open battle. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. The accounts of the two contemporary authors, though not entirely consistent, have been merged into a popular notion of Constantine seeing the Chi-Rho sign on the evening before the battle. Constantine and the Battle at the Milvian Bridge July 18, 2016 As I indicated in my previous post, when Constantine had been acclaimed emperor by his troops in Britain (at the city of York) in 306 CE (upon the death of his father Constantius), it was taken … I cannot emphasize enough the significance of this event in world history. Maxentius' Praetorian Guard, who had originally acclaimed him emperor, seem to have made a stubborn stand on the northern bank of the river; "in despair of pardon they covered with their bodies the place which they had chosen for combat. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber during the battle; his body was later taken from the river and decapitated, and his head was paraded through the streets of Rome on the day following the battle before being taken to Africa.[3]. The Rise and Decline of Diocletian's Tetrarchy Between the years of 235 and 284 AD, Rome was ruled by no less than 26 emperors, but then, a soldier from Illyricum called Diocletian, seized power from Numerian (perpetuating the eternal pattern), but kept it. Moreover, he saw an inscription under it: “In Hoc Signo Vinae,” which meant “conquer by this sign.”Later during the night, Constantine had a dream with the sign’s explanation, where Christ appeared in front of him telling to carry the sign of the cross into the battle. Realizing that Maxentius had placed his troops too close to the river, which was in their rear, he hurled his cavalry against the enemy horsemen with the utmost force. In other circumstances this would have been nothing more than a setback: here, however, with no room to remarshal their ranks, the confusion was complete. On October 28, Constantine's forces arrived on the battlefield. Pauwels Casteels - The Battle of Milvian Bridge.jpg 1,151 × 452; 142 KB. [19] Already known as a skilful general, Constantine first launched his cavalry at the cavalry of Maxentius and broke them. Paul K. Davis writes, "Constantine’s victory gave him total control of the Western Roman Empire paving the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion for the Roman Empire and ultimately for Europe. Less often noted is the emperor’s modesty. He camped at the location of Malborghetto near Prima Porta, where remains of a Constantinian monument, the Arch of Malborghetto, in honour of the occasion are still extant. Speidel, ‘Maxentius and his Equites Singulares at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge’, M.P. The descriptions of Constantine's entry into Rome omit mention of him ending his procession at the temple of Capitoline Jupiter, where sacrifice was usually offered. consciousness than the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312.1 There are many reasons for this, most of which stem from the impact it had on the Christian church. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The defining moment of the campaign was the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Marble head of Constantine I, the only surviving piece of a giant statue that was made about 300. Battle of Milvian Bridge, (28 October 312). Let us know. OCTOBER 28th, 312AD The Battle of the Milvian bridge is one of the defining battles in world history. Galerius died in AD 311 and early the next year Constantine invaded Italy, won battles at Turin and Verona and marched on Rome. This might have gone on indefinitely had it not been for a curious turning point in Christian, and world, history: the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. Attacking, his troops slowly pushed back Maxentius' men until their backs were at the river. Omissions? Maxentius interpreted this prophecy as being favourable to himself. In 63 BC, letters from the conspirators of the Catiline conspiracy were intercepted here, allowing Cicero to read them to the Roman Senate the next day. Africa was recovered by Maxentius’s praetorian prefect, but Maxentius was killed by Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. [26] Maxentius' body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. The Battle of Milvian Bridge, located in the Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"), is by Giulio Romano and other assistants of the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael, who died in 1520. They then marched into war, accordingly, as "Christian soldiers.". Galerius, however, recognized Constantine as holding only the lesser imperial rank of Caesar. Arch of Constantine, Constantinian frieze, Battle of the Milvian Bridge.jpg 2,296 × 460; 361 KB. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. Maxentius’s forces attempted to retreat across the Tiber by way of the Milvian Bridge, but the bridge quickly became overcrowded. In the summer of 312, Constantine gathered his troops and decided to settle the dispute by force. Meaning of battle of the milvian bridge. One day before the battle, Constantine saw in the sky the sign of the cross superimposed over the sun. Milvian Bridge or Mulvian Bridge, Latin Pons Milvius or Pons Mulvius. On 27 October, the night before the battle, it is said that Constantine had a dream: he saw the sun—the object of his own worship—overlain by the figure of a cross. Some[12] have considered the vision in a solar context (e.g. Indeed, Maxentius had organised the stockpiling of large amounts of food in the city in preparation for such an event. According to ancient sources, on the evening of October 27, 312 CE, just before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine the Great was to have a vision that led him to victory with the support of a Christian god. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. In AD 312, Constantine I defeated his stronger rival Maxentius between this bridge and Saxa Rubra, in the famous Ba… [28] Constantine is thought to have replaced the former imperial guards with a number of cavalry units termed the Scholae Palatinae. A bridge was built by consul Gaius Claudius Nero in 206 BC after he had defeated the Carthaginian army in the Battle of the Metaurus. The stone-built bridge had been reduced in width in order to keep Constantine’s forces back, so Maxentius’s men had crossed the Tiber via an improvised pontoon construction. The literal meaning of the phrase in Greek is "in this (sign), conquer" while in Latin it's "in this sign, you shall conquer"; a more free translation would be "Through this sign [you shall] conquer". It is commonly understood that on the evening of 27 October with the armies preparing for battle, Constantine had a vision which led him to fight under the protection of the Christian God. Information and translations of battle of the milvian bridge in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the web. Constantine took Rome on 29 October. Eusebius then continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius, showing the Chi-Rho sign.[9]. His intention was to make a strategic withdrawal, protecting the flower of his force so that he would be able to mount a successful defense of Rome from the city walls. 1,700 years ago, the emperor Constantine marched on Rome to free Italy from the tyrant Maxentius and reunify the Roman Empire. The sources vary as to the nature of the bridge central to the events of the battle. Galerius himself marched on Rome in the autumn, but failed to take the city. This is the account given by the Christian apologist…, …at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.…. Additionally, Maxentius is reported to have consulted the oracular Sibylline Books, which stated that "on October 28 an enemy of the Romans would perish". The underlying causes of the battle were the rivalries inherent in Diocletian's Tetrarchy. E. Marlowe, "Framing the sun. Some details of that vision, however, differ between the sources reporting it. Maxentius' strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. Coins of Constantine depicting him as the companion of a solar deity were minted as late as 313, the year following the battle. Faction fighting and civil war had become endemic. Galerius ordered his co-Augustus, Severus, to put Maxentius down in early 307. as a solar halo phenomenon called a sun dog), which may have preceded the Christian beliefs later expressed by Constantine. On 28 October 312 two rival Roman Emperors – Constantine and Maxentius -faced up against each other at the Milvian Bridge in Rome. The dispositions of Maxentius may have been faulty as his troops seem to have been arrayed with the River Tiber too close to their rear, giving them little space to allow re-grouping in the event of their formations being forced to give ground. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. There is no certain evidence that Constantine ever used that sign, opposed to the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius. Constantine famously saw a vision before the battle which persuaded him and his army to paint the symbols of Christianity on their shields. Although Constantine was the son of the Western Emperor Constantius, the Tetrarchic ideology did not necessarily provide for hereditary succession. Maxentius came out to fight and was destroyed at the Milvian Bridge, which carried the Via Flaminia over the Tiber into the city. by Caius Flaminius. It was expected that Maxentius would remain within Rome and endure a siege; he had successfully employed this strategy twice before, during the invasions of Severus and Galerius. The underlying causes of the battle were the rivalries inherent in Diocletian's Tetrarchy. In Rome, the favorite was Maxentius, the son of Constantius' imperial colleague Maximian, who seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306. In 109 BC, censor Marcus Aemilius Scaurus built a new bridge of stone in the same position, demolishing the old one. As a means of escape during the stress of battle, however, it was wholly inadequate. The most important ancient sources for the battle are Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum 44; Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History ix, 9 and Life of Constantine i, 28–31 (the vision) and i, 38 (the actual battle); Zosimus ii, 15–16; and the Panegyrici Latini of 313 (anonymous) and 321 (by Nazarius). Maxentius chose to make his stand in front of the Milvian Bridge (today the Ponte Milvio), a stone bridge that carries the Via Flaminia road across the Tiber River into Rome. In 306 Constantine was declared emperor at York, but Maxentius claimed the imperial title in Rome. He followed the commands of his dream and marked the shields with a sign "denoting Christ". Both authors agree that the sign was not widely understandable to denote Christ (although among the Christians, it was already being used in the catacombs along with other special symbols to mark and/or decorate Christian tombs). Once Severus arrived in Italy, however, his army defected to Maxentius. [21] Finally, the temporary bridge set up alongside the Milvian Bridge, over which many of the Maxentian troops were escaping, collapsed, and those stranded on the north bank of the Tiber were either taken prisoner or killed. Yet those who lived in the fourth century saw the battle as just one in a list of imperial victories—and not necessarily the most significant of … The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. This left Maximinus Daia, now…, …fought the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in the name of the Christian God, having received instructions in a dream to paint the Christian monogram () on his troops’ shields. [25] After the ceremonies, Maxentius' head was sent to Carthage as proof of his downfall, Africa then offered no further resistance. [25] He staged a grand arrival ceremony in the city (adventus), and was met with popular jubilation. Various emperors portrayed Sol Invictus on their official coinage, with a wide range of legends, only a few of which incorporated the epithet invictus, such as the legend SOLI INVICTO COMITI, claiming the Unconquered Sun as a companion to the emperor, used with particular frequency by Constantine. On October 28 in 312 A.D. Constantine defeated the superior forces of his rival Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine and his army inflicted heavy losses on Maxentius and his army during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Zosimus). …and defeated Maxentius near the Milvian Bridge, not far from Rome. The main significance of the victory is that it allowed Constantine to make a small sect, Christianity, the dominant religion for the empire and for Europe. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. W. Kuhoff, ‘Die Schlacht an der Milvische Brücke – Ein Ereignis von weltgeschichtlicher Tragweite’ in K. Ehling & G. Weber (eds). Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. [13] Constantine's official coinage continues to bear images of Sol until 325/6. What does battle of the milvian bridge mean? The solar deity Sol Invictus is often pictured with a nimbus or halo. The Arch of Constantine, erected in celebration of the victory, certainly attributes Constantine's success to divine intervention; however, the monument does not display any overtly Christian symbolism. 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