"Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor" by Paul Stephenson, is an easy read from the non-academic. The narrative takes the reader through the life and events of Constantine's life. From his early family history, through the turbulent years of the Tetrarchy, to his founding of Constantinople.
Constantine would go on to unite the eastern and western halves of the Empire, establishing a new ceremonial stage, his eponymous victory city, Constantinople. This was not a new capital to replace Rome, nor was it an exclusively Christian construction. Yet it became the greatest Christian city in the world, the capital of Byzantium even as Rome itself fell to barbarian hordes.
"Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor" is separated in three parts: Faith and Power in the Third Century, Constantine Invictus, and Victor Constantine.
The first part explores the dynamics and interplay of Imperial politics, the Roman Army, religious cults, the challenges facing the far flung Roman Empire, and the how and why Christianity rose in popularity.
The historical magnitude of Constantine's life is explained by one fact: he was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. But Constantine did not make Christianity the official religion of the Roman state, nor was his conversion the reason for the rapid growth of Christianity in the fourth century A.D.
-the author, from Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor
The second part, Constantine Invictus, deals with Constantine's early life and gradual conversion to Christianity, and his the rise to Imperial power through his father, Constantius Chlorus, and the Tetrarchy.
The third part is Constantine's reorganization of the Empire, legalization of Christianity, and the building of Constantinople as new era of the Roman Empire.
The book is interesting in that Paul Stephenson illustrates how Constantine's reign paved the way to the Medieval era and laid the foundations to the modern world. Echos of which reverberate throughout world to this day
Constantine has 24 pages with 60 illustrations of late Imperial art and monuments. It is also supplied with detailed maps, genealogies, and indexes.
Paul Stephenson is Professor of Byzantine History. His areas of focus are Byzantine political and cultural history; the history and historiography of Southeastern Europe, medieval to modern; and religious warfare. Stephenson currently teaches at Radboud University in the Netherlands.