Constantine: The Rise Of Rome's First Christian Emperor (Full BBC Documentary)


At the beginning of the fourth century AD, the Roman Empire faced one of the biggest crises in its history. It was now so huge that it had been carved up between for Empresses, and two in the West and two in the east.

Like rats in a sack they scrabbled for power. One man would try to unite the Empire. "One Empire, one God, one Emperor." The world will know the name of Constantine. 

Constantine would change the face of the Empire and leave the greatest legacy of any of Rome's Emperor, a new world religion. "The only row marches in the name of the one true God." Christianity.

In the autumn of 312 AD, Constantine's army was camped 40 miles north of Rome. One of the two Emperors in the West, Constantine was preparing for the decisive battle against his rival Maxentius. 

Traveling with Constantine were members of a growing new religion brothers in Christ. "He's marching tomorrow. We will be at the walls of Rome within days. Does he put his faith in God? Not yet. But the Lord will open his eyes or I will."

Constantine's enemy, the Emperor Maxentius, held the city of Rome. For six years the capital of the Empire had been suffering under his tyrannical rule. Now as Constantine approached, Maxentius consulted Rome's traditional gods, Jupiter, Apollo, and Mars.

While in Constantine's camp... "Majesty, you cannot march on Rome unless you first put your faith in the one true God. I put my faith in noone and that's why I'm still alive now. Listen to me old man you're a good scribe, you're useful but so is he. You understand the world is full of slaves and scribes." 

As Constantine troop marched toward Rome... "Majesty, my extensions has brought out troops from Sicily and Carthage they arrived yesterday. How many? tens of thousands. the country's teaming with them. majesty, shouldn't we suspend the attack? (A meteor crushed into the land) It's a sign from God..."

Nobody knows for certain what Constantine's army witnessed that day. One theory is that it was a meteorite. But what it was is less important than how it was interpreted. 

"God was speaking to you. You feel it, don't you? He's chosen you. It was a sign. Make this sign your standard paint it on every soldier shield. By this sign, you will conquer. Believe... Believe..." 

Meanwhile, Maxentius was putting the finishing touches to his battle plan.

Constantine's decision to fight under a Christian symbol was genuinely shocking. For hundreds of years, Roman soldiers had gone into battle under the banner of their traditional gods.

Shortly after dawn, Constantine's vastly outnumbered army took a position just north of Rome. To reach the city they first had to cross the river Tiber at the Milvian bridge. Maxentius' 75 thousand strong army had massed on the Roman side of the river.

Watch the complete documentary from BBC right here. Constantine's legacy is the most far-reaching and long-lasting. It's because of him that Christianity is the dominant religion of the Western world today. Amazing piece of history!

Source: BBC Documentary.

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