Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Essay)

“Yet combining the accounts, as later streamlined tradition inevitably does, results in a nonexistent clarity over the event: one account places the vision on the day before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, another leaves out the night dream and betrays neither a Christian or pagan slant, while the earliest account of the Italian campaign mentions no vision or dream at all, but does assume Constantine was divinely guided: “You must share some secret with that divine mind, Constantine, which has delegated care of us to lesser gods.” Perhaps counterintuitively, the inconsistencies in the accounts may speak to the genuinely strange nature of the experience, which was remembered, retold, and reinterpreted, throughout Constantine’s life.”

— excerpt from word and silence

[Exploration of a turning point in history: the conversion of Emperor Constantine. For background, read Chapter 6: Rise and Fall of Rome in WorldView Software’s World History A.  Read more of the excerpt at word and silence; the entire article is available in the current edition of Military Heritage.]

[Featured image is a detail from the painting Constantine at the battle of Milvian Bridge by a member of the Raphaelite School.]