Rome The First Christian Empire
Gainesville Coins offers the chance to own an ancient bronze coin minted by one of the Christian Emperors of Rome! Struck with a variety of designs, these coins were issued by Christian Roman emperors beginning with Constantine the Great, and lasting through his descendants and successors.
Constantine The Great: The First Christian Emperor
Under the Emperor Diocletian, professing to believe in Jesus as God was a crime punishable by death. He considered anyone who refused to sacrifice to the Roman Gods as an enemy of the state. Churches and homes of Christians were seized; Bibles were confiscated and burned; those refusing to renounce their Christian belief were publicly put to death, sometimes simply from anonymous accusations.
This all changed when Constantine became the ruler of the Roman Empire.
Constantine was the son and second-in-command to his father Constantius, emperor of the Western Roman Empire. When Constantius died suddenly in 306 AD, his troops proclaimed Constantine emperor. However, a civil war broke out when Maxentius, son of a former emperor, declared himself Augustus in Rome. Constantine marched to Italy with his legions, meeting Maxentius' troops at the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber River, at the entrance to Rome.
The day before the battle, Constantine, who worshipped the Roman gods, beheld a vision of a Christian cross above the Sun, surrounded by the words "In this sign, you will conquer". The morning of the battle, he had the Chi-Ro symbol of Christ painted on the shields of his troops. The battle was a complete victory for Constantine. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber while trying to escape, as his troops were destroyed.
As undisputed Emperor of the West, Constantine reversed the edicts of Diocletian. In 313 AD, he met with his counterpart Licinius, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, to jointly issue the Edict of Milan, which decriminalized Christianity.
In 328 AD, Constantine became the sole ruler of both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He founded a new Imperial capitol in Byzantium - a Roman capitol devoted to Christianity. Constantine financed the building of great churches, and established the role of Roman Emperors as protectors of the Christian Church.
Later Christian Emperors
While Christianity made great strides in the decades afterward Constantine, with emperors professing their faith and working to suppress the old pagan gods, it wasn't until 380 AD under Theodosius I that Christianity was proclaimed the one and only state religion of Rome.
Your bronze "Rome The First Christian Empire" coin comes in a protective pocket, housed in a custom presentation folder. Your coin will date from some time between the rule of Constantine, through the reigns of his sons and later successors through the fifth century.