The Edict Of Milan Essay

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The Edict of Milan (313) was a milestone document promising “to give both to Christians and to all others free facility to follow the religion which each may desire”. Although on the surface it appears that the Edict of Milan was a genuine attempt to give equality before the law to Christians, who were severely persecuted under the previous Emperor Diocletian (r. 284- 305), in reality, a number of political, social and ideological influences on Emperors Constantine (r. 306- 337) and Licinius (r. 308- 324) reveal further motivations for the creation of the edict; primarily among these factors- their political cunning. The political context of the time period gives reasoning to Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, and thereby his motives for the creation of the edict. The Edict of Milan was written in 313 CE; directly following a victory by Constantine at Milvian Bridge in 312, which Constantine attributed to a sign from the Christian God.(1) Constantine believed the Christian God to be the most powerful of all the Gods; to not show support for the Christian God could mean to incur his wrath, but to make peace with him was to have a…show more content…
Conclusion/ Outcomes: Ultimately, Constantine and Licinius’ motivations for the creation of the Edict of Milan were not purely ideological, but rather careful political and social calculations. Although they may have held a genuine belief in Christianity, the political and social benefits of aligning themselves with the Christian God far outweigh the purely ideological enlightenments. Ultimately, Constantine and Licinius were both motivated by their pursuit of power, in creating the Edict. Constantine, in his desire to be backed by the power of the Christian God, and Licinius by his desire for expanding his own
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