The Military Exploits of the Christian Emperor
By Elizabeth James
Pen & Sword Military, $34.95, 171 pages
Constantine the Great was the first Christian Emperor of Rome. After his famous battle of the Milvian Bridge when he won against another Roman Emperor and defeated him in battle, he was converted on the way to his eventual success in becoming the sole ruler of the Roman world.
Many books have been written about Constantine over the years, and it is always a question of whether we really need another one. This one though does not solely focus on his conversion and life after becoming a Christian. Nor does it focus on just his role in running the Church in calling Councils, and making sure Christianity was tolerated throughout the Empire. This book also focuses on the military life of Constantine, from his early days when he was one of four Emperors, to his final campaign in the East against the Persians. Some attention is paid to his work as Emperor in building new cities, and the most famous in Constantinople. The author instead leaves other books to focus on that aspect of his life.
This book mostly works – it is brief. With the overwhelming focus on his military campaigns it rarely veers from that perspective. It will not appeal to everyone, as it only looks at one aspect of Constantine’s life.
Reviewed By Kevin Winter