Book review: Constantine the great (by Michael Grant)

Title: Constantine the great

Author: Michael Grant

Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons

This book is about Emperor Constantine (306 – 337) of the Roman Empire. The author has attempted to cover many aspects of his life – his family background, his rise to supremacy, the wars he fought, his administration, his character, and his faith. The author has also included quotes from various sources, eg ancient historians, to support his views regarding the emperor.

The part I was more interested in was on Constantine embracing Christianity. Before reading this book, my knowledge of Constantine was that he was the Roman emperor who legalized Christianity, and that resulted in the empire’s conversion to Christianity. Regarding Constantine’s conversion to the faith, Michael Grant presented the political climate of that time, the motivations, the gains, and the problems faced. He implied that Constantine’s conversion was based on political considerations, which I believe is true to a certain extent.

Michael Grant ended off with an evaluation of Constantine – what the emperor had done well, what he did badly, and how his policies caused problems for later generations.

Readers who want a brief summary about Constantine are better off searching the internet because this book is very detailed and certain portions can be quite dry.

PS: I got this book from a book swap event. I have not received any form of compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the publisher or author mentioned in the post.


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