Yesterday was the first day of the school holidays. As my dh happen to have the day off as well, we went to York to see the new Constantine the Great exhibit at the Yorkshire museum.
On 25 July 2006, it will be the 1700th anniversary of Constantine being proclaimed emperor in York in 306. To recap the history -- Constantine was the son of the Emperor Constantinius and a rather low born woman Helena. To become Emperor, Constantinius had put Helena aside and had married an emperor's daughter. However, his eldest son remained important and was at his side when he died. The Legions then proclaimed Constantine emperor. There were other claimants. He fought for his title and famously invoked seeing a cross leading him into battle outside of Rome in 312. By 324, he was the sole emperor in Rome.
Constantine's mother St Helena was a Christian.
He is responsible for legitimizing Christianity while at the same time tolerating other religions. He founded Constantinople and presided over a golden age. With his reign lasting 31 years, he was the longest serving emperor since Augustus.
And it all started in York. In fact, the York minister is built over the Headquarters building of the Roman fort. This is not a coincidence as the acclimation of Constantine was one of the most significant events of early Christian history.
The exhibition is superb and well worth a visit. They have brought objects from around the world, including a pair of woman's slippers from the period and several mattress cover fragments. These were discovered in Egypt.
We also went to York Castle museum, Betty's for lunch and Borders Where they still had last month's M&Bs out. I was able to purchase two American historical romances by writers I had heard about...A case of checking out the competition.