Lea NICCOLAI (University of Cambridge)

Mittwoch, 1. Dezember 2021 17:00 (CET)

Constantine the Reader. Exegesis and Empire in the Oration to the Assembly of the Saints



What does it mean for an emperor to publicly engage in the act of reading the Scriptures? In this paper, I will seek to answer this question by considering the significance of the theme of interpretation in the propaganda of the first Christian emperor in Roman history, Constantine (r. 306-337). I will focus in particular on the piece, ascribed to him, which survived as an appendix to Eusebius’ Life of Constantine: the Oration to the Assembly of the Saints. After discussing the dating and authenticity of the Oration, I will argue that its long interpretive excursus focusing on Daniel, the Sibylline Oracles, and Virgil, far  rom being a digression, holds in fact the key to understand the message of the piece, illustrating the strategies devised by the mature Constantine to project himself as enlightened sovereign.


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Abbildung des Forum Antike-Logos

Logo von Forum Antike. Abbildung: AGAPE / D. Hack