Constantine the Great (AD 274-337) was the first Christian emperor of Rome and founder of Constantinople.
Born at Naissus (Nish, Yugoslavia), Constantine was the son of Constantius. He was already well known as a soldier when his father died at York in 306 and he was acclaimed by the troops there as joint emperor in his father's place.
A few years later Maxentius, the joint emperor in Rome (whose sister had married Constantine), challenged his authority and mobilized his armies to invade Gaul. Constantine won a crushing victory outside Rome in 312.
During this campaign he was said to have seen a vision of the cross of Jesus superimposed upon the sun, accompanied by the words, "In this sign conquer". By the Edict of Milan in 313 he formally recognized
Christianity as one of the religions legally permitted within the Roman Empire, and in 314 summoned the hishops of the Western world to the Council of Aries.
Sole emperor of the West since 321, by defeating Licinius, the emperor in the East, Constantine became sole Roman emperor in 324. He increased the autocratic power of the emperor, issued legislation to tie the farmers and workers to their crafts in a sort of caste system, and enlisted the support of the Christian Church.
He summoned, and presided over, the first general council of the Church at Nicaea in 325. Constantine moved his capital to Byzantium on the Bosporus in 330 and renamed it Constantinople.
Why is Constantine the Great famous?
Constantine the Great was a well known Roman Emperor from 306 to 337.