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Many prominent historians have studied the conversion of Constantine, with varying methods and conclusions. There have been many works on the topic of Constantine's conversion. Some, like Jacob Burkhardt's, are important because they demonstrate what not to do. Others, like Michael Grant's, provide an example on how to best treat the available sources. The works of Norman Baynes and Andreas Alfoldi are primarily important because they introduced new ways of thinking about the conversion.

Jacob Burkhardt wrote an account of the conversion of Constantine in which he portrays the emperor as a cold and calculating politician who used Christianity to unite the Roman Empire under him.2 Burkhardt did not understand Constantine within the context of the time, as he depicts Constantine as a non-religious man.

Norman Baynes' work on the conversion of Constantine uses the correspondence of Constantine as its primary source of evidence for the conversion; this work is significant because it uses documents that scholars often see as biased and inaccurate, although Baynes states that other scholars have proven the documents' authenticity.3 Baynes argues that Constantine identified himself with Christianity, not simply philosophical monotheism, and that Constantine also believed that Christianity could unite the Roman Empire. Baynes also addresses the shortcomings of Burkhardt's work, as Baynes emphasizes placing Constantine within the context of his historical time period.


2. Jacob Burckhardt, The Age of Constantine the Great, trans. by Moses Hadas (Los Angeles, 1949).
3. Norman Baynes, Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (London, 1930).
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