Andreas Alfoldi argued that Constantine personally converted to Christianity, although he did not immediately act against paganism.4 Alfoldi's work is important because it emphasizes the power of the Senate, and it argues that political issues would have combined with religious belief to influence Constantine's policies.
Similarly, Michael Grant argues that Constantine personally converted to Christianity, and, like Baynes, Grant argues that Constantine also used Christianity to further his ultimate goal of uniting the Roman Empire.5 Grant is also important because he evaluates every source, including the coinage of the period; many other works have failed to produce convincing arguments because they did not thoroughly question the sources.
This paper relies in part on several of Constantine's letters and edicts that were reproduced by Eusebius and Lactantius. True, these historians are not free from biases, but if one wants to understand Constantine and his policies, these sources must be used to some extent.6 In addition, the authenticity of the documents that were reproduced by Eusebius and Lactantius has been attested by several scholars.7 In the end, however, a compromise between dismissal and acceptance must be achieved. Michael Grant uses the letters and edicts attributed to Constantine, but he remains wary of such evidence for several reasons,8 and it is his example that is followed here. The letters and edicts that are attributed to Constantine is used, but used with caution, in this paper.
4. Andreas Alfoldi, The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome. (Oxford, 1948).
5. Michael Grant, Constantine the Great: The Man and His Time. (New York, 1994).
6. Grant, 4.
7. See Baynes, 4 and Alfoldi, 2. Baynes argues that most of the letters that appear in the ancient sources are genuine. Similarly, Alfoldi believes that, while such writings have been authenticated, too many scholars have unjustly dismissed them as biased or inaccurate.
8. See Grant, 10, 5. Grant sees two potential sources of inaccuracies in the reproduced documents. First, Constantine was surrounded by learned men at his court, such as Ossius of Cordoba, and any letters and edicts that he intended to produce may have been edited or even written by his followers. These documents still would have retained the overall ideas put forth by Constantine, but their exact wording and style would have been altered. Secondly, the overall nature of the works produced by Eusebius and Lactantius contain their biases, and these cannot be forgotten.