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14875Re: Constantine and Ardashir (slightly OT)

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  • MarcC
    May 30, 2013
      Interesting issue. I haven't studied the material in a long time, but there was a consensus that Diocletian and Constantine borrowed aspects of Persian court ritual, so borrowing the idea of a state religion doesn't seem impossible, just not very convincing. As I understand it, Aurelian tried to introduce a state religion based on the cult of Sol Invictus. Diocletian apparently accepted Sol Invictus as one of the gods of a reinvigorated polytheistic state religion. Diocletian also tried to suppress Manichaeism and Christianity because they taught intolerance of polytheism. Since Diocletian failed to eradicate either religion, Constantine's patronage of Christianity may have been essentially a return to Aurelian's policy of constructing a new state religion, based on a single god, with the emperor at its head. In this reading of history, the development of a Roman monotheistic state religion derives from internal developments within Rome rather than from borrowing external ideas. What is the latest?

      Marc Cooper
      Missouri State University

      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Jgibson <jgibson000@...> wrote:
      >
      > I have just come across a claim on another website I read that
      > Constantine's inspiration "to bind together" the Roman Empire into a
      > centralised [sic] monotheistic state" via the promotion of Christianity
      > was what went on in the Sassanid Empire under Ardashir" via his
      > promotion of Zoroastrianism, with Eusebius taking the role in
      > Constantine's program that the priest Tanzar had under Ardashir.
      >
      > Now it seems to me that the claimant is working from three questionable
      > assumptions: First, that Constantine was intent to (and did) establish
      > a centralized monotheistic state, and second, that Ardashir was not only
      > also intent to do the same thing, but was successful in doing so, and
      > that Constantine he knew what went on in Sassanid Persian regime under
      > Ardashir.
      >
      > Would anyone care to comment upon the validity of this claim and/or the
      > assumptions behind it?
      >
      > Jeffrey
      >
      > --
      > ---
      > Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
      > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd
      > Chicago, IL
      > jgibson000@...
      >
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