Consolidating power ancient rome
The following passage from Eusebius's biography of Constantine makes the identification of Constantine and the Sun and captures the magnificence of his presence: In short, as the sun, when he rises upon the earth, liberally imparts his rays of light to all, so did Constantine, proceeding at early dawn from the imperial palace, and rising as it were with the heavenly luminary, impart the rays of his own beneficence to all who came into his presence.
It was scarcely possible to be near him without receiving some benefit, nor did it ever happen that any who had expected to obtain his assistance were disappointed in their hope.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.
In 313, the same year of the edict, Constantine sent a letter to a prefect in northern Africa to suppress the Donatists, a schismatic Christian sect: I consider it absolutely contrary to the divine law that we should overlook such quarrels and contentions, whereby the Highest Divinity may perhaps be moved to wrath, not only against the human race, but also against me myself, to whose care He has, by His celestial will, committed the government of all earthly things, and that He may so far moved as to take some untoward step.
For I shall really and fully be able to feel secure and always to hope for prosperity and happiness from the ready kindness of the most mighty God, only when I see all venerating the most holy God in the proper cult of the catholic religion with harmonious brotherhood of worship.--Jame Carroll, Constantine understood himself to be the Thirteenth Apostle of Christ charged with leading a catholic or universal church.
At dawn of day, he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends; and, then, calling together the workers in gold and precious stones, he sat in the midst of them, and described to them the figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones.-- Eusebius, On October 28, 312, as Constantine prepared for the Battle of the Milvian Bridge against his rival Maxentius, Constantine, according to his biographer Eusebius, saw the sign of Christ in the heavens.
What to the modern reader has the ring of a constructed fiction to the Late Antique and Medieval world was a fundamental reality.
And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.The cult of "Sol Invictus", begun in the third century, reflected a trend towards monotheism with Sol being "one universal Godhead" who was "recognized under a thousand names." Monotheism was understood as an effective tool for consolidating power under a single ruler who received divine election.