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Chapter IX.—The Victory of Constantine, and the Blessings which under him accrued to the Subjects of the Roman Empire.

1. To him, therefore, God granted, from heaven above, the deserved fruit of piety, the trophies of victory over the impious, and he cast the guilty one with all his counselors and friends prostrate at the feet of Constantine.

2. For when Licinius carried his madness to the last extreme, the emperor, the friend of God, thinking that he ought no longer to be tolerated, acting upon the basis of sound judgment, and mingling the firm principles of justice with humanity, gladly determined to come to the protection of those who were oppressed by the tyrant, and undertook, by putting a few destroyers out of the way, to save the greater part of the human race.29842984    Eusebius speaks in the same way of the origin of the war in his Vita Const. II. 3. Cf. the previous chapter, note 1.

3. For when he had formerly exercised humanity alone and had shown mercy to him who was not worthy of sympathy, nothing was accomplished; for Licinius did not renounce his wickedness, but rather increased his fury against the peoples that were subject to him, and there was left to the afflicted no hope of salvation, oppressed as they were by a savage beast.

4. Wherefore, the protector of the virtuous, mingling hatred for evil with love for good, went forth with his son Crispus, a most beneficent prince,29852985    Κρίσπῳ Βασιλεῖ φιλανθρωποτ€τῳ. Crispus, the oldest son of Constantine, by his first wife Minervina, was born about the beginning of the fourth century, made Cæsar in 317, and put to death by Constantine in 326 on suspicion, whether justified or not we do not know, of conspiracy and treason. Our sources agree in pronouncing him a young man of most excellent character and marked ability; and indeed he proved his valor and military talents in the west in a campaign against the Franks, and also in the present war with Licinius, in which he won a great naval battle, and thus contributed materially to his father’s victory. His execution is the darkest blot on the memory of Constantine, and however it may be palliated can never, as it seems, be excused. Eusebius prudently omits all reference to it in his Vita Const. and extended a saving right hand to all that were perishing. Both of them, father and son, under the protection, as it were, of God, the universal King, with the Son of God, the Saviour of all, as their leader and ally, drew up their forces on all sides against the enemies of the Deity and won an easy victory;29862986    The final battle was fought in September, 323. See the previous chapter, note 4. God having prospered them in the battle in all respects according to their wish.

5. Thus, suddenly, and sooner than can be told, those who yesterday and the day before breathed death and threatening were no more, and not even their names were remembered, but their inscriptions and their honors suffered the merited disgrace. And the things which Licinius with his own eyes had seen come upon the former impious tyrants he himself likewise suffered, because he did not receive instruction nor learn wisdom from the chastisements of his neighbors, but followed the same path of impiety which they had trod, and was justly hurled over the same precipice. Thus he lay prostrate.

6. But Constantine, the mightiest victor, adorned with every virtue of piety, together with his son Crispus, a most God-beloved prince, and in all respects like his father, recovered the East which belonged to them;29872987    τὴν οἰκείαν ἑ& 252·αν ἀπελ€μβανον. Constantine’s sole right to the East was the right of conquest. and they formed one united Roman empire as of old, bringing under their peaceful sway the whole world from the rising of the sun to the opposite quarter, both north and south, even to the extremities 387of the declining day.

7. All fear therefore of those who had formerly afflicted them was taken away from men, and they celebrated splendid and festive days. Everything was filled with light, and those who before were downcast beheld each other with smiling faces and beaming eyes. With dances and hymns, in city and country, they glorified first of all God the universal King, because they had been thus taught, and then the pious emperor with his God-beloved children.

8. There was oblivion of past evils and forgetfulness of every deed of impiety; there was enjoyment of present benefits and expectation of those yet to come. Edicts full of clemency and laws containing tokens of benevolence and true piety were issued in every place by the victorious emperor.29882988    Some of these laws of Constantine have been preserved by Eusebius in his Vita Const. Bk. II.

9. Thus after all tyranny had been purged away, the empire which belonged to them was preserved firm and without a rival for Constantine and his sons alone.29892989    It is clear from this statement, as well as from the references to Crispus in the previous paragraphs, that the History was completed before his execution. See above, p. 45. And having obliterated the godlessness of their predecessors, recognizing the benefits conferred upon them by God, they exhibited their love of virtue and their love of God, and their piety and gratitude to the Deity, by the deeds which they performed in the sight of all men.

The end, with God’s help, of the Tenth Book of the Church History of Eusebius Pamphili.

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