Die Zeit Constantins des Großen (German Edition)

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ISBN 13: 9781279008195

Best Selling in Nonfiction See all. Unfreedom of The Press by Mark R. Levin , Hardcover Blue Book of Gun Values 40 40th Edition. Sabatine Ringbound, Revised Edition, Steve 's review Dec 30, Constantine the Great The Roman Empire and its neighbors during the third and fourth centuries of our era, with an emphasis on the half century from the rise of Diocletian to the death of Constantine - such is the general topic of Die Zeit Constantins des Grossen , which was the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt's first major work and one of the relatively few books he published before renouncing the writing of books for publication altogether.

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Nonetheless, Burckhardt did not avoid the discussion of great men and important events. Indeed, Diocletian and Constantine the "Great" come in for a lot of attention in this text, though Burckhardt's primary interest in Diocletian is his unique attempt to solve the recurring problem of how to replace an emperor without an empire-convulsing period of warfare between rival pretendants to the throne and musing on how Diocletian was able to keep his co-rulers in line, even convincing his co-emperor Maximian to retire with him after their 20 year co-rule.

Constantine put a quick end to Diocletian's idea, but more about him later. Otherwise, Diocletian is portrayed as a particularly successful exemplar of a long string of former generals made emperor by their essentially private armies.


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  8. The sections on Egypt were particularly fascinating. Model reconstruction of Diocletian's palace in Spalato now Split, Croatia ; portions are still standing today. Burckhardt examines at length the evidence for the state of Greco-Roman religion and concludes that the life had gone out of the old beliefs, that philosophy had placed the gods to the side to endlessly regard their own perfection or had abstracted them away altogether, that Greco-Roman mythology had been reduced to a conventional ornament for art and literature, that serious drama had disappeared leaving only the crudest kinds of comedies and farces, and that a syncretism consisting primarily of religions and superstitions originally to be found in the North African and Near Eastern provinces, as well as Persia, occupied the spiritual energies of the Roman people.


    • The Rig Veda.
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    Christianity was just one of these, but Burckhardt argues that it had the advantage of promising a very simple way to eternal bliss, whereas its competitors required more complicated exertions to attain their heavens. Apparently, this was a bit too syncretic for some - the priestly emperor was murdered and the stone shipped back to Syria.

    Interestingly, Burckhardt portrays Neo-Platonism as a symptom of this shift in the Zeitgeist.

    Steve (The United States)’s review of Die Zeit Constantins des Großen

    In fact, with the exception of Plotinus and Porphyrius, he sees Neo-Platonists in the third and fourth centuries as fabulists and frauds occupied with magic and demonology. There is so much else packed into this book, including an insightful overview of all aspects of late imperial art and literature and an examination of what could have brought Diocletian in the eighteenth year of his reign to let loose a terrible scourge against the Christians, but I must try to end this review.

    So let me say a few words about the eponymous figure, Constantine. When his father, who had moved up to Imperator Augustus when Diocletian and Maximian retired, died in York, his army declared Constantine Augustus. This was the beginning of a typically complicated and lengthy civil war out of which Constantine emerged as last man standing, and in the process of which he turned on his ally and brother-in-law, Licinius.

    All of the contenders and their families were killed, including the widow and daughter of Diocletian, who himself committed suicide rather than respond to a probably fatal summons from Constantine and Licinius.

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    Such was his thanks for giving up the reins of power. A few years after the end of the civil war, Constantine had his own son, Crispus, and his own wife, Fausta, killed. So it could hardly startle that he also had his sister's eleven year old son killed. But do let Burckhardt tell you the story of a ruthless man without any hint of moral conscience. It makes quite a contrast with the received notions. Jacob Burckhardt was one of the greatest historians of the nineteenth century.

    He was professor of History and the History of Art at the University of Basel from to , and was a mentor to Friedrich Nietzsche.

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    Jacob Burckhardt.

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