A New Legal Cosmos: Late Roman Lawyers and the Early Medieval Church

Authored by: Caroline Humfress

The Medieval World

Print publication date:  October  2001
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415181518
eBook ISBN: 9781315016207
Adobe ISBN: 9781136500053


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On 28 October 312 the Emperor Maxentius – a polytheist and persecutor of the Christians – rode his horse into the depths of the Tiber. Still dressed in full battle armour, the body of the pagan Maxentius was hauled out of the river by the triumphal forces of the newly converted Constantine Augustus. To a Constantinian panegyrist, writing in 313, it seemed as if even the Tiber itself wished to share in Constantine’s military victory that day:

Sacred Tiber, once advisor of your guest Aeneas, next saviour of the exposed Romulus, you allowed neither the false Romulus to live for long nor the city’s murderer to swim away. You who nourished Rome by conveying provisions, you who protected her by encircling walls, rightly wished to partake of Constantine’s victory, to have him drive the enemy to you, and you slay him. 1

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