Sculpted Head of Emperor Constantine

Contributed by Yorkshire Museum

Head of Constantine from Roman York © York Museums Trust (Yorkshire Museum)

Constantine was the first Emperor to allow Christians to worshop freely in the Roman Empire.This is the face of the man who changed the course of religious history in the Western world - Constantine the Great. Constantine was proclaimed the new, pagan Roman Emperor in 306 AD while in York on a military campaign. York was Rome's northern military command headquarters. Around six years later, back in Italy, Constantine converted from paganism to Christianity. His "epiphany" was said to have happened on the eve of battle with a competing Emperor, Maxentius. Constantine was told in a dream to conquer by the Sign of the Cross. Constantine's army won and Constantine championed Christianity - allowing Christian worship to flourish in Western Europe. Back in York, the first Christian Bishop was installed in 314AD. Constantine is said to have converted to Christianity shortly before his death, having instigated the celebration of Christ's birth - Christmas. The head of Constantine was found at Stonegate in York.

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Declared Roman Emperor in York in AD 306


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