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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Section 2

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 421 §2. Inherited Characteristics.

The fact of the inheritance of character, virtues or vices as the case may be, curiously recognized in various nations and ancient philosophies (cf. Ribot. Heredity, N.Y. 1875, p. 375–6), and even in the ten commandments, has received the clearer exposition of modern science. In view of it, a scientific study of character considers antecedent generations. Biography rests properly on genealogy. Constantine’s father, Constantius Chlorus, was a man of great mildness, self-possession, and philosophic virtue, just, and a Neo-Platonist of the best type, a monotheist and philanthropist (cf. Sinclair, in Smith & W. 1. 661–2). Constantine is said to have inherited his father’s strength, courage, personal appearance (Eumen. Paneg. c. 4), piety (Pseud.-Leo, p. 83; cf. Const. and Euseb. in V. C. 2. 49), and general virtues. The slur of Zosimus on the character of Constantine’s mother seems to have been quite gratuitous. Her relation to Constantius was in nowise incompatible with virtue, and the honor afterwards paid her, along with the indisputable good early training of Constantine which was with her, indicate a woman of unusual character. The later enterprise and activity with the honors and responsibilities given her show her to have been of very considerable energy and ability.


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