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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Section 5

Early Church Fathers  Index     

§5. Various.

Besides the more formal works mentioned above, various conversations, sayings, bon mots, prayers, &c., are preserved, among which may be mentioned:

1. Memoirs of himself, of which no portion is extant. Writings of Constantine are mentioned by Lydus (p. 194, 226), but whether the writings referred to deserve the title given by Burckhardt it is hard to say.

2. A form of prayer given by Constantine to his soldiers (V. C. 4. 20).

3. His address when the memorials of contendents, at Council of Nicæa, were brought to him (Soz. 1. 17).

4. The conversation with Acesius, for which Socrates vouches, closing, “O Acesius, set up a ladder, and do you alone climb up to heaven.”

5. His rebuke to the courtier concerning covetousness (V. C. 4. 30).

6. His answer when told his statues had been stoned, “Strange, but I feel no wound” (“Chrysost. Ad Pop. Ant.”).

7. His appeal to the bishops, requesting them to confer upon him the rite of baptism (V. C. 4. 62).

8. His Thanksgiving after baptism and testimony (V. C. 4. 63).

In general, his writings were composed in Latin, and translated into Greek by those appointed for this special purpose (V. C. 4. 32). His general style is rhetorical, rather profuse, and declamatory, abounding in pious allusion and exhortation, as well as philosophical quotation and reflection. His works are interesting to study and not without a touch here and there of genuine literary interest. A remark on friendship, for example, unless it be a product of his habit of borrowing the thoughts of other men more or less directly, is delightful and most quotable. “For it often happens,” he says, “that when a reconciliation is effected by the removal of the causes of enmity, friendship becomes even sweeter than it was before” (Const. to Alex. and Ar. in V. C. 2. 71).

Next: Chapter IV

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