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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Chapter XV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XV.—Treacherous Friendship, and Idolatrous Practices of Licinius.

And inasmuch as he who had lately fled before him now dissembled his real sentiments, and again petitioned for a renewal of friendship and alliance, the emperor thought fit, on certain conditions, to grant his request, 3175 in the hope that such a measure might be expedient, and generally advantageous to the community. Licinius, however, while he pretended a ready submission to the terms prescribed, and attested his sincerity by oaths, at this very time was secretly engaged in collecting a military force, and again meditated war and strife, inviting even the barbarians to join his standard, 3176 and he began also to look about him for other gods, having been deceived by those in whom he had hitherto trusted. And, without bestowing a thought on what he had himself publicly spoken on the subject of false deities, or choosing to acknowledge that God who had fought on the side of Constantine, he made himself ridiculous by seeking for a multitude of new gods.



[“He consented to leave his rival, or, as he again styled Licinius, his friend and brother, in the possession of Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt; but the provinces of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Dacia, Macedonia, and Greece, were yielded to the Western empire, and the dominions of Constantine now extended from the confines of Caledonia to the extremity of Peloponnesus.”—Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. XIV.—Bag.]


[Gibbon (chap. XIV.) says that the reconciliation of Constantine and Licinius maintained, above eight years, the tranquillity of the Roman world. If this be true, it may be regarded as one proof that our author’s work is rather to be considered as a general sketch of Constantine’s life and character than as a minutely correct historical document.—Bag.] There is either a strange lack of perspective in this account, or else Eusebius omits all account of the first wars with Licinius (314) which resulted in the division of territory mentioned in the above note. This latter view is plausible on comparison with the account in the Church History. In this view the conditions referred to above relate to the terms on which Licinius was spared on Constantia’s request, and what follows is the explanation of the alleged oath-breaking of Constantine in putting Licinius to death.

Next: Chapter XVI