Ancient Emperors, Deathbed Memoir
ANCIENT EMPERORS, DEATHBED MEMOIR 6
AncientEmperors, Deathbed Memoir
AncientEmperors, Deathbed Memoir
BeforeI invite the Bishop of Nicomedia to baptize me, let share a briefaccount of life as the emperor of the great Roman Empire. My life wastransformed from the day I was appointed as the Caesar of my empireway back in AD 293 (Van Dam, 2007). My appointment paved the way formy esteemed membership on the prestigious Diocletian court. That wasthe time when the empire was facing the greatest against thePersians. Before a lay down what a feel were my greatest achievementsfor the empire and the generations to come.
Contributionsto the Art of War
Imust underscore the internal challenge I faced on my way to thethrone. As many would attest, I had a conflict with Maxentius aboutwho, between him and I, should take charge of the Diocletiantetrarchy. Maxentius was instrumental in seizing North Africa andItaly. His political stature could not, therefore, be underestimatedamong our contemporaries. During the same period, I had just takenover from my late father as the emperor. Both of us wanted to be theemperor. A battle for power was imminent and inevitable. In 312,Turin and Verona were our Battle grounds, which I defeated Maxentiusand subdued his troops to hostage. I thought it was over, butMaxentius could not give up that soon. We faced off again at theMilvian Bridge. I came out victorious. I mention these two battlesnot to brag and offend Maxentius, but underscore its importance tothe history of Christianity. I would have chosen to take power alonebut I decided to share it to Lucinius to control the easternterritory of the empire. I had n idea he was capable of going againstour creed as political partners. I decided to take him out of powerfor he had gradually become the enemy. In 316, I attacked him andseized Greece and the Balkans out of his control (Hawkes, Hartley &Henig, 2006). This time, I trusted nobody but myself. It seemed thatthe Roman Empire needed one center of power, so I took charge. As theemperor, I achieved a lot for my people and the future generations. Ialso went wrong in many instances especially when trying toconsolidate power any time my foes showed signs of wanting to take itaway.
MyAccomplishments in Religion
AsI had mentioned before, the battles to seize power from Maxentius wasthe turning point of my religious life. The Milvian Bridge wasparticularly different from that of Turin and Verona. It was duringthat battle that I had a vision of a cross. The cross was shiny. Itstood still in front of the sun with inscriptions that read’ “Inthis sign conquer.” Shortly after seeing the vision, I defeatedMaxentius and captured the entire Roman Empire. The visionprecipitated my conversion to Christianity. It closed the longchapter of ignorance in paganism. My tenure as the emperor changedthe religious history of the Roman Empire because I believe God didnot act in vain. There is no doubt that emerging the victor in abattle that preceded a vision of a cross was neither accidental norcoincidental. As I took over as the emperor of Rome, I resolved to bea Christian. I also resolved to perpetrate as many conversions aspossible. I do not have any regrets over my decision to makeChristianity the state religion. I also have no regrets on whatever Idid to the temple treasures. It was paramount to confiscate them topave way for a new religion. I built churches to make it believablethat I am a true convert. The church councils at Arles and Nicaeawill be my witnesses if history will judge me. Before my time as theemperor, Christianity was seen by many as a cult. Now, it is the mainreligion in Europe. I know my efforts were not in vain because, theworld has acknowledged the authenticity of Christianity.
Anyleader who has gone through what I have mentioned would probably actthe same way I did politically. After I defeated all my opponents andenemies, it would have been naïve to think that my life was safe.The empire and my tenure were constantly under threat. I had tosafeguard the nation from this constant threat of war. I can boast ofhaving left the empire with the most sophisticated and reliablesecurity system in history. I have set the pace for the nextgenerations and the emperors to detect and thwart enemy threats inreal-time. The army is now more prepared to defend the empire thanever. I separated the frontier units so that mobile field army is notoverwhelmed in case of any offensive from inside or outside of theempire.
Mychoice of Constantinople as the capital was in good faith. Contraryto popular opinion, it did not serve to undermine our great city ofRome (Potter, 2012). The general concern of my administration was toestablish other powerful cities that would distribute resources fromRome. My tenure embodied real change including making difficultchoices giants the grain. Although Constantinople is now the capitalof the empire, Rome still remains the cradle of our political,economic, and social civilization.
No man is perfect. No leader can do everything that is right beforethe law. Some policies that I passed during my tenure should besubject to debate and possibly amendments. All sons who werecompelled by the state to pursue the same careers as their fathersdid it in earnest obedience. First, let me thank them for beingloyal. However, I feel that this was quite excessive of my mandate asthe emperor. Furthermore, it is contradictory to Christianity.As Icount my last days on the face of the earth, I still believe thepolicy was good, but it was necessary it ruthlessly. I suggest thatthe next emperor should lift the harsh penalties, and then replacethem with rewards for sons who succeed in their father’s career.More and sons will be encouraged to do than be coerced as before. Mypersonal belief in a sustainable tax regime for the empire lives withme to the grave. All citizens should be compelled to pay tax tosupport the state’s aspirations. However, it should be progressiveand forceful. On this deathbed, I realize that it was wrong to forcepoor to pay taxes they could not raise. It is sad that the taxreforms increased vice in the empire for fear of severe punishmentfor failing pay tax. On these two aspects, I know history will judgeme harshly.
Hawkes,J., Hartley, E., & Henig, M. (2006). Constantinethe Great: York`s Roman Emperor.Lund Humphries.
Potter,D. (2012). Constantinethe Emperor.Oxford University Press.
VanDam, R. (2007). TheRoman Revolution of Constantine(p. 173). Cambridge University Press.