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The Emperor Constantine I was the sole ruler of the Roman world between 324 and 337 CE His reign was likely the most crucial of all the Roman emperors in determining the future course of western civilization Constantine began the process of making Christianity the religious foundation of Europe Also his Constantinople replaced the city of Rome as the center of imperial power This set the stage for the occurrences of the Middle Ages His philosophical view of monarchy became the foundation for the concept of the divine right of kings which prevailed in Medieval Europe In 324 after his defeat of Licinius Constantine decided to rename Byzantium after himself and make it a governmental rival of the old Empire For the first time a Christian emperor had ascended the Roman throne Although there is some dispute about the depth of his faith it is not disputed that Constantine did much to entrench Constantinople and eventually much of Europe in Christianity Among the basic criteria for choosing Byzantium as the location were its strategic geographical position between Europe and Asia and its strategic value for the command of the seas and of the main routes over land from all directions The new capital was to be the characteristic expression of the new Christian spirit of the Empire The exhaustion of the old Rome had been already widely realized Surprisingly in spite of this obvious imbalance in wealth power population and general vibrancy The Byzantium Empire and old Rome briefly participated equally with the political status of one imperial capital They equally participated in the royal authority of the bearers in the east and west Gregory the Theologian has expressed this synergy of the two cities with interesting imagery Nature did not give two suns but there are two cities of Rome both luminaries of the entire Ecumene the ancient and the new state differing among themselves inasmuch as the one shines before the
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