Page 0976

976 UNIVERSAL HISTORY THE ANCIENT WORLD.

323; and it was soon apparent that the conflict was essentially a battle between paganism

and Christianity. Constantine, with a hundred and thirty thousand men, set out for the

East. He inscribed on the banners carried at

the head of the legions the monogram of Christ

and gave to the soldiers the battle-cry of "God

our Savior!" The forces of Licinius numbered a hundred and sixty-five thousand. The

two armies met at Adrianople, where Licinius

was completely routed. The remnant of his

forces was driven into Byzantium, but the fortress was soon taken by the fleet of Constantine. For a brief season the cause of the

pagans was upheld in Asia Minor by a certain

Martinianus, but he was pursued, taken, and

put to death. Soon afterwards Licinius shared

his fate, and the undisputed sovereignty of

the world was left to Constantine.

From this time forth the Emperor, who

was now honored with the title of the Great,

began to show still greater, favor to the Christians and more pronounced symptoms of hostility towards his pagan subjects. Having

completed his campaigns in the East, he returned to Italy and undertook the reconstruction of the government on an Oriental basis.

The Empire was divided into praefectures after

the manner of the satrapies of Persia. The

basilica became the scene of intrigues and

crimes, such as rivaled in number and character the deeds of Caligula and Nero. The

queen mother Helena and the wife Fausta

were deadly rivals. The brothers of the Emperor were excluded from the palace and forbidden to appear in public. His son Chrispus,

by whose energies as commander of the fleet

the siege of Byzantium had been brought to

a successful conclusion, became the victim of

his father's jealousy, and was suddenly ordered

to execution. Then Fausta, the queen, was

for no better reason sent to a similar fate.

Crime followed crime until the bloody mind

of Constantine became haunted with specters.

Not even the absolution which was freely given

to their champion by the Christian priests

could allay the remorse or quiet the distemper

in his nature. He became a devotee to the