This volume makes available three works attributed to Constantine – two of which were certainly not written by him – which are important sources for historians of the papacy, Christianity and Constantine himself. The Oration to the Saints is an intellectual defence of Christianity, which puts the case for monotheism, extols the incarnation and voluntary abasement of the Son of God, and finally declares Constantine’s personal adherence to the Saviour. The legend of the discovery of the True Cross by the empress Helena, mother of Constantine, following her conversion to Christianity is presented in translations of two variant accounts. The third text, the Edict of Constantine, presents Constantine’s supposed edict to Pope Silvester transferring lands to the papacy. An introduction considers the authorship, motivation and historical context for each of the works, and extensive annotation elucidates textual difficulties and allusions.
The Translated Texts for Historians series has rendered great service to scholarship in enabling students of ancient and medieval history to broaden their studies by reading important sources in English. The publication of these valuable texts relating to Constantine is to be welcomed unreservedly. The editor has produced three admirable annotated translations which should stimulate those who read them to explore further the possibilities of advanced research.Ecclesiastical History