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Constantine's mother

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    Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 12:10
Why was Constantines mother (Helena) a Christian?  Or more specifically, why did Constantine's father marry a Christian?  Ancient Christians did not believe in abortion, nor did they believe in leaving infants out on a hillside to die of exposure.  Boys were considered more important for the family.  Because of this, girls were more often left on a hillside to die.  Thus, there was a shortage of eligible pagan women, even fewer if one remembers that pagan women and their fertility was often damaged by botched abortions.  Christian families, however, cherished boys and girls alike.  And could fulfill much of the demand for eligible women for marriage.  Helena was probably just such a woman, and Helena's Christianity probably lead to Constantine's Christianity, and thus the Empire's Christianity.  Mithraism was a religion of the army and so eventually went nowhere.  Christianity was a religion of women and slaves, and so paradoxically was in the position to make a tremendous difference.

(Suggestions for continuation of thread)
Constantine,
Women in antiquity
Ancient Christianity
Mithraism
Julian the Apostate
other, myriad possibilities....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2019 at 12:25
Helena must have had great PR. She would have had a booming Twitter account. Eusebius of Cesarea was her biographer and he says Constantius converted Helena. 
She survived a serious scandal with her son Crispus (he didn't survive) and Constantius' first wife Faustia(she didn't survive). Both wives had legitimate heirs, some nasty business there. Things could have been worse..more research will help. 

who can say where this will lead?
Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2019 at 12:58
whoops!

I looked up Helena after posting, and I like my story better.  But, that is part of the problem with history, what "sells" is not necessarily the truth.  A good story might have more "truthiness" than the actual history.  But, this was an honest mistake, I added 2 (Helena was a Christian) and 2 (pagans were taking Christian wives) and got 6 (but six is a "perfect number" meaning that its factors add up to itself (1+2+3=6)).  Still, I think it illustrates fairly well how we might want something true, and thus we make it (in our opinions) true.  It would be "perfect" if Constantine's mother was one of these Christian women, marrying pagan men, thus she would be part of this "subterranean" trend, breaking the surface, influencing the empire.

Helena discovered the site of the burning bush, and found the true cross, and, I seem to remember the stations of the cross.  Is it possible? probably.  Is it probable? probably not.  Is it a good story? depends on what you want.

From antiquities dealers, you can buy crude clay crosses that are made from ashes of wood from the true cross.  Like homeopathy, they burn the wood, and mix it with clay, and then mix that clay with more clay, then make the crosses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2019 at 13:48
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

whoops!

I looked up Helena after posting, and I like my story better.  But, that is part of the problem with history, what "sells" is not necessarily the truth.  A good story might have more "truthiness" than the actual history.  But, this was an honest mistake, I added 2 (Helena was a Christian) and 2 (pagans were taking Christian wives) and got 6 (but six is a "perfect number" meaning that its factors add up to itself (1+2+3=6)).  Still, I think it illustrates fairly well how we might want something true, and thus we make it (in our opinions) true.  It would be "perfect" if Constantine's mother was one of these Christian women, marrying pagan men, thus she would be part of this "subterranean" trend, breaking the surface, influencing the empire.

Helena discovered the site of the burning bush, and found the true cross, and, I seem to remember the stations of the cross.  Is it possible? probably.  Is it probable? probably not.  Is it a good story? depends on what you want.

From antiquities dealers, you can buy crude clay crosses that are made from ashes of wood from the true cross.  Like homeopathy, they burn the wood, and mix it with clay, and then mix that clay with more clay, then make the crosses.
Helena was a barmaid and her conversion was never the point of the story, it was Constantine and the cross in the stars that sealed the fate of Christianity. 
You must have seen this list-do you the weird 666 equation? It's at the link. I'll post it if the link doesn't work.
  • Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Kennedy in 1960.
  • Both were assassinated on a Friday.
  • Lincoln was killed in Ford’s Theatre; Kennedy was killed riding in a Lincoln convertible made by the Ford Motor Company.
  • Both were succeeded by Southern Democrats named Johnson.
  • Andrew Johnson was born in 1808, Lyndon Johnson in 1908.
 
  • The first name of Lincoln’s private secretary was John, the last name of Kennedy’s private secretary was Lincoln.
  • John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839, Lee Harvey Oswald in 1939.
  • Booth shot Lincoln in a theatre and fled to a warehouse; Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theatre.
  • John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald both have 15 letters.


Helena was also credited with finding the Holy Lance or Spear of Destiny. I have a vague recollection of Constantine having a purely political reason for becoming a Christian. Wasn't it done posthumously? 

Holy Lance of Vienna, Austria

The Holy Lance of Vienna, Austria is perhaps the one with the best claim, and oldest provenance. This spear can be traced back through history to Constantine the Great in the early 4th century.

The lance was possessed by a series of successful military leaders. Theodosius, the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. Alaric, who was responsible for the sacking of Rome. Charles Martel who defeated the Moslems in 733 AD. Charlemagne carried the spear through 47 successful battles, but died when he accidentally dropped it. Frederick Barbarossa met the same fate only a few minutes after it slipped out of his hands while he was crossing a stream.

The spear finally wound up in the possession of the House of the Hapsburgs and by 1912 was part of the treasure collection stored in Hofburg Museum.

Napoleon attempted to obtain the lance after the battle of Austerlitz, but it had been smuggled out of the city prior to the start of the fight.

March 14, 1938, Adolph Hitler annexed the state of Austria and ordered that the spear, along with the rest of the Habsburg collection, be sent to the city of Nuremberg. On October 13th the lance was loaded onto an armored train and sent to the city. There it was kept in the St. Catherines Church throughout the most successful portion of Hitler's military campaign. In October 1944, after success had shifted to the Allied side, the spear was moved to a specially constructed underground vault to protect it from heavy bombing. On April 30th, 1945, at 2:10 PM, advancing American forces took possession of the vault and the spear. Eighty minutes later Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

The lance has been returned to the Hofburg Museum.

Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Dec 2019 at 13:26
Helena was more like a bar-owner.  She had some wealth.  I seem to remember that Constantine was converted on his deathbed.  I think that he made Christianity, _a_ religion of the Empire.

I would assume that the lance of Vienna is a forgery, as probably are the rest of them.  But, forgeries are interesting because they spur the imagination.  I do wonder, however, how the spear would compare to other Roman spears.  If it was ordinary, then that would add to the (remote) possibility that it could be authentic.  How long is it? a friend today was saying that most crucifications were a couple of feet off the ground, not the tall cross found in renaissance art.

I see Helena's stunts as being like Putin's stunts.  He goes diving in the Black Sea, and finds Roman amphorae (salted there for him), he beats a big brawler in martial arts (which he knows), he leads a flock of geese in their migration on an ultra lite.  He does stunts and they get played up in the media, promoting him.  They entertain the public, but also distract them from what may really be going on.  Helena is doing much the same thing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2020 at 15:53
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I seem to remember that Constantine was converted on his deathbed.  

I can't believe the Christian fairy-tale of Constantine's conversion. Constantine was one of the most ruthless emperors in the history of the Roman empire:



Lets face the truth, Constantine was a cruel dictator who got rid of the tetrarchic competitors and usurped the power. The very next year after the Council of Nicaea was held Constantine ordered to kill his son and wife.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


(Suggestions for continuation of thread)
Constantine,
Women in antiquity
Ancient Christianity
Mithraism
Julian the Apostate
other, myriad possibilities....

I would add Christian Homosexualism to your list ..




Edited by Novosedoff - 29 Apr 2020 at 15:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2020 at 16:07
The point about homosexuality is legit. Yet clearly both the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox church after the end of Byzantium, embrace a renunciation of the world, it's "allure" and both religions demand the avoidance of women.

It seems Byzantium in it's first iteration condemns the homosexual and does not condemn the submissive person if they are unable to refuse. Enjoying being the submissive was another matter, not a compliment.
However "fruits of the ass" were generally acceptable between men of a similar age despite the laws and lists of crimes and punishment, homosexual activity was hidden. The Greek phylia and Roman amicita relationships were not undone by the Byzantines.

  Theodosian Code 9.7.3. In the first of the novellae (no. 77) he ascribed homosexual lust to diabolical incitement and claimed that "because of such crimes there are famines, earthquakes, and pestilences," inferring that homosexual behavior endangered the very physical basis of the empire. Enough of the seismological literature of antiquity had survived into his reign to make such reasoning clearly a superstitious regression, a point conveniently ignored by Christian apologists who would have Justinian act only out of "sincere concern for the general welfare." The second (no. 141) was the first law ever to refer explicitly to Sodom, where the land supposedly still burned with inextinguishable fire. Seeming to combine magnanimousness with severity, Justinian appealed to such sinners to confess themselves humbly and penitently to the Patriarch of Constantinople, consigning them to the avenging flames if they did not repent. In fact Justinian and his consort Theodora conducted a kind of witch hunt among homosexuals of the city, several of whom were publicly disgraced, whether penitent or not. The rulers used the imputation of homosexuality to persecute those against whom no other crimes could be imputed," (Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) or whose fortunes offered a tempting adjunct to the imperial treasury (Procopius, Secret History, 11 :34-36).

Later Byzantine Times. Needless to say, these measures, though reaffirmed in later codes such as the Basilica, did not stop same-sex activity. A number of emperors themselves are believed to have been homosexual. Successful in military campaigns against the Arabs, Slavs, and Bulgars, the iconoclast Constantine V (r. 741-751] sought to limit the power of the monasteries. Theophanes the Confessor lists the "impious lust for males" among his crimes. A particularly tragic case, the alcoholic Michael III (r. 842-8671) fell in love with a macho soldier-courtier, Basil the Macedonian, whom he made co-ruler in 866. Basil promptly murdered his patron, and founded the Macedonian dynasty. Also thought to be homosexual were Basil II (r. 976-1025), a great campaigner against the Bulgarians, Constantine VIII (joint ruler with his brother 976-1025, sole r. 1025-1028) and the Empress Zoe's husband Constantine IX (r. 1042-1055). Eunuchs played a major role at the imperial courts, reaching their zenith under the Macedonian dynasty (867-1057).

Accusations of homosexual vice became a standard device of Byzantine polemics. After the ninth century such charges become rarer probably after the consolidation of Christian family values and emerging masculine ideals. In the field of law the Basilica do not repeat the old regulations but only something of secondary importance from the Pandects, a change that might be significant in view of the foregoing circumstance. In the last centuries of the Eastern Empire, however, complaints about homosexuality again surface (e.g., in the Patriarch Athanasius I and Joseph Bryennius). The vice flourished in both male and female monasteries (typicon of Prodromos tou Phoberou, 80.31-82.1); the typica denied access to the monasteries to beardless youths and eunuchs in an effort to shield monks from temptation.

Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2020 at 17:55
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

.  Mithraism was a religion of the army and so eventually went nowhere.  

That is precisely why Mithraism went nowhere because it limited the participation of women in religious public worship. If one considers the number of Roman temples  dedicated to different gods, then it is possible to notice that the majority of temples were dedicated to female gods, and so presumably attended by women mostly. Even today 60-70% of church congregation in many Christian countries are represented by women.  Women were attracted to Christianity because 1) women were allowed to join the Christian church, 2) Christianity formally discouraged men from living with a few women or men, discouraged abortions, infanticide etc. That's why in most of modern Christian countries the polygamy is illegal.






Edited by Novosedoff - 30 Apr 2020 at 17:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2020 at 18:55
Novosedoff, considering all you have learned about the ancients and why they held strong beliefs about creation, consciousness, matter, energy and sexuality; 

Do you find modern science to be closer to "truth" in terms of physics or mathematics than the ancient schools of wisdom were about explaining the circumstances of human existence?

Does the world exist for the purpose of expansion in human development?

Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2020 at 19:35
Originally posted by Vanuatu Vanuatu wrote:

Novosedoff, considering all you have learned about the ancients and why they held strong beliefs about creation, consciousness, matter, energy and sexuality; 

Do you find modern science to be closer to "truth" in terms of physics or mathematics than the ancient schools of wisdom were about explaining the circumstances of human existence?

Does the world exist for the purpose of expansion in human development?


I think the world will continue to exist even if all humans were gone Smile Human expansion or development is something that may pertain only to human way of thinking. Microbes must be thinking the same way about their own expansion in this universe too. So whatever humans think of their purpose it may be irrelevant to the reality as it is or as it may become after a short while.

I am not sure about searching for "truth" in terms of physics or mathematics. They both seem too abstract in order to help us improve our daily existence in any noticeable way. I am also afraid I am not that familiar with the teachings of ancient schools of wisdom in order to collate their views of human existence.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2020 at 11:39
I agree, when people lament about us destroying the world, it is best to tell them that the world will be fine, I am not sure about us in the long run however.  Birdsongs are changing back to what they were like before all the traffic and the noise.  (Or maybe they are changing back again as things open up).

science offers nice tricks (mechane) for doing things, but whether it is worthwhile doing those things is another question.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 14:14
Originally posted by Novosedoff Novosedoff wrote:

I think the world will continue to exist even if all humans were gone Smile Human expansion or development is something that may pertain only to human way of thinking. Microbes must be thinking the same way about their own expansion in this universe too. So whatever humans think of their purpose it may be irrelevant to the reality as it is or as it may become after a short while.[quote]
I don't follow-? How is the "Purpose" "Irrelevant" ?
One cannot depend on physical senses alone for the dimensional or visual reality, changes in the state of matter are relevant clearly war or peace, health or disease is a struggle that links human groups over hundreds of thousands of years. Your son has a significant dna coding from you that inherited from the ancients. 
[QUOTE=Novosedoff]I am not sure about searching for "truth" in terms of physics or mathematics. They both seem too abstract in order to help us improve our daily existence in any noticeable way. I am also afraid I am not that familiar with the teachings of ancient schools of wisdom in order to collate their views of human existence.   
The Palladium, the statue that was said to be kept in the Haigia Sophia, from the Greek Orthodox tradition of Divine Sophia, an example of the divine feminine is ethereal wisdom and part of the ancient wisdom beliefs. 
The old carved wooden statue of Pallas, the dark skinned friend of Athena was brought to Constantinople, possibly by Constantine. 
Great wisdom in my view requires the imagination, intuition and spontaneity of human feelings to create an expanse that is fundamentally the "Purpose" 
Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 15:22
Originally posted by Vanuatu Vanuatu wrote:

Originally posted by Novosedoff Novosedoff wrote:

I think the world will continue to exist even if all humans were gone Smile Human expansion or development is something that may pertain only to human way of thinking. Microbes must be thinking the same way about their own expansion in this universe too. So whatever humans think of their purpose it may be irrelevant to the reality as it is or as it may become after a short while.
I don't follow-? How is the "Purpose" "Irrelevant" ?

It somehow reminds me of the famous monologue by George Carlin Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 16:08
Originally posted by Novosedoff Novosedoff wrote:

Originally posted by Novosedoff Novosedoff wrote:

I think the world will continue to exist even if all humans were gone Smile Human expansion or development is something that may pertain only to human way of thinking. Microbes must be thinking the same way about their own expansion in this universe too. So whatever humans think of their purpose it may be irrelevant to the reality as it is or as it may become after a short while.
Quote I don't follow-? How is the "Purpose" "Irrelevant" ?

It somehow reminds me of the famous monologue by George Carlin Smile
Smile
George merely saw the micro in the macro, it's all patterns_ and_ patterns_ of_ patterns..
Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
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