The battle of the Milvian Bridge inspired many artists and sculptors and found its reflection in many works of art, such as tapestries, paintings, and sculptures. Tags: battle, milvian, bridge All rights to paintings and other images found on PaintingValley.com are owned by their respective owners (authors, artists), and the Administration of the website doesn't bear responsibility for their use. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The most important ancient sources for the battle are Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum 44; Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History ix, 9 and Life of Constantine i, 28–31 (the vision) and i, 38 (the actual battle); Zosimus ii, 15–16; and the Panegyrici Latini of 313 (anonymous) and 321 (by Nazarius). Various emperors portrayed Sol Invictus on their official coinage, with a wide range of legends, only a few of which incorporated the epithet invictus, such as the legend SOLI INVICTO COMITI, claiming the Unconquered Sun as a companion to the emperor, used with particular frequency by Constantine. It was most likely painted to Raphael's design between 1520 and 1524. But whereas Constantine's claim was recognized by Galerius, ruler of the Eastern provinces and the senior emperor in the Empire, Maxentius was treated as a usurper. These articles have not yet undergone the rigorous in-house editing or fact-checking and styling process to which most Britannica articles are customarily subjected. Constantine sent his cavalry to beat back the defenders’ horsemen. Although these articles may currently differ in style from others on the site, they allow us to provide wider coverage of topics sought by our readers, through a diverse range of trusted voices. He eventually made what had been an obscure sect the official religion of the Roman Empire. [4] Constantine avoided conflict with both Maxentius and the Eastern emperors for most of this period. Brian Tran Professor Stefen Chrissanthos HIST 110A 9 May 2017 Battle of Milvian Bridge While Diocletian’s inauguration as emperor in 284 A.D. managed to temporarily end the anarchy and reestablish peace and order in the Roman Empire, his unprecedented retirement as emperor 21 years later would establish a period of civil war amongst the Roman generals fighting for the throne. Constantine’s legions pushed Maxentius’ forces back after the latter tried to cross the river. [21] Finally, the temporary bridge set up alongside the Milvian Bridge, over which many of the Maxentian troops were escaping, collapsed, and those stranded on the north bank of the Tiber were either taken prisoner or killed. The army marched from Gaul in the spring of AD 312 and fought its way across the Empire. The battle was one of a succession of victories that in AD 324 made Constantine master of the entire Roman Empire, but it is most famous for its link with his conversion to Christianity, which would prove to be one of the most important events in world history. He easily overran north Italy, and stood at the Saxa Rubra on the Tiber, less than 10 miles from Rome. He followed the commands of his dream and marked the shields with a sign "denoting Christ". Maxentius' strongest supporters in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. Moreover, he saw an inscription under it: “In Hoc Signo Vinae,” which meant “conquer by this sign.”Later during the night, Constantine had a dream with the sign’s explanation, where Christ appeared in front of him telling to carry the sign of the cross into the battle. In his later Life of Constantine, Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the Emperor himself. It was expected that Maxentius would remain within Rome and endure a siege; he had successfully employed this strategy twice before, during the invasions of Severus and Galerius. The defining moment of the campaign was the battle of the Milvian Bridge. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Battle-of-the-Milvian-Bridge, Warfare History Network - Bloody Clash on the Tiber, History Today - The Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The Battle of Milvian Bridge and the history of the book. [18], The next day, the two armies clashed, and Constantine won a decisive victory. Constantine’s conversion to the Cross may have been prompted by a dream of victory. Media in category "Battle of Milvian Bridge" The following 31 files are in this category, out of 31 total. Gerberding and Moran Cruz, 55; cf. The dispositions of Maxentius may have been faulty as his troops seem to have been arrayed with the River Tiber too close to their rear, giving them little space to allow re-grouping in the event of their formations being forced to give ground. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. F. Grossi-Gondi, ‘La battaglia di Costantino Magno a "Saxa Rubra"’. Constantine needed no further persuasion. The hand of the Lord prevailed, and the forces of Maxentius were routed. Several of Maxentius' soldiers were either captured or slaughtered after the collapse of the Milvian Bridge. Africa was recovered by Maxentius’s praetorian prefect, but Maxentius was killed by Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. There is no certain evidence that Constantine ever used that sign, opposed to the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius. On the 28th of October, the legions of Constantine and Maxentius clashed. One day before the battle, Constantine saw in the sky the sign of the cross superimposed over the sun. The main significance of the victory is that it allowed Constantine to make a small sect, Christianity, the dominant religion for the empire and for Europe. Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano, 1520-24.jpg 4,433 × 1,858; 1.43 MB Constantine the Great; the reorganisation of the empire and the triumph of the church (1905) (14793610843).jpg 1,920 × 1,324; 519 KB Maxentius left Rome for meeting with Constantine in the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. W. Kuhoff, ‘Die Schlacht an der Milvische Brücke – Ein Ereignis von weltgeschichtlicher Tragweite’ in K. Ehling & G. Weber (eds). Lactantius states that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a dream to "delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers" (On the Deaths of the Persecutors 44.5). This is the account given by the Christian apologist…, …at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.…. The next morning he ordered his men to paint crosses upon their shields. G. Costa, 'La battaglia di Costantino a Ponte Milvio'. Toynbee. OCTOBER 28th, 312AD The Battle of the Milvian bridge is one of the defining battles in world history. Speidel, ‘Maxentius and his Equites Singulares at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge’, M.P. [11] He made more extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the Labarum later, during the conflict with Licinius. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Zosimus). Once Severus arrived in Italy, however, his army defected to Maxentius. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. [6] He easily overran northern Italy, winning two major battles: the first near Turin, the second at Verona, where the praetorian prefect Ruricius Pompeianus, Maxentius' most senior general, was killed.[7]. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Eusebius then continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius, showing the Chi-Rho sign.[9]. Meaning of battle of the milvian bridge. Attacking, his troops slowly pushed back Maxentius' men until their backs were at the river. Construction was begun (220 B.C.) by Caius Flaminius. Less often noted is the emperor’s modesty. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Constantine and his army inflicted heavy losses on Maxentius and his army during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The literal meaning of the phrase in Greek is "in this (sign), conquer" while in Latin it's "in this sign, you shall conquer"; a more free translation would be "Through this sign [you shall] conquer". Constantine’s conversion to the Cross may have been prompted by a dream of victory. Holding it was crucial if Maxentius was to keep his rival out of Rome, where the Senate of Rome would surely favor whoever held the city. The underlying causes of the battle were the rivalries inherent in Diocletian's Tetrarchy. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. The Arch of Constantine, erected in celebration of the victory, certainly attributes Constantine's success to divine intervention; however, the monument does not display any overtly Christian symbolism. As a means of escape during the stress of battle, however, it was wholly inadequate. Constantine then made an agreement with Licinius, and the two rallied the Eastern Christians to their side by guaranteeing them religious tolerance in the Edict of Milan (313). [16] Lactantius also reports that the populace supported Constantine with acclamations during circus games. Maxentius’s forces attempted to retreat across the Tiber by way of the Milvian Bridge, but the bridge quickly became overcrowded. The Arch of Constantine and the Roman cityscape", "Maxentius' Head and the Rituals of Civil War", http://www.catacombe.roma.it/it/simbologia.php, The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World, Milvian Bridge 312 - Rise of Christianity, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_the_Milvian_Bridge&oldid=1001948033, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. [10] Its first imperial appearance is on a Constantinian silver coin from c. 317, which proves that Constantine did use the sign at that time, though not very prominently. [5], By 312, however, Constantine and Maxentius were engaged in open hostility with one another, although they were brothers-in‑law through Constantine's marriage to Fausta, sister of Maxentius. 1,700 years ago, the emperor Constantine marched on Rome to free Italy from the tyrant Maxentius and reunify the Roman Empire. Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}41°56′08″N 12°28′01″E / 41.93556°N 12.46694°E / 41.93556; 12.46694, "Vision of Constantine" redirects here. Michael Kerrigan has written many books, including volumes on Greece and the Mediterranean and Rome for the BBC Ancient Civilizations series and. According to chroniclers such as Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, the battle marked the beginning of Constantine's conversion to Christianity. Maxentius' Praetorian Guard, who had originally acclaimed him emperor, seem to have made a stubborn stand on the northern bank of the river; "in despair of pardon they covered with their bodies the place which they had chosen for combat. Holding it was crucial if Maxentius was to keep his rival out of Rome, where the Senate would surely favour whoever held the city. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Information and translations of battle of the milvian bridge in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the web. J. Moreau, ‘Pont Milvius ou Saxa Rubra?’. Nixon, C.E.V. In AD 312, Constantine I defeated his stronger rival Maxentius between this bridge and Saxa Rubra, in the famous Ba… Lactantius describes that sign as a "staurogram", or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion. Realizing that Maxentius had placed his troops too close to the river, which was in their rear, he hurled his cavalry against the enemy horsemen with the utmost force. [25] After the ceremonies, Maxentius' head was sent to Carthage as proof of his downfall, Africa then offered no further resistance. Maxentius then decided to order a retreat, intending to make another stand at Rome itself. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. On October 28 in 312 A.D. Constantine defeated the superior forces of his rival Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge. "[29] The following year, 313, Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity an officially recognised and tolerated religion in the Roman Empire. Fresco of "Battle of the Milvian Bridge" by Giulio Romano, painted 1520-1524 One of a number of frescos located in the Hall of Constantine, In the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, ItalyToday in Military History: October 28, AD 312[Today's post is an update to one originally published in 2009] Questions or concerns? Eusebius, Smith, 104: "What little evidence exists suggests that in fact the labarum bearing the chi-rho symbol was not used before 317, when Crispus became Caesar...", A comprehensive discussion of all sol-coinage and -legends per emperor from. Ancient sources commenting on these events attribute this decision either to divine intervention (e.g. After Diocletian stepped down on 1 May 305, his successors began to struggle for control of the Roman Empire almost immediately. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. As Maxentius had probably partially destroyed the bridge during his preparations for a siege, he had a wooden or pontoon bridge constructed to get his army across the river. The descriptions of Constantine's entry into Rome omit mention of him ending his procession at the temple of Capitoline Jupiter, where sacrifice was usually offered. In Rome, the favorite was Max… The underlying causes of the battle were the rivalries inherent in Diocletian's Tetrarchy. [19] Already known as a skilful general, Constantine first launched his cavalry at the cavalry of Maxentius and broke them. Arch of Constantine, Constantinian frieze, Battle of the Milvian Bridge.jpg 2,296 × 460; 361 KB. Constantine’s conversion, it has often been said, smacked more of superstition than religious awakening. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It was built by Marcus Aemilius Scaurus in 109 B.C. Interested in participating in the Publishing Partner Program? Severus was captured, imprisoned, and executed. The sources vary as to the nature of the bridge central to the events of the battle. Next day, the old banners were changed with new ones wit… Although the … Both authors agree that the sign was not widely understandable to denote Christ (although among the Christians, it was already being used in the catacombs along with other special symbols to mark and/or decorate Christian tombs). In the summer of 312, Constantine gathered his troops and decided to settle the dispute by force. Galerius himself marched on Rome in the autumn, but failed to take the city. Beneath it was inscribed the simple message in hoc signo vinces, which translates as "In this sign, prevail." Maxentius interpreted this prophecy as being favourable to himself. Paul K. Davis writes, "Constantine’s victory gave him total control of the Western Roman Empire paving the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion for the Roman Empire and ultimately for Europe. Statuettes of Sol Invictus, carried by the standard-bearers, appear in three places in reliefs on the Arch of Constantine. The battle fought at Milvian Bridge outside Rome was a crucial moment in a civil war that ended with Constantine I as sole ruler of the Roman Empire and Christianity established as the empire’s official religion. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber.Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire.Maxentius drowned in the Tiber during the battle. The solar deity Sol Invictus is often pictured with a nimbus or halo. The Battle of the Milvian Bridge. They also note that the day of the battle was the same as the day of his accession (28 October), which was generally thought to be a good omen. Indeed, Maxentius had organised the stockpiling of large amounts of food in the city in preparation for such an event. Battle of Milvian Bridge, (28 October 312). Although Constantine was the son of the western emperor Constantius, the Tetrarchic ideology did not necessarily provide for hereditary succession. While attempting to escape, Maxentius drowned. According to ancient sources, on the evening of October 27, 312 CE, just before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine the Great was to have a vision that led him to victory with the support of a Christian god. In 63 BC, letters from the conspirators of the Catiline conspiracy were intercepted here, allowing Cicero to read them to the Roman Senate the next day. Coins of Constantine depicting him as the companion of a solar deity were minted as late as 313, the year following the battle. Oktober 312 n. Chr.’. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber during the battle; his body was later taken from the river and decapitated, and his head was paraded through the streets of Rome on the day following the battle before being taken to Africa.[3]. The Battle of Milvian Bridge was a decisive one for the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the spring of 312, Constantine gathered an army of 40,000 soldiers and decided to oust Maxentius himself. Some men offered sacrifices to the ancestral gods, but he remained true (at least in his fashion) to Christianity. The meantime, more information about the article and the forces of and. `` Christian soldiers. `` with ἐν τούτῳ νίκα written on it the conflict with Maxentius!, during the stress of battle, however, it was most likely painted to 's. 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