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imperial woman Emperor Constantine I

The emperor Constantine has been called the most important emperor of the late antiquity. The many great events of his reign laid foundations that would affect the future of Europe and Western Civilization for centuries to come. His recognition and support of Christianity was one of the most important moments in world history. Moving the government of the Roman Empire to Constantinople and founding New Rome was one of the most significant decisions ever made by a Roman ruler. Ten emperors who reigned after Constantine took his name. This is just one more indication of his importance in history and the honor in which he was held by his people.
The one known as the emperor Constantine was born Flavius Valerius Constantinus in Naissus, a town in Serbia, on February 27 probably sometime in the 270s CE. His mother was a woman of humble background named Helena who would later become a Christian. Because of her good works, she was made a Christian saint after her death. Constantines father was a career military officer named Constantius. Constantine was married at least twice and had four sons: Crispus, Constantine II, Constantius, Constans.
Constantius, his father, was in charge of the Roman Province of Britannia. When Constantius died at York in 306 CE, Constantine, who was at his side, was immediately proclaimed emperor by the army. However, it took many years of political struggle and actual civil war before he could consolidate his power. Constantine finally became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 323 CE when he defeated the eastern Emperor Licinius.  
Of Constantines major accomplishments, the most important was his recognition of the Christianity. In 311 CE, he ordered the end of the persecution of Christians. On October 28, 312 CE, Constantine faced one of his greatest battles as he tried to consolidate his power. He was greatly outnumbered by the forces of Maxentius, who also wanted to be emperor. In a dream the night before the battle, Constantine saw the initials for the name of Christ as well as the cross and was told, By this sign you will conquer. The next morning, he had the initials painted on his helmet and ordered them to be painted on the shields of all his soldiers. Constantines forces won the day and he credited the Christian God with the victory. He was closer to his goal of absolute power as sole emperor of Rome was now, for all practical purposes, a Christian.
In 313 CE, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which allowed full freedom for Christians to practice their faith. The edict made Christianity equal to the religion of the Roman Empire. The Edict of Milan also ordered the return of all church and personal property that had been taken during past persecutions of Christians. Constantine now gave imperial property to the church including the Lateran in Rome. On this site, one of the great cathedrals of Rome, St. John Lateran, still stands today.
Constantine not only recognized Christianity but made many contributions and enacted laws that helped it spread. He also became involved in Christianity. He felt that, as emperor, he had a responsibility to help and protect the faith. He also believed that all Christians should have the same beliefs. These concerns led to another of Constantines great accomplishments, the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. The Council produced a statement of Christian faith known as the Nicene Creed. The creed defined the beliefs about Jesus for all Christians. It said that Jesus was not created by God but actually was God. There were some who did not accept these beliefs about Jesus. This disagreement was the beginning of what eventually would becomde a split in Christianity between the western church and the eastern or Orthodox church.
Constantines most important political accomplishment was moving the permanent capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium. He claimed that God had told him to move the capital which he renamed in his own honor as Constantinople. He also ordered the city to be rebuilt so it would be a worthy capital for the empire. The new city, which was dedicated in May of 330 CE, provided Constantine with a better location ... more

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Pre-Columbian civilizations

Long before any white man ever set foot in this hemisphere, there were fully functional and highly developed societies here. These civilizations were sophisticated, could even be considered more advanced than the European nations at the time. While the rest of the Eastern world was in the dark Middle Ages, the people here were flourishing.
The Aztecs were the Native American people who dominated northern Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest led by Hernan CORTES in the early 16th century. According to their own legends, they originated from a place called Aztlan, somewhere in north or northwest Mexico. At that time the Aztecs (who referred to themselves as the Mexica or Tenochca) were a small, nomadic, Nahuatl-speaking aggregation of tribal peoples living on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica. Sometime in the 12th century they embarked on a period of wandering and in the 13th century settled in the central basin of Mexico (Encarta). Continually dislodged by the small city-states that fought one another in shifting alliances, the Aztecs finally found refuge on small islands in Lake Texcoco where, in 1325, they founded the town of Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City).
Fearless warriors and pragmatic builders, the Aztecs created an empire during the 15th century that was surpassed in size in the Americas only by that of the Incas in Peru. As early texts and modern archaeology continue to reveal, beyond their conquests and many of their religious practices, there were many positive achievements such as the formation of a highly specialized and stratified society and an imperial administration, the expansion of a trading network as well as a tribute system, and the development and maintenance of a sophisticated agricultural economy, carefully adjusted to the land (Mexico).
The Aztecs were very religious and their entire culture revolved around their beliefs. The leader of the Aztec empire was called the tlatoani. He was considered to be a divine descendant of the gods. They built large pyramids and built temples on top of them to worship their many gods. In these temples they would even have human sacrifices. They believed they had to keep the good gods strong and happy, in order for them to prevent the evil gods from destroying the empire. "It is believed that in 1487 there were more than 80,000 human sacrifices to appease the gods (Mexico)."
Another pre-Columbian civilization that existed in that era was the Maya civilization. They ruled a large part of Central and South America from approximately the years 300 - 900. The Maya were also a farming society like the Aztecs. They too, worshiped many gods, whom they felt were responsible for their survival. Gods of rain, wind, and sun were among the ones most worshiped. Mayan leaders went to war to try and capture the ruler of another city. If they did they would sacrifice the prisoner, again much like the Aztecs (Mexico).
     The Mayans created many things to affect the world. They created a 365 day calendar. They also made great strides in mathematics and astronomy. They used the number zero, which was very advanced for their time period. The astronomers were able to tell what day of the week a date would fall on in future years (Encarta). And they were able to calculate the length of years of other planets with remarkable precision given the instruments they had to work with (Mexico).
Contrary to popular belief, the Mayan civilization was not one unified empire, but rather a multitude of separate entities with a common cultural background. Similar to the Greeks, they were religiously and artistically a nation, but politically sovereign states. As many as twenty such states existed on the Yucatan Peninsula, but although a woman has, on rare occasions, ascended to the ruling position, she has never acquired the title of 'mah kina' (one of the highest titles that can be achieved)(Encarta).
     Music was central to both these and other Pre Columbian cultures as a form of religious expression. It was highly developed, including a system of perfect harmony before the West developed anything similar. Because the instruments were for a religious purpose, they were often elaborately decorated with pictures of gods, whether by painting or carving. They were also decorated ... more

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