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Battle of Milvian Bridge

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[[image:pontemilvio.jpg|thumb|right|The Ponte Milvio on the Tiber, the present day site of the battle]]The '''Battle of Milvian Bridge''' took place on [[October 28]], A.D. 312, between the Roman Emperors [[Constantine the Great|Constantine I]] and Maxentius. In the aftermath of the battle, Constantine's victory heralded a change which would transform the Roman Empire and ultimately the state of Christianity forever.
==Historical background ==
 The underlying cause of the battle was the five-year-long dispute between Constantine and Maxentius over control of the Western Roman Empire. Although Constantine's father, Constantinus Chlorus, was the Western emperor, the tetrarchial system in place at the time did not adhere to primogeniture. When Constantius died on [[July 25]], 306, his father's troops proclaimed Constantine as ''Augustus '' (the Latin honorific for emperors, roughly meaning "venerable"). But in Rome, the favorite was Maxentius, the son of Constantius' predecessor Maximian. Both men continued to vie for the title, however a conference to resolve the dispute in 308 resulted in Maxentius being named a senior emperor along with Galerius. Constantine was allowed to maintain rule over provincial Britain and Gaul, but was officially only a "Caesar" - —a little emperor.
By 312, the two men were engaged in open hostility with one another, although they were brothers-in-law through Constantine's marriage to Fausta, sister of Maxentius.
== Events of the battle ==
In the summer of 312, Constantine gathered his troops and decided to settle the dispute by force. He easily overran north Italy, and stood at the Saxa Rubra on the Tiber, less than 10 miles from Rome. Maxentius chose to make his stand in front of the Milvian Bridge (today the Ponte Milvio), a stone bridge that carries the Via Flaminia road across the Tiber River into Rome. 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.
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