35 meters) versus the 70 cubits of the Colossus of Rhodes (32 meters). A common interpretation has therefore been that since the colossus was remodelled into Constantine’s likeness after the victory over Maxentius, that this is the statue which Eusebius refers to. Moreover, Eusebius argues that when Constantine entered Rome after his victory, the people and senate of Rome hailed him as a saviour (σωτήρ, sōtēr) and benefactor (εὐεργέτης, euergetēs) (I.39). For Justin, the fact that the symbolism of the cross permeates Roman displays of power and dominion without them even realising it shows that through Roman power, God’s greater plan is at work, regardless of whether the Romans acknowledge Him or not. The Colossus of Constantine. From what we can deduce from Eusebius—and it must of course always be borne in mind that his portrayal of the emperor as the archetypal Christian ruler is highly stylised—the relationship between the emperor, the Roman army, and the Christian deity had evolved since Tertullian and Justin Martyr’s day. The Colossus of Constantine Title: The Colossus of Constantine Made: 312–315 AD Rediscovered: 1486 Material: White marble, brick, wood, gilded bronze Museums: Capitoline Museums The west apse of the Basilica of Maxentius, near to the Forum Romanum in Rome. What is relevant for our discussion, is the debate as to what the remains of the statue might tell us about the relationship between Constantine’s apparent Christianity and his role as Roman emperor. It seems that the head has been cut from a previously existing statue, as there are square dowels cut into the temples, indicating the locks of hair were added to an existing head. Holding on to pagan traditions in the early Christian era: The Symmachi Panel. It is also interesting to note in connection with Eusebius’s claims that Constantine’s statue was furnished with a “trophy” of the cross, that Justin Martyr in his First Apology LV.4-8 viewed Roman vexilla and trophies as unwittingly representing Christ’s cross due to their T-Bar shape. This unique portrait has many highly distinctive features including a square jaw, projecting dimpled chin, carefully arranged locks, and an aquiline nose. Plotinus, Enneads I.2.4; “What Constantine Saw,” p. 46-47). has, however, demonstrated that the marble colossus originally showed Hadrian, and was recut into Constantine in Late Antiquity, when almost all marble sculptures were reused or However, the emperor, knowing that his help had come from God, did not indulge in these acclamations, but rather at once ordered a trophy of Christ’s passion to be set up in the hand of a statue of himself. Constantine’s face, which is clean shaven, has a placid expression with large, deeply carved eyes directed towards heaven. These adaptations arose largely from the new importance of the East and of the provinces in general in the life of the Empire. Arch of Constantine, Roman Empire, Rome, Italy, 312-315 CE Answer these questions:-What is the story of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity?Why was this so significant? If we consider for a moment non-Christians, including Jews, who saw this statue, with the exception of the sign of the cross (if it was indeed added to the colossus), the style would likely not have appeared much different from previous statues of pagan emperors. Arch of Constantine. The iconography of the portrait, with this upward gaze, possibly in the pose of Jupiter, suggests that Constantine as a rule appointed by God, Constantine as victor or even Constantine as divine. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle.” His victory over Maxentius therefore proved that God supported him, and Eusebius tells us that this partnership between the Christian God and the Roman emperor was subsequently proclaimed far and wide by Constantine both through inscriptions, and through the setting up of this “trophy of victory” prominently in Rome, so that all would know the true source of protection of the Roman government and the wider empire (I.40). Photo: author. Judging by the size of the remaining pieces, the seated, enthroned figure would have been about 12 meters (40 feet) high. A Christian soldier is imprisoned because he refuses to wear the laurel crown, The contradiction between Roman military service and God’s laws, The hidden symbolism in Rome’s displays of power, The Colossus of ConstantineAuthor(s) of this publication: Kimberley FowlerPublishing date: Wed, 04/11/2018 - 22:59URL: https://www.judaism-and-rome.org/colossus-constantineVisited: Thu, 01/21/2021 - 00:24, Copyright ©2014-2019, All rights reserved About the project - ERC Team - Conditions of Use, Re-thinking Judaism’s Encounter with the Roman Empire. Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine After a few weeks of traveling, it’s so good to be back! by Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Rather than being something present in the background, using the Roman military to work towards a greater purpose, yet not properly acknowledged, the support of the Christian God was now visible, accepted, and promoted. Palatine Hill; Domus Flavia; Lupercal; DOMUS AUGUSTANA; Palace of Septimus Severus; Interesting Facts; Discover Rome . Other sources connected with this document: Constantine’s vision of Christ prior to the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Historisk-filosofiske meddelelser/Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab 58, “I colossi di bronzo a Roma in età tardoantica: dal Colosso di Nerone al Colosso di Costantino. It cannot be argued with any certainty, then, that Constantine intended his expression on the colossus to show his reverence for, or affiliation with, the Christian God specifically. The head bust of the Colossus of Constantine, a huge acrolithic statue that once occupied the west apse of the Basilica of Maxentius near the Forum Romanum in Rome. The statue was discovered in pieces in 1486, in the ruins of the great basilica northeast of the Roman Forum. The discussion above shows that the artistic portrayal of Constantine still retained features linking the emperor to Rome’s past and established pagan imagery, such as his image as a new Augustus, and his Hellenistic style heavenward gaze. For our purposes, the statue and the debate surrounding it is particularly significant for what it might reveal about the changing attitude towards the compatibility not only between Christianity and Roman rule more generally, but particularly Christianity and the Roman army. Portions of the Colossus now reside in the Courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, on the Capitoline Hill, above the west end of the Forum. The body was made out of wood and mud brick and then the exterior was covered in gilded bronze to represent golden robes. The Colossus of Constantine. Prezi’s Big Ideas 2021: Expert advice for the new year; Dec. 15, 2020. For instance, the second century author Tertullian in his On Idolatry XIX objects to Christians in the Roman army on the grounds that military service necessarily involved idolatry, such as the swearing of an oath of allegiance to the emperor, and in some roles the performing of sacrifices (see also Tertullian, On the Military Garland I.1-4; On the Military Garland XI.1-4; Tertullian is not opposed to the Roman army and its role in the empire’s expansion per se, as is made clear elsewhere in his writings where he asserts Christianity’s support for and prayers for the emperor and his army). How to increase brand awareness through consistency; Dec. 11, 2020 Colossus of Constantine Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker provide a description, historical perspective, and analysis of The Colossus of Constantine . The head is 2.97 metres high, the feet are 2 metres long, and the right hand 1.61 metres high (another right hand, discovered in 1744, which was possibly discarded when the statue was reworked, measures 1.66 metres high). It has also been argued that Maxentius first reused a second-century colossus, perhaps originally of Hadrian, which Constantine later reworked to resemble himself, just as earlier reliefs were incorporated into Constantine's arch by recutting of the imperial heads. Linda Safran has argued that the colossus declared Constantine’s divinity by mimicking the temple images of Jupiter and Zeus. The statue was bare-chested and was probably was placed on a pedestal. For instance, Lysippus’s statue of Alexander the Great was reportedly designed like this, and there are many other examples (Bardill, Constantine, p. 19). The dowel holes on the temples suggest that a diadem was attached to the brow, while the right hand originally grasped an imperial standard or staff. Colossus of Constantine Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker provide a description, historical perspective, and analysis of The Colossus of Constantine . Instead of creating a new style or a new iconography, it made the necessary adaptations to Pagan traditions and drew on them. The emerging abstraction that is present in the Colossus of Constantine came to be associated with _____. The back of the forearm, as well as the head, are flat, which suggests the statue was in direct contact with a wall. Millennium: Jahrbuch zu Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausends n. Chr. coins struck in 306 and 307 CE after his proclamation as his father’s successor). Second Series (New York: Scribner, 1904), p. 564. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t6m04pr8j;view=1up;seq=378, “Through this sign of salvation, which is the true symbol of goodness, I rescued your city and freed it from the tyrant’s yoke, and through my act of liberation I restored the senate and people of Rome to their ancient renown and splendor.”. The Colossus of Constantine was positioned inside this basilica, in the western apse. 3). The striking head bears very distinctive features—a square jaw, with a dimpled chin, and a distinctive aquiline nose that is pointed at the tip, which was characteristic of the style introduced by Constantine’s father. Remove Ads Dating from 312-330 CE, after Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge near Rome, which saw him go on to become sole ruler of the empire, the Colossus has attracted a lot of attention over the years and been the source of much discussion. Another candidate of the statue mentioned by Eusebius is the Statue of Constantine at the Lateran, Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age by Jonathan Bardill, Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor by Paul Stephenson, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine edited by Noel Emmanuel Lenski, Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century edited by Kurt Weitzmann, The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine by Eusebius of Caesarea, Capitoline Museums Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr), Colossal statue of Constantine (Musei Capitolini), The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine, Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age, Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine, Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. The marble is a combination of Parian and Carrara. Moreover, in words attributed to Constantine himself (although some have questioned their authenticity over the years), “the only power in man which can be elevated to a comparison with that of God, is sincere and guileless service and devotion of heart to himself, with the contemplation and study of whatever pleases him, the raising our affections above the things of earth, and directing our thoughts, as far as we may, to high and heavenly objects: for from such endeavours, it is said, a victory accrues to us more valuable than many blessings” (Oration to the Assembly of the Saints XIV) (see Bardill, Constantine, p. 22-23). Saved by Sarah Bogue. It is possible, therefore, that a statue of a previous emperor was remodelled after the victory in 312 CE to represent Constantine (Constantine, p. 206-207). By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University’s usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the In his panegyrical Life of Constantine I.28, Eusebius describes how prior to the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine received a vision from God: “He said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, bearing the inscription, conquer/prevail (νικάω, nikaō) by this. Emperor Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great, was sole leader of the Roman Empire from 325 until his death in 337. Once located in the west apse of the Basilica of Maxentius, fragments of the Colossus of Constantine are now located in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini on the Capitoline Hill, Rome. Marble was used to portray the exposed flesh, while the mantle might have been bronze. However, others are more cautious about drawing such conclusions, and prefer to understand the statue’s features as more in line with earlier Roman and Hellenistic tradition. The head in 2.97 metres high in total, and 1.74 metres from chin to crown. https://www.khanacademy.org/.../roman/late-empire/v/colossus-of-constantine The model for this sculpture was the Colossus of Rhodes, simulacrum of the sun-god Helios executed by Chares of Lindos around 280 BC. TRUE or FALSE: Portraits of Roman emperors were entirely realistic. ... especially after Constantine, and especially in the Eastern zone of the Empire. Fragments of the statue, discovered in 1486 in the western apse of the Basilica Nova, are now in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Capitoline Museums. It measures 620 by 513 feet (189 by 156 metres) and could hold as many as 50,000 spectators. He returned to the tradition of the eternally young emperor. This was a huge statue of the late Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The iconography of the portrait, with this upward gaze, possibly in the pose of Jupiter, suggests that Constantine as a rule appointed by God, Constantine as victor or even Constantine … Only small parts of it are left intact, including the head and a hand (fig. Rufinus, in his fifth century Latin translation of Eusebius’s Greek text, renders the inscription slightly differently (832.6-9). There is also a small dowel hole at the top of the fist, suggesting that it once gripped something. Possibly, this was added after he adopted the diadem after 324 CE, following his defeat of Licinius. Arch of Constantine; Circus Maximus; Domus Aurea; ROMAN FORUM. 1622. For those who looked upon this great statue, Constantine’s depiction would not have struck them as drastically departing from Roman tradition. The face is cleanly shaven, with a contemplative expression and extremely prominent, large eyes, deeply carved, which look upwards. The bronze colossus may also have been intended for reuse by Maxentius, and was inherited by Constantine, alongside the overall plan for the late-Antique reorganization of Rome. Another large right hand of 1.66 metres high was found in 1744 during building work near the Capitol, and so it is possible that this was the original hand of the Colossus, discarded when the statue was reworked to include a trophy of the cross in the form of a military standard (see commentary for further details, and Bardill, Constantine, p. 209). Portions of the Colossus, from the New Basilica on the Velia, now reside in the Courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, on the Capitoline Hill. Only parts of the Colossus remain, including the head that is over eight feet tall and 6.5 feet long. The striking head bears very distinctive features—a square jaw, with a dimpled chin, and a distinctive aquiline nose that is pointed at the tip, which was characteristic of the style introduced by Constantine’s father. The large, otherworldly eyes of the colossus have been the subject of much discussion, with many seeing them as intended to represent the emperor’s spirituality and connection to God. Colossus of Constantine Head Bust Sculpture Roman Emperor, Replica of early 4th century AD made of cast stone and hand-finished in antique finish. The great head, arms and legs of the Colossus were carved from white marble, while the rest of the body consisted of a brick core and wooden framework, possibly covered with gilded bronze. After his victory over Maxentius, Constantine’s official portraits adopted a new style. Eusebius tells us that a long spear with a horizontal bar laid across it gave the standard the appearance of Christ’s cross, and the emperor ordered similar standards to be carried at the head of his armies as a symbol of their divine protection. Constantine the Great was the first Christian emperor of Rome, and his reign had a profound effect on the subsequent development of the Roman, later Byzantine, world. Additional fragments of the statue (the left breast and the right arm) were discovered in 1951. Earlier Christian writers had struggled to accept the idea of Christians within Rome’s military ranks, seeing the two as fundamentally opposed. But the dimensions of the colossus of Nero were larger: it was 119-foot-high (ca. The statue is no longer intact, but various parts remain of the acrolith (i.e. The head, arms and legs of the Colossus were carved from white marble, with the rest of the body constructed from a brick core and wooden framework, possibly covered with gilded bronze. Constantine’s face, which is clean shaven, has a placid expression with large, deeply carved eyes directed towards heaven. in a niche in the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. The same heavenward gaze is also found on coins minted after the defeat of Licinius in 324 CE (see, for example, Solidus depicting the head of Constantine celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of his rule, 335 CE). ... but also in the style of carving, which recalls through its naturalism Ancient Greece and Rome. Marble, 312 CE. Two small holes in the centre of the head, just above the fringe, and an incision along the right side of the head, indicate that there was at one point something adorning Constantine’s head. The Colossus of Constantine (Italian: Statua Colossale di Costantino I) was a huge acrolithic statue of the late Roman emperor Constantine the Great (c. 280–337) that once occupied the west apse of the Basilica of Maxentius near the Forum Romanum in Rome. The marble friezes were re-used from earlier imperial monuments so that the overall impression is a lack of a coherent style. The Colossus of Constantine , c. 312–15, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Musei Capitolini, Rome Practice: Colossus of Constantine. Accordingly, he immediately ordered a lofty spear in the figure of a cross to be placed beneath the hand of a statue representing himself, in the most frequented part of Rome, and the following inscription to be engraved on it in the Latin language: “By virtue of this salutary sign, which is the true test of valor, I have preserved and liberated your city from the yoke of tyranny. Blog. It is an elliptical structure made of stone, concrete, and tuff, and it stands four stories tall at its highest point. À propos du remploi de portraits de ‘bons empereurs’”, Mélanges d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de l’École Française de Rome. For Bardill, the statue was likely recut from a previous colossus after 312 CE, when Constantine defeated Maxentius, and then restyled again after the defeat of Licinius to feature the deep, ethereal eyes that it now has (Constantine, p. 204). Moreover, by loud proclamation and monumental inscriptions he made known to all men the salutary symbol, setting up this great trophy of victory over his enemies in the midst of the imperial city, and expressly causing it to be engraved in indelible characters, that the salutary symbol was the safeguard of the Roman government and of the entire empire. It is possible that Eusebius referred to the statue in his works, the Life of Constantine and the Ecclesiastical History, which also records its inscription. For instance, in the group sculpture of the Tetrarchs, dating from the turn of the fourth century, only the young caesars are clean shaven (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Venice_%E2%80%93_The_Tetrarchs_03.jpg). In addition to the head, there was also a closed right hand found at the basilica, which has a break at the thumb. The detailed features of the head and face are somewhat uncharacteristic for a colossus (Jonathan Bardill, Constantine, p. 204). Antiquité, “Eusebius on Constantine: Truth and Hagiography at the Milvian Bridge”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, “What Constantine Saw: Reflections on the Capitoline Colossus, Visuality, and Early Christian Studies”. . Constantinople. English translation by Arthur Cushman McGiffert, in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. The head in 2.97 metres high in total, and 1.74 metres from chin to crown. Constantine's features merge realism with the abstracted style of the tetrarchs. However, this upward gaze characteristic of the emperor’s portraiture, which Eusebius claims showed him with his eyes heavenward, often accompanied by his hands stretched out in prayer (Life of Constantine IV.15), was already well established in the pagan world. In the second and early-third centuries, flowing beards came to represent the notion of the ‘philosopher emperor,’ for instance in portraits of Marcus Aurelius and Caracalla, then changing to show shorter, more military style facial hair on ‘soldier emperors.’ Elsner argues, therefore, that the presentation of Constantine here intends to portray him as “the archetypal Roman general of the distant imperial past, a new Augustus, a new Trajan”; indeed, the famous arch of Constantine also presents him as a new Trajan (Imperial Rome, p. 61). Moreover, as Bardill argues, the upward gaze was also adopted in late antiquity for philosophers, who were understood to be possessing of divine qualities. The placing of the trophy in the hand of Constantine’s statue is also described in the Ecclesiastical History IX.9.10, and Eusebius in both instances seems to make clear that it is an existing statue which the trophy is added to. The colossal statue of Constantine comes from the Basilica Nova in Rome, which was started by Maxentius and finished by Constantine after he defeated Maxentius in 312. . False. [37] If the bronze was a part of Maxentius’ plan, it would have been easy to remove the beard, and leave the hairstyle as it had been at the time of Nero and Commodus. Domus Flavia ; Lupercal ; Domus Flavia ; Lupercal ; Domus AUGUSTANA ; Palace Septimus! 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