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5.58. Conſtantine.


[figure appears here on page 90]

Compare 1587 edition: 1 COnſtantine beyng the ſonne of the forena|med Conſtantius,Conſtã|tine. begot of his firſte wyfe Helene, the daughter (as ſome affirme) of Coell late king of the Britons, beganne his reigne in the yeare of our Lord .306.306. This worthie prince begot of a britiſhe woman, and borne of hir in Britayne (as our writers doe affirme,) and crea|ted certainely Emperour in Britayne,Conſtanti [...] created, Emp [...]|ror in Britay [...] doubtleſſe made his natiue countrey partaker of his hygh glorie and renoume, which by his great prowes, politike wiſedome, worthie gouernemente, and other his Princely qualities moſte abundantlye planted in his noble perſon, he purchaſed and got through the circuit of the whole earth, inſomuch that for the highe enterpriſes and noble actes by him happily broughte to paſſe and atchieued, he was ſurnamed (as before is ſayd) the great Cõ|ſtantine.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Whileſt this Cõſtantine remained at Rome in manner as he had bin a pledge with Galerius in his fathers life time, he beeing then but yong; fledde from thence, and with all poſt haſte retur|ned to his father into Britain, killing or howgh|ing by the way all ſuch horſſes as were appoin|ted to ſtande at Innes readie for ſuche as ſhould ryde in poſte, leaſt being purſued,Ent [...]p [...] Sextus A [...]+relius [...] he ſhould haue bene ouertaken, and broughte backe agayne by ſuche as myght be ſent to purſue him.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 At his comming into Britayne, he found his father fore vexed with ſickneſſe, whereof ſhortly after hee dyed, and then was he by helpe of ſuch as were aboute him, encouraged to take vppon him as Emperour: And namely one Erocus,Erocus king of the Al+mains. king of the Almaynes whiche had accompanied his father thither, aſſiſted him therto, ſo that be|ing proclaymed Emperor,Maxentius the tyrant. he toke vpon him the rule of thoſe countreys whiche his father had in gouernement, that is to ſay, Fraunce, Spayne, the Alpes, and Britayne, with other prouinces here in the weſt: and ruling the ſame with great equitie and wyſedome, hee greately wanne the fauour of the people, inſomuch that the fame of his politike gouernemente and curteous dealing being ſpread abroade, when Maxentius the ti|raunt that occupied the rule of the Empire at Rome, and in Italy by wrongful vſurping and EEBO page image 93 abuſing the fame, was growne into the hatred of the Romans and other Italians, Conſtantine was earneſtly by them requeſted to come into Italy, and to helpe to ſubdue Maxentius, that he might reforme the ſtate of things there.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 Maxentius was ſonne to Herculeus Maximi|nianus, Conſtantine had marryed Fauſta the daughter of the ſayde Maximinianus. Nowe ſo it was, that Maximinianus immediatly af|ter that his ſonne Maxentius hadde taken the rule vpon hym, ſought meanes to haue depoſed hym, & to haue reſumed and taken eftſoones into his owne handes the gouernement of the empire. But ſolliciting Diocletian to do the like, he was much reproued of him for his vnreſonable & am|bicious purpoſe: ſo yt when he perceiued that nei|ther Diocletian woulde be therto agreeable, nor induce the ſouldiours to admit him, they hauing already eſtabliſhed his ſonne, he began to deuyſe wayes howe to aſſure the ſtate more ſtrongly to his ſayde ſonne: and hearyng that his ſonne in law Conſtantine was mynded to come into I|taly againſt him, he purpoſed to practiſe Con|ſtantines deſtruction, in ſomuch that it was iud|ged by this which folowed, [...]iſsimulation. yt Herculeus Maxi|minus did but for a colour ſeme to miſlyke with that whiche his ſon Maxentius had done, to the ende he might the ſooner accompliſhe his entente for the diſpatching of Conſtantine oute of the waye. Herevpon (as it were) fleing out of Ita|ly, [...]anulphus [...]eſtrenſis. he came to Conſtantine, who as then hauing appointed lieutenants vnder him in Britayn, re|mayned in France, and with all ioy and honor that mighte bee, receiued his father in lawe: the which being earneſtly bent to compaſſe his pur|poſe,Fauſta the dau|ghter of Maxi+minus & vvife to Conſtantine. made his daughter Fauſta priuie therto: whiche ladie, either for feare leaſt the concealyng therof might turne hir to diſpleſure, either elſe for the entier loue whiche ſhe bare to hir huſbande) reueled hir fathers wicked purpoſe. Wherevpon whileſt Conſtantine goeth about to be reuenged of ſuche a trayterous practiſe, Herculeus fleeth to Merſiles,Marſiles. purpoſing there to take the ſea, and ſo to retire to his ſonne Maxentius into Italye. But ere he coulde get away from thence, he was ſtangled by commaundemente of his ſonne in lawe Conſtantine,Maximinus ſlayne. An. Chri. 311. and ſo ended his lyfe, whiche he had ſpotted with many cruell actes, as well in perſecutyng the profeſſour [...] the Chriſtian name, as others.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 In this mean time had Maximinus adopted one Licinius to aſſiſte hym in gouernaunce of the empire,Licinius choſen fellovv vvith Maximianus in the empire. proclayming hym Ceſar. So that nowe at one ſelfe tyme Conſtantine gouerned Fraunce and the weaſt partes of the Empire, Maxentius helde Italy, Affrike, and Egypte: And Maximinus whydhe lykewyſe had but e|lected Ceſar, ruled the Eaſte partes, and Lici|nius Illyrium and Grecia.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 3 But ſhortly after, the Emperoure Conſtan|tine ioyned in league with Licinius, and gaue to him his ſiſter in marriage, named Conſtantia, for more ſuretie of faithfull friendſhip to endure betwixt them. He ſent him alſo againſt Maxi|minus, who gouerning in the Eaſt parte of the Empire, purpoſed the deſtruction of Conſtan|tine and all his partakers: but being vanquiſhed by Licinius at Tarſus, he ſhortly after dyed, be|ing eaten with lice. Conſtantine after this, was called into Italy to deliuer the Romaynes and Italians from the tyrannie of Maxentius, whi|che occaſion ſo offered, Conſtantine gladly ac|cepting, paſſed into Italy, and after certaine vic|tories gote againſte Maxentius, at length ſlewe him. And after this, when Maximinus was dead, whiche prepared to make warre againſte Licinius, that hadde married Conſtantia, the ſiſter of Conſtantine, hee finally made warre a|gainſt his brother in lawe the ſayde Licinius, by reaſon of ſuche quarrels as fell out betwixt thẽ: In the whiche warre, Licinius was putte to the worſe, and at length comming into the handes of Conſtantine, was put to deathe, ſo that Con|ſtantine by this meanes gote the whole Empire vnder his rule and ſubiection. Hee was a greate fauorer of the Chriſtian Religion, in ſomuche that to aduance the ſame, hee tooke order for the conuerting of the Temples dedicated in the ho|nors of Idols, vnto the ſeruice of the true and Almightie God. Hee commaunded alſo,Chriſtians ho|noured & che|rished. that none ſhould be admitted to ſerue as a Souldiour in the warres, excepte hee were a Chriſtian, nor yet to haue rule of any countrey or armie. Hee alſo ordeyned, the weeke before Eaſter, and that whiche folowed, to be kept as holy, and no per|ſon to doe any bodily workes during the ſame. He was muche counſailed by that noble & moſt vertuous ladie his mother, the Empreſſe Helene, Polydore. The prayſe of the Empreſſe Helenae. the whiche being a godly and deuoute woman, did what in hir laye, to moue him to the ſetting foorth of Gods honour and encreaſe of the chri|ſtian faith, wherein as yet he was not fully in|ſtructed. Some writers alledge, that ſhe beeing at Ieruſalem,320. made diligent ſearche to finde out the place of the Sepulchre of our Lorde, and at length founde it, thoughe with muche adoe: for the infidels had ſtopped it vp and couered it with a heape of filthie earth, and buylded alofte vpon the place, a chappell dedicated to Venus, where yong women vſed to ſing ſonges in honoure of that vnchaſte Goddeſſe. Helene cauſed the ſame to be ouerthrowne, and the earth to be remoued, and the place clenſed, ſo that at length the ſepul|chre appeared, and faſt by were founde there bu|ried in the earth .iij. croſſes and the nailes, but the croſſe wherevppon our Sauiour was crucifyed, EEBO page image 92 was known by the title written vpon it,The Croſſe founde. though almoſt worne out, in letters of Hebrew, greke, and Latine: the inſcription was this: Ieſus Na|zarenus rex Iudaeorum. It was alſo perceyued which was that Croſſe by a miracle, (as it is re|ported, but how truly I can not tell), that ſhuld be wrought thereby: For being layde to a ſicke woman, only with the touching therof, ſhe was healed. It was alſo ſayde, that a dead man was rayſed from death to lyfe, his bodie onely being touched therwith. Whervpon Conſtantine mo|ued with theſe things, forbade that from thence|forth any ſhould be put to death on the Croſſe, to the ende that the thing which afore tyme was accompted infamous and reprochefull, myghte nowe be had in honour and reuerence.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 The Empreſſe Helen hauing thus found the Croſſe, buylded a temple there, and taking wyth hir the nayles, returned with the ſame to hir ſon Conſtantine, who ſet one of them in the creſt of his helmet,Polidorus. an other in the brydell of his horſſe, and the thirde he caſtinto the ſea, to aſſuage and pacifie the furious tempeſtes and rage thereof. She alſo brought with hir a parcell of that holy Croſſe,Polidorus: and gaue it to hir ſonne the ſayd Con|ſtantine, the whiche he cauſed to be cloſed with|in an Image that repreſented his perſon, ſtan|ding vppon a piller in the market place of Con|ſtantine, (or as ſome late writers haue) he cau|ſed it to be encloſed in a coffer of golde, adorned with ryche ſtones and Pearles, placing it in a Churche called Seſſoriana, the which church he endued with many great giftes and precious or|namentes.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Many workes of greate zeale and vertue are remembred by writers to haue bin done by thys Conſtantine and his mother Helene, to the ſet|ting foorth of Gods glorie, and the aduauncing of the faith of Chriſte.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 The commen|dation of Con|ſtantine.But to be briefe, he was a manne in whome many excellent vertues and good qualities bothe of mynde and bodie manifeſtly appeared, chiefly he was a prince of great knowledge and experi|ence in warre, and therewith verie fortunate, an earneſt louer of iuſtice, and to conclude, borne to all honour.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 But nowe to ſpeake ſomewhat of the ſtate of Britayne in his tyme, ye ſhall vnderſtande, that as beefore is recorded, at his going ouer into into Fraunce, after that he was proclaimed em|perour, he lefte beehynde hym in Britayne cer|tayne gouernours to rule the land, and amongſt other one Maximinus a right valiãt captayne. He tooke with him a great part of the youth of Britayn, & diuers of the chiefe men amongſt the Nobilitie, in whoſe approued manhode, loyaltie and conſtancie, he conceyued a great hope to goe through with al his enterpriſes, as with yt which being accompanied and compaſſed about, he paſ|ſed ouer into Gallia, entred into Italye, and in euery place ouercame his enimies.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Ther be that write how that Conſtantin thus conueying ouer the ſea with him a great armye of Britons,

VVi [...] Malmſ.

Britayne [...]+uing in the vvarres vnder Con|ſtantine.

by whoſe induſtrie obteyning victo|rie as he wiſhed, hee placed a greate number of ſuche as were diſcharged out of wages, and li|cenced to giue ouer the warre, in a parte of Gal|lia towardes the Weaſt ſea coaſt, where theyr poſteritie remayn vnto this daye, meruailouſly encreaſed afterwardes, and ſomewhat differyng from our Britons, the Welchmen, in manners and language.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Amongſt thoſe noble men which he took with him when he departed out of this lande (as oure writers do teſtifie,Galfridus. Mat. VV [...] were .iii. vncles of his mother Helene, that is to witte, Ho [...]lmus, Traherus, & Marius, whom he made Senators of Rome.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 In the meane tyme that Conſtantine had ob|teyned and ruled the whole empire, Britain as it were hauing recouered libertie, in that one of hir children being her king, had got the gouernment of the whole earthe, remayned in better quiete than afore time ſhe had done: but yet in the mean ſeaſon, if we ſhall credite the Britiſhe Chronicle and Geffrey of Monmouth the interpreter there|of, There was a Britiſh lord,Octa [...]ius. named Octauius or Octauian,Caxton. as the olde Engliſhe Chronicle nameth hym, that was Duke of the Gewiſſes,

Gevviſſes in|habited the countrey whi|che the VVe [...] Saxons are helde.

The name Ge|vviſſes came in vvith the Saxons of G [...]y &.

and appoynted by Conſtantine to be ruler of the lande in his abſence, the whiche Octauius (after that Conſtantine had recouered Rome, and I|taly, and was ſo buſied in the affaires of the em|pire in thoſe parts, that as was thought, he could not returne backe into Britayn,) ſeyſed into his handes the whole dominion of Britayne, and held himſelfe for king.

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