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Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia

Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity

Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia

Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity

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£27.00

Publisher: University of California Press
ISBN: 9780520308398
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 12/11/2019
Width: 15.2 cm
Height: 22.9 cm
It is widely believed that the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity politicized religious allegiances, dividing the Christian Roman Empire from the Zoroastrian Sasanian Empire and leading to the persecution of Christians in Persia. This account, however, is based on Greek ecclesiastical histories and Syriac martyrdom narratives that date to centuries after the fact. In this groundbreaking study, Kyle Smith analyzes diverse Greek, Latin, and Syriac sources to show that there was not a single history of fourth-century Mesopotamia. By examining the conflicting hagiographical and historical evidence, Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia presents an evocative and evolving portrait of the first Christian emperor, uncovering how Syriac Christians manipulated the image of their western Christian counterparts to fashion their own political and religious identities during this century of radical change.

Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith is Associate Professor of Historical Studies and Religion at the University of Toronto and the translator of The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba'e.

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