Constantine the Great Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Constantine Early Life
  • 0:56 Constantine the Great
  • 1:49 Constantine & Christianity
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Crystal Ladwig
How would you feel if you saw people being bullied or even beaten just because of what they believed? Constantine saw that happen, and it changed his life forever. Read on to find out what this Roman Emperor did about it.

Constantine: Early Life

You may have heard of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. Even if you have, you may not know everything about his life, which is what we'll be looking at today.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, later to be known as Constantine I, was born about the year 280 CE in what is now the country of Serbia. His father was a military man who rose through the ranks and eventually became one of the leaders of the Western Roman Empire.

As a boy, young Constantine was sent to live with the Eastern Roman Emperor and learned Latin, Greek, and philosophy. He also became a warrior. It was during this time that Constantine probably saw a lot of persecution of Christians. This means that people who believed in and practiced the Christian faith were punished for those beliefs, sometimes violently.

Constantine the Great

In 312 CE, Constantine battled for control of the Western Roman Empire. Legend says that he had a vision of a flaming cross and the words ''in this sign thou shalt conquer.'' Following that vision, Constantine ordered his soldiers to paint a cross on their shields to lead them into battle. Following an overwhelming victory, Constantine became the Western Roman Emperor.

Throughout the Western Roman Empire, including Britain, Gaul (including what is now France), and Spain, Constantine built roads, cities, public buildings, and defensive systems. In 324 A.D., Constantine conquered the Eastern Roman Empire making him the emperor of the entire Roman Empire, the largest empire in the world at the time. He established his capital in the city of Constantinople in what is now Istanbul, Turkey.

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