On 29 October, 312, Constantine the Great entered Rome after his victory at the Milvian Bridge on the previous day.

On 29 October, 312, Constantine the Great entered Rome after his victory at the Milvian Bridge on the previous day. Prior to the battle, represented in both Roman and Renaissance art, Constantine prayed and saw a vision in the sky of the letters Chi Rho. After conquering Maxentius and his forces, Constantine attributed his success to the Christian God, since his vision was of the first two letters of ‘Christ,’ and he subsequently converted to the theretofore banned religion. The emperor staged a grand adventus (a ceremony to welcome him home from battle) in the city and received a hero’s welcome. His foe and onetime co-emperor Maxentius, who had died in battle, was fished out of the Tiber river; his corpse decapitated.


Battle of Milvian Bridge, Arch of Constantine, 315 CE. Rome.

Giulio Romano, Battle of the Milvian Bridge, 1520-24, fresco. Rome: Vatican Palace.

Piero della Francesca, Constantine’s Victory over Maxentius, Legend of the True Cross, 1456, fresco. San Francesco, Arezzo.

Gold multiple medallion minted in Ticinum, 313 CE: Busts of Constantine with Sol Invictus. Paris:  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cabinet des Médailles.

Piero della Francesca, Constantine’s Victory over Maxentius, Legend of the True Cross, 1456, fresco. San Francesco, Arezzo.

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