Influence of Constantine on the Basilica Maxentius

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Rome remains a testament of its proud history and human ingenuity. Over its 1,000 plus year history, Romans worked to transform the great city into a living museum. They created various feats of breathtaking architecture that reflected the age and time in which they were made. In addition, every period of Roman history reflected the changes of their society and politics. When Constantine became emperor during the 4th century, his belief in Christianity led him to create new buildings in Rome that supported his belief in the new religion. One of those buildings built under Constantine’s reign was the Basilica Maxentius. Constantine’s belief in Christianity inspired the final design of the Basilica Maxentius incorporating classic Roman architecture for the new Christian religion. Emperor Constantine was the ruler of Rome from 306 A.D. to 337 A.D. during the latter part of the Roman Empire.1 He is long remembered for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Under his reign, Christianity found a safe harbor within the Roman Empire and the religion flourished after the Edict of Milan in 313.2 Likewise, his decision to create Constantinople and move the capital there allowed him to create more structures that reflected his Christian faith. Nevertheless, even before Constantinople was created, Constantine had already created buildings that bore a revolutionary design apart from the existing structures that were common during that period of time.3 One of the buildings completed under the reign of Constantinople was the Basilica Nova.4 This building was begun by the former Emperor Maxentius and until today still bears his name. As a matter of fact, many scholars believe that the structure began construction under Maxentius’s reign but was finished by Constantine.5 As a result, modifications in the design of the basilica reflected the new style introduced by the new emperor and his architects.6 Traditionally, a basilica was a secular building used for...
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