Saturday, 11 April 2015

David Woods: Constantine, Aurelian, and Aphaca

The claim by Eusebius of Caesarea that Constantine I ordered the destruction of the shrine of Aphrodite at Aphaca because of sexual misconduct there (VC 3.55) has normally been accepted at face-value. It is arguable, however, that Constantine's main reason for ordering its destruction may have been because of an oracle there which had risen to prominence during the reign of Aurelian and may have played some role in provoking his persecution of Christians. It is also arguable that he may have sought to justify the destruction of this shrine in terms of respect for the cult of Sol rather than on any moral or Christian basis.

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