The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen, reaching far across modern day Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. The influence of the Roman Empire remains today and can be seen from their contributions in language, religion, architecture, philosophy, government and more. One of the main reasons this empire was so successful and became such a long lasting and stable civilization had to do with its leaders. Constantine the Great was one of those outstanding leaders. He was the Roman Emperor from the years 306 to 337, and was eventually thought of as the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire. This paper will include aspects of Constantine's childhood, his reign as emperor and the impact and legacy he has left behind.
Constantine's original name was Flavius Valerius Constantinus. He was born in the city of Naissus, Dardania. In his early years he was an officer in the Roman army, and an imperial bodyguard to Emperor Aurelian. He was always very intrigued with politics and eventually became the governor of Dalmatia. Constantine was educated as a young man, learning Latin literature, Greek and philosophy. In 288 Emperor Maximian appointed Constantine to serve as his "praetorian prefect." After marrying Maximian's stepdaughter Theodora, Constantine was poised to have a successful and dynamic career in politics for the Roman Empire.
In the year 306 Constantine was named a caesar and became the Emperor of the Roman Empire. Throughout Constantines early reign he continued to expand the empire and improve the empire militarily, agriculturally, and politically. Early on, Constantine's part of the empire included Gaul, Spain, and Britain. Constantine commanded one of the largest armies in the empire. Initially after he became the emperor, Constantine stayed in Britain and assured his control in the northwest of the empire. After the Franks invaded Gaul and Constantine drove them back, he began a major expansion of Trier.