Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity by Kyle SmithConstantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity by Kyle Smith

Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity

byKyle Smith

Hardcover | January 19, 2016

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It is widely believed that the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity politicized religious allegiances, dividing the Christian Roman Empire from the Zoroastrian Sasanian Empire and leading to the persecution of Christians in Persia. This account, however, is based on Greek ecclesiastical histories and Syriac martyrdom narratives that date to centuries after the fact. In this groundbreaking study, Kyle Smith analyzes diverse Greek, Latin, and Syriac sources to show that there was not a single history of fourth-century Mesopotamia. By examining the conflicting hagiographical and historical evidence,Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persiapresents an evocative and evolving portrait of the first Christian emperor, uncovering how Syriac Christians manipulated the image of their western Christian counterparts to fashion their own political and religious identities during this century of radical change.
Kyle Smithis Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and Religion at the University of Toronto and the translator ofThe Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba'e.
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Title:Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late AntiquityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:January 19, 2016Publisher:University of California PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0520289609

ISBN - 13:9780520289604

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Introduction: Constantine and the Writing of Fourth-Century History

PART I: THE ROMAN FRONTIER AND THE PERSIAN WAR

1 • Patronizing Persians: Constantine's Letter to Shapur II
2 • Constantine's Crusade: The Emperor's Last Days and the Persian Campaign
3 • Rereading Nisibis: Narrating the Battle for Roman Mesopotamia

PART II: ROMAN CAPTIVES AND PERSIAN ENVOYS

4 • On War and Persecution: Aphrahat the Persian Sage and theMartyrdomandHistory of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba?e
5 • The Church of the East and the Territorialization of Christianity
6 • Memories of Constantine in theActs of the Persian Martyrs

Appendix A. Constantine's Letter to Shapur: Eusebius'sLife of Constantine IV.8-14
Appendix B.Martyrdom of the Captives of Beth Zabdai
Appendix C.Martyrdom of Abbot Barshebya, Ten Fellow Brothers, and One Magus

Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"By examining Constantine through the lens of the Sasanian world...[Kyle Smith] manages to break free of Eusebius and his domineering narrative. This will pay dividends for our understanding of this major figure in world history, as well as the history of Christianity in Late Antiquity more broadly. That Smith’s book is so clearly written, well organized, and tightly argued further ensures its impact on the field."