Constantine and the Conversion of Europe

  • by Arnold Jones
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The turmoil, both physical and mental, which the Roman Empire underwent during the chaotic third century, resulted in a Greco-Roman culture which was essentially exhausted. For a thousand years this culture had spread itself over the Mediterranean world in roughly the same recognizable architecture, law, art and religion. By the end of Diocletian's reign in the opening years of the fourth century, the pagan world had collapsed into the arms of a multicultural religious movement which had spread from the eastern Mediterranean. These were the "mystery religions" which had been in competition with one another for a century.By the time of Constantine, they had spread everywhere within the empire. But one of these religions, Christianity, was chosen by the young emperor. His decision changed the course of history. By putting the bureaucratic weight of the empire behind the Christian church, Constantine brought the new religion into prominence. He gave it the breathing spell it needed to vanquish its rivals and establish its political dominance. But hardly had Constantine's proclamation been made before the new religion began to tear itself apart in a series of recriminations and heresies.Listen and learn how Constantine guided this new force and placed his personal imprimatur on Christianity for all time.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely Spellbounding

Where does Constantine and the Conversion of Europe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Probably one of the finest ever downloaded.


What did you like best about this story?

The history of this period basically set the stage for the entire rise of Christianity and the western world. The insights I gained gave me a better foundation for understanding the world then and now. The narrator was superb.


Have you listened to any of Charlton Griffin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I will now - I would download an Audible.com book just for his narration.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction - but the 4th century Christians were damn lucky Constantine was around.


Any additional comments?

I almost believed that Griffin's narration were the words of the emperor speaking them.

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- Greg K.

A Lot of Potentially Boring Detail

I might have enjoyed this book more if I listened to the last chapter first, which summarizes the entire book. Much of the book is filled with detail of bishops and church officials and arguments and antics during Constantine's lifetime. Very interesting if this extremely narrow time period and topic appeals to the listener. Furthermore, the arguments between these long-forgotten characters are completely alien to the modern Christian, and the author acknowledges that fact occasionally. Most readers will simply be unable to associate with any of the sects battling with each other over early church doctrine. Theological hair-splitting that is very dense to the modern ear. Also, I thought there would be more material about the actual spread of Christianity throughout Europe. Instead the book chronicles the actions taken by Constantine that eventually resulted in the spread of the faith. Nonetheless, the book is reasonably interesting to anyone curious about the period. Most histories of Rome that I've read don't have any where near as much detail as this book does about Constantine's life and personality. I'm a history buff, but not a professional or academic historian and quite frankly it amazes me how much detail and actual dialog and day-to-day rundown of events has been preserved from this period. I have to assume that the actual dialog and text and correspondence quoted in the book is in fact accurate. I'd love to know what the primary sources are and where they are kept.

Regarding the reader, Charlton Griffin has the best reading voice for this kind of material and it's a pleasure to listen to. Direct quotations and speeches are produced with a reverb on his voice to set such quotations aside from the author's own writing. Listeners may or may not like it.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND A History of Rome, read by Charlton Griffin, also available on Audible.
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- Christopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2009
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur