Friday, 3 July 2020

False News about Constantine the Great

It is a sign of the febrile atmosphere in which we live that false news spreads so quickly thanks to electronic media. Thus the other day there was a story that some individual or group was targeting the statue of the Emperor Constantine the Great outside York Minster because of the Emperor’s condoning slavery. Given the ubiquity of slavery in the ancient world such views on his part should hardly surprise us. The story was featured in both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail and the latter’s article can be seen at York Minster's statue of Roman emperor could go after slavery claims

However this was an instance of rumour taking wing through the ethernet and was shown to be false in another article, which pointed to an origin in Spain, and can be seen at Debunked: English cathedral's statue of Constantine not under threat

This was followed by a definitive rejection of the story by the authorities at York Minster itself as reported by the city’s newspaper in ‘Constantine the Great statue is NOT under threat' - but church is reviewing all monuments which points out that the Minster has received no letters of complaint about the statue.

There is an account of the bronze sculpture by Philip Jackson at Statue of Constantine the Great, York. It was unveiled in 1998 and bears witness to probably the event with the most significance to have ever occurred in Britain - the accession of Constantine to the Imperial throne on July 25th 306 in Eboracum, the remains of whose administrative basilica lies directly beneath the Minster.

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Mind you, I imagine the fourth century abounded in false news...and who could have imagined on that day in 306 what would flow from the actions of this new Emperor?

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