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Final Word on Constantine

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

We begin with questions on Constantine, the first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity

WHY IS CONSTANTINE KNOWN AS CONSTANTINE THE GREAT? WHAT EPIC DEEDS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH HIS NAME?

His original name was Flavius Valerius Constantinus. “The Great” derives from his own self-conferred cognomen as Invictus Constantinus Maximus Augustus, meaning, “His Majesty the Great, Unconquerable Constantine”, as evidenced by a coin that was minted in 313 AD.  He was nonetheless a great man in his own right. He united an empire that had been fragmented for ten years.

At the time he acceded to the throne in July 306 AD, two other rulers laid claim to parts of it. He first became King of Britain, Gaul (modern-day France, Belgium, and Luxemburg) and Spain and after a series of victorious battles ensconced himself as undisputed emperor of the entire Roman Empire in 324 AD. 

He was emperor for 31 years (306-337), the second longest reign in the Roman Empire: only Augustus (Gaius Octavius) ruled longer at 40 years. Ten emperors who came after him proudly carried his name.  

YOU SAID CONSTANTINE WAS A CHRISTIAN ONLY OPPORTUNISTICALLY. COULD YOU FURTHER SUBSTANTIATE YOUR ARGUMENT AS AMONG CHRISTIANS HE IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO THEIR FAITH?

The Christians who salute Constantine as one of Christianity’s greatest mascots are horribly misinformed. Constantine never became a Christian.  The Catholic Encyclopaedia itself says tales of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity are legendary.

Constantine was a Catholic – kataholos in Greek, meaning a “universal faith”. He founded Catholicism, not Christianity. Catholicism was a blending of several faiths that included pagan faiths. Just look at the ritualistic garbs and protocols of the Vatican papacy today and you will agree with me that Catholicism is replete with pagan elements.

Catholicism was a political manouvre. Constantine wished to unite his empire because it was torn apart by religious factions and feudings. In order to unite his empire, he decided to forge a syncretic religion that artificially fused all of them into one.

In so doing, he decided to project Christianity – which itself was riven with antagonistic sects – simply because it was the most docile and had made a lot of headway in Europe and was practically the main religion of the day there.

IT IS SAID CONSTANTINE WAS BAPTISED ON HIS DEATHBED. WHO BAPTISED HIM?

It is not certain who performed the rite or when. There are actually two versions of the emperor’s alleged baptism. One says he was baptised by Pope Sylvester I of Rome in 326 AD after he cured him of leprosy. The other version, which we encounter in the writings of Eusebius of Caesaria, is that he was baptised a few days before his death by Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia (Izmit in today’s Turkey).  

IS IT TRUE THAT IT IS CONSTANTINE WHO CHANGED THE CHRISTIAN DAY OF WORSHIP FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY?

No it is not. The gospels themselves make it resoundingly clear that the early church, the one that was first led by Simon Peter and subsequently by James the brother of Jesus, met on “the first day of the week”, which is Sunday.

Of course the Jewish establishment frowned upon this setup. It was one reason the establishment persecuted the leading lights of the early church such as Simon Peter and the brothers John and James the “Sons of Zebedee”.

The misconception that Constantine changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday arises from his decree of March 7 321 AD. On that day, he declared that, “On the venerable Day of the Sun, let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.”

Throughout his reign, Constantine worshipped Apollo, the “Saviour Sun God”. Apollo was the Greek name for the Anunnaki god Utu-Shamash, the son of Nannar-Sin (Zeus) and the grandson of Enlil, the Jehovah of the Bible.

Constantine  never worshipped Jesus whatsoever. So his decree of March 7 was in honour not of Jesus but of his own Sun-God Apollo. Note that Constantine simply hallowed Sunday; he did not proscribe the Sabbath. The person who proscribed the Sabbath was Pope Sylvester I (reign: 314-335). It was he who decreed that “the rest of the Sabbath should be transferred to the Lord’s Day (Sunday).

HOW COULD CONSTANTINE HAVE BEEN A PAGAN WORSHIPPER WHEN ALL RELIGIONS OF THAT   DAY AND EVEN OUR DAY WORSHIPPED/WORSHIP THE SAME ANUNNAKI GODS BUT IN DIFFERENT GUISES?  

Humans have always been played by the Anunnaki. The idea of  the same Anunnaki gods posing as a distinct god of a particular religion was their strategy of divide and rule.  Let us take Nannar-Sin, the second-born son of Enlil, the Bible’s Jehovah predominantly.

As god of the Jews, he was called Yahweh. As god of the Ishmaelites, he was called Allah. As god of the Greeks, he was called Zeus. As god of the Romans, he was called Jupiter. But as far as Christians and the Jews were concerned, Zeus, Jupiter, and Allah were little more than idols. Of course the Romans and Greeks had the same view of Yahweh. Yet unbeknown to all, such was the foolproof wool pulled over their eyes by the Anunnaki, all these were one and the same god. 

You are therefore right when you say in deifying the Sun-God Apollo, Constantine was no different from any other person who claimed to worship Yahweh, Jupiter or Allah.  I suppose Constantine was aware of such a subterfuge, as a result of which he decided to take political advantage of this blindfold.    

YOU SAID JESUS WAS BORN IN MARCH 7 BC. WHY THEN DID CONSTANTINE CHOOSE DECEMBER 25 AS THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS?

It was not Constantine who declared December 25 as the birthday of Jesus; rather, it was the Catholic papacy.   Constantine chose December 25 to honour his Anunnaki Sun God Apollo. Like most Anunnaki gods, Apollo was worshipped as a Saviour Sun God.

The sun element stemmed from the fact of the sun being the sustainer of life on our planet. In ancient times therefore, the Sun was referred to as the Saviour.  As such, Sun Gods like Apollo were called Saviour Sun God because they were deemed as indispensable as the sun.

December 25 was particularly chosen by Constantine as the ceremonial birthday of the god Apollo because astrologically, the Sun reaches its lowest point (from the point of view of the northern hemisphere) in the sky on December 22, the so-called winter solstice.  From December 22 to 24, it is basically stationary: the metaphor is that it has “died”.  

Then on December 25, it begins to move to bring with it the season of spring. Thus on December 25, the sun was said to have “risen”  or  be “born again”.  That’s the reason Constantine chose the day as a ceremonial birthday of his god Apollo. The first such birthday was celebrated in 336 AD. A few years later, Pope Julius I (Bishop of Rome from 6 February 337 to his death in 352 AD) declared that Jesus’s birthday would also be celebrated on December 25.  The finger of indictment should therefore point to the Vatican and not to Constantine.

WHAT GREAT THINGS DID CONSTANTINE DO FOR CHRISTIANITY?

Granted, Constantine was a counterfeit Christian but what he did for the faith was epoch-making: without him, Christianity would not be the pervasive and authoritative faith it is today. The watershed event was the promulgation by the emperor of the 313 Edict of Milan which allowed freedom of religious expression in his empire.

Christianity was of course just one of the many religions that benefited from the edict but this augured well for the faith all the same. Before the advent of Constantine, Christians had been at the mercy of  institutionalised harassment and persecution.  Emperor Dioclesian for one instituted what was to become known in history as the Great Persecution, which lasted from 303 to 311 AD.

Christian assembly buildings were razed down and every Christian who refused to offer a sacrifice to the emperor (who fancied himself as a demi-god) or his god faced death. Constantine put an end to all this with the Edict of Toleration in 311.  One chronicler further underscores the emperor’s invigoration of Christianity thus:  “Constantine took over the role of patron of the Christian faith.

He supported the Church financially, had an extraordinary number of basilicas built, granted privileges (e.g., exemption from certain taxes) to clergy, promoted Christians to high-ranking offices, returned property confiscated during the Great Persecution of Diocletian, and endowed the church with land and other wealth.” And of course it was the 325 Nicene Council – decreed and wholly financed by Constantine – that marked the birth of the canon we today call the Bible. If Christianity is today a leading cultural force, it is because Constantine put it on a pedestal at the expense all other religions which at the time were vying for preeminence.    
 

IF CONSTANTINE WAS SUCH A GREAT CHAMPION OF CHRISTIANITY, WHY DIDN’T HE OUTRIGHTLY DECLARE IT AS THE SOLE STATE RELIGION? WHY DID HE EQUIVOCATE? ISN’T HE OVERATED IN THAT REGARD?

True, it was not Constantine who designated Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. The person who did that was Theodosius I, the 67th  Emperor of the Roman Empire, when on February 27 380 AD he issued the Edict of Thessalonica, which ordered all subjects of the empire to “profess the faith of the Nicene Council”.  As much as Constantine valued Christianity, he was not prepared to exalt it above every other faith.

This was because Catholicism, its main expression, was a hybrid religion that drew from  Western, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern faiths. Even more important, Constantine as an individual never fully embraced Christianity: he worshipped the Sun God Apollo.

Throughout his rein, he continued to mint coins bearing symbols of Apollo with the inscription “Sol Invictus”, meaning the “Unconquerable Sun”, that is, his Sun God Apollo. Even if he did perchance profess to be a Christian, he was far from exemplary virtue-wise. He had his own firstborn son executed; a nephew strangled; and his wife cooked alive in boiling water. Goodness knows how many other ancillary family members and friends he secretly sacrificed to his god.   

YOU SAID CONSTANTINE KILLED HIS WIFE AND HIS OWN SON. WHAT SIN DID THEY COMMIT?

The son was Julius Valerius Crispus, his firstborn. Constantine had Crispus by his first marriage with Minervina.  Crispus was an illustrious general and was described by all and sundry as “a prince of the highest merit” and therefore a worthy successor to the throne.

His rock-star popularity had his step mother and empress Fausta green with jealousy.  Constantine had divorced Minervina in 307 to tie the knot with Fausta in a politically expedient union: Fausta was the daughter of former emperor Maximian who was still politically influential (Maximian had ruled jointly with Dioclesian). 

Fausta had three sons with Constantine. They were Constantine Jr, Constantius, and Constans, none of whom were in their teens yet.  Fausta thought Crispus stood in the way of his sons, particularly her eldest Constantine Jr. 

According to the Byzantine historian Zosimus, who lived at the time of Emperor Constantine, Fausta first tried to endear herself to Constantine Jr by making sexual overtures to the handsome heir 27 years her junior. When Crispus politely rejected her, she set about poisoning him to his father – that he had designs on the throne and so posed a threat to the emperor’s continued occupancy of it.  Although there was no evidence of any disloyalty on the part of Crispus to his father, the emperor was swayed by his scheming wife.

First, he stripped Crispus of rulership of Gaul in 323 AD and summoned him back to Rome, where he could keep close watch on him, and Constantius at only 9 years old was declared the new Caesar, that is, deputy to his father, whose title was Augustus.  Then in August 326, Crispus was arrested, banished to Pola in Istria (today part of Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy), and executed after a sham trial. That Crispus’s death was the result of sheer spite on the part of Fausta is evidenced by the fact that his cousin Licinianus, the son of the emperor’s sister Constantia and who was only 12 years old, was also killed in cold blood.

Clearly, Fausta instigated the murders to ensure that there was no viable potential contender to the throne other than her own sons. The emperor was to rue his act.  His 80-year-old mother Helena confronted him and bitterly reproached him for killing an innocent child. Constantine indeed confirmed this, as a result of which he had Fausta murdered by suffocation in an over-heated bath later the same year.  As for the death of his son, the emperor was genuinely contrite.

According to another Byzantine historian Codinus, Constantine “raised to the memory of Crispus a golden statue, which bore the inscription, ‘To the son whom I unjustly condemned’, and fasted and refused the comforts of life for forty days.” This obviously sincerely remorseful gesture did not placate the bishops a jot, who stoutly refused to “purify” him from his crime. The philosopher Sopater, to whom he desperately turned for comfort, also told him to his face that he would have nothing to do with a “heinous sinner”. That was who Constantine was to his subjects and not the god-fearing icon Christendom misrepresents him as.

NEXT WEEK: QUESTIONS ON THE SECT THAT PRODUCED JESUS

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Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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