ConstantinesCrossVision.htm The traditional story of Constantine's conversion is presented as Constantine seeing an Omen in the sky while marching along with his troops in front of the sun, the shape of an ambigram cross with two Greek letters, chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ) (the first two letters of the Greek ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, Christos, or Christ) along with a Greek inscription reading "Εν τούτω Νίκα", En Touto Nika (meaning "with(in) this win"), which is often translated into the more familiar Latin: In hoc signo vinces (meaning "in this sign thou shalt conquer") before his victory in the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312.

Either upon seeing this vision or upon being instructed to use the emblem he had just seen as a standard in a dream afterwards Constantine is said to have instituted a new standard to be carried into battle, the labarum. Another major religion of the time, Sol Invictus, also used a similar symbol.

There are at least three different surviving ancient versions of this battle in greater detail, not all of them are by prominent Christian apologists:

      Panegyric of Constantine, sees the vision as from Apollo as Constantine's patron (Panegyrici Latini VI (7), 21 from 310);

      Lactantius, Of the manner in which the persecutors died, 44;

      Eusebius of Caesarea, The life of Constantine, 24-31;

      Zosimus, New History, 2 (43,44) (this version seems to have numerous owls as an omen of victory, and is by a hostile pagan).

It should be noted that historical sources of the 4th century Roman Empire seem to be unusually rich in omens, magic, hexes and spells, while lacking in critical inquiry.[3] A suspicion of literacy and higher learning which began at least a century before had grown. These may have been the results of the fear and high mortality rates caused by the first and second outbreak of the Antonine Plague (165 - 180 and 251 - 266 respectively).

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