Emperor Constantine’s victory against Maxentius in 312 AD is commonly understood as the first battle under the banner of Christianity and seen as a major shift from its status as a persecuted religion of outlaws to the established power that would reign for over a millennia in the world. But is this really the case?
Emperor Constantine had a vision of a cross in the sky. This was interpreted by his advisors as a divine sign of good fortune in coming battle. The cross as a symbol of power in battle originated here. Until then, the cross and more so, the letter “p,” standing for pax or “peace,” were symbols for Christianity.
In still earlier times, the fish was the secret symbol for Christians. In the Greek language, ichthys was the word for fish. Each letter was the beginning of this message: Iesous Christos theou yios soter, “Jesus Christ, son of God, Savior.”
Until Constantine, bloodshed was not caused by Christians. The idea to shed blood in the name of Christ, in the sense to harm others, was alien and not supported by its founder — quite the contrary. As a result of its way of life, this religion of persecuted outlaws eventually brought the Roman Empire to its knees. It did so without military power but through devotion to Christ and by filling the cup of indemnity until finally released. This was perhaps the most honorable victory in Christian history.
The Vikings and the adaptation of Constantine’s conquest
When Reverend Moon travelled through Europe in 2005 (then banned from the Schengen Area), he strongly addressed the Viking mentality of Europeans. At that time, I did not get it, because by my understanding, the Viking age was between 800 to 1000 AD. However, this applied only to the well-known Viking raids that occurred in Western Europe mainly from Norway. In the eastern part of Europe, Vikings travelled as traders and settlers along the rivers, particularly in Russia, until they met Muslim communities on the shores of the Mediterranean. According to the most prevalent theory, the name of the Rus ’ people is derived from an Old Norse term for “the men who row.”