The Panegyric of 313 by an Anonymous Pagan Orator to the Emperor Constatntine a Translation and Commentary

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Dr. Charles O'Dahl


Dr. Peter Buhler


Dr. Warren L. Vinz


The panegyric of 313 was a welcoming address delivered to the emperor Constantine on his return to his residence at Augusta Treverorum (now Trier), the northwest capital of the Roman Empire. It is the earliest extant account of Constantine’s Italian campaign, his victory at Rome, and his later subjugation of the Franks on the Rhine. The oration centers on Constantine’s defeat of the usurper Maxentius (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius) who had been proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guards at Rome in 306 and was not deposed until his defeat at the Battle of the Mulvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Its primary importance lies in the fact that Christian sources identified this campaign as the one in which Constantine converted. Because this oration was delivered in 313, it gives us the first contemporary response by a pagan to the change in the emperor’s religious views. In addition to its historical and religious value, its references to a variety of classical Roman writers add insight to the works with which an educated orator in the fourth century was familiar.

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