For nearly three hundred years, Christianity was … It asserted that everybody had a right to worship a deity of his/her choice; therefore, the persecutions of the Christians ceased with a promise that they will be reimbursed all their confiscated properties. ], The version found in Lactantius is not in the form of an edict. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. It marks the Roman Empire’s final abandonment of the policies of persecution of Christians. It was the product of a political agreement between the Roman emperors Licinius and Constantine I who met in Milan on February 313 CE.  It is a letter from Licinius to the governors of the provinces in the Eastern Empire he had just conquered by defeating Maximinus later in the same year and issued in Nicomedia. Since Licinius composed the Edict with the intent of publishing it in the east upon his hoped-for victory over Maximinus, it expresses the religious policy accepted by Licinius, a pagan, rather than that of Constantine, who was already a Christian. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Edict-of-Milan, Internet History Sourcebooks Project - Galerius and Constantine: Edicts of Toleration 311/313.  Western Roman Emperor Constantine I and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Mediolanum (modern-day Milan) and, among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians following the Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Galerius two years earlier in Serdica. 34, 35. That occurred in AD 380 with the Edict of Thessalonica. After demanding the immediate return of what was lost by the Christians, the edict states that this should be done so that “public order may be secured”, not for the intrinsic value of justice or the glory of God. After putting the chi-rho on all his guards he won the war, and his victory helped solidify his claim to the throne. The Edict of Mila… Another emperor who became infamous for harassing Christians was Emperor Diocletian. The ‘Edict of Milan’ was proclamation by Roman Emperors Constantine and Licinius that bestowed tolerance for all religions, especially, Christianity. Constantine believed that Rome would become stable after the legalization of Christianity. XI, Leipzig, 1844.) After years of power struggles for the imperial purple, the Roman world enjoyed a degree of peace. The proclamation, made for the East by Licinius in June 313, granted all persons freedom to worship whatever deity they pleased, … Diocletian tortured and killed many Christians after confiscating their properties until 305 CE. The letter was issued in February, 313 AD and stopped the persecution of Christians. In his description of the events in Milan in his Life of Constantine, Eusebius eliminated the role of Licinius, whom he portrayed as the evil foil to his hero Constantine. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Constantine was superstitious and believed enough in the existence of the non-Christian gods to not want to offset the balance of good and evil.
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