The Roman Empire Historia

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Milvian Bridge


Marcus Tullius Cicero orator and statesman (106-43 BC)
(Image courtesy of VRoma)

The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio in Italian) had been first built over the Tiber River by Censor M. Aemilius Sacurus in 109 BC. This was the site where Cicero captured the emissaries of the Allobroges (a tribe in Gaul) in 63 BC - He refers to these people in one of his speeches against Cataline. He demonstrates in the speech that Cataline indeed was conspiring with foreign nationals to overthrow the Republic and thus must be found guilty of treason.

A more famous story is that of Constantine and Maxentius. The two claimed to be emperor. Constantine held control in the East and Maxentius in Rome and the West. Both were eager to rule alone and war ensued. In 312 AD, on the eve of the battle at the Milvian Bridge, legend tells that Constantine had a vision in which he saw a cross and the words "In Hoc Signo Vinces." He did indeed defeat the Emperor Maxentius who was thrown from this very bridge into the Tiber and drowned. The following year, the Edict of Milan was signed granting freedom of worship and giving official recognition to Christianity.


Constantine I (ca. 273-337 AD; Emperor 307-337 AD).
(Image courtesy of VRoma)

Joan Jahnige, June 1999 (revised 2006)

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