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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our 45th Great Grandfather, Constantine The Great, Emperor of Rome (Mattson Line)


From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Tonight we become reaquainted with someone we learned about in our elementary, junior high, high school, and religious schools. He is St. Constantine The Great, Emperor of Rome. He legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire and stopped the persecution of Christians. He embraced the new faith and made it the state religion. Constantine is our 45th Great Grandfather (my generation) on the Mattson, McCrillis line. How does one begin to write about someone so famous in history that hundred of books have been written about him? That alone could be a seperate blog unto itself.
Relationship Line

45th Great Grandfather
Constantine and Fausta
to
The Elder Theodosius
to
Honorius the Emperor of Western Rome and Maria
to
Flavius Eparchius Avitus and Clodereius Avitus
to
Papianilla of Rome and Ferreolus Tonantius
to
Miss Tonantius and Sigimaerus I Bishop of Auvergne
to
Ferrolus Duke of Moselle and Wambertus Duchess of Moselle
to
Ausbert of the Moselle and Berthe Queen of Kent
to
Arnoldus of Saxony and Oda De Savoy
to
Ansigisen Mayor of the Palace of Austriasia and Beggue of Landen
to
Pepin Li D’Heristal and Adpaide Concubine of Austrasia
to
Charles Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia and Rotrude Duchess of Austasia
to
Aldane (Aude) d’Heristal and Theuderic Duke of Toulouse.
to
Comte William Toulouse and Waldrate de Hombach
to
Cunigunde De Gellone and Bernard Di Italia King of Italy
to
Pepin II De Vermandois, Count of Senlis and Countess of Vermand
to
Hubert Count of Senlis and Countess de Senlis
to
Sprote De Bretagne and Longsword William
to
The Fearless Richard I, Duke of Normandy and Gonnor De Crepon
to
Richard Il “The Good” Duke of Normandy and Papie Duchess of Normandy
to
Guilaume De Normandie and Miss De Ponthiue
to
Leceline and Baron William Pantulf I
to
Robert Pantuff and Wife
to
Ivo De Pantulf 3rd Baron and Alice Verdon
to
Emma Pantuff and Robert Corbet Baron of Caus
to
Margaret Corbet and Prince Owain Gruffydd of Powys
to
William De La Pole and Elena Rotenhering
to
John De La Pole and Mabilla De La Poyle
to
Margaret De La Pole and John De Gaynesford
to
John Gaynesford and Christina
to
Sir John Gaynesfor and Margaret Elizabeth
to
Margaret White and John Kirton
to
Stephan Kirton and Margaret Offley
to
Helen Kirton and Richard White
to
Robert White Jr and Bridgett Algar
to
John White and Lucy White
to
Ann White and William Thompson
to
John Thompson and Sara Woodman
to
Sarah Thompson and Samuel Hill
to
Benjamin Hill and Betsey Dudley
to
Betsy Hill and Nathaniel Dearborn
to
Deborah Dearborn and Phinas Swift
to
Almira Swift and Joseph McCrillis
to
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles and John Mayberry Dennis
to
Vesta Althea Dennis and Walter Edwin Pierce
to
Violet May Pierce and Walter Albert Mattson
to
Luella, John, Linda, Marvin
to
US

I thought it best to find an article online that sums up this great grandfather's life. Take a moment to review what you learned about this famous ancestor by reading the information below.

Simply,
Victor

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT
Constantine, Roman Emperor from 306 to 337; was born in 274, at Naissus in Upper Moesia, a son of Constantius Chlorus and Helena, and was, after the death of his father at York (July 25, 306), proclaimed emperor by the legions of Gaul. He immediately took possession of Britain, Gaul, and Spain; and after a series of brilliant victories over Maxentius, ending with the bloody battle at the Milvian Bridge, just under the walls of Rome, he also became master of Italy (312). He now ruled over the ‘Western Empire, as Licinius over the Eastern: but war broke out between them in 314; and in 323, after the battle of Chalcedon, in which Licinius was killed, Constantine became sole lord of the whole Roman world. He died in 337, at Nicomedia.

Tradition tells us that he was converted to Christianity suddenly, and by a miracle. One evening during the contest with Maxentius, he saw a radiant cross appearing in the heavens, with the inscription, "By this thou shalt conquer." The tradition is first mentioned by Eusebius, in his De Vita Constantini, written after the emperor’s death. This miracle has been defended. with ingenious sophistry by Roman-Catholic historians and by Card. Dr. Newman (Two Essays on Biblical and on Ecclesiastical Miracles, 3d ed., Lond., 1873, pp. 271 sqq.), but cannot stand the test of critical examination. Constantine may have seen some phenomenon in the skies; he was no doubt convinced of the superior claims of Christianity as the rising religion; but his conversion was a change of policy, rather than of moral character. Long after that event he killed, his son, his second wife, several others of his relatives, and some of his most intimate friends, in passionate resentment of some fancied infringement of his rights. In his relation to Christianity he was cool, calculating, always bent upon the practically useful, always regarding the practically possible. He retained the office and title of Pontifex Maximus to the last, and did not receive Christian baptism until he felt death close upon him.

He kept Pagans in the highest positions in his immediate surroundings, and forbade every thing which might look like an encroachment of Christianity upon Paganism. Such a faith in such a character is not the result of a sudden conversion by a miracle: if it were, the effect would be more miraculous than the cause. Judging from the character both of his father and mother, it is probable that he grew up in quiet but steady contact with Christianity. Christianity had, indeed, become something in the air which no one occupying a prominent position in the Roman world could remain entirely foreign to. But the singular mixture of political carefulness and personal indifference with which he treated. it presupposes a relation of observation rather than impression. He knew Christianity well, but only as a power in the Roman Empire; and he protected it as a wise and far-seeing statesman. As a power not of this world, he hardly ever came to understand it.

Constantine's Arch in Rome

His first edict concerning the Christians (Rome 312) is lost. By the second (Milan, 313) he granted them, not only free religious worship and the recognition of the State, but also reparation of previously incurred losses. Banished men who worked on the galleys or in the mines were recalled, confiscated estates were restored, etc. A series of edicts of 315, 316, 319, 321, and 323, completed. the revolution. Christians were admitted to the offices of the State, both military and civil; the Christian clergy was exempted from all municipal burdens, as were the Pagan priests; the emancipation of Christian slaves was facilitated; Jews were forbidden to keep Christian slaves, etc. An [547] edict of 321 ordered Sunday to be celebrated by cessation of all work in public. When Constantine became master of the whole empire, all these edicts were extended to the whole realm, and the Roman world more and more assumed the aspect of a Christian state. One thing, however, puzzled and annoyed the emperor very much, - the dissensions of the Christians, their perpetual squabbles about doctrines, and the fanatical hatred thereby engendered. In the Roman Empire the most different religions lived peacefully beside each other, and here was a religion which could not live in peace with itself. For political reasons, however, unity and harmony were necessary; and in 325 the Emperor convened the first great oecumenical council at Nicæa to settle the Arian controversy. It was the first time the Christian Church and the Roman State met each other face to face; and the impression was very deep on both sides. When the emperor stood there, among the three hundred and eighteen bishops, tall, clad in purple and jewels, with his peculiarly haughty and sombre mien, he felt disgusted at those coarse and cringing creatures who one moment scrambled sportively around him to snatch up a bit of his munificence, and the next flew madly into each other’s faces for some incomprehensible mystery. Nevertheless, he learnt something from those people. He saw that with Christianity was born a new sentiment in the human heart hitherto unknown to mankind, and that on this sentiment the throne could be rested more safely than on the success of a court-intrigue, or the victory of a hired army. The only rational legitimation which the antique world had known of the kingship was descent from the gods; but this authority had now become a barefaced lie, and was difficult to use even in the form of a flattery. At Nicæa, however, the idea of a kingship of God’s grace began to dawn upon mankind. Constantine also met there with men who must have charmed and awed him by their grand simplicity, burdened, and almost curbed, as he was by the enormous complexity of Roman life. After the Council of Nicæa, he conversed more and more frequently and intimately with the bishops. his interest in Christianity grew with the years; but, as was to have been foreseen, he was sure to be led astray, for the needle lacked in the compass. He was more and more drawn over to the side of the Arians, and it was an Arian bishop who baptized him.

1 comment:

  1. You have done it again Vic. This is incredible! It is one thing to hear that you are realated to a famous person, but to actually see the line and look at the other people in his family too, all the way down to us. That is amazing. Constantine, in my opinion is a top 5 most influential people in this worlds history. Where would we be without him? It's wierd to say that my Great Grandfather is responsible for the growth of Christianity and the Nicene Creed. Even though we don't believe in the Creed, we know that it is all he had to work with. It was a great step toward our religion and all of Christianity. I like to read but I like pictures and if anyone wants to see a documentary on Constantine, there is a great one that was on the History Channel. I don't have the link, but it explains his life in great detail and I learned a lot. Also, look up on BBC website and the History of Scotland and there is a documentary series that explains the lives of the Bruce and Stuart House in Scotland. Thanks Vic for all you do. This is great. Joe

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