In the 320s CE, the eastern metropolis of Antioch became the scene of violent conflict between pro- and anti-Nicene factions vying to put one of their own in the bishopric. Eusebius of Caesarea (himself one of the candidates) claims in his influential Vita Constantini that bloody conflict was avoided only by the calming influence of the emperor himself. This article focuses on three letters that Eusebius included in the Vita Constantini to illustrate the emperor’s involvement, looking for what they can tell us about the sequence of events, and also about the relationship between the first Christian emperor and his future biographer. Scholars have labeled Eusebius as everything from the power behind Constantine’s throne to a sycophant who needed Constantine to protect him from his ecclesiastical enemies. This study reveals an evolving relationship in which the emperor learned to respect Eusebius’s political as well as academic skills.

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