|About the Book|
The Age of Constantine was the period toward the end of the third century and beginning of the fourth century A.D. when the classic, pagan Roman Empire was replaced by the Christian, Oriental Roman Empire. In this brilliant study of one of the great ages of transition in world history, Burckhardt describes how the old religion of Homer and Virgil, undermined in an age of despair by a desire for more intense religious experience, was replaced by the wild mystery religions of the East, and finally given the coup de grace by rising Christianity. We see how the classic tradition in art succumbed to a growing taste for Oriental magnificence, in which rich materials, esthetic extravagances, and gigantism replaced the emphasis on form and harmony. And we also see how the government of the empire was encased in a bureaucratic rigidity which was to keep a part of the ancient world alive for another thousand years.