sentiment imperishable under its varying forms. Besides Adolphe, in its way as important as Chateaubriand’s René, he left two other sketches of novels in MS., which are apparently lost. His political tracts were collected by himself as, Collection complete des ouvrages publiés sur … la France, formant une espèce de cours de politique constitutionnelle (4 vols., 1818–1820), as were his Discours à la Chambre des Députés (2 vols., 1827).
Authorities.—See Constant’s Cahier rouge, published first in 1907, containing his autobiography from 1767 to 1787; Journal intime (1804–1816), re-edited with the Lettres à sa famille by D. Melegari in 1895; the semi-autobiographical Adolphe; his letters to Madame de Charrière; to Madame Récamier, edited by Madame Lenormant in 1882. His ordinary diary has disappeared, with his letters to his wife and to Madame de Staël. See further an article by Loève-Veimars in the Revue des deux mondes (1st January 1833); H. Castille, B. Constant (1859); the Réminiscences of J. J. Coulmann (3 vols., 1862–1869); Éd. Herriot, Madame de Récamier et ses amis (1904); Sainte-Beuve in Derniers portraits littéraires (B. Constant and Madame de Charrière), Causeries du lundi (vol. xi.), Nouveaux lundis (vol. i.); É. Faguet, Politiques et moralistes du XIXe siècle (1ère série, 1891); P. Godet, Madame de Charrière et ses amis (Geneva, 1905); L. Michon, Le Gouvernement parlementaire sous la Restauration (1905), containing an analysis of the more important of Constant’s political writings; V. Glachant, Benjamin Constant sous l’œil ud guet (1906), containing an account of his relations with the police, also his correspondence with Fauriel; G. Rudler, La Jeunesse de B. Constant, and Bibliographie critique (1909).
Constantia, a district of Cape Colony, in the Cape peninsula, noted for the excellent quality of its wines, the best produced in South Africa. The government wine farm, Groot Constantia, 10 m. S. of Cape Town, contains over 150,000 vines. This and the adjacent farm of High Constantia are the only farms on which the vines yielding the finest wines flourish. The district is also celebrated for the excellence of the fruit it yields. Groot Constantia House is a good example of the Dutch colonial dwelling-houses of the 17th century. It was built (c. 1684) by the governor Simon van der Stell, and named in honour of his wife Constance. Van der Stell also laid out the vineyard, which soon attained a wide reputation. Old Cape Colony, by Mrs A. F. Trotter (London, 1903), contains a plan and sketches of Groot Constantia.
Constantine, the name of several Roman and Later Roman emperors.
Constantine I., known as “The Great” (288 ?–337), Roman emperor—Flavius Valerius Constantinus,—was born on the 27th of February, probably in A.D. 288, at Naissus (the modern Nish) in Upper Moesia (Servia). He was the illegitimate son of Constantius I. and Flavia Helena (described by St Ambrose as an innkeeper). His father, already a distinguished officer, soon afterwards became praefectus praetorio, and in 293 was raised to the rank of Caesar and placed in command of the western provinces. While still a boy, Constantine was sent—practically as a hostage—to the Eastern court. He accompanied Diocletian to the East in 302, was invested with the rank of tribunus primi ordinis and served under Galerius on the Danube. In 305 Diocletian and Maximianus abdicated, and Constantius and Galerius became Augusti, while Severus and Maximinus Daia attained the rank of Caesares. Constantius now demanded from Galerius the restoration of his son, which was unwillingly granted; indeed, we are told that Constantine only escaped from the court of Galerius by flight, and evaded pursuit by carrying off all the post-horses ! He traversed Europe with the greatest possible speed and found his father at Bononia (Boulogne), on the point of crossing to Britain to repel an invasion of Picts and Scots. After gaining a victory, Constantius died at Eboracum (York), and on the 25th of July 306, the army acclaimed his son as Augustus. Constantine, however, displayed that union of determination and prudence which the occasion required. He accepted the nomination of the army with feigned reluctance and wrote a carefully-worded letter to Galerius, disclaiming responsibility for the action of the troops, but requesting recognition as Caesar—a position to which he might naturally aspire on the elevation of Severus to the rank of Augustus. Galerius was not in a position to refuse the request, in view of the temper of the western army, and for a year Constantine bore the title of Caesar not only in his own provinces, but in those of the East as well. He fought with success against the Franks and Alamanni, and reorganized the defences of the Rhine, building a bridge at Colonia Agrippina (Cologne). The rising of Maxentius (q.v.) at Rome (Oct. 28), supported by his father Maximianus (q.v.), led to the defeat and capture of the western Augustus, Severus (q.v.). Maximianus thereupon recognized Constantine as Augustus (A.D. 307); their alliance was confirmed by the marriage of Constantine with Fausta, the daughter of Maximianus, and the father and son-in-law held the consulship, which, however, was not recognized in the East. Galerius now invaded Italy, but was forced by a mutiny of his troops to retire from the gates of Rome. Maximianus urged Constantine to fall upon the flank of his retreating army, but he once more showed his determination to tread the strict path of legitimacy. Maximianus, after the failure of his attempt to depose his son Maxentius, was forced to seek refuge with Constantine, and became a quantité négligeable. In 308 Diocletian and Galerius held a conference at Carnuntum and determined to annul the actions of the Western rulers. Maximianus was set aside, Licinius invested with the purple as Augustus of the West (Nov. 11), while the title filius Augustorum was conferred upon Constantine and Maximinus Daia, and the former was destined for a first consulship (that of 307 being passed over) for 309. Constantine, with his customary union of prudence and decision, tacitly ignored this arrangement; he continued to bear the title of Augustus, and in 309, when he himself was proclaimed consul (with Licinius) in the East, no consuls were recognized in his dominions. In 310, while Constantine was engaged in repelling an inroad of the Franks, Maximianus endeavoured to resume the purple at Arelate (Arles). Constantine returned in haste from the Rhine, and pursued Maximianus to Massilia, where he was captured and put to death. Since Constantine’s legal title to the Empire of the West rested on his recognition by Maximianus, he had now to seek for a new ground of legitimacy, and found it in the assertion of his descent from Claudius Gothicus (q.v.), who was represented as the father of Constantius Chlorus.
Constantine’s patience was soon rewarded. In 311 Galerius died, and Maximinus Daia (who had assumed the style of Augustus in 310) at once marched to the shores of the Bosporus and at the same time entered into negotiations with Maxentius. This threw Licinius into the arms of Constantine, who entered into alliance with him and betrothed his half-sister Constantia to him. In the spring of 312 Constantine crossed the Alps, before Maxentius, who had been obliged to suppress the rebellion of Domitius Alexander in Africa, had completed his preparations. The force he commanded was of uncertain strength; according to his Panegyrist (who may have underrated it) it consisted of about 25,000, according to Zonaras of nearly 100,000 men. He stormed Susa, defeated Maxentius’s generals at Turin and Verona, and marched straight for Rome. This bold and almost desperate move, which contrasted strongly with Constantine’s usual caution, and seemed to court the failure which had befallen Severus and Galerius, was, it would seem, the result of an event which, as told in Eusebius’s Life of Constantine, takes the form of a conspicuous miracle—the Vision of the Flaming Cross which appeared in the sky at noonday with the legendΈν τούτῳ νίκα
(“By this conquer”), and led to Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Eusebius professes to have heard the story from the lips of Constantine; but he wrote after the emperor’s
- The praenomina Lucius, Marcus and Gaius are found in various inscriptions. In reality Constantine, like his father and successors, bore no praenomen.
- His age at death is variously stated at 62 (Aur. Vict.), 63 (Epit. de Caes), 64 (Euseb.), 65 (Zonaras and Socrates) and 66 (Eutrop.) years. Seeck has shown that these statements are false, and that Constantine was born in or about the year 288 A.D.
- The story told in the De mortibus persecutorum (cap. 30) of a later conspiracy of Maximianus, which failed owing to the fidelity of Fausta, is most probably a fiction.
- Such is the primary version of the story, implied in the Seventh Panegyric of Eunenius, delivered at Trier in A.D. 310. It would seem that when Christian sentiment was offended by the illegitimate origin ascribed to Constantius, the story was modified and Claudius became his uncle.