Early Church Fathers
50 Cf. Vict. Epit. p. 51, where "bull-necked" is rendered as equal to "scoffer," "such according to physiognomical writers being the character of stout men," Liddell and Scott, Lex. p. 1569. But the very proverb on which Victor bases this interpretation would seem to make it refer to energy and obstinate force of character, which is altogether better fitting the word and the physiognomical characteristic.
51 It is hardly necessary to say that the various tales of the remorse of Constantine for the death of Crispus are mythical. The tale of Sopater has been mentioned. That of Codinus (De signo Cp. p. 62-63), also that, "in regret for death of Crispus, he erected a statue of pure silver with the inscription, `My unjustly treated son,0' and did penance besides," falls into the same category.
52 Seeck (Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1890, p. 73) maintains that it is established ("urkundlich fest") that Licinius was still living in 336, in which case he would have been more than twenty years old. He maintains also that he was not the son of Constantine, but the illegitimate son of Licinius by a slave woman.
53 On this question compare especially monographs of Görres and Seeck. See under Literature, where other titles, e.g. Hug and Wegnerus, will also be found. In general, the remark of Ludermann (Lipsius, Theol. Jahrb. 1886, p. 108) is valid, "The arguments against Constantine's Christianity, which are drawn from his moral character, have ever been the weakest."
54 It seems to have been frequently accepted as such-in the collections of councils, by the editor of Optatus, Ceillier, &c. It first appeared in the edition of Optatus, among the monuments relating to the Donatists gathered by him. These monuments are from one single though tolerably ancient ms. and no source for this is quoted, though the sources of others are given. In itself considered it is a surprise to find it at this stage of Constantine's life. Still, it is not unlike his later productions, and it is not impossible to think of its having been written in the enthusiasm of a successfully ended enterprise. It would seem (unless there be some confirmatory study of the letter, not now at hand) that a cautious criticism would base nothing on this letter alone.
55 His saying before baptism is discussed in the V. C. 4. 2, notes.
56 "Constantine, being a man of great energy, bent upon effecting whatever he had settled in his mind. ...But the pride of prosperity caused Constantine greatly to depart from his former agreeable mildness of temper. Falling first upon his own relatives, he put to death his son, an excellent man; his sister's son, a youth of amiable disposition; soon afterwards his wife; and subsequently many of his friends."
"He was a man who, in the beginning of his reign, might have been compared to the best princes; in the latter part of it, only to those of middling character. Innumerable good qualities of mind and body were apparent in him: he was exceedingly ambitious of military glory, and had great success in his wars: a success,however, not more than proportioned to his exertions. After he had terminated the Civil War, he also overthrew the Goths on various occasions, granting them at last peace, and leaving on the minds of the barbarians a strong remembrance of his kindness. He was attached to the arts of peace and to liberal studies, and was ambitious of honorable popularity, which he, indeed, sought by every kind of liberality and obligingness. Though he was slow, from suspicion, to serve some of his friends, yet he was exceedingly generous towards others, neglecting no opportunity to add to their riches and honors. He enacted many laws, some good and equitable, but most of them superfluous, and some severe."
57 It is curious that there should be no critical edition of the collected works of so considerable a writer. A large portion of his works are, to be sure, included in Migne's Patrologia Latina, vol. 84, Paris, 1844; but this Opera Universa is neither wholly complete nor in any sense critical, and this seems to be the only attempt at a collection. The works enumerated here are mostly in the edition of Migne, but not all.
58 There is of course more or less critical treatment of various letters in critical works on Donatism or Arianism or other special topics. Since writing the above, the exceedingly interesting analysis of sources for early Donatist history, by Seeck, in Briegers' Ztschr. f. Kirchenges., 1889, has been examined. He has, like Volter and Deutsch before him, admirable critical studies of certain letters. But a systematic critical study of the Constantinian letters as a whole seem to be still lacking.