Monday, January 28, 2008

Edict of MilanEdict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. The letter was issued in 313, shortly after the conclusion of the Diocletian Persecution. Tim Barnes has argued repeatedly for the term "Edict of Milan" to be dropped, since there never was any edict issued from Milan [see T.D. Barnes in Scripta Classica Israelica for 2002]. While it is true that Constantine and Licinius must have discussed religious policy when they met at Milan in February 313, the text usually called the Edict of Milan is in fact a letter to the Governor of Bithynia of June 313, one of a series of letters issued by Licinius in the territory he conquered from Maximinus in 313. Both toleration and restitution had already been granted by Constantine in Gaul, Spain and Britain (in 306), and by Maxentius in Italy and Africa (in 306 [toleration] and 310 [restitution]). Galerius and Licinius had enacted toleration in the Balkans in 311, and Licinius probably extended restitution there in early 313. Thus the letters which Licinius issued in the names of himself and Constantine (as was routine for imperial documents, which were formally issued in the names of all legitimate co-rulers) were designed solely to enact toleration and restitution in Anatolia and Oriens, which had been under the rule of Maximinus.
The Edict, in the form of a joint letter to be circulated among the governors of the East, The document itself does not survive.


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