Saturday, March 03, 2012

"I will avenge myself"


The immensity of the autocrat's power only insures his isolation. Particularly was this so for Constantine the Great, shrouded by "elaborate remoteness" to guard against plots and to "bestow[] him with some of the mystery and holiness of a god in a temple." And yet, as Ramsay MacMullen notes, Constantine raged against the layers of bureaucracy that enshrouded him:
To all provincials:
If anyone anywhere in any rank or office believes he can truly and clearly establish anything, against any of my governors, counts, retinue, or court, that seems not to have been properly and justly handled, let him come forward with courage and in safety, let him address himself to me. I myself will hear everything, I myself will judge, and if the matter is substantiated, I will avenge myself. Let him speak! If the matter is proven, as I said, I will avenge myself.

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