Constantine I (the Great)

(?288–337)
   Roman emperor 306–337. Constantine’s Edict of Tolerance, issued in Milan in 313, proclaimed the right of every citizen of the Roman empire to profess his religion. For the first time, Christianity was legally accepted within the empire. For the Jews, the edict of 313 seemed merely to reaffirm the status quo, for Judaism was already a legal religion. But Constantine, perhaps under the influence of Christian teachers, began to impose anti-Jewish restrictions. Conversion to Judaism became a crime, while apostasy from Judaism was encouraged. The Jews were also required to release baptized slaves without compensation, and not allowed to circumcize any Christian or pagan slave. Constantine re-enacted the decree of Hadrian forbidding the Jews to live in Jerusalem. They were allowed to visit the city only on the Ninth of Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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