Roman Empire, Helena, +330, AE Follis
Obv.Drap. bust r.
Rev.Of varying types
Flavia Iulia Helena (* 248/250 in Bithynia; † around 330 in Nicomedia, today İzmit).
She was the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, by whom she was appointed Augusta. She is venerated as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Helena probably came from a very humble background. The church father Ambrose of Milan writes that she was a good innkeeper. (Ambrose of Milan, De obitu Theodosii 42).
She carried on a relationship with the Roman officer Constantius and gave birth to their son Constantine between 272 and 280. Whether Constantius and Helena were also married is disputed. The two may have lived in a long-term concubinage.
Constantius Chlorus separated from Helena in 289 to marry Flavia Maximiana Theodora, the stepdaughter of the Emperor Maximian. He was adopted by Maximian and made Caesar (sub-emperor) in 293 as part of the Tetrarchy.
After the death of Constantius Chlorus, his son Constantine took over his father's army and was proclaimed Augustus (supreme emperor) by the army in what is now York on 25 July 306. After his accession to power, he brought his mother to Trier. While Constantius Chlorus remained a pagan, Helena was baptised. Their son Constantine, under the banner of Jesus Christ, was victorious over his opponent Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 and issued the Edict of Toleration of Milan the following year.
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