Constantine’s victory in the Battle at the Milvian Bridge (shown here in part of an unfinished painting by Le Brun) gave him total control of the Western Roman Empire and paved the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion.
A sonnet by Jonathan C. Petty
Had Constantine’s appendix simply burst
A week before he fought the Milvian Bridge,
Mankind perchance might have been spared the worst
Of two millennia of brain damage.
Inquisitors, unleashed, might ne’er have turned
The voice of reason to tormented screams;
Reality itself, not being spurned,
Might have inspired mankind’s most lofty dreams.
Philosophers, unburned, might have stayed free
Within the Academy’s wide-open doors
To teach and model free inquiry
And voyage in thought to learning’s farther shores.
We might have witnessed Truth ascend to view
And strode the moon by fourteen ninety-two.