York Civic Trust

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York Civic Trust

Previous Initiatives: Constantine Statue


Emperor Constantine and his sword, South Transept in the background

Emperor Constantine is seated outside the Minster
In 1998 the Trust commissioned a highly acclaimed statue of the first Christian Roman emperor, to stand alongside York Minster, near the South Transept. The location was highly appropriate, because Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in York in AD306, on the death of his father Constantius here.  The Roman Legionary Headquarters was only a few metres away - under the Minster.  A column from the Headquarters has been excavated and re-erected in the same area. 

The renowned sculptor, Philip Jackson, took great pains to research the clothing, seating and armour of the period, and gave much thought about how to portray the Emperor. The result is a fascinating medley of fact and conjecture. The battle-hardened warrior sits in conciliatory manner looking down upon his broken sword, which forms the shape of a cross.  By this simple artifice, Jackson symbolises the fact that Constantine made Christianity an acceptable religion of the Roman Empire.

This initiative of the Trust has received wide approval and is so popular that it appears in many guide books and nearly all publicity about York.

Here is a link to York Minster.