The bewigged emperor?

His detractors (whether evangelicals who dislike caesaro-papism or anti-Christians out to axe the “first Christian” emperor) have the latter-day Constantine prancing around like an aging Queen. Part of his dress was on his head, they say. He was the bewigged apostle! But who’s their source?

Gibbon said that he is represented with false hair of various colors, laboriously arranged by the skilful artists of the times. And in a footnote, he quotes three sources: Julian in the Caesars (whose satire just says that his uncle led the life of a pastrycook and a hairdresser? Your locks and your fair favour betokened this), Eusebius (who acknowledges the dressing up but doesn’t touch the hair) and a learned Spanheim, with the authority of medals (presumably some contemporary who knows coins and could see in them not only fake hair but its color). Not exactly court-of-law stuff.

Did any near contemporary write “Constantine was a vain old baldy who wore multi-colored wigs” (sic)? Or did Gibbon’s leap just make fact?

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