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Elena - the bar girl who became an empress and transformed an empire
HIStory - or should it be HERstory?
As is the case in some societies today, for the fi rst 300 years of the Roman Empire, women were the possessions of men. Many women resisted, some dying horribly rather than obeying orders to marry men chosen for them. HIStory barely mentions them.
Another example of HIStory is the conversion of the Roman Empire from pagan to Christian by Constantine the Great. He issued the decrees.
- his early coins have the Unvanquished Sun as their religious symbol,
- his victory arch in Rome bears pagan symbols..
- he was ruthless in destroying opponents.
- he had his fi rst born son executed,
- he had his wife murdered in her bath.
- he was not baptised until his death-bed.
His mother Elena nurtured him through the turmoils and dangers of the time and became an important fi gure at court. She founded churches around the empire and gained a reputation as a holy person. She is regarded by the eastern church as equal to the apostles.
The HERstory of Elena tells of her life from bar girl to empress through the perils of the late empire and its savage religious persecutions. It relates her role in the martyrdom of St George, the dramatic escape of Constantine from hostage of the pagan Galerius and her hand in guiding her son to his conquest of Rome.