Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 16 October 2018

Helena Augusta

Helena Augusta, mother of *Constantine I. Born of humble origins at Drepanum in Bithynia, she became c. ce 270 the first wife (or perhaps concubine) of the future emperor Constantius I. On Constantius’ later dynastic marriage to Theodora, Helena lapsed into obscurity, returning to prominence after her son's elevation as emperor in 306; she followed Constantine in adopting Christianity. In 324 she was given the title Augusta, and c.327 made a celebrated imperial progress through the eastern provinces as far as Jerusalem, where she engaged in charitable activities and was associated with the building of Constantine's new churches at the holy places. In Christian tradition her journey became a model of Holy Land pilgrimage, and by the later 4th cent. she was believed to have discovered relics of the True Cross.


A. H. M. Jones and others (eds.), Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire 1 (1970), 410–411.Find this resource:

J. W. Drijvers, Helena Augusta (1992).Find this resource:

Do you have feedback?