Constantine and Peter the Great

December 5 2012

Peter transferred the capital of his dominions from Russian Orthodox Moscow to a new city, founded by him in the maritime Western March of the Russian World and named after its founder; and, on the culturally as well as physically virgin soil of St. Petersburg, a Westernizing Russia was to have a seat of government that would be Western from the start, uncontaminated by any antecedent deposit of Orthodox tradition. [Footnote: A corresponding consideration had been in the mind of Constantine the Great when he had transferred the capital of the Roman Empire from Old Rome to his own foundation of New Rome or Constantinople. The seat of Government of a converted Roman Empire was to be Christian from the outset, unaffected by the archaistic paganism that was dying so hard in its Senatorial fastness on the banks of the Tiber […]. In making the transfer, both Constantine and Peter were, of course, moved by political and strategic motives in addition to the cultural motive here in question […].]

A Study of History, Vol VII, OUP, 1954

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