Constantine gets his sword back – at a cost of £1,000

Reunited… Constantine and sword. Photograph: York Civic Trust
20 Nov 2016 @ 6.12 pm
| Environment, History

Emperor Constantine hasn’t been quite himself lately.

The statue of the Roman leader, a popular figure with residents and tourists alike, has been lacking his sword since it was swiped on September 28.

This replica weapon had been taken by a man who was reported to police after he was seen brandishing it in front of the Minster. A man was arrested, and the sword was recovered by a member of the public and later passed on to police officers.

Now emperor and sword have been reunited. York Civic Trust, which originally commissioned the statue in 1998, has spent almost £1,000 pounds on restoring the statue to its original state.

As York photographer Nigel Holland noticed, without his sword, Constantine looked like he was taking a selfie…

Snap happy… Constantine taking his selfie. Photograph: Nigel Holland
Snap happy… Constantine taking his selfie. Photograph: Nigel Holland

About the emperor

The statue stands between the Minster and the Church of St Michael le Belfry.

Constantine was proclaimed Emperor here in AD306, on the death of his father Constantius. The Roman Legionary Headquarters was a few metres away – under the Minster.

The statue was created by sculptor Philip Jackson. Constantine’s broken sword is key because it forms the shape of a cross – and the emperor made Christianity an acceptable religion of the Roman Empire.