• Bety Setiyawati

Myth of Ordinariness as Reflected in John Constantine and Constantine the Great


John Constantine a fictional Exorcist is one of the modern anti-heroes with unusual abilities. He has the ability to see and communicate with half-breed of demon and angle in their true form since his birth. In his young age, he once tried to commit suicide to escape from his vision but was saved by paramedics. For the sin of taking his own life, Constantine's soul is destined to be in Hell. Besides having unique abilities Constantine characteristic was also different from other modern super and anti-heroes. His other differences from others heroes are his tainted blood that has been shown to have healing properties either defense mechanisms, also his synchronicity wave traveling power that led John to be in the right place at exactly the right time. As the modern heroes are considered to be the depiction of ancient figures, John Constantine is assumed to be the representation of Constantine the Great. Constantine the great was the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity. The Great even used Christian symbol to be printed on his soldier’s shield on the fight of Maxentius at Milvian Bridge Tiber River. From the time of Constantine legalized Christianity and allowed for freedom of worship throughout the empire. 12 years after defeated Maxentius, Constantine the Great was reunited the western and the eastern region which is led him becoming the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. He builds a new fabulous imperial residence at Byzantium and renames the city Constantinople after himself, and later become the capital of the Empire for over one hundred thousand years. His reputation rapidly developed for centuries after his reign, even medieval church upheld him as a point of reference, the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. The Orthodox Church considers Constantine a saint and calls him Isa Posto Los -an equal of the Apostles. Isapostolos is a special name given to some saints in Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholicism. The title was given to honor the saints of their outstanding service in the spreading and assertion of Christianity.

As a representation, it must be a similarity between the two figures. First, in the costume, Constantine statue in York England seems wearing the Roman military clothing. Roman military clothing usually consists of military tunic, military belt, armors of a head (helmet), arms protector and corselet called Lorica Segmentara, military sandals, leather lappets (apron) and socks. Tunic military was a wide undergarment made of a long piece rectangular cloth, made of wool, linen or cotton depending on the climate. Tunic was originally sleeveless and usually off white color. The military belt was worn around the waist of the soldier and acted as a holder for his dagger and the apron that hung from the front portion of the belt. The protective armors covered the clothes of the wearer was made of metal (usually iron). The military sandals or boots were strong with the addition of iron hobnails designed to withstand miles of marching. The skirt of the apron was made up of leather strips and heavily of metal. Offering little protection, the apron would have been used as a display and as a noise source. The Roman soldiers also used the token and discs to signify the campaigns he had fought in. the socks were quite common apparel, full covering or socks without a toe or heel were also worn. The great worn all above the description military clothes above and in addition he wears a Paludamentum, a cloak or cape fastened at one shoulder to differ the commander with his troops.


While John Constantine not like other heroes, Constantine’s has no specific model costume of his own but only style, he often seen wearing standard suit as common people, a white oxford shirt with maroon tie, a black trousers and shoes, and a tan trench coat plus his favorite brand of cigarette Silk Cut where he got terminal lung cancer from. Like Constantine the Great's cloak to state his status as the commander, John Constantine's trench coat has inspired many occult detective stereotypical look. The coat becomes John's iconic signature dress that he wears from time to time. The coat has its own demonic powers, became sentient, and having emotions because it is in John's possession. Its power includes the ability to curse people, mind controls and snuffing life out of the victim, the coat also can withstand damage from many of John troubles. From the explanation above both Constantine the great and John Constantine they have no specific model of costume but only stereotypical look. John Constantine trench coat notably becomes the stereotypical look of occult detective in fiction. Hellboy, Harry Dresden, Willoughby King, Gravel, Cal Macdonald, and Castiel from Supernatural has adopted the look. So the story goes, made the trench coat become a sacred look for an occult detective in the modern era. Chronically with Constantine the great holiness on Christianity. As both Constantine the great and John Constantine wore an ordinary costume as common people, they both reveal an extraordinariness which reflected on something reputed as an ordinariness. Other similarities among them are their weapon or abilities. As we’ve already known even John Constantine is a magician, he rarely uses magic spell and faces most of his challenges primary on his cunning, quick-thinking, and his knowledge toward occultism. For the example in the Constantine (2005) movie directed by Francis Lawrence, John Constantine juggles with words on Lucifer. John called Lucifer by slitting his wrists and even made Lucifer defeated Mammon for him. Lucifer who hates Constantine enough comes intended to drag his soul hell, a minute before Lucifer begin heaven appear before Constantine for sacrificing himself for Isabel. Infuriated, Lucifer heals Constantine wounds and cures him of his lung cancer so that he could a second chance to prove that he truly belongs to hell. In the case Constantine totally won made his two challenges against each other, he even healed from his critical cancer. It is in accord with Constantine the great achievement in ended the persecutions of Christians, made Licinius the ruler of the Balkan provinces agree with the famous Edict of Milan which gives Christianity freedom of worship all over the empire. However, the Edict of Milan raises the descent of Christianity within the empire. In the battle of Milvian Bridge Constantine, the great even made his 40.000 soldiers behind him defeated an enemy whose numbers were four times his own by only ordering them to mark their soldiers with the Chi-Rho and faith on their chest as it is a message from the God. In a scene of Hellblazer comic Episode #139 entitled ‘haunted,' John Constantine once said “My name’s John Constantine. I’m not the nicest bloke you’ve ever met. But I do my best.” In line with the Eusebius of Caesarea’s Vita Constantini, he wrote that in 314 Constantine the great sent a message to the assembled bishops at the Council of Arles. Eusebius argued Constantine wrote in the letter “I have experienced this in others and in myself, for I walked not in the way of righteousness… but the Almighty God, who sits in the court of heaven, granted what I did not deserve.” In another scene when John Constantine summoned Lucifer by slitting his wrists he said "Into the light, I command thee" sound similar with the words Constantine the Great saw in his dream “In hoc signo vinces" which is the Latin phrase meaning "in this sign, you will conquer". In the first two catchphrases John Constantine said he is a common people, he is not the nicest man but he will do his best while The Great said he is a common people which once he walked not on the law of religion, and what he did and he achieved was because in the hand of God. Both catchphrases of both figures expressed the character ordinariness. They both felt they are a common people as usual in which will do their best and everything they had achieved was not because of anything but God.

Works Cited 0265-0339- Eusebius Caesariensis’ Vita Constantini Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/rulers/constantine. www.britanica.com/biography/Constantine-1-Roman-emperor www.yorkcivictrust.co.uk/?idno=708 www.dccomics.com/characters/constantine. www.dc.wikia.com/wiki/John_Constantine_(Vertigo_universe)

#mythology #dccomic #superhero #ordinariness #Constantine #myth #literature

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