One of the most important watersheds in the history of Roman glassworking occurred during the two decades following A.D. 312. It was then Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity and, following a political rift with the Senate in Rome, moved the administrative heart of the Empire to the site of ancient Byzantium, at the southeastern corner of the Black Sea. He named his new city Constantinople.

That move, as a historical event, was in itself sufficient to strongly influence the course of glassworking, simply by revitalizing the economies of the neighboring eastern provinces. But Constantine did far more than that. He specifically granted tax exemptions to many groups of craftsmen, including glassworkers, so that "...they might become more skilled in their art and see to the training of their sons." (Codex Theodosius 13.4.2)

Solidus of Emperor Constantine
reigned, A.D. 312337



1) Bustacchini, G., 1973: "Gold in Mosaic Art and Technique," Gold Bulletin 6.2, 52-56.

2) Crowfoot, J.W., Crowfoot G.M. and Kenyon, K.M., 1957: Samaria-Sebaste III: The Objects from Samaria, 402-422 (London: Palestine Exploration Fund).

3) Gazda, E.K. (edit.), 1983: Karanis: An Egyptian Town in Roman Times, 8-31 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan).

4) Higachi, E.I., 1990: Conical Glass Vessels from Karanis: Function and Meaning in a Pagan/Christian Context in Rural Egypt, 365-381 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan).

5) Walsh, P.G. (transl.): The Poems of St. Paulinus of Nola (Ancient Christian Writers 40, New York: Newman Press).

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