Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Day in History

Constantinople Becomes the Capital of the Roman Empire

On May 11th 330A.D. emperor Constantine I officially made the city of Byzantium the capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it Constantinople. He did this to bring the capital of the empire closer to the frontiers, yet within easy defense of her armies. Situated on trade routes between Asia and the west it quickly became a rich and flourishing center, though initially devoid of all of the decorum of the old capital. It would remain as the center of the empire until 1453 when the Ottoman Turks captured the city.


  1. I love the story of Constantinople, the city that brought silk to Europe. Silk, that magic fibre, whose secret had only been known by Asia up until the time of Justinian, the second emperor of Constantinople. Then around AD 550, two Nestorian monks appeared at the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's court with silkworm eggs hidde in their hollow bamboo staves. Under their supervision the eggs hatched into worms, and the worms spun cocoons. Justinian was in the silk business at last. The Byzantine church and state created imperial workshops, monopolizing production and keeping the secret of sericulture to themselves. This was the reason for Constantinople's great wealth, and the lavish dress of the Byzantine court. Isn't that a wonderful story, I love it, so much of the wealth and power of previous empires was dictated by textiles, and who held their secrets. Actually I might do a post about this on my blog. Tee hee and away.

  2. Hi Zho,

    I also have always loved that story, and it sounds like a great subject for a blog post!