SUNDAY – THE DAY OF REST
On this date in 321 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine I declared Dies Solis (Sun Day) as a day of rest in the Empire. While farmers were allowed to work as weather permitted, workshops, government offices, and all people living in cities were to respect the first day of the week as a day of no work.
The Roman tradition of a sun-based religion fused well with both Christianity and Judaism, so the idea of Sunday and the Sabbath quickly became entwined. In fact, the date of December 25th as Jesus’ birthday just happened to be the date of the Festival of Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god.
Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great, did accomplish other noteworthy deeds. He was the first emperor to convert to Christianity. He strengthened the Roman Empire by separating the powers of civil and military leaders, introduced a new gold coin money system, and reorganized the military.
He built a new imperial residence in Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). His reign marks the end of the classical era and beginning of the Middle Ages.
Here is a map of Italy, the historical home of the Roman Empire, by Homann from 1753.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.