Emperor Constantine’s Edict of 321
THE EARLIEST WRITTEN RECORD OF JEWISH LIFE IN THE AREA THAT IS GERMANY TODAY
MARCH 11, 2021
Hardly any other German city has been associated with Jewish history for as long as Cologne: On December 11, 321, the Roman Emperor Constantine issued an edict (law). It stipulated that Jews may and should hold municipal offices in the curia, Cologne’s city council. Constantine’s edict, a copy of which is preserved in the Vatican library, is thus the earliest written record of Jewish life in Central Europe.
The Vatican has promised the Archdiocese of Cologne to make the edict available for an exhibition. It is to be shown in the fall at the exhibition “321-2021: 1700 Years of Jewish Life”, which will be on display for a year starting in September in the Kolumba art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne. The exhibition is jointly curated by the Archdiocese of Cologne, the LVR Jewish Museum in the Archaeological Quarter (MiQua) and Kolumba, and is currently being prepared as part of the celebratory year #2021JLID. With the help of top-class exhibits from Germany and abroad, topics, developments and the turning points in 1700 years of Jewish history and culture will be outlined. The Edict of Emperor Constantine is to be on display as an exhibit for one month. We will announce the exact period here as soon as the dates are set.