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Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the
Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad ...
from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized ''
renovatio imperii ''Renovatio imperii Romanorum'' ("renewal of the empire of the Romans") was a formula declaring an intention to restore or revive the Roman Empire. The formula (and variations) was used by several emperors of the Carolingian The Carolingian dy ...
'', or "restoration of the Empire". This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used in historiography to describe the period from ...

Western Roman Empire
. His general,
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
, swiftly conquered the
Vandal Kingdom The Vandal Kingdom ( la, Regnum Vandalum) or Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans ( la, Regnum Vandalorum et Alanorum) was established by the Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of ...
in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius,
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
, and other generals conquered the
Ostrogothic kingdom The Ostrogothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of Italy (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known ...

Ostrogothic kingdom
, restoring
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
,
Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of the five and is officially referred to as ''Regione Siciliana''. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its is . Sicily is in the central Mediterranean ...

Sicily
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...
, and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Rome
to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The praetorian prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region o ...

Iberian peninsula
, establishing the province of
Spania Spania ( la, Provincia Spaniae) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit ...
. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million ''solidi''. During his reign, Justinian also subdued the '' Tzani'', a people on the east coast of the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
that had never been under Roman rule before. He engaged the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...

Sasanian Empire
in the east during
Kavad I Kavad I ( pal, 𐭪𐭥𐭠𐭲 ; 473 – 13 September 531) was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 488 to 531, with a two or three-year interruption. A son of Peroz I (), he was crowned by the nobles to replace his deposed ...
's reign, and later again during
Khosrow I Khosrow I (also spelled Khosrau, Xusro or Cosroe; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; New Persian: []), traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan ( [] "the Immortal Soul"), was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 531 t ...
's; this second conflict was partially initiated due to his ambitions in the west. A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the ''
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius I ...
'', which is still the basis of
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
in many modern states. His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded works such as the
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
. He is called "Saint Justinian the Emperor" in the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
. Because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the " Last Roman" in mid-20th century
historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the p ...

historiography
.


Life

Justinian was born in
Tauresium Tauresium (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repub ...
, Dardania, around 482. A native speaker of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
(possibly the last Roman emperor to be one), he came from a
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
family believed to have been of
Illyro-Roman Illyro-Roman is a term used in historiography and anthropological studies for the Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect ...
or
Thraco-RomanThe term Thraco-Roman describes the Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studyin ...
origins. The
cognomen A ''cognomen'' (, ; Latin plural ''cognomina''; from ''con-'' "together with" and ''(g)nomen'' "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. Initially, it was a nickname, but lost that purpose when it beca ...
''Iustinianus'', which he took later, is indicative of adoption by his uncle
Justin Justin may refer to: People * Justin (name), including a list of persons with the given name Justin * Justin (historian), a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire * Justin I (c. 450–527), or ''Flavius Iustinius Augustus'', Eastern Roma ...
. During his reign, he founded
Justiniana Prima Justiniana Prima (Latin language, Latin: , sr, Јустинијана Прима / ''Justinijana Prima'') was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine city that existed from 535 to 615, and currently an archaeological site, known as or ''Caričin Grad'' ( s ...
not far from his birthplace. His mother was
VigilantiaVigilantia (born a. 490) was a sister of List of Byzantine emperors, Byzantine emperor Justin I (r. 518–527), and mother to his successor Justinian I (r. 527–565). Name The name "Vigilantia" is Latin for "alertness, wakefulness". Itself deriv ...
, the sister of Justin. Justin, who was commander of one of the imperial guard units (the
Excubitors The Excubitors ( la, excubitores or , literally "those out of bed", i.e. "sentinels";In the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European lang ...
) before he became emperor, adopted Justinian, brought him to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, and ensured the boy's education. As a result, Justinian was well educated in
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...
,
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
and Roman history. Justinian served as a ''candidatus'', one of 40 men selected from the ''scholae palatinae'' to serve as the emperor's personal bodyguard. The chronicler
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
, who lived during the reign of Justinian, describes his appearance as short, fair skinned, curly haired, round faced and handsome. Another contemporary historian,
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
, compares Justinian's appearance to that of tyrannical Emperor
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles thr ...

Domitian
, although this is probably slander.''Cambridge Ancient History'' p. 65 When Emperor died in 518, Justin was proclaimed the new emperor, with significant help from Justinian. During Justin's reign (518–527), Justinian was the emperor's close confidant. Justinian showed a lot of ambition, and it has been thought that he was functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate emperor on 1 April 527,''
Chronicon Paschale ''Chronicon Paschale'' (the ''Paschal'' or ''Easter Chronicle''), also called ''Chronicum Alexandrinum'', ''Constantinopolitanum'' or ''Fasti Siculi'', is the conventional name of a 7th-century Greek Christian chronicle A chronicle ( la, chron ...

Chronicon Paschale
'' 527;
Theophanes Confessor Theophanes the Confessor ( el, Θεοφάνης Ὁμολογητής; c. 758/760 – March 12, 817/818) was a member of the Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of t ...
AM 6019.
although there is no conclusive evidence of this. As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian became the ''de facto'' ruler. Following the general
Vitalian Pope Vitalian ( la, Vitalianus; died 27 January 672) was the bishop of Rome from 30 July 657 to his death. His pontificate was marked by the dispute between the papacy and the imperial government in Constantinople over Monothelitism, which Rome c ...
's assassination presumed to be orchestrated by Justinian or Justin, Justinian was appointed
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...

consul
in 521 and later commander of the army of the east. Upon Justin's death on 1 August 527, Justinian became the sole sovereign. As a ruler, Justinian showed great energy. He was known as "the emperor who never sleeps" for his work habits. Nevertheless, he seems to have been amiable and easy to approach. Around 525, he married his mistress, Theodora, in Constantinople. She was by profession an actress and some twenty years his junior. In earlier times, Justinian could not have married her owing to her class, but his uncle, Emperor Justin I, had passed a law lifting restrictions on marriages with ex-actresses. Though the marriage caused a scandal, Theodora would become very influential in the politics of the Empire. Other talented individuals included
Tribonian Tribonian ( Greek: Τριβωνιανός rivonia'nos c. 485?–542) was a notable Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces ...
, his legal adviser;
Peter the Patrician Peter the Patrician ( la, Petrus Patricius, el, , ''Petros ho Patrikios''; –565) was a senior Byzantine official, diplomat, and historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest histor ...
, the diplomat and long-time head of the palace bureaucracy; Justinian's finance ministers
John the Cappadocian:''A different John the Cappadocian was Patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and over ...
and Peter Barsymes, who managed to collect taxes more efficiently than any before, thereby funding Justinian's wars; and finally, his prodigiously talented generals,
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
and
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
. Justinian's rule was not universally popular; early in his reign he nearly lost his throne during the
Nika riots The Nika riots ( el, Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα ''Stásis toû Níka''), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Emperor Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48 ...
, and a conspiracy against the emperor's life by dissatisfied businessmen was discovered as late as 562. Justinian was struck by the plague in the early 540s but recovered. Theodora died in 548 at a relatively young age, possibly of cancer; Justinian outlived her by nearly twenty years. Justinian, who had always had a keen interest in theological matters and actively participated in debates on Christian doctrine, became even more devoted to religion during the later years of his life. He died on 14 November 565, childless. He was succeeded by
Justin II Justin II or Justin the Younger ( la, Iustinus Iunior; grc-gre, Ἰουστῖνος, Ioustînos; died 5 October 578) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 565 until 578. He was the nephew of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbat ...

Justin II
, who was the son of his sister
VigilantiaVigilantia (born a. 490) was a sister of List of Byzantine emperors, Byzantine emperor Justin I (r. 518–527), and mother to his successor Justinian I (r. 527–565). Name The name "Vigilantia" is Latin for "alertness, wakefulness". Itself deriv ...
and married to Sophia, the niece of Theodora. Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the
Church of the Holy Apostles The Church of the Holy Apostles ( el, , ''Agioi Apostoloi''; tr, Havariyyun Kilisesi), also known as the ''Imperial Polyándreion'' (imperial cemetery), was a Greek Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox ...

Church of the Holy Apostles
until it was desecrated and robbed during the pillage of the city in 1204 by the Latin States of the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
.


Reign


Legislative activities

Justinian achieved lasting fame through his judicial reforms, particularly through the complete revision of all
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, something that had not previously been attempted. The total of Justinian's legislation is known today as the ''
Corpus juris civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius I ...
''. It consists of the ''
Codex Justinianeus The Code of Justinian ( la, Codex Justinianus, ''Justinianeus'' or ''Justiniani'') is one part of the ''Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundament ...
'', the ''Digesta'' or ''
Pandectae , 1581. Biblioteca Comunale "Renato Fucini" di Empoli The ''Digest'', also known as the Pandects ( la, Digesta seu Pandectae, adapted from grc, πανδέκτης , "all-containing"), is a name given to a compendium or digest of juristic writings ...
'', the '' Institutiones'', and the ''
NovellaeIn Roman law, a novel ( la, novella constitutio, "new decree"; gr, νεαρά, neara) is a new decree or edict, in other words a new law. The term was used from the fourth century AD onwards and was specifically used for laws issued after the publis ...

Novellae
''. Early in his reign, Justinian had appointed the ''
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome. The position served different functions depending on the period. In the Roman Kingdom, ' (quaestors with judicial powers) were appointed by the king to investigate and handle murders. ...
''
Tribonian Tribonian ( Greek: Τριβωνιανός rivonia'nos c. 485?–542) was a notable Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces ...
to oversee this task. The first draft of the ''
Codex Justinianeus The Code of Justinian ( la, Codex Justinianus, ''Justinianeus'' or ''Justiniani'') is one part of the ''Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundament ...
'', a codification of imperial constitutions from the 2nd century onward, was issued on 7 April 529. (The final version appeared in 534.) It was followed by the ''Digesta'' (or ''
Pandectae , 1581. Biblioteca Comunale "Renato Fucini" di Empoli The ''Digest'', also known as the Pandects ( la, Digesta seu Pandectae, adapted from grc, πανδέκτης , "all-containing"), is a name given to a compendium or digest of juristic writings ...
''), a compilation of older legal texts, in 533, and by the '' Institutiones'', a textbook explaining the principles of law. The ''
NovellaeIn Roman law, a novel ( la, novella constitutio, "new decree"; gr, νεαρά, neara) is a new decree or edict, in other words a new law. The term was used from the fourth century AD onwards and was specifically used for laws issued after the publis ...

Novellae
'', a collection of new laws issued during Justinian's reign, supplements the ''Corpus''. As opposed to the rest of the corpus, the ''Novellae'' appeared in
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, the common language of the Eastern Empire. The ''Corpus'' forms the basis of Latin jurisprudence (including ecclesiastical
Canon Law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
) and, for historians, provides a valuable insight into the concerns and activities of the later Roman Empire. As a collection it gathers together the many sources in which the ''leges'' (laws) and the other rules were expressed or published: proper laws, senatorial consults (''senatusconsulta''), imperial decrees,
case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is calle ...
, and jurists' opinions and interpretations (''responsa prudentum''). Tribonian's code ensured the survival of Roman law. It formed the basis of later Byzantine law, as expressed in the ''
Basilika The ''Basilika'' was a collection of laws completed c. 892 AD in Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsarigrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qust ...

Basilika
'' of
Basil I Basil I, called the Macedonian ( el, Βασίλειος ὁ Μακεδών, ''Basíleios ō Makedṓn''; 811 – August 29, 886), was a Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Co ...

Basil I
and
Leo VI the Wise Leo VI, called the Wise ( gr, Λέων ὁ Σοφός, Leōn ho Sophos, 19 September 866 – 11 May 912), was Byzantine Emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty The Macedonian dynasty (Greek language, Greek: Μακε ...
. The only western province where the Justinianic code was introduced was Italy (after the conquest by the so-called Pragmatic Sanction of 554), from where it was to pass to
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
in the 12th century and become the basis of much Continental European law code, which eventually was spread by European empires to the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
and beyond in the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
. It eventually passed to
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
where it appeared in Slavic editions, and it also passed on to
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. It remains influential to this day. He passed laws to protect prostitutes from exploitation and women from being forced into prostitution. Rapists were treated severely. Further, by his policies: women charged with major crimes should be guarded by other women to prevent sexual abuse; if a woman was widowed, her dowry should be returned; and a husband could not take on a major debt without his wife giving her consent twice. Justinian discontinued the regular appointment of
Consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of one Sovereign state, state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between th ...
in 541.


Nika riots

Justinian's habit of choosing efficient, but unpopular advisers nearly cost him his throne early in his reign. In January 532, partisans of the
chariot racing Chariot racing ( grc-gre, ἁρματοδρομία, harmatodromia, la, ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spo ...
factions in Constantinople, normally rivals, united against Justinian in a revolt that has become known as the
Nika riots The Nika riots ( el, Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα ''Stásis toû Níka''), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Emperor Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48 ...
. They forced him to dismiss
Tribonian Tribonian ( Greek: Τριβωνιανός rivonia'nos c. 485?–542) was a notable Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces ...
and two of his other ministers, and then attempted to overthrow Justinian himself and replace him with the senator Hypatius, who was a nephew of the late emperor . While the crowd was rioting in the streets, Justinian considered fleeing the capital by sea, but eventually decided to stay, apparently on the prompting of his wife Theodora, who refused to leave. In the next two days, he ordered the brutal suppression of the riots by his generals
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
and
Mundus Mundus may refer to: People * Mundus (general) (died 536), an East Roman general * Frank Mundus (1925–2008), an American fisher Places * Mundus, ancient port in Somaliland on the site of Heis (town) Popular culture * Characters of Devil May Cr ...
. Procopius relates that 30,000J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 200 unarmed civilians were killed in the Hippodrome. On Theodora's insistence, and apparently against his own judgment, Justinian had Anastasius' nephews executed. The destruction that took place during the revolt provided Justinian with an opportunity to tie his name to a series of splendid new buildings, most notably the architectural innovation of the domed
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
.


Military activities

One of the most spectacular features of Justinian's reign was the recovery of large stretches of land around the Western Mediterranean basin that had slipped out of Imperial control in the 5th century. As a Christian Roman emperor, Justinian considered it his divine duty to restore the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
to its ancient boundaries. Although he never personally took part in military campaigns, he boasted of his successes in the prefaces to his laws and had them commemorated in art. The re-conquests were in large part carried out by his general
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
.Justinian himself took the field only once, during a campaign against the Huns in 559, when he was already an old man. This enterprise was largely symbolic and although no battle was fought, the emperor held a triumphal entry in the capital afterwards. (See Browning, R. ''Justinian and Theodora.'' London 1971, 193.)


War with the Sassanid Empire, 527–532

From his uncle, Justinian inherited ongoing hostilities with the
Sassanid Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ( Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 '' Ērānshahr''), and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian imperial dynasty bef ...
. In 530 the Persian forces suffered a double defeat at
Dara Dara is a name with more than one origin. Languages and meanings *Dara is found in the Bible's Old Testament Books of Chronicles. Dara רעwas a descendant of Judah (son of Jacob). (The Bible. 1 Chronicles 2:6). Dara (also known as Darda ד ...

Dara
and
Satala Located in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria ...
, but the next year saw the defeat of Roman forces under Belisarius near . Justinian then tried to make alliance with the Axumites of Ethiopia and the
Himyarites The Himyarite Kingdom ( ar, مملكة حِمْيَر, Mamlakat Ḥimyar, he, ממלכת חִמְיָר), or Himyar ( ar, حِمْيَر, ''Ḥimyar'', xsa, 𐩢𐩣𐩺𐩧𐩣, Ḥmyrm) (floruit, fl. 110 BCE–520s Common Era, CE), historic ...
of Yemen against the Persians, but this failed. When king
Kavadh I of Persia Kavadh ( pal, kwʾt' ''Kawād''; fa, قباد ''Qobād''; la, Cabades, Cavades) may refer to: *Kay Kawād Kay Kawad (also known as Kay Qobad, Avestan Avestan , also known historically as Zend, comprises two languages: Old Avestan (spoken in th ...
died (September 531), Justinian concluded an " Eternal Peace" (which cost him 11,000 pounds of gold)J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', p. 195. with his successor
Khosrau I Khosrow I (also spelled Khosrau, Xusro or Cosroe; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; New Persian: []), traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan ( [] "the Immortal Soul"), was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 531 t ...
(532). Having thus secured his eastern frontier, Justinian turned his attention to the West, where
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
kingdoms had been established in the territories of the former
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used in historiography to describe the period from ...

Western Roman Empire
.


Conquest of North Africa, 533–534

The first of the western kingdoms Justinian attacked was that of the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
. King
Hilderic Hilderic (460s – 533) was the penultimate king of the Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska ...
, who had maintained good relations with Justinian and the North African
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
clergy, had been overthrown by his cousin
Gelimer Gelimer (original form possibly Geilamir, 480–553), King of the Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospo ...
in 530 A.D. Imprisoned, the deposed king appealed to Justinian. In 533,
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
sailed to Africa with a fleet of 92
dromon A dromon (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...
s, escorting 500 transports carrying an army of about 15,000 men, as well as a number of barbarian troops. They landed at Caput Vada (modern Ras Kaboudia) in modern Tunisia. They defeated the Vandals, who were caught completely off guard, at Ad Decimum on 14 September 533 and Battle of Tricamarum, Tricamarum in December; Belisarius took Carthage. King
Gelimer Gelimer (original form possibly Geilamir, 480–553), King of the Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospo ...
fled to Mount Pappua in Numidia, but surrendered the next spring. He was taken to Constantinople, where he was paraded in a Roman triumph, triumph. Sardinia and Corsica, the Balearic Islands, and the stronghold Ceuta, Septem Fratres near Gibraltar were recovered in the same campaign. In this war, the contemporary
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
remarks that Africa was so entirely depopulated that a person might travel several days without meeting a human being, and he adds, "it is no exaggeration to say, that in the course of the war 5,000,000 perished by the sword, and famine, and pestilence." An Praetorian prefecture of Africa, African prefecture, centered in Carthage, was established in April 534, but it would teeter on the brink of collapse during the next 15 years, amidst warfare with the Moors and military mutinies. The area was not completely pacified until 548, but remained peaceful thereafter and enjoyed a measure of prosperity. The recovery of Africa cost the empire about 100,000 pounds of gold.


War in Italy, first phase, 535–540

As in Africa, dynastic struggles in Ostrogothic Italy provided an opportunity for intervention. The young king Athalaric had died on 2 October 534, and a usurper, Theodahad, had imprisoned queen Amalasuntha, Theodoric the Great, Theodoric's daughter and mother of Athalaric, on the island of Martana in Lake Bolsena, where he had her assassinated in 535. Thereupon
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory ...
, with 7,500 men,J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 215 invaded
Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of the five and is officially referred to as ''Regione Siciliana''. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its is . Sicily is in the central Mediterranean ...

Sicily
(535) and advanced into Italy, sacking Naples and capturing
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Rome
on 9 December 536. By that time Theodahad had been deposed by the Ostrogoths, Ostrogothic army, who had elected Vitigis as their new king. He gathered a large army and besieged
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Rome
from February 537 to March 538 without being able to retake the city. Justinian sent another general,
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
, to Italy, but tensions between Narses and Belisarius hampered the progress of the campaign. Milan was taken, but was soon recaptured and razed by the Ostrogoths. Justinian recalled
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
in 539. By then the military situation had turned in favour of the Romans, and in 540 Belisarius Siege of Ravenna (539–540), reached the Ostrogothic capital Ravenna. There he was offered the title of Western Roman Emperor by the Ostrogoths at the same time that envoys of Justinian were arriving to negotiate a peace that would leave the region north of the Po River in Gothic hands. Belisarius feigned acceptance of the offer, entered the city in May 540, and reclaimed it for the Empire. Then, having been recalled by Justinian, Belisarius returned to Constantinople, taking the captured Vitigis and his wife Matasuntha with him.


War with the Sassanid Empire, 540–562

Belisarius had been recalled in the face of renewed hostilities by the Sassanid Empire, Persians. Following a revolt against the Empire in Marzpanate Period, Armenia in the late 530s and possibly motivated by the pleas of Ostrogoths, Ostrogothic ambassadors, King
Khosrau I Khosrow I (also spelled Khosrau, Xusro or Cosroe; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; New Persian: []), traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan ( [] "the Immortal Soul"), was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 531 t ...
broke the "Eternal Peace" and invaded Roman territory in the spring of 540. He first sacked Aleppo, Beroea and then Antioch (allowing the garrison of 6,000 men to leave the city),J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 229 besieged Daras, and then went on to attack the small but strategically significant satellite kingdom of Lazic War, Lazica near the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
, exacting tribute from the towns he passed along his way. He forced Justinian I to pay him 5,000 pounds of gold, plus 500 pounds of gold more each year. Belisarius arrived in the East in 541, but after some success, was again recalled to Constantinople in 542. The reasons for his withdrawal are not known, but it may have been instigated by rumours of his disloyalty reaching the court. The outbreak of the Plague of Justinian, plague caused a lull in the fighting during the year 543. The following year Khosrau defeated a Byzantine army of 30,000 men,J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 235 but unsuccessfully Siege of Edessa (544), besieged the major city of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Edessa. Both parties made little headway, and in 545 a truce was agreed upon for the southern part of the Roman-Persian frontier. After that the Lazic War in the North continued for several years, until a second truce in 557, followed by a Fifty-Year Peace Treaty, Fifty Years' Peace in 562. Under its terms, the Persians agreed to abandon Lazica in exchange for an annual tribute of 400 or 500 pounds of gold (30,000 ''solidi'') to be paid by the Romans.


War in Italy, second phase, 541–554

While military efforts were directed to the East, the situation in Italy took a turn for the worse. Under their respective kings Ildibad and Eraric (both murdered in 541) and especially Totila, the Ostrogoths made quick gains. After a Battle of Faventia, victory at Faenza in 542, they reconquered the major cities of Southern Italy and soon held almost the entire Italian peninsula. Belisarius was sent back to Italy late in 544 but lacked sufficient troops and supplies. Making no headway, he was relieved of his command in 548. Belisarius succeeded in defeating a Goths, Gothic fleet of 200 ships. During this period the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Rome
changed hands three more times, first taken and depopulated by the Ostrogoths in December 546, then reconquered by the Byzantines in 547, and then again by the Goths in January 550. Totila also plundered
Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of the five and is officially referred to as ''Regione Siciliana''. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its is . Sicily is in the central Mediterranean ...

Sicily
and attacked Greek coastlines. Finally, Justinian dispatched a force of approximately 35,000 men (2,000 men were detached and sent to invade southern Visigothic Hispania) under the command of
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
.J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 251 The army reached Ravenna in June 552 and defeated the Ostrogoths decisively within a month at the battle of Busta Gallorum in the Apennine Mountains, Apennines, where Totila was slain. After a second battle at Battle of Mons Lactarius, Mons Lactarius in October that year, the resistance of the Ostrogoths was finally broken. In 554, a large-scale Franks, Frankish invasion was defeated at Battle of Casilinum, Casilinum, and Italy was secured for the Empire, though it would take Narses several years to reduce the remaining Gothic strongholds. At the end of the war, Italy was garrisoned with an army of 16,000 men.J. Norwich, ''Byzantium: The Early Centuries'', 233 The recovery of Italy cost the empire about 300,000 pounds of gold.
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
estimated "the loss of the Goths at 15,000,000."


Other campaigns

In addition to the other conquests, the Empire established a presence in Visigothic Hispania, when the usurper Athanagild requested assistance in his rebellion against King Agila I. In 552, Justinian dispatched a force of 2,000 men; according to the historian Jordanes, this army was led by the octogenarian Liberius (praetorian prefect), Liberius. The Byzantines took Cartagena, Spain, Cartagena and other cities on the southeastern coast and founded the new province of
Spania Spania ( la, Provincia Spaniae) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit ...
before being checked by their former ally Athanagild, who had by now become king. This campaign marked the apogee of Byzantine expansion. During Justinian's reign, the Balkans suffered from several incursions by the Turkic peoples, Turkic and Slavic peoples who lived north of the Danube. Here, Justinian resorted mainly to a combination of diplomacy and a system of defensive works. In 559 a particularly dangerous invasion of Slavic peoples, Sklavinoi and Kutrigurs under their Khan (title), khan Zabergan threatened Constantinople, but they were repulsed by the aged general Belisarius.


Results

Justinian's ambition to restore the Roman Empire to its former glory was only partly realized. In the West, the brilliant early military successes of the 530s were followed by years of stagnation. The dragging war with the Goths was a disaster for Italy, even though its long-lasting effects may have been less severe than is sometimes thought. The heavy taxes that the administration imposed upon its population were deeply resented. The final victory in Italy and the conquest of Africa and the coast of southern Hispania significantly enlarged the area of Byzantine influence and eliminated all naval threats to the empire, which in 555 reached its territorial zenith. Despite losing much of Italy soon after Justinian's death, the empire retained several important cities, including Rome, Naples, and Ravenna, leaving the Lombards as a regional threat. The newly founded province of Spania kept the Visigoths as a threat to Hispania alone and not to the western Mediterranean and Africa. Events of the later years of his reign showed that Constantinople itself was not safe from barbarian incursions from the north, and even the relatively benevolent historian Menander Protector felt the need to attribute the Emperor's failure to protect the capital to the weakness of his body in his old age. In his efforts to renew the Roman Empire, Justinian dangerously stretched its resources while failing to take into account the changed realities of 6th-century Europe.


Religious activities

Justinian saw the orthodoxy of his empire threatened by diverging religious currents, especially Monophysitism, which had many adherents in the eastern provinces of Syria and Egypt. Monophysite doctrine, which maintains that Jesus Christ had one divine nature rather than a synthesis of divine and human nature, had been condemned as a heresy by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and the tolerant policies towards Monophysitism of Zeno (emperor), Zeno and Anastasius I (emperor), Anastasius I had been a source of tension in the relationship with the bishops of Rome. Justin reversed this trend and confirmed the Chalcedonian doctrine, openly condemning the Monophysites. Justinian, who continued this policy, tried to impose religious unity on his subjects by forcing them to accept doctrinal compromises that might appeal to all parties, a policy that proved unsuccessful as he satisfied none of them. Near the end of his life, Justinian became ever more inclined towards the Monophysite doctrine, especially in the form of Aphthartodocetae, Aphthartodocetism, but he died before being able to issue any legislation. The empress Theodora sympathized with the Monophysites and is said to have been a constant source of pro-Monophysite intrigues at the court in Constantinople in the earlier years. In the course of his reign, Justinian, who had a genuine interest in matters of theology, authored a small number of theological treatises.


Religious policy

As in his secular administration, despotism appeared also in the Emperor's ecclesiastical policy. He regulated everything, both in religion and in law. At the very beginning of his reign, he deemed it proper to promulgate by law the Church's belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation, and to threaten all Christian heresy, heretics with the appropriate penalties, whereas he subsequently declared that he intended to deprive all disturbers of orthodoxy of the opportunity for such offense by due process of law. He made the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed the sole symbol of the Church and accorded legal force to the canon law, canons of the four ecumenical councils. The bishops in attendance at the Council of Constantinople (536) recognized that nothing could be done in the Church contrary to the emperor's will and command, while, on his side, the emperor, in the case of the Patriarch Anthimus I of Constantinople, Patriarch Anthimus, reinforced the ban of the Church with temporal proscription. Justinian protected the purity of the church by suppressing heretics. He neglected no opportunity to secure the rights of the Church and clergy, and to protect and extend monasticism. He granted the monks the right to inherit property from private citizens and the right to receive ''solemnia'', or annual gifts, from the Imperial treasury, Rome, Imperial treasury or from the taxes of certain provinces and he prohibited lay confiscation of monastic estates. Although the despotic character of his measures is contrary to modern sensibilities, he was indeed a "nursing father" of the Church. Both the ''Codex'' and the ''Novellae'' contain many enactments regarding donations, foundations, and the administration of ecclesiastical property; election and rights of bishops, priests and abbots; monastic life, residential obligations of the clergy, conduct of divine service, episcopal jurisdiction, etc. Justinian also rebuilt the Church of
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
(which cost 20,000 pounds of gold),P. Heather, ''The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians'', 283 the original site having been destroyed during the Nika riots. The new Hagia Sophia, with its numerous chapels and shrines, gilded octagonal dome, and mosaics, became the centre and most visible monument of Eastern Orthodoxy in Constantinople.


Religious relations with Rome

From the middle of the 5th century onward, increasingly arduous tasks confronted the emperors of the East in ecclesiastical matters. Justinian entered the arena of ecclesiastical statecraft shortly after his uncle's accession in 518, and put an end to the Acacian schism. Previous Emperors had tried to alleviate theological conflicts by declarations that deemphasized the Council of Chalcedon, which had condemned Monophysitism, which had strongholds in Egypt and Syria, and by tolerating the appointment of Monophysites to church offices. The Popes reacted by severing ties with the Patriarch of Constantinople who supported these policies. Emperors Justin I (and later Justinian himself) rescinded these policies and reestablished the union between Constantinople and Rome. After this, Justinian also felt entitled to settle disputes in papal elections, as he did when he favoured Pope Vigilius, Vigilius and had his rival Pope Silverius, Silverius deported. This new-found unity between East and West did not, however, solve the ongoing disputes in the east. Justinian's policies switched between attempts to force Monophysites to accept the Chalcedonian creed by persecuting their bishops and monks – thereby embittering their sympathizers in Egypt and other provinces – and attempts at a compromise that would win over the Monophysites without surrendering the Chalcedonian faith. Such an approach was supported by the Empress Theodora, who favoured the Monophysites unreservedly. In the condemnation of the Three-Chapter Controversy, ''Three Chapters'', three theologians that had opposed Monophysitism before and after the Council of Chalcedon, Justinian tried to win over the opposition. At the Fifth Ecumenical Council, most of the Eastern church yielded to the Emperor's demands, and Pope Vigilius, who was forcibly brought to Constantinople and besieged at a chapel, finally also gave his assent. However, the condemnation was received unfavourably in the west, where it led to new (albeit temporal) schism, and failed to reach its goal in the east, as the Monophysites remained unsatisfied – all the more bitter for him because during his last years he took an even greater interest in theological matters.


Authoritarian rule

Justinian's religious policy reflected the Imperial conviction that the unity of the Empire presupposed unity of faith, and it appeared to him obvious that this faith could only be the Chalcedonian Christianity, orthodoxy (Chalcedonian). Those of a different belief were subjected to persecution, which imperial legislation had effected from the time of Constantius II and which would now vigorously continue. The ''Codex'' contained two statutes that decreed the total destruction of paganism, even in private life; these provisions were zealously enforced. Contemporary sources (
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
, Theophanes the Confessor, Theophanes, and John of Ephesus) tell of severe persecutions, even of men in high position. The original Platonic Academy, Academy of Plato had been Siege of Athens and Piraeus (87–86 BC), destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC. Several centuries later, in 410 AD, a Neoplatonic Academy was established that had no institutional continuity with Plato's Academy, and which served as a center for Neoplatonism and mysticism. It persisted until 529 AD when it was finally closed by Justinian I. Other schools in Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria, which were the centers of Justinian's empire, continued. In Asia Minor alone, John of Ephesus was reported to have christianization, converted 70,000 pagans, which was probably an exaggerated number. Other peoples also accepted Christianity: the Heruli, the Huns dwelling near the Don River, Russia, Don, the Abkhaz people, Abasgi, and the Tzanni in Caucasus, Caucasia. The worship of Amun at the oasis of Awjila in the Libyan desert was abolished,Procopius, ''De Aedificiis'', vi. 2. and so were the remnants of the worship of Isis on the island of Philae, at the first Cataracts of the Nile, cataract of the Nile. The Presbyter Julian and the Longinus (missionary), Bishop Longinus conducted a mission among the Nabataeans, and Justinian attempted to strengthen Christianity in Yemen by dispatching a bishop from Egypt. The civil rights of Jews were restricted and their religious privileges threatened. Justinian also interfered in the internal affairs of the synagogue and encouraged the Jews to use the Greek Septuagint in their synagogues in Constantinople. The Emperor faced significant opposition from the Samaritans, who resisted conversion to Christianity and were repeatedly in insurrection. He persecuted them with rigorous edicts, but could not prevent reprisals towards Christians from taking place in Samaria toward the close of his reign. The consistency of Justinian's policy meant that the Manicheans too suffered persecution, experiencing both exile and threat of capital punishment. At
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, on one occasion, not a few Manicheans, after strict inquisition, were executed in the emperor's very presence: some by burning, others by drowning.


Architecture, learning, art and literature

Justinian was a prolific builder; the historian Procopius bears witness to his activities in this area. Under Justinian's reign, the Basilica of San Vitale, San Vitale in Ravenna, which features two famous mosaics representing Justinian and Theodora, was completed under the sponsorship of Julius Argentarius.Robert Browning. "Justinian I" in ''Dictionary of the Middle Ages'', volume VII (1986). Most notably, he had the
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
, originally a basilica-style church that had been burnt down during the
Nika riots The Nika riots ( el, Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα ''Stásis toû Níka''), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Emperor Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48 ...
, splendidly rebuilt according to a completely different ground plan, under the architectural supervision of Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. According to Pseudo-Codinus, Justinian stated at the completion of this edifice, "Solomon, I have outdone thee" (in reference to the first Jewish temple). This new cathedral, with its magnificent dome filled with mosaics, remained the centre of eastern Christianity for centuries. Another prominent church in the capital, the
Church of the Holy Apostles The Church of the Holy Apostles ( el, , ''Agioi Apostoloi''; tr, Havariyyun Kilisesi), also known as the ''Imperial Polyándreion'' (imperial cemetery), was a Greek Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox ...

Church of the Holy Apostles
, which had been in a very poor state near the end of the 5th century, was likewise rebuilt. The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, later renamed Little Hagia Sophia, was also built between 532 and 536 by the imperial couple. Works of embellishment were not confined to churches alone: excavations at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople have yielded several high-quality mosaics dating from Justinian's reign, and a Column of Justinian, column topped by a bronze statue of Justinian on horseback and dressed in a military costume was erected in the Augustaeum in Constantinople in 543. Rivalry with other, more established patrons from the Constantinopolitan and exiled Roman aristocracy might have enforced Justinian's building activities in the capital as a means of strengthening his dynasty's prestige. Justinian also strengthened the borders of the Empire from Africa to the East through the construction of fortifications and ensured Constantinople of its water supply through construction of underground cisterns (see Basilica Cistern). To prevent floods from damaging the strategically important border town Dara (Mesopotamia), Dara, Dara Dam, an advanced arch dam was built. During his reign the large Sangarius Bridge was built in Bithynia, securing a major military supply route to the east. Furthermore, Justinian restored cities damaged by earthquake or war and built a new city near his place of birth called
Justiniana Prima Justiniana Prima (Latin language, Latin: , sr, Јустинијана Прима / ''Justinijana Prima'') was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine city that existed from 535 to 615, and currently an archaeological site, known as or ''Caričin Grad'' ( s ...
, which was intended to replace Thessalonica as the political and religious centre of Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum, Illyricum. In Justinian's reign, and partly under his patronage, Byzantine culture produced noteworthy historians, including
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
and Agathias, and poets such as Paul the Silentiary and Romanus the Singer, Romanus the Melodist flourished. On the other hand, centres of learning such as the Neoplatonic Academy in Athens and the famous Law School of Berytus lost their importance during his reign.


Economy and administration

As was the case under Justinian's predecessors, the Empire's economic health rested primarily on agriculture. In addition, long-distance trade flourished, reaching as far north as Cornwall where tin was exchanged for Roman wheat. Within the Empire, convoys sailing from Alexandria provided Constantinople with wheat and grains. Justinian made the traffic more efficient by building a large granary on the island of Ancient Tenedos, Tenedos for storage and further transport to Constantinople. Justinian also tried to find new routes for the eastern trade, which was suffering badly from the wars with the Persians. One important luxury product was silk, which was imported and then processed in the Empire. In order to protect the manufacture of silk products, Justinian granted a monopoly to the imperial factories in 541. In order to bypass the Persian landroute, Justinian established friendly relations with the Kingdom of Axum, Abyssinians, whom he wanted to act as trade mediators by transporting Indian silk to the Empire; the Abyssinians, however, were unable to compete with the Persian merchants in India. Then, in the early 550s, two monks succeeded in Smuggling of silkworm eggs into the Byzantine Empire, smuggling eggs of silk worms from Central Asia back to Constantinople, and silk became an indigenous product. Gold and silver were mined in the Balkans, Anatolia, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt and Nubia. At the start of Justinian I's reign he had inherited a surplus 28,800,000 ''solidi'' (400,000 pounds of gold) in the imperial treasury from Anastasius I and Justin I. Under Justinian's rule, measures were taken to counter corruption in the provinces and to make tax collection more efficient. Greater administrative power was given to both the leaders of the prefectures and of the provinces, while power was taken away from the vicarius, vicariates of the dioceses, of which a number were abolished. The overall trend was towards a simplification of administrative infrastructure. According to Peter Brown (historian), Brown (1971), the increased professionalization of tax collection did much to destroy the traditional structures of provincial life, as it weakened the autonomy of the town councils in the Greek towns. It has been estimated that before Justinian I's reconquests the state had an annual revenue of 5,000,000 ''solidi'' in AD 530, but after his reconquests, the annual revenue was increased to 6,000,000 ''solidi'' in AD 550. Throughout Justinian's reign, the cities and villages of the East prospered, although Antioch was struck by two earthquakes (526, 528) and sacked and evacuated by the Persians (540). Justinian had the city rebuilt, but on a slightly smaller scale. Despite all these measures, the Empire suffered several major setbacks in the course of the 6th century. The first one was the Plague of Justinian, plague, which lasted from 541 to 543 and, by decimating the Empire's population, probably created a scarcity of labor and a rising of wages. The lack of manpower also led to a significant increase in the number of "barbarians" in the Byzantine armies after the early 540s. The protracted war in Italy and the wars with the Persians themselves laid a heavy burden on the Empire's resources, and Justinian was criticized for curtailing the government-run post service, which he limited to only one eastern route of military importance.


Natural disasters

During the 530s, it seemed to many that God had abandoned the Christian Roman Empire. There were noxious fumes in the air and the Sun, while still providing daylight, refused to give much heat. The extreme weather events of 535–536 led to a famine such as had not been recorded before, affecting both Europe and the Middle East. These events may have been caused by an atmospheric dust veil resulting from a large Types of volcanic eruptions, volcanic eruption. The historian
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
recorded in 536 in his work on the Vandalic War "during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness … and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear". The causes of these disasters are not precisely known, but volcanoes at the Rabaul caldera, Lake Ilopango, Krakatoa, or, according to a recent finding, in Iceland are suspected, Seven years later in 542, a devastating outbreak of Bubonic Plague, known as the Plague of Justinian and second only to Black Death of the 14th century, killed tens of millions. Justinian and members of his court, physically unaffected by the previous 535–536 famine, were afflicted, with Justinian himself contracting and surviving the pestilence. The impact of this outbreak of plague has recently been disputed, since evidence for tens of millions dying is uncertain. In July 551, the eastern Mediterranean was rocked by the 551 Beirut earthquake, which triggered a tsunami. The combined fatalities of both events likely exceeded 30,000, with tremors felt from Antioch to Alexandria.


Cultural depictions

In the ''Paradiso (Dante), Paradiso'' section of the ''Divine Comedy'' , Canto (chapter) VI, by Dante Alighieri, Justinian I is prominently featured as a spirit residing on the sphere of Mercury (mythology), Mercury. The latter holds in Heaven the souls of those whose acts were righteous, yet meant to achieve fame and honor. Justinian's legacy is elaborated on, and he is portrayed as a defender of the Christian faith and the restorer of Rome to the Empire. Justinian confesses that he was partially motivated by fame rather than duty to God, which tainted the justice of his rule in spite of his proud accomplishments. In his introduction, "Cesare fui e son Iustinïano" ("Caesar I was, and am Justinian"), his mortal title is contrasted with his immortal soul, to emphasize that "glory in life is ephemeral, while contributing to God's glory is eternal", according to Dorothy L. Sayers.Dorothy L. Sayers, Paradiso, notes on Canto VI. Dante also uses Justinian to criticize the factious politics of his 14th Century Italy, divided between Ghibellines and Guelphs, in contrast to the unified Italy of the Roman Empire. Justinian is a major character in the 1938 novel ''Count Belisarius'', by Robert Graves. He is depicted as a jealous and conniving Emperor obsessed with creating and maintaining his own historical legacy. Justinian appears as a character in the 1939 time travel novel ''Lest Darkness Fall'', by L. Sprague de Camp. ''The Glittering Horn: Secret Memoirs of the Court of Justinian'' was a novel written by Pierson Dixon in 1958 about the court of Justinian. Justinian occasionally appears in the comic strip ''Prince Valiant'', usually as a nemesis of the title character.


Historical sources

Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
provides the primary source for the history of Justinian's reign. He became very bitter towards Justinian and his empress, Theodora.While he glorified Justinian's achievements in his panegyric and his ''Wars'', Procopius also wrote a hostile account, Historia Arcana, ''Anekdota'' (the so-called ''Secret History''), in which Justinian is depicted as a cruel, venal, and incompetent ruler. The Syriac language, Syriac chronicle of John of Ephesus, which survives partially, was used as a source for later chronicles, contributing many additional details of value. Other sources include the writings of
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
, Agathias, John the Lydian, Menander Protector, the Paschal Chronicle, Evagrius Scholasticus, Pseudo-Zacharias Rhetor, Jordanes, the chronicles of Marcellinus Comes and Victor of Tunnuna. Justinian is widely regarded as a saint by Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christians, and is also commemorated by some Lutheranism, Lutheran churches on 14 November.In various Eastern Orthodox Churches, including the Orthodox Church in America, Justinian and his empress Theodora are commemorated on the anniversary of his death, 14 November. Some denominations translate the Julian calendar date to 27 November on the Gregorian calendar. The Calendar of Saints (Lutheran), Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church–Canada also remember Justinian on 14 November.


See also

* Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, rebuilt by Justinian * Flavia gens * International Roman Law Moot Court


Notes


References

* This article incorporates text from the ''Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge''.


Primary sources

*
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
, ''Historia Arcana''. **
The Anecdota or Secret History
'. Edited by H. B. Dewing. 7 vols. Loeb Classical Library. Harvard University Press and London, Hutchinson, 1914–40. Greek text and English translation. **
Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia
'. Edited by J. Haury; revised by G. Wirth. 3 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1962–64. Greek text. ** ''iarchive:secrethistorypro00proc, The Secret History'', translated by G.A. Williamson. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. A readable and accessible English translation of the ''Anecdota''. *
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
,
Chronicle
', translated by Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys & Roger Scott, 1986. Byzantina Australiensia 4 (Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies) * Evagrius Scholasticus, ''iarchive:ahistorychurchf00walfgoog/page/n273/mode/1up, Ecclesiastical History'', translated by Edward Walford (1846), reprinted 2008. Evolution Publishing, .


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * – German standard work; partially obsolete, but still useful. * * * * *


External links

*
St Justinian the Emperor
Orthodox Icon and Synaxarion (14 November)

* [http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0023/html/lewis_e_244.html Lewis E 244 Infortiatum at OPenn]
The ''Buildings'' of Procopius in English translation.

''The Roman Law Library'' by Professor Yves Lassard and Alexandr Koptev

Lecture series covering 12 Byzantine Rulers, including Justinian
– by Lars Brownworth

* [http://www.byzantium1200.com/justinia.html Reconstruction of column of Justinian in Constantinople]
Opera Omnia by Migne ''Patrologia Graeca'' with analytical indexes



Annotated Justinian Code (University of Wyoming website)


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