Justinian I (/dʒʌˈstɪniən/; Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius
Iustinianus Augustus; Greek: Φλάβιος Πέτρος
Σαββάτιος Ἰουστινιανός Flávios Pétros
Sabbátios Ioustinianós; c. 482 – 14 November 565), traditionally
known as Justinian the Great and also
Saint Justinian the Great in the
Eastern Orthodox Church, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527
to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire's
greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman
Empire. Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history
of the Later Roman empire, and his reign is marked by the ambitious
but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the
Because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been
known as the "last Roman" in modern historiography. This ambition
was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the
defunct Western Roman Empire. His general, Belisarius, swiftly
Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently,
Belisarius, Narses, and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic
kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy, and
Rome to the empire
after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The prefect
Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing
the province of Spania. 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 that had never
been under Roman rule before.
A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting
of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of
civil law in many modern states. His reign also marked a
blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded such
masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia. A devastating outbreak of
bubonic plague in the early 540s marked the end of an age of
2.1 Legislative activities
2.2 Nika riots
2.3 Military activities
2.3.1 War with the Sassanid Empire, 527–532
2.3.2 Conquest of North Africa, 533–534
2.3.3 War in Italy, first phase, 535–540
2.3.4 War with the Sassanid Empire, 540–562
2.3.5 War in Italy, second phase, 541–554
2.3.6 Other campaigns
2.5 Religious activities
2.5.1 Religious policy
2.5.2 Religious relations with Rome
2.5.3 Suppression of other religions and philosophies
2.6 Architecture, learning, art and literature
2.7 Economy and administration
3 Natural disasters
4 Cultural depictions
5 Historical sources
6 See also
8 Primary sources
10 External links
The ancient town of Tauresium, the birthplace of Justinian I, located
in today's Republic of Macedonia
Justinian was born in Tauresium around 482. A native speaker of
Latin (possibly the last Roman emperor to be one), he came from a
peasant family believed to have been of Illyro-Roman or
Thraco-Roman origins. The cognomen Iustinianus, which he
took later, is indicative of adoption by his uncle Justin. During
his reign, he founded
Justiniana Prima not far from his birthplace,
which today is in South East Serbia. His mother was
Vigilantia, the sister of Justin. Justin, who was in the imperial
guard (the Excubitors) before he became emperor, adopted
Justinian, brought him to Constantinople, and ensured the boy's
education. As a result, Justinian was well educated in
jurisprudence, theology and Roman history. Justinian served for
some time with the
Excubitors but the details of his early career are
unknown. Chronicler John Malalas, who lived during the reign of
Justinian, tells of his appearance that he was short, fair skinned,
curly haired, round faced and handsome. Another contemporary
chronicler, Procopius, compares Justinian's appearance to that of
tyrannical Emperor Domitian, although this is probably slander.
When Emperor Anastasius 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 much ambition, and it has been thought that he was
functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate
emperor on 1 April 527, although there is no conclusive evidence for
this. As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian
became the de facto ruler. Justinian was appointed 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" on account of 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 a courtesan and some twenty years his junior. In earlier
times, Justinian could not have married her because of her class, but
his uncle, Emperor Justin I, had passed a law allowing intermarriage
between social classes. Theodora would become very influential
in the politics of the Empire, and later emperors would follow
Justinian's precedent in marrying outside the aristocratic class. The
marriage caused a scandal, but Theodora would prove to be a shrewd
judge of character and Justinian's greatest supporter. Other talented
individuals included Tribonian, his legal adviser; Peter the
Patrician, the diplomat and longtime head of the palace bureaucracy;
Justinian's finance ministers
John the Cappadocian
John the Cappadocian and Peter Barsymes,
who managed to collect taxes more efficiently than any before, thereby
funding Justinian's wars; and finally, his prodigiously talented
Belisarius and Narses.
Justinian's rule was not universally popular; early in his reign he
nearly lost his throne during the Nika riots, 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. When
he died on 14 November 565, he left no children, though his wife
Theodora had given birth to a stillborn son several years into his
reign. He was succeeded by Justin II, who was the son of his sister
Vigilantia and married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora.
Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the
Church of the Holy Apostles
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
Main article: Corpus Juris Civilis
The Barberini Ivory, which is thought to portray either Justinian or
Justinian achieved lasting fame through his judicial reforms,
particularly through the complete revision of all Roman law,
something that had not previously been attempted. The total of
Justinian's legislature is known today as the Corpus juris civilis. It
consists of the Codex Iustinianus, the Digesta or Pandectae, the
Institutiones, and the Novellae.
Early in his reign, Justinian appointed the quaestor
oversee this task. The first draft of the Codex Iustinianus, 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), a compilation of older legal
texts, in 533, and by the Institutiones, a textbook explaining the
principles of law. The 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, the common
language of the Eastern Empire.
The Corpus forms the basis of
Latin jurisprudence (including
ecclesiastical Canon Law) 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, 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 of Basil I
and Leo VI the Wise. 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 in the 12th century and become the basis of much European law
code. It eventually passed to
Eastern Europe where it appeared in
Slavic editions, and it also passed on to 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.
Main article: 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 factions in Constantinople, normally divided among
themselves, united against Justinian in a revolt that has become known
as the Nika riots. They forced him to dismiss
Tribonian 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 Anastasius. 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 Theodora, who refused
to leave. In the next two days, he ordered the brutal suppression of
the riots by his generals
Belisarius and Mundus.
that 30,000 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 had taken 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
Wars of Justinian I
Vandalic War and Moorish Wars
Mammes and Bourgaon
Babosis and Zerboule
Fields of Cato
Conquest of Spania
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 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
War with the Sassanid Empire, 527–532
Main article: Iberian War
From his uncle, Justinian inherited ongoing hostilities with the
Sassanid Empire. In 530 a Persian army was defeated at Dara, but
the next year saw the defeat of Roman forces under
Callinicum. When king
Kavadh I of Persia
Kavadh I of Persia died (September 531),
Justinian concluded an "Eternal Peace" (which cost him 11,000 pounds
of gold) with his successor
Khosrau I (532). Having thus secured
his eastern frontier, Justinian turned his attention to the West,
where Germanic kingdoms had been established in the territories of the
former Western Roman Empire.
Conquest of North Africa, 533–534
Main article: Vandalic War
An older Justinian; mosaic in
Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo,
Ravenna (possibly a modified portrait of Theodoric)
The first of the western kingdoms Justinian attacked was that of the
Vandals in North Africa. King Hilderic, who had maintained good
relations with Justinian and the North African Catholic clergy, had
been overthrown by his cousin
Gelimer in 530 A.D. Imprisoned, the
deposed king appealed to Justinian.
Belisarius sailed to
Africa with a fleet of 92 dromons,
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
Tricamarum in December;
Belisarius took Carthage. King
Gelimer fled to
Mount Pappua in Numidia, but surrendered the next spring. He was taken
to Constantinople, where he was paraded in a triumph.
Corsica, the Balearic Islands, and the stronghold Septem Fratres near
Gibraltar were recovered in the same campaign.
An 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
Main article: Gothic War (535–554)
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's daughter and mother of Athalaric, on the
island of Martana in Lake Bolsena, where he had her assassinated in
Belisarius with 7,500 men, invaded
Sicily (535) and
advanced into Italy, sacking
Naples and capturing
Rome on 9 December
536. By that time
Theodahad had been deposed by the Ostrogothic army,
who had elected
Vitigis as their new king. He gathered a large army
Rome from February 537 to March 538 without being able to
retake the city.
Justinian sent another general, Narses, to Italy, but tensions between
Belisarius hampered the progress of the campaign.
taken, but was soon recaptured and razed by the Ostrogoths. Justinian
Narses in 539. By then the military situation had turned in
favour of the Romans, and in 540
Belisarius 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
Po River in Gothic hands.
Belisarius feigned to accept 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
Modern or early modern drawing of a medallion celebrating the
reconquest of Africa, c. 535
Belisarius had been recalled in the face of renewed hostilities by the
Persians. Following a revolt against the Empire in Armenia in the late
530s and possibly motivated by the pleas of Ostrogothic ambassadors,
Khosrau I broke the "Eternal Peace" and invaded Roman territory
in the spring of 540. He first sacked Beroea and then Antioch
(allowing the garrison of 6,000 men to leave the city), besieged
Daras, and then went on to attack the small but strategically
significant satellite kingdom of Lazica near the 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
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 disloyalty on behalf of the general reaching the court. The
outbreak of the plague caused a lull in the fighting during the year
543. The following year Khosrau defeated a Byzantine army of 30,000
men, but unsuccessfully besieged the major city of 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 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
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
Eraric (both murdered in 541) and especially Totila, the
Ostrogoths made quick gains. After a 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
in 544 but lacked sufficient troops and supplies. Making no headway,
he was relieved of his command in 548.
Belisarius succeeded in
defeating a Gothic fleet of 200 ships. During this
period the city of
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 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. The army reached
June 552 and defeated the
Ostrogoths decisively within a month at the
battle of Busta Gallorum in the Apennines, where
Totila was slain.
After a second battle at Mons Lactarius in October that year, the
resistance of the
Ostrogoths was finally broken. In 554, a large-scale
Frankish invasion was defeated at 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,
garrisoned with an army of 16,000 men. The recovery of
the empire about 300,000 pounds of gold.
Visigothic gold tremisses in the name of emperor Justinian I,
7th century. The
Christian cross on the breast defines the Visigothic
attribution. British Museum.
In addition to the other conquests, the Empire established a presence
Visigothic Hispania, when the usurper
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. The Byzantines
took Cartagena and other cities on the southeastern coast and founded
the new province of
Spania 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 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
Kutrigurs under their khan
Constantinople, but they were repulsed by the aged general Belisarius.
Emperor Justinian reconquered many former territories of the Western
Roman Empire, including Italy, Dalmatia, Africa, and southern
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
Africa and the coast of southern
enlarged the area over which the Empire could project its power and
eliminated all naval threats to the empire. 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 the
reign showed that
Constantinople itself was not safe from barbarian
incursions from the north, and even the relatively benevolent
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.
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 or a synthesis
of a divine and human nature, had been condemned as a heresy by the
Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon in 451, and the tolerant policies towards
Monophysitism of Zeno and 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 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.
Justinian I, depicted on an AE Follis coin
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 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 canons of the four
ecumenical councils. The bishops in attendance at the Second
Constantinople in 553 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,
reinforced the ban of the Church with temporal proscription.
Justinian protected the purity of the church by suppressing heretics.
He neglected no opportunity for securing the rights of the Church and
clergy, for protecting and extending 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 or from
the taxes of certain provinces and he prohibited lay confiscation of
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, et cetera. Justinian also rebuilt the
Hagia Sophia (which cost 20,000 pounds of gold), 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
Consular diptych displaying Justinian's full name (
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
Vigilius and had his rival 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
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 Chapters, three theologians that had opposed
Monophysitism before and after the Council of Chalcedon, Justinian
tried to win over the opposition. At the Fifth
most of the Eastern church yielded to the Emperor's demands, and Pope
Vigilius, who was forcibly brought to
Constantinople and besieged at a
champel, 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
Suppression of other religions and philosophies
Justinian was one of the first Roman Emperors to be depicted wielding
the cross on the obverse of a coin.
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 orthodox (Nicaean).
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, Theophanes, John of Ephesus) tell of severe
persecutions, even of men in high position. In 529, the Neoplatonic
Athens was placed under state control as paganism,
strangling this training school for this branch of Hellenistic
philosophy.[dubious – discuss].
Platonic Academy was destroyed most likely by the Roman
dictator Sulla in 86 BCE. Several centuries later, in 410 AD, a
"revived" academy, which had no institutional continuity with Plato's
school, was established as a center for
Neoplatonism and mysticism,
persisting until 529 AD when it was finally closed by Justinian I.
Other schools in Constantinople,
Antioch and Alexandria, which were
the centres of Justinian's empire, continued.
Asia Minor alone,
John of Ephesus reported to have converted 70,000
pagans. Other peoples also accepted Christianity: the Heruli,
Huns dwelling near the Don, the Abasgi, and the
The worship of
Amun at oasis of
Awjila in the Libyan desert was
abolished; and so were the remnants of the worship of
Isis on the
island of Philae, at the first cataract of the Nile. The Presbyter
Julian and the Bishop Longinus conducted a mission among the
Nabataeans, and Justinian attempted to strengthen
Yemen by despatching 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 yet 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, on one
occasion, not a few Manicheans, after strict inquisition, were
executed in the emperor's very presence: some by burning, others by
Architecture, learning, art and literature
Hagia Sophia in 2013
Justinian was a prolific builder; the historian
witness to his activities in this area. Under Justinian's
patronage the San Vitale in Ravenna, which features two famous mosaics
representing Justinian and Theodora, was completed. Most notably,
he had the Hagia Sophia, originally a basilica-style church that had
been burnt down during the Nika riots, splendidly rebuilt according to
a completely different ground plan, under the architectural
Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus and
Anthemius of Tralles. According
to Procopius, 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, which had been in a very poor state near the end of the 5th
century, was likewise rebuilt. Works of embellishment were not
confined to churches alone: excavations at the site of the Great
Constantinople have yielded several high-quality mosaics
dating from Justinian's reign, and a column topped by a bronze statue
of Justinian on horseback and dressed in a military costume was
erected in the
Constantinople in 543. Rivalry with
other, more established patrons from the Constantinopolitan and exiled
Roman aristocracy (like Anicia Juliana) 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
the East through the construction of fortifications and ensured
Constantinople of its water supply through construction of underground
Basilica Cistern). To prevent floods from damaging the
strategically important border town Dara, 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,
which was intended to replace
Thessalonica as the political and
religious centre of Illyricum.
In Justinian's reign, and partly under his patronage, Byzantine
culture produced noteworthy historians, including
Agathias, and poets such as
Paul the Silentiary
Paul the Silentiary and Romanus the
Melodist flourished. On the other hand, centres of learning as the
Neoplatonic Academy in
Athens and the famous Law School of Beirut
lost their importance during his reign. Despite Justinian's passion
for the glorious Roman past, the practice of choosing
Roman consul was
allowed to lapse after 541.
Economy and administration
Further information: Byzantine silk
Gold coin of
Justinian I (527–565 CE) excavated in
India probably in
the south, an example of
Indo-Roman trade during the period
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
Constantinople with wheat and grains. Justinian
made the traffic more efficient by building a large granary on the
island of 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
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 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 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.
Scene from daily life on a mosaic from the Great Palace of
Constantinople, early 6th century
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 vicariates of the dioceses, of which a number
were abolished. The overall trend was towards a simplification of
administrative infrastructure. According to 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
Throughout Justinian's reign, the cities and villages of the East
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, 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.
Main articles: 551 Beirut earthquake, Extreme weather events of
535–536, and Plague of Justinian
During the decade of 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 day, refused to give much
heat. This caused famine unlike anything those of the time had seen
before, weakening the people of Europe and the Middle East.
The cause of these disasters aren't precisely known, but the Rabaul
Lake Ilopango and
Krakatoa volcanoes or a collision with a
swarm of meteors are all suspected. Scientists have spent decades on
Seven years later, in 542, a devastating outbreak of Bubonic Plague,
known as the
Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian and second only to that of the 14th
century, laid siege to the world, killing tens of millions. As ruler
of the Empire, Justinian, and members of his court, were physically
unaffected by famine. However, the Imperial Court did prove
susceptible to plague, with Justinian himself contracting, but
surviving, the pestilence.
In July 551, the eastern Mediterranean was rocked by the 551 Beirut
earthquake, which triggered a tsunami. The combined fatalities of both
events probably exceeded 30,000, with tremors being felt from Antioch
In the Paradiso section of the
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri,
Justinian I is prominently featured as a spirit residing on the sphere
of Mercury, which holds the ambitious souls of Heaven. His legacy is
elaborated on, and he is portrayed as a defender of the Christian
faith and the restorer of
Rome to the Empire. However, 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. Dante also uses Justinian to criticize the
factious politics of his 14th Century Italy, in contrast to the
Italy of the Roman Empire.
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.
Procopius provides the primary source for the history of Justinian's
reign. The Syriac chronicle of John of Ephesus, which does not
survive, was used as a source for later chronicles, contributing many
additional details of value. Both historians became very bitter
towards Justinian and his empress, Theodora. Other sources
include the histories of Agathias, Menander Protector, John Malalas,
the Paschal Chronicle, the chronicles of
Marcellinus Comes and Victor
of Tunnuna. Justinian is widely regarded as a saint by Orthodox
Christians, and is also commemorated by some Lutheran churches on 14
Byzantine Empire portal
List of Byzantine emperors
^ Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,
2008, ISBN 1593394926, p. 1007.
^ History of the Later
Roman Empire from
Arcadius to Irene, Volume 2,
J. B. Bury, Cosimo, Inc., 2008, ISBN 1605204056, p. 7.
^ Also known as
Saint Justinian the Emperor and other various
^ "St. Justinian the Emperor". Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved
^ J. F. Haldon, Byzantium in the seventh century (Cambridge, 2003),
^ For instance by G. P. Baker (Justinian, New York 1938), or in the
Outline of Great Books series (Justinian the Great).
^ On the western Roman Empire, see now H. Börm, Westrom (Stuttgart
^ "History 303: Finances under Justinian". Tulane.edu. Archived from
the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ Evans, J. A. S., The Age of Justinian: the circumstances of imperial
power. pp. 93–94
^ John Henry Merryman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, The Civil Law
Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Europe and Latin
America, 3rd ed. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), pp.
^ The precise location of this site is disputed; the possible
Justiniana Prima near the modern town of
Serbia and Taor near Skopje, Macedonia
^ The Inheritance of Rome, Chris Wickham, Penguin Books Ltd. 2009,
ISBN 978-0-670-02098-0 (page 90). Justinian referred to
his native tongue in several of his laws. See Moorhead (1994), p. 18.
^ Michael Maas (2005-04-18). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of
Justinian. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139826877.
^ Treadgold, Warren T. (1997). A history of the Byzantine state and
society. Stanford University Press. p. 246.
ISBN 978-0-8047-2630-6. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
^ Barker, John W. (1966). Justinian and the later Roman Empire.
University of Wisconsin Press. p. 75.
ISBN 978-0-299-03944-8. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
^ Robert Browning (2003). Justinian and Theodora. Gorgias Press.
^ Shifting Genres in Late Antiquity, Hugh Elton, Geoffrey Greatrex,
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2015, ISBN 1472443500, p. 259.
^ Pannonia and Upper Moesia: A History of the Middle
of the Roman Empire, András Mócsy, Routledge, 2014,
ISBN 1317754255, p. 350.
^ The sole source for Justinian's full name, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius
Iustinianus (sometimes called Flavius Anicius Iustinianus), are
consular diptychs of the year 521 bearing his name.
^ Sima M. Cirkovic (7 June 2004). The Serbs. Wiley.
Justiniana Prima Site of an early Byzantine city located 30 km
south-west of Leskovci in Kosovo. Grove's Dictionaries. 2006.
^ Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography and Everyday Life.
BRILL. 2001. ISBN 9004116257.
^ a b c d e f g h i Robert Browning. "Justinian I" in Dictionary of
the Middle Ages, volume VII (1986).
^ Cambridge Ancient History p. 65
^ Moorhead (1994), pp. 21–22, with a reference to Procopius, Secret
^ This post seems to have been titular; there is no evidence that
Justinian had any military experience. See A.D. Lee, "The Empire at
War", in Michael Maas (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of
Justinian (Cambridge 2005), pp. 113–133 (pp. 113–114).
^ See Procopius, Secret history, ch. 13.
^ M. Meier, Justinian, p. 57.
^ P. N. Ure, Justinian and his age, p. 200.
^ "DIR Justinian". Roman Emperors. 1998-07-25. Retrieved
^ Robert Browning, Justinian and Theodora (1987), 129; James Allan
Evans, The Empress Theodora: Partner of Justinian (2002), 104
^ Theological treatises authored by Justinian can be found in Migne's
Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 86.
^ Crowley, Roger (2011). City of Fortune, How Venice Won and Lost a
Naval Empire. London: Faber & Faber Ltd. p. 109.
^ "S. P. Scott: The Civil Law". Constitution.org. 2002-06-19.
^ Kunkel, W. (translated by J. M. Kelly) An introduction to Roman
legal and constitutional history. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966; 168
^ Darrell P. Hammer. "
Russia and the Roman Law". JSTOR.
^ Garland (1999), pp. 16–17
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 200
^ Diehl, Charles. Theodora, Empress of Byzantium ((c) 1972 by
Frederick Ungar Publishing, Inc., transl. by S.R. Rosenbaum from the
original French Theodora, Imperatice de Byzance), 89.
^ Vasiliev (1958), p. 157.
^ For an account of Justinian's wars, see Moorhead (1994), pp.
22–24, 63–98, and 101–9.
^ See A. D. Lee, "The Empire at War", in Michael Maas (ed.), The
Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (Cambridge 2005), pp.
113–33 (pp. 113–14). For Justinian's own views, see the texts of
Codex Iustinianus 1.27.1 and Novellae 8.10.2 and 30.11.2.
^ Justinian himself took the field only once, during a campaign
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.)
^ See Geoffrey Greatrex, "Byzantium and the East in the Sixth Century"
in Michael Maas (ed.). Age of Justinian (2005), pp. 477–509.
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, p. 195.
^ Moorhead (1994), p. 68.
^ Moorhead (1994), p. 70.
^ Procopius. "II.XXVIII". De Bello Vandalico.
^ a b c d "Early Medieval and Byzantine Civilization: Constantine to
Crusades". Tulane. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008.
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 215
^ Moorhead (1994), pp. 84–86.
^ See for this section Moorhead (1994), p. 89 ff., Greatrex (2005), p.
488 ff., and especially H. Börm, "Der Perserkönig im Imperium
Romanum", in Chiron 36, 2006, p. 299 ff.
^ a b J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 229
Procopius mentions this event both in the Wars and in the Secret
History, but gives two entirely different explanations for it. The
evidence is briefly discussed in Moorhead (1994), pp. 97–98.
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 235
^ Moorhead ((1994), p. 164) gives the lower, Greatrex ((2005), p. 489)
the higher figure.
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 251
^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 233
^ Getica, 303
^ See Lee (2005), p. 125 ff.
^ W. Pohl, "Justinian and the Barbarian Kingdoms", in Maas (2005), pp.
^ See Haldon (2003), pp. 17–19.
^ Meyendorff 1989, pp. 207–250.
^ Treatises written by Justinian can be found in Migne's Patrologia
Graeca, Vol. 86.
^ Cod., I., i. 5.
^ MPG, lxxxvi. 1, p. 993.
^ Cod., I., i. 7.
^ Novellae, cxxxi.
^ Mansi, Concilia, viii. 970B.
^ Novellae, xlii.
^ P. Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of
the Barbarians, 283
^ cf. Novellae, cxxxi.
^ Cod., I., xi. 9 and 10.
^ Lindberg, David C. "The Beginnings of Western Science", page 70
^ François Nau, in Revue de l'orient chretien, ii., 1897, 482.
^ Procopius, Bellum Gothicum, ii. 14; Evagrius, Hist. eccl., iv. 20
^ Procopius, iv. 4; Evagrius, iv. 23.
^ Procopius, iv. 3; Evagrius, iv. 22.
^ Procopius, Bellum Persicum, i. 15.
^ Procopius, De Aedificiis, vi. 2.
^ Procopius, Bellum Persicum, i. 19.
^ DCB, iii. 482
^ John of Ephesus, Hist. eccl., iv. 5 sqq.
^ Procopius, Bellum Persicum, i. 20; Malalas, ed. Niebuhr, Bonn, 1831,
pp. 433 sqq.
^ Cod., I., v. 12
^ Procopius, Historia Arcana, 28;
^ Nov., cxlvi., 8 February 553
^ Michael Maas (2005), The Cambridge companion to the Age of
Justinian, Cambridge University Press, pp. 16–,
ISBN 978-0-521-81746-2, retrieved 18 August 2010
^ Cod., I., v. 12.
^ F. Nau, in Revue de l'orient, ii., 1897, p. 481.
^ See Procopius, Buildings.
^ Vasiliev (1952), p. 189
^ Brian Croke, "Justinian's Constantinople", in Michael Maas (ed.),
The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (Cambridge 2005), pp.
60–86 (p. 66)
^ See Croke (2005), p. 364 ff., and Moorhead (1994).
^ Following a terrible earthquake in 551, the school at Beirut was
transferred to Sidon and had no further significance after that date.
(Vasiliev (1952), p. 147)
^ Vasiliev (1952), p. I 192.
^ John F. Haldon, "Economy and Administration", in Michael Maas (ed.),
The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (Cambridge 2005), pp.
28–59 (p. 35)
^ John Moorhead, Justinian (London/New York 1994), p. 57
^ Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity (London 1971), pp.
^ Vasiliev (1952), p. 167
^ See Moorhead (1994), p. 167; Procopius, Wars, 8.17.1–8
^ "Justinian's Gold Mines – Mining Technology TechnoMine".
Technology.infomine.com. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
^ Haldon (2005), p. 50
^ Brown (1971), p. 157
^ Kenneth G. Holum, "The Classical City in the Sixth Century", in
Michael Maas (ed.), Age of Justinian (2005), pp. 99–100
^ Moorhead (1994), pp. 100–101
^ John L. Teall, "The Barbarians in Justinian's Armies", in Speculum,
vol. 40, No. 2, 1965, 294–322. The total strength of the Byzantine
army under Justinian is estimated at 150,000 men (J. Norwich,
Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 259).
^ Brown (1971), p. 158; Moorhead (1994), p. 101
^ Paradiso, Canto VI verse 10
^ Dorothy L. Sayers, Paradiso, notes on Canto VI.
^ While he glorified Justinian's achievements in his panegyric and his
Procopius also wrote a hostile account, Anekdota (the so-called
Secret History), in which Justinian is depicted as a cruel, venal, and
^ 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
Julian calendar date to 27 November on the Gregorian calendar. The
Calendar of Saints of the
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the
Lutheran Church–Canada also remember Justinian on November 14.
This article incorporates text from the Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia
of Religious Knowledge.
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Wirth. 3 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1962–64. Greek text.
Procopius. Edited by H. B. Dewing. 7 vols. Loeb Classical Library.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press and London, Hutchinson,
1914–40. Greek text and English translation.
Procopius, The Secret History, translated by G.A. Williamson.
Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. A readable and accessible English
translation of the Anecdota.
Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys, Roger Scott et al. 1986, The
Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation, Byzantina Australiensia 4
(Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies)
Edward Walford, translator (1846) The Ecclesiastical History of
Evagrius: A History of the Church from AD 431 to AD 594, Reprinted
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Roman Empire series". Evolpub.com. Retrieved
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University of Wisconsin Press.
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Meyendorff, John (1989). Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The
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Vladimir's Seminary Press. ISBN 978-0-88-141056-3.
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text: authors list (link)
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Court of Justinian.
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Empire. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32582-0.
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of Europe. Viking Adult. ISBN 978-0-670-03855-8.
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German standard work; partially obsolete, but still useful.
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Ure, PN (1951). Justinian and his Age. Penguin, Harmondsworth.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iustinianus I.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
St Justinian the Emperor Orthodox Icon and Synaxarion (14 November)
The Anekdota ("Secret history") of
Procopius in English translation.
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
De Imperatoribus Romanis. An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors
Reconstruction of column of Justinian in Constantinople
Opera Omnia by Migne
Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes
Preface to the Digest of Emperor Justinian
Annotated Justinian Code (University of Wyoming website)
Mosaic of Justinian in Hagia Sophia)
Born: 482/483 Died: 13 November/14 November 565
Justin I (527)
Consul of the Roman Empire
With: Flavius Valerius
Vettius Agorius Basilius Mavortius
Consul of the Roman Empire
II post consulatum Mavortii (West)
Title last held by
Rufius Gennadius Probus Orestes,
Consul of the Roman Empire
Roman and Byzantine emperors
27 BC – 235 AD
Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus
Caracalla with Geta
Macrinus with Diadumenian
Gordian I and Gordian II
Pupienus and Balbinus
Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab with Philip II
Decius with Herennius Etruscus
Trebonianus Gallus with Volusianus
Saloninus and Valerian II
Carinus and Numerian
Tetricus I with
Tetricus II as Caesar
Diocletian (whole empire)
Diocletian (East) and
Diocletian (East) and
Maximian (West) with
Galerius (East) and
Constantius Chlorus (West) as Caesares
Galerius (East) and
Constantius Chlorus (West) with Severus (West) and
Maximinus II (East) as Caesares
Galerius (East) and Severus (West) with
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great (West)
Maximinus II (East) as Caesares
Galerius (East) and
Maxentius (West) with
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great (West)
Maximinus II (East) as Caesares
Galerius (East) and
Licinius I (West) with Constantine the Great
Maximinus II (East) as Caesares
Licinius I (West) and
Maximinus II (East) with Constantine the Great
(Self-proclaimed Augustus) and Valerius Valens
Licinius I (East) and
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great (West) with
Constantine II, and
Crispus as Caesares
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great (whole empire) with son
Crispus as Caesar
Decentius as Caesar
Constantius II with Vetranio
Valentinian the Great
Magnus Maximus with Victor
Theodosius the Great
Constantine III with son
Petronius Maximus with Palladius
Leo I the Thracian
Zeno (first reign)
Basiliscus with son Marcus as co-emperor
Zeno (second reign)
Anastasius I Dicorus
Justinian the Great
Tiberius II Constantine
Maurice with son Theodosius as co-emperor
Constantine IV with brothers
Tiberius and then Justinian
II as co-emperors
Justinian II (first reign)
Justinian II (second reign) with son
Tiberius as co-emperor
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo IV the Khazar
Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe with son Theophylact as co-emperor
Leo V the Armenian
Leo V the Armenian with Symbatios-Constantine as junior emperor
Michael II the Amorian
Basil I the Macedonian
Leo VI the Wise
Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos
Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos with sons Christopher, Stephen and Constantine as
Nikephoros II Phokas
John I Tzimiskes
Zoë (first reign) and Romanos III Argyros
Zoë (first reign) and Michael IV the Paphlagonian
Michael V Kalaphates
Zoë (second reign) with Theodora
Zoë (second reign) and Constantine IX Monomachos
Constantine IX Monomachos
Constantine IX Monomachos (sole emperor)
Michael VI Bringas
Isaac I Komnenos
Constantine X Doukas
Romanos IV Diogenes
Michael VII Doukas
Michael VII Doukas with brothers Andronikos and Konstantios and son
Nikephoros III Botaneiates
Alexios I Komnenos
John II Komnenos
John II Komnenos with Alexios Komnenos as co-emperor
Manuel I Komnenos
Alexios II Komnenos
Andronikos I Komnenos
Isaac II Angelos
Alexios III Angelos
Alexios IV Angelos
Nicholas Kanabos (chosen by the Senate)
Alexios V Doukas
Empire of Nicaea
Theodore I Laskaris
John III Doukas Vatatzes
Theodore II Laskaris
John IV Laskaris
Michael VIII Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos with
Michael IX Palaiologos
Michael IX Palaiologos as co-emperor
Andronikos III Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
John VI Kantakouzenos
John VI Kantakouzenos with
John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos and Matthew
Kantakouzenos as co-emperors
John V Palaiologos
Andronikos IV Palaiologos
John VII Palaiologos
Andronikos V Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos
Constantine XI Palaiologos
Italics indicates a co-emperor, while underlining indicates an
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