Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. N.S. Under the Justinian Dynasty, particularly the reign of Justinian I, the Empire reached its largest territorial point, reincorporating North Africa, southern Illyria, southern Spain, and Italy into the Empire. His name is used to name the plague that also afflicted him. The Plague of Justinian (541–542 CE) was one of the worst plagues in recorded history, arguably bringing two major empires to … Justinianus was a Roman name that he took from his uncle, the emperor Justin I, to whom he owed his advancement. He also sponsored the codification of laws known as the Codex Justinianus (Code of Justinian) and directed the construction of several important cathedrals, including the Hagia Sophia. Fortunately for Justinian, his uncle Justin was a rising star in the emperor's imperial guard. Then, when Justin died on August 1, 527, Justinian went from joint to sole emperor. Empress Theodora and her retinue, mosaic, 6th century; on the south wall of the apse, church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy. Finally, a 50 years’ truce was negotiated, probably at the end of 561; Byzantium agreed to pay an annual tribute of 30,000 solidi (gold coins), and the Persians renounced all claim to the small Christian kingdom of Lazica, an important bulwark against northern invaders. This code said that the emperor made all of the laws and interpreted the laws as well. In the Byzantine Empire, church and state were indissolubly linked as essential aspects of a single Christian empire that was thought of as the terrestrial counterpart of the heavenly polity. Emperor Justinian the Great was responsible for substantial expansion of the Byzantine Empire, and for conquering Africa, Spain, Rome, and most of Italy. In 532, for example, an outbreak of civil unrest and rioting over some of Justinian's more authoritarian attitudes nearly forced him to flee Constantinopl… The truce was broken in 540 and so Belisarius was again sent off to deal with it. However, the Byzantine Law prohibited emperor candidates from marrying non-noble women. Justinian expelled teachers of paganism from the Academy in Athens, closing the schools of Athens, in 529. (Image: yfpro/Shutterstock) Justinian: An Outsider Among the Aristocrats In 518 Justin ascended the throne of the Byzantine Empire. Start studying Byzantine Emperor: Emperor Justinian. Belisarius could make no headway without adequate reinforcements, and in 549 he was recalled to Constantinople. Totila proved an able leader and in 542 took the offensive in southern Italy and in 543 captured Naples. In Byzantine Matters , Averil Cameron writes that Edward Gibbon didn't know if Justinian belonged in the category of the Roman emperors who had come before or the Greek kings of the Byzantine Empire who came after him. The second book, the Digesta, was drawn up between 530 and 533. Justinian created a set of laws called the Justinian Code. The Eastern half, known as the Byzantine Empire would eventually come under the rule of a man named Justinian I, known as Justinian the Great. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The treaty was on the whole favourable to the Byzantines, who lost no territory and whose suzerainty over the key district of Lazica (Colchis, in Asia Minor) was recognized by Persia. In 525 Emperor Justin I named his favorite nephew, Justinian, caesar of the Byzantine Empire. Justinian I served as emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. In 544 Belisarius was sent against him with inadequate forces. On the northern frontier in the Balkans the Roman provinces faced continual attacks from barbarian raiders. He was an Arian and, though at first a tolerant and wise ruler, toward the end of his reign had begun to persecute the Catholics. Shipping and handling. Byzantine Empire DBQ Name_____ Date_____ Section_____ Background: When Justinian became emperor in 527 BCE, he was determined to maintain Constantinople as the “New Rome.” Referred to as “the emperor who never sleeps,” Justinian is known for several significant achievements, including the Justinian Code and the creation of the Hagia Sophia. The Slavs, and later the Bulgars, eventually succeeded in settling within the Roman provinces. Petar Milošević/Wikimedia Commons (CC by 4.0), Name: (At birth) Petrus Sabbatius; Flavius Petrus Sabbatius JustinianusBirthplace: ThraceDates: c.482, at Tauresium - 565Ruled: April 1, 527 (jointly with his uncle Justin until August 1) - November 14, 565Wife: Theodora. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century CE. Several plagues have been reported in the world’s history which have caused millions of death within a short period. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Justinian-I, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Biography of Justinian I, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Justinian I, The Met - The Byzantine State under Justinian I, Justinian I - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). He comes into power with the help of his uncle, who's the previous Emperor Justin, and Justinian is able to regain much of the land that was lost to the Germanic tribes. Justinian and Theodora were Blues fans. Justinian’s forces ultimately held off the Persians, but they did not hold off the barbarians. Justinian I, also known as ‘Justinian the Great’ and ‘Saint Justinian the Great’, was a Byzantine (East Roman) Emperor and one of the most influential rulers in the western history. Justinian's military leaders prevailed and slaughtered 30,000 rioters. Justinian hoped to restore the social and economic well-being of Italy by a series of measures, the Pragmatic Sanction of 554. Many of the Ostrogoths had never submitted, and after the two short and unfortunate reigns of Hildebad and Eraric, they proclaimed Totila (Baduila) as their king in the autumn of 541. In the face of considerable opposition from his generals and ministers, Justinian launched his attack on North Africa to aid Hilderich in June 533. Justinian I was born of peasant parents. His name at birth was Petrus Sabbatius. He was legally adopted by Justin and held important offices. He even alienated the pope in Rome, creating a schism. Now a mob, they appointed a new emperor. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. In 525 he received the title of caesar and, on April 4, 527, was made coemperor with the rank of augustus. Byzantine Emperor Justinian Facts Byzantine depiction of Justinian in Ravenna, Italy Byzantine Love Story: Justinian and Theodora. His successor, Khosrow I, finally came to terms, and the Treaty of Eternal Peace was ratified in 532. Instead, his uncle took him to Constantinople, where he would be educated in theology, law, and hist… Contact the seller- opens in a new window or … On the foreign front, he struggled. His mother Vigilantia was the sister of the Excubitor (Imperial bodyguard). It was through Justin that Justinian advanced. They and their fans began shouting Nika 'Victory' in the Hippodrome. Some scholars select 330 CE and the foundation of Constantinople, others the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE, still others prefer the failure of Justinian I (r. 527-565 CE) to unify the two empires in 565 CE, and some even plum for c. 650 CE … Byzantine Emperor Justinian I achieved lasting fame through his judicial reforms, particularly through the complete revision of all Roman law, something that had not previously been attempted. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Justinian had thus maintained his eastern provinces virtually intact in spite of the vigorous offensives of the Persian king, so his policy on this front can hardly be described as a failure. In 561 the Avars joined the raiders but were bought off with a subsidy. Utilizing the assistance of his strong, wealthy wife … Justinian I, Latin in full Flavius Justinianus, original name Petrus Sabbatius, (born 483, Tauresium, Dardania [probably near modern Skopje, North Macedonia]—died November 14, 565, Constantinople [now Istanbul, Turkey]), Byzantine emperor (527–565), noted for his administrative reorganization of the imperial government and for his sponsorship of a codification of laws known as the Code of Justinian (Codex Justinianus; 534). Thanks to his uncle Justin – who would be the future emperor – Justinian wasn’t destined for a common villager’s life. Justinian was one of the most significant emperors of the Byzantine Empire, who ruled Constantinople from 527 A.D. till his death in 565 A.D., and during this period the Byzantine Empire reached new heights. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. Justinian, or Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus, was arguably the most important ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire. Like his predecessor of the same name, Justinian II was an ambitious and passionate ruler who was keen to restore the Roman Empire to its former glories, but he responded brutally to any opposition to his will an… An Illyrian, Justinian was born Petrus Sabbatius in A.D. 483 in Tauresium, Dardania (Yugoslavia), a Latin-speaking area of the Empire. Thrace, Dacia, and Dalmatia were harried by Bulgars and Slavs (known as Sclaveni). In 541 he invaded Lazica in the north. On Justin’s death on August 1, 527, Justinian became the sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire. The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–542 AD. Seven ringleaders were executed, but one of each side survived and became a rallying point that integrated fans of both teams. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. The code synthesized collections of past laws and extracts of the opinions of the great Roman jurists. The Blue and Green teams created a disturbance in the Hippodrome on June 10, 532. Justinian had somewhat neglected the army in the East, and in 540 Khosrow moved into Mesopotamia, northern Syria, and Byzantine Armenia and systematically looted the key cities. The Justinian Code was law throughout the empire. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Work on the first book, the Codex Constitutionum, began shortly after Justinian’s elevation in 527. Justinian's own birth-based status in society was not high enough to command respect without the imperial office, and his wife's position was even worse. In the Vandal kingdom of North Africa, Catholics had been subject to frequent persecution. Justin adopted Justinian and had him move to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Not a great deal is known about Justinian's early life. On Justin I’s death on August 1, 527, Justinian succeeded him as sole emperor. He took the Roman name “Justinianus” from his uncle, Justin. Justinian died on November 14, 565, in Constantinople. In 527 Justinian was elevated to the rank of co-emperor. Often referred to as the last Latin emperor, Justinian sought about restoring the Ancient Roman Empire by reconquering many of the Western lands. Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus Augustus – or Justinian for short, was born sometime after 450 AD, as a member of a lower caste peasant family in the village of Tauresium, in the Roman province of Dardania. The Byzantine BIZ-un-teen) Empire, sometimes known as Byzantium (bi-ZAN-tee-um), controlled much of southeastern Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa from its capital at Constantinople (kahn-stan-ti-NOH-pul), which today is the city of Istanbul in Turkey. In 564, Justinian adopted the heresy of Aphthartodocetism and tried to impose it. The religious position of the Monophysites (whom Justinian's wife, Empress Theodora, supported) conflicted with the accepted Christian doctrine from the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). Yet there are at least three possible reasons why this propaganda was justifiable for a Byzantine ruler. He received an excellent education, though it was said that he always spoke Greek with a bad accent. In 525 CE he married Theodora, a woman from a poor background and possibly a courtesan. Justinian was a Christian emperor of the Roman Empire on the cusp between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. His empire warred constantly with the Persians in the east and the barbarians in the north and west. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. During Justin's reign, Justinian acted as a close confidant and advisor; he became Consulin 521 CE and thereafter commander of the Eastern army. Justinian became Caesar in 525. The veteran Belisarius saved the situation by mustering the civilian population. Two important facets of Justinian’s foreign policy were his continuation of the age-old struggle with Persia and his attempt to regain the former Roman provinces in the West from the control of barbarian invaders. The Byzantine Empire at its height under the Emperor Justinian in c. 560 (Wikimedia Commons) Exactly what the Blues and the Greens stood for remains a … Among his feats as the Byzantine emperor, Justinian, like his forebears, held a deep love of the arts and a deeper longing to spread Christianity throughout the empire, just like OA Law. It was therefore the duty of Justinian, as it was for later Byzantine emperors, to promote the good government of the church and to uphold orthodox teaching. He adopted Justinian either before or after he became emperor; hence the name Justinianus. History remembers Emperor Justinian for his reorganization of the government of the Roman Empire and his codification of the laws, the Codex Justinianus, in A.D. 534. Justinian is remembered as one of the Byzantine Empire's ___ emperors while Theodora is one of the most ___ women in history Greatest(Important), notorious<-- INFAMOUS Nevertheless, their ___ worked and the Byzantine Empire mostly thrived under their rule Constantinople (now Istanbul) was the capital of the late Roman empire, but its ethereal mosaics, ivories, and metalwork often depart from classical naturalism. It also included an elementary outline of the law and a collection of Justinian’s own new laws. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Biography of Justinian I, Emperor of Byzantine, Biography of Empress Theodora, Byzantine Feminist, The Code of Justinian (Codex Justinianus), Timelines and Chronologies of Roman Emperors, Most Important Figures in Ancient History, Constantinople: Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota. http://bit.ly/EHPatreonWatch the Justinian and Theodora series! One famous Byzantine Emperor was Justinian I. Justinian ruled from AD 527 to 565. He had no male heir, and on his death there was not only antagonism between Arian Goths and Catholic Italians but also a rift within the ranks of the Ostrogoths, some of whom were violently anti-Byzantine. In the West, Justinian considered it his duty to regain provinces lost to the empire “through indolence,” and he could not ignore the trials of Catholics living under the rule of Arians (Christian heretics) in Italy and in North Africa. Totila was defeated by superior numbers and strategy and was mortally wounded at the battle of Busta Gallorum. There existed three codices of imperial laws and other individual laws, many of which conflicted or were out of date. Justinian I, AD 527-565 BYZANTINE EMPIRE AE Nummus - NGC VG. In 550–551 the invaders even wintered in Byzantine territory, despite the efforts of the army to dislodge them. On April 4, 527, Justin made Justinian his co-emperor and gave him the rank of Augustus. He also sponsored the Codex Justinianus (Code of Justinian) and directed the construction of several new cathedrals, including the Hagia Sophia. Justinian I, the Byzantine emperor with the archbishop Maximianus of Constantinople. City after city was captured by the Ostrogoths until only Ravenna, Otranto, and Ancona remained in Byzantine hands. After campaigns in which the Byzantine generals, among whom Belisarius was the most distinguished, obtained considerable successes, a truce was made on the death of Kavadh in September 531. Support us on Patreon! http://bit.ly/1J89hPdSubscribe for new episodes every Saturday! There was also a disputed succession to the throne after the aged Vandal king Hilderich, who had been in alliance with Constantinople and had ceased persecution of the Catholics, was deposed in favour of Gelimer in 530. However improbable it may seem, this event was born of extreme sports fanaticism and corruption. Justin adopted his nephew and brought him to Constantinople to guarantee his education. Rigorous financial exactions and the rapacity of the soldiers made the new regime unpopular. The DIR article on Justinian says Procopius claims Justinian's aunt, Empress Euphemia, by marriage, so disapproved the marriage that Justinian waited until she died (before 524) before even starting to deal with the legal impediments to the marriage. Justinian is able to come to power in 527. Justinian I, Latin in full Flavius Justinianus, original name Petrus Sabbatius, (born 483, Tauresium, Dardania [probably near modern Skopje, North Macedonia]—died November 14, 565, Constantinople [now Istanbul, Turkey]), Byzantine emperor (527–565), noted for his administrative reorganization of the imperial government and for his sponsorship of a codification of laws known as the Code of Justinian … The country was so ravaged by war that any return to normal life proved impossible during Justinian’s lifetime, and only three years after his death part of the country was lost to the Lombard invaders. Before the matter was resolved, Justinian died, in 565. In these and other domestic affairs, Justinian excelled. Meanwhile, Totila took over the administration of the country, though at the expense of alienating the great landowners. When Justin became emperor in 518, Justinian was a powerful influence in guiding the policy of his elderly and childless uncle, whose favourite nephew he was. Emperor Justinian I was a master legislator. He reorganized the administration of the imperial government and outlawed the suffragia, or sale of provincial governorships. The mosaics here are perhaps the greatest of early Byzantine if not all post-Roman mosaics; they do serve as embellishment to reinforce the grandeur of Justinian, perhaps simultaneously last Roman emperor and first Byzantine emperor. Justinian's wife Theodora received the rank of Augusta. Belisarius, now reappointed commander in chief in the East, launched counteroffensives in 541 and 542 before his recall to Italy. The nearly forty-year reign of Emperor Justinian I (born 482; reign 527–65) (99.35.7406) heralded extensive territorial expansion and military success, along with a new synthesis of Greco-Roman and Christian culture seen at all levels of Byzantine culture. Northern Africa was reorganized as part of the empire and now included Sardinia, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, and Septem (Ceuta). Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus was the son of an obscure Thracian named Sabbatius and of a sister of Source for information on Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor: New Catholic Encyclopedia dictionary. Justinian is sometimes called "The Last of the Romans." When Justinian came to the throne, his troops were fighting on the Euphrates River against the armies of the Persian king Kavadh (Qobād) I. His family had been humble farmers just a generation before, but his uncle Justin c. 450–527) had changed their fortunes when he went to Constantinople and became a me… At the same time, his wife, the former actress Theodora, who exercised considerable influence over him, was crowned augusta. At the same time, the Vandals were threatened by the Moorish tribes of Mauretania and southern Numidia. Justinian, also known as Justinian I or Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine Emperor between 527-565 AD. He hoped to come to terms with Justinian, but in 552 a powerful army was sent against him under the eunuch commander Narses. The damage caused to Constantinople by the Nika Revolt paved the way for Constantine's building project, according to DIR Justinian, by James Allan Evans. While still a young man, he went to Constantinople, where his uncle held high military command. Justinian is best remembered for his work as a legislator and codifier. The war dragged on under other generals and was to some extent hindered by bubonic plague. Justinian, however, grew up far from the centers of power, in a village called Tauresium. Emperor Justinian. Justinian was a Christian emperor of the Roman Empire on the cusp between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. He ensured that Justinian received a Classical education and military training. Justinian is sometimes called "The Last of the Romans." Author of, Byzantine Empire: The 6th century: from East Rome to Byzantium. This item will ship to United States, but the seller has not specified shipping options. Justinian was unable to do anything to resolve the differences. She wasn't one of them, but then again, neither was Justinian. In 559 the Bulgars and Slavs were joined by the Kotrigur Huns, who got as far south as Thermopylae and eastward through Thrace to the long wall protecting Constantinople. Originally a church, later a mosque, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia (532–537) by Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral (1507) in Spain. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The four-book code was completed in stages. In Italy, the mother province of the Roman Empire in which the older capital city (Rome) was situated, Justinian found a situation similar to that in North Africa and particularly favourable to his ambitions. Narses entered Rome and soon afterward defeated Ostrogothic resistance at Mount Lactarius, south of Vesuvius. In the early 500s, Justin—a high-ranking military commander in Constantinople (now Istanbul)—took Justinian under his wing. Justinian II (Greek: Ἰουστινιανός, romanized: Ioustinianos; Latin: Flavius Iustinianus Augustus; 668 – 11 December 711), surnamed Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus (ὁ Ῥινότμητος, "the slit-nosed"), was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty, reigning from 685 to 695 and again from 705 to 711. The aristocracy of Byzantium didn't fully trust Theodora, at least not at first. It consisted of the various sets of laws and legal interpretations collected and codified by scholars under the direction of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Belisarius could do little against the Ostrogoths in Italy. These attacks from beyond the Danube did immense damage, and, although fortifications and defense works were built and strengthened in the Balkans and in Greece, the newcomers were neither effectively repulsed nor assimilated by the Byzantines. His commander Belisarius obtained a peace treaty in 531. Thinking that this was now his opportunity to support his fellow Catholics and to reassert direct control over the province, Justinian dispatched an army and sent Belisarius with a fleet to attack Sicily, while an embassy set off to gain the support of the powerful Franks now settled in Gaul. When the truce was again renewed in 557, however, Lazica was included. Under his immediate predecessors, Italy had been ruled by a barbarian, the Ostrogoth Theodoric, who, though virtually independent, was the nominal representative of the Byzantine emperor. Justinian's uncle was an ambitious man. The Justinian Dynasty ended in 602 with the deposition of Maurice and the ascension … Pockets of resistance, reinforced by Franks and Alemanni who had invaded Italy in 553, lingered on until 562, when the Byzantines were in control of the whole of the country. Omissions? Despite fan loyalty, they attempted to reduce the influence of both teams, but too late. Emeritus Professor of History, Royal Holloway College, University of London. In Byzantine Matters, Averil Cameron writes that Edward Gibbon didn't know if Justinian belonged in the category of the Roman emperors who had come before or the Greek kings of the Byzantine Empire who came after him. Justinian's childless uncle became the Roman Emperor Justin I in A.D. 518. The Codex Justinianus, or Code of Justinian, was a legal code. An unopposed landing was made in August, and by the following March (534) Belisarius had mastered the kingdom and received the submission of the Vandal ruler Gelimer. Updates? Justinian, however, had to pay the Persians a subsidy of 11,000 pounds of gold, and in return Khosrow gave up any claim to a subvention for the defense of the Caucasus. Justinian was responsible for the construction of the Hagia Sophia, the center of Christianity in Constantinople. Failure to keep them out is one of the criticisms sometimes made against Justinian. JUSTINIAN I, BYZANTINE EMPEROR Reigned 527 to 565; legislator, theologian, restorer of the Roman Empire, b. Tauresium, probably modern Caricin Grad, 482, d. Constantinople, Nov. 14, 565. Justinian met his wife Theodora, a circus dancer, during his consulate. She would quickly gain respect by proving to be Justinian's intellectual and political equal in every way. While she was never officially proclaimed co-ruler, she was his closest advisor and had massive influence on Byzantine policies. War broke out again in 540, when Justinian was fully occupied in Italy. Justinian also dispatched Belisarius to settle problems in Africa and Europe. A five-years’ truce was made in 545 and renewed in 551 but still did not extend to Lazica, which the Persians obstinately refused to restore, and a fierce struggle continued intermittently in this mountainous region. Though not an active soldier himself, Justinian initiated an e… During his reign, Justinian reorganized the government of the Byzantine Empire and enacted several reforms to increase accountability and reduce corruption. There Justinian received a good education learning how to read and write as well as law and history. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The third book, Institutiones, was compiled and published in 533, and the fourth book, Novellae Constitutiones Post Codicem, was completed upon Justinian’s death in 565. Justinian inherited conflict with the Persians. After the defeat of the Ostrogothic king Witigis and the capture of Ravenna in 540, imperial administration was reestablished in Italy under the praetorian prefect Athanasius. Over the course of Justinian's reign, as you can see, they're able to retake the Italian peninsula and much of North Africa. The fleet of about 500 vessels set out with 92 warships. Justinian's wife, Theodora, was the daughter of a bear-keeper father who became bear-keeper to the "Blues" (relevant to the Nika Revolts, below), an acrobat mother, and she herself is considered to have been a courtesan. Justinian was a Latin-speaking Illyrian and was born of peasant stock. Procopius' book On Buildings [De aedificiis] describes Justinian's building projects that included aqueducts and bridges, monasteries, orphanages, hostels, and the Hagia Sophia, which still stands in Constantinople/Istanbul. A huge industrial kiln, or furnace, for the production of ceramic construction materials such as bricks and tiles, which dates back to the 6 th century AD, more specifically to the reign of Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor Justinian I the Great, has been discovered during rescue excavations in the Danube city of Silistra in Northeast Bulgaria.. 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