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. Emeritus Professor of History, Royal Holloway College, University of London. Though not an active soldier himself, Justinian initiated an e… He also sponsored the Codex Justinianus (Code of Justinian) and directed the construction of several new cathedrals, including the Hagia Sophia. Several plagues have been reported in the world’s history which have caused millions of death within a short period. On Justin’s death on August 1, 527, Justinian became the sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire. He reorganized the administration of the imperial government and outlawed the suffragia, or sale of provincial governorships. Then, when Justin died on August 1, 527, Justinian went from joint to sole emperor. 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. 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. 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. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Instead, his uncle took him to Constantinople, where he would be educated in theology, law, and hist… On April 4, 527, Justin made Justinian his co-emperor and gave him the rank of Augustus. The veteran Belisarius saved the situation by mustering the civilian population. An Illyrian, Justinian was born Petrus Sabbatius in A.D. 483 in Tauresium, Dardania (Yugoslavia), a Latin-speaking area of the Empire. Justinian I, the Byzantine emperor with the archbishop Maximianus of Constantinople. Justinianus was a Roman name that he took from his uncle, the emperor Justin I, to whom he owed his advancement. 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. 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. Justinian was a Latin-speaking Illyrian and was born of peasant stock. In 541 he invaded Lazica in the north. His mother Vigilantia was the sister of the Excubitor (Imperial bodyguard). 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. 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. Emperor Justinian the Great was responsible for substantial expansion of the Byzantine Empire, and for conquering Africa, Spain, Rome, and most of Italy. Justinian was unable to do anything to resolve the differences. Justin adopted his nephew and brought him to Constantinople to guarantee his education. She would quickly gain respect by proving to be Justinian's intellectual and political equal in every way. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Justinian I was born of peasant parents. In 544 Belisarius was sent against him with inadequate forces. The Justinian Code was law throughout the empire. 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. Totila proved an able leader and in 542 took the offensive in southern Italy and in 543 captured Naples. In 564, Justinian adopted the heresy of Aphthartodocetism and tried to impose it. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? 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. On the foreign front, he struggled. 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. Empress Theodora and her retinue, mosaic, 6th century; on the south wall of the apse, church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy. In these and other domestic affairs, Justinian excelled. Thrace, Dacia, and Dalmatia were harried by Bulgars and Slavs (known as Sclaveni). Justinian also dispatched Belisarius to settle problems in Africa and Europe. 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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. While she was never officially proclaimed co-ruler, she was his closest advisor and had massive influence on Byzantine policies. Meanwhile, Totila took over the administration of the country, though at the expense of alienating the great landowners. 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. Now a mob, they appointed a new emperor. At the same time, the Vandals were threatened by the Moorish tribes of Mauretania and southern Numidia. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century CE. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. Belisarius, now reappointed commander in chief in the East, launched counteroffensives in 541 and 542 before his recall to Italy. Justinian is able to come to power in 527. Justinian’s forces ultimately held off the Persians, but they did not hold off the barbarians. 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. 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. In 525 he received the title of caesar and, on April 4, 527, was made coemperor with the rank of augustus. Justinian became Caesar in 525. Justinian inherited conflict with the Persians. Often referred to as the last Latin emperor, Justinian sought about restoring the Ancient Roman Empire by reconquering many of the Western lands. 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. Justinian I, AD 527-565 BYZANTINE EMPIRE AE Nummus - NGC VG. His commander Belisarius obtained a peace treaty in 531. Omissions? Support us on Patreon! The Plague of Justinian (541–542 CE) was one of the worst plagues in recorded history, arguably bringing two major empires to … 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. Author of, Byzantine Empire: The 6th century: from East Rome to Byzantium. He was legally adopted by Justin and held important offices. 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. 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. Justinian hoped to restore the social and economic well-being of Italy by a series of measures, the Pragmatic Sanction of 554. 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. Justinian and Theodora were Blues fans. http://bit.ly/EHPatreonWatch the Justinian and Theodora series! The Byzantine Empire had its first golden age under the Justinian Dynasty, which began in 518 AD with the Accession of Justin I. Justinian, also known as Justinian I or Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine Emperor between 527-565 AD. 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. It also included an elementary outline of the law and a collection of Justinian’s own new laws. http://bit.ly/1J89hPdSubscribe for new episodes every Saturday! Despite fan loyalty, they attempted to reduce the influence of both teams, but too late. 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, 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. This code said that the emperor made all of the laws and interpreted the laws as well. Justinian, or Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus, was arguably the most important ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire. Justinian's military leaders prevailed and slaughtered 30,000 rioters. Justinian created a set of laws called the Justinian Code. In the early 500s, Justin—a high-ranking military commander in Constantinople (now Istanbul)—took Justinian under his wing. The Blue and Green teams created a disturbance in the Hippodrome on June 10, 532. His name at birth was Petrus Sabbatius. His successor, Khosrow I, finally came to terms, and the Treaty of Eternal Peace was ratified in 532. 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.. Today’s Silistra is a successor of the … 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. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. Justinian expelled teachers of paganism from the Academy in Athens, closing the schools of Athens, in 529. In 561 the Avars joined the raiders but were bought off with a subsidy. Not a great deal is known about Justinian's early life. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. This item will ship to United States, but the seller has not specified shipping options. There existed three codices of imperial laws and other individual laws, many of which conflicted or were out of date. Justinian is sometimes called "The Last of the Romans." In 527 Justinian was elevated to the rank of co-emperor. However improbable it may seem, this event was born of extreme sports fanaticism and corruption. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. 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 … Rigorous financial exactions and the rapacity of the soldiers made the new regime unpopular. In the face of considerable opposition from his generals and ministers, Justinian launched his attack on North Africa to aid Hilderich in June 533. Constantinople (now Istanbul) was the capital of the late Roman empire, but its ethereal mosaics, ivories, and metalwork often depart from classical naturalism. The four-book code was completed in stages. Byzantine Emperor Justinian Facts Byzantine depiction of Justinian in Ravenna, Italy Byzantine Love Story: Justinian and Theodora. 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). However, the Byzantine Law prohibited emperor candidates from marrying non-noble women. Failure to keep them out is one of the criticisms sometimes made against Justinian. Work on the first book, the Codex Constitutionum, began shortly after Justinian’s elevation in 527. Justinian was responsible for the construction of the Hagia Sophia, the center of Christianity in Constantinople. She wasn't one of them, but then again, neither was Justinian. Emperor Justinian. 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. He hoped to come to terms with Justinian, but in 552 a powerful army was sent against him under the eunuch commander Narses. Thanks to his uncle Justin – who would be the future emperor – Justinian wasn’t destined for a common villager’s life. 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. City after city was captured by the Ostrogoths until only Ravenna, Otranto, and Ancona remained in Byzantine hands. Justinian was a Christian emperor of the Roman Empire on the cusp between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. In the Vandal kingdom of North Africa, Catholics had been subject to frequent persecution. During his reign, Justinian reorganized the government of the Byzantine Empire and enacted several reforms to increase accountability and reduce corruption. Fortunately for Justinian, his uncle Justin was a rising star in the emperor's imperial guard. Northern Africa was reorganized as part of the empire and now included Sardinia, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, and Septem (Ceuta). The war dragged on under other generals and was to some extent hindered by bubonic plague. 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… 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. In 518 Justin ascended the throne of the Byzantine Empire. He Expanded His Empire To A Significant Degree. He received an excellent education, though it was said that he always spoke Greek with a bad accent. 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. When Justinian came to the throne, his troops were fighting on the Euphrates River against the armies of the Persian king Kavadh (Qobād) I. 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. The truce was broken in 540 and so Belisarius was again sent off to deal with it. 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. Justinian I served as emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565. Start studying Byzantine Emperor: Emperor Justinian. Justinian met his wife Theodora, a circus dancer, during his consulate. Considered by some scholars to be the last great Roman emperor and the first great Byzantine emperor, Justinian fought to reclaim Roman territory and left a lasting impact on architecture and law. It consisted of the various sets of laws and legal interpretations collected and codified by scholars under the direction of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Seven ringleaders were executed, but one of each side survived and became a rallying point that integrated fans of both teams. In 550–551 the invaders even wintered in Byzantine territory, despite the efforts of the army to dislodge them. It was through Justin that Justinian advanced. Totila was defeated by superior numbers and strategy and was mortally wounded at the battle of Busta Gallorum. Justinian's uncle was an ambitious man. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. He even alienated the pope in Rome, creating a schism. Justinian's childless uncle became the Roman Emperor Justin I in A.D. 518. 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. 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. Utilizing the assistance of his strong, wealthy wife … His empire warred constantly with the Persians in the east and the barbarians in the north and west. 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. 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. 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 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). Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The aristocracy of Byzantium didn't fully trust Theodora, at least not at first. 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 … One famous Byzantine Emperor was Justinian I. Justinian ruled from AD 527 to 565. During Justin's reign, Justinian acted as a close confidant and advisor; he became Consulin 521 CE and thereafter commander of the Eastern army. 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. When the truce was again renewed in 557, however, Lazica was included. While still a young man, he went to Constantinople, where his uncle held high military command. In 525 CE he married Theodora, a woman from a poor background and possibly a courtesan. Belisarius could make no headway without adequate reinforcements, and in 549 he was recalled to Constantinople. 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). He took the Roman name “Justinianus” from his uncle, Justin. Justinian, however, grew up far from the centers of power, in a village called Tauresium. 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. The code synthesized collections of past laws and extracts of the opinions of the great Roman jurists. They and their fans began shouting Nika 'Victory' in the Hippodrome. War broke out again in 540, when Justinian was fully occupied in Italy. Justinian's wife Theodora received the rank of Augusta. 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. The fleet of about 500 vessels set out with 92 warships. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or … His name is used to name the plague that also afflicted him. Belisarius could do little against the Ostrogoths in Italy. He ensured that Justinian received a Classical education and military training. 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Shouting Nika 'Victory ' in the East, launched counteroffensives in 541 and 542 his! 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