Key Points

Emperor Justinian the good was responsible for an extensive expansion the the oriental Empire, and also for dominating Africa, Spain, Rome, and also most that Italy.Justinian to be responsible for the building and construction of the Hagia Sophia, the center of Christianity in Constantinople. Also today, the Hagia Sophia is well-known as one of the greatest structures in the world.Justinian also systematized the roman legal code that offered as the communication for legislation in the oriental Empire.After a plague lessened the oriental population, they lost Rome and also Italy come the Ostrogoths, and several important cities come the Persians.

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Hagia Sophia

A church constructed by oriental Emperor Justinian; the center of Christianity in Constantinople and one the the greatest structures in the civilization to this day. It is currently a mosque in the Muslim Istanbul.

Nika riots

When angry racing fans, currently angry over increasing taxes, became enraged at Emperor Justinian for arresting two popular charioteers, and also tried come depose that in 532 CE.

Byzantine empire from Constantine to Justinian

One that Constantine’s successors, Theodosius i (379-395), was the last emperor to ascendancy both the Eastern and Western halves the the empire. In 391 and 392, that issued a series of edicts essentially banning pagan religion. Pagan festivals and sacrifices were banned, as was accessibility to every pagan temples and places that worship. The state of the realm in 395 might be described in regards to the result of Constantine’s work. The dynastic rule was created so firmly that the emperor who died in the year, Theodosius I, might bequeath the royal office jointly to his sons, Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West.

The Eastern empire was greatly spared the challenges faced through the west in the third and 4th centuries, early out in component to a more firmly developed urban culture and higher financial resources, which permitted it come placate invaders with tribute and pay international mercenaries. Throughout the fifth century, miscellaneous invading militaries overran the western Empire yet spared the east. Theodosius II further strengthened the walls of Constantinople, leave the city impervious to many attacks; the wall surfaces were not breached until 1204.

To fend turn off the Huns, Theodosius had actually to pay an enormous annual tribute come Attila. His successor, Marcian, refused to proceed to pay the tribute, but Attila had already diverted his fist to the west. ~ his death in 453, the Hunnic empire collapsed, and many of the remaining Huns were often hired as mercenaries by Constantinople.

Leo I flourished Marcian as emperor, and after the loss of Attila, the true chef in Constantinople was the Alan general, Aspar. Leo I regulated to cost-free himself native the influence of the non-Orthodox chief by sustaining the climb of the Isaurians, a semi-barbarian people living in southerly Anatolia. Aspar and his son, Ardabur, to be murdered in a revolt in 471, and also henceforth, Constantinople restored Orthodox management for centuries.

When Leo passed away in 474, Zeno and Ariadne’s younger son flourished to the throne together Leo II, v Zeno together regent. When Leo II died later that year, Zeno ended up being emperor. The finish of the Western realm is periodically dated come 476, early in Zeno’s reign, as soon as the Germanic roman inn general, Odoacer, deposed the titular west Emperor Romulus Augustulus, however declined to replace him with one more puppet.

Emperor Justinian I

In 527 CE, Justinian I involved the throne in Constantinople. He dreamed of reconquering the soil of the Western roman Empire and ruling a single, joined Roman realm from his chair in Constantinople.


Emperor Justinian. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I depicted on one of the well known mosaics that the Basilica of mountain Vitale, Ravenna.

The west conquests started in 533, together Justinian sent his general, Belisarius, to reclaim the former province of Africa indigenous the Vandals, that had been in control since 429 through their resources at Carthage. Belisarius successfully defeated the Vandals and also claimed Africa because that Constantinople. Next, Justinian sent out him to take it Italy from the Ostrogoths in 535 CE. Belisarius defeated the Ostrogoths in a collection of battles and also reclaimed Rome. By 540 CE, many of Italy remained in Justinian’s hands. He sent another army to conquer Spain.

The byzantine Empire in ~ its greatest extent, in 555 CE under Justinian the Great. 

Accomplishments in Byzantium

Justinian likewise undertook plenty of important tasks at home. Lot of Constantinople was shed down early in Justinian’s reign after a collection of riots referred to as the Nika riots, in 532 CE, once angry racing fans came to be enraged in ~ Justinian for arresting two well-known charioteers (though this was really just the critical straw because that a populace progressively angry over rising taxes) and also tried come depose him. The riots were placed down, and Justinian set about rebuilding the city ~ above a grander scale. His greatest success was the Hagia Sophia, the most essential church that the city. The Hagia Sophia to be a staggering work-related of oriental architecture, intended to awe every who collection foot in the church. It to be the biggest church in the human being for practically a thousand years, and for the rest of Byzantine history it was the center of Christian praise in Constantinople.


The Hagia Sophia. Byzantine Emperor Justinian built the Greek Orthodox Church of the holy Wisdom that God, the Hagia Sophia, which to be completed in only four and a fifty percent years (532 CE-537 CE). Even now, it is universally acknowledged as among the greatest structures in the world.

Emperor Justinian’s most crucial contribution, perhaps, was a combined Roman legit code. Before his reign, roman laws had differed from an ar to region, and also many contradicted one another. The Romans had actually attempted come systematize the legal code in the 5th century however had not completed the effort. Justinian collection up a the supervisory board of lawyers to put together a solitary code, listing each legislation by subject so that it might be easily referenced. This not just served as the communication for law in the byzantine Empire, however it was the main affect on the Catholic Church’s breakthrough of canon law, and also went on to become the basis of legislation in countless European countries. Justinian’s regulation code proceeds to have a significant influence top top public international law come this day.

The impact of a an ext unified legitimate code and also military problems was the increased ability for the oriental Empire to establish trade and also improve their financial standing. Oriental merchants traded no only all over the Mediterranean region, but likewise throughout regions to the east. These contained areas roughly the black color Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean.


Theodora was empress that the byzantine Empire and also the mam of Emperor Justinian I. She was among the most prominent and an effective of the byzantine empresses. Some sources mention her as empress regnant, through Justinian I together her co-regent. Along with her husband, she is a saint in the east Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14.

Theodora participated in Justinian’s legal and also spiritual reforms, and also her joining in the boost of the legal rights of females was substantial. She had laws passed that prohibited compelled prostitution and closed brothels. She created a convent ~ above the oriental side that the Dardanelles called the Metanoia (Repentance), where the ex-prostitutes could support themselves. She additionally expanded the legal rights of ladies in divorce and also property ownership, denote the death penalty for rape, forbade exposure of undesirable infants, provided mothers part guardianship civil liberties over their children, and forbade the death of a wife who committed adultery.

Justinian’s Difficulties

A devastating plague swept through the empire, death Theodora and nearly killing him. The torment wiped out huge numbers that the empire’s population, leaving villages empty and crops unharvested. The army was additionally afflicted, and also the Ostrogoths were able to properly regain Italy in 546 CE, v guerrilla warfare versus the byzantine occupiers.

With Justinian’s military bogged down fighting in Italy, the empire’s defenses against the Persians top top its eastern frontiers were weakened. In the Roman-Persian Wars, the Persians invaded and destroyed a variety of important cities. Justinian was forced to create a humiliating 50-year peace treaty through them in 561 CE.

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Still, Justinian preserved the empire from collapse. He sent out a new general, Narses, to Italy with a little force. Narses finally beat the Ostrogoths and also drove them back out the Italy. By the time the war was over, Italy, once one of the many prosperous floor in the ancient world, was wrecked. The city the Rome adjusted hands many times, and most the the cities of Italy were abandoned or dropped into a long duration of decline. The impoverishment of Italy and the weakened byzantine military make it difficult for the empire to hold the peninsula. Soon a new Germanic tribe, the Lombards, come in and conquered most of Italy, despite Rome, Naples, and also Ravenna stayed isolated pockets of byzantine control. At the exact same time, another new barbarian enemy, the Slavs, showed up from phibìc of the Danube. They ruined Greece and the Balkans, and also in the lack of solid Byzantine military might, they resolved in small communities in this lands.