|Emperor of the Byzantine Empire|
Detail of a contemporary portrait in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna
|Reign||1 August 527 –
13/14 November 565
|Full name||Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus Augustus|
|Birthplace||Tauresium, Byzantine Dardania
(near today's village of Taor, Republic of Macedonia)
|Died||14 November 565 (aged 82)|
|Place of death||Constantinople|
Justinian I (Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; also known as the Great; ca. 482/483–November 13 565) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 527 until his death, and member of the Justinian Dynasty. He is one of the most historically significant rulers of Late Antiquity. Justinian's rule marked an economical and military blooming of the Byzantine Empire, with the recovery of the territories of the Western Roman Empire, primarily through the campaigns of Belisarius.
His improvement program has left masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Under Justinian patronage, the Byzantine culture produced historians of the likeness of Procopius and Agathias, as well as poets like Paul the Silentiary. His commission of the Corpus Iuris Civilis, a uniform rewriting of the Roman law by Tribonian, is still the basis of civil law in many modern states. Justinian simplified Roman laws. These are now called Corpus Juris Civilis.
Justinian viewed himself as the new Constantine. He believed in a Mediterranean-wide Christian order politically, religiously and economically, united and ruled from Constantinople under a single Christian emperor. To this end he directed his great wars and his colossal activity in reconquering the western provinces from the Germanic tribes.
The devastating Plague of Justinian in the early 540's marked the end of an age of splendor never to be regained by the Empire. Justinian is considered a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14 according to the Gregorian calendar and on November 27 according to the Julian calendar.
Marriage and death
In 523 he married Theodora. He is said to have met her at a show where she and a trained goose performed Leda and the Swan, a play that managed to mock Greek mythology and Christian morality at the same time. Justinian would have, in earlier times, been unable to marry 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 and marry outside of the aristocratic class.
Theodora died in 548; Justinian outlived her for almost twenty years, and died on November 13, 565. He had no children and was succeeded by Justin II, the son of his sister Vigilantia, who was married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora.
Images for kids
The ancient town of Tauresium, the birthplace of Justinian I, located in today's Republic of Macedonia
Modern or early modern drawing of a medallion celebrating the reconquest of Africa, c. 535
Consular diptych displaying Justinian's full name (Constantinople 521)
Justinian was one of the first Roman Emperors to be depicted wielding the cross on the obverse of a coin
The Hagia Sophia in 2013
Gold coin of Justinian I (527–565 CE) excavated in India
Justinian I Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.