There are many things that are overlooked when speaking of Justinian. For instance, Justinian was a great architect. Many times we overlook the little characteristics of Justinian and we focus on the code of Justinian. Justinian was born a barbarian, probably born of Slavic parents in Illyia. We know nothing of his early years except that his uncle adopted him. His uncle was Justin I, the emperor of Constantinople. Then in 527 A. D. , Justin made Justinian a co-ruler. Four months later, when Justin died, Justinian became the sole emperor.
This was the beginning of Justinian’s famous rule, which lasted from 527 A. D. through 565 A. D. (The Reign of Justinian). The reign of Justinian was significant in many ways. First of all, it marked the final end of the Roman Empire. It was the establishment of the New Byzantine empire. It was also the beginning of Western Europe’s unique position within the civilization of the old world. The religion of Islam spread and the Franks rose to power (The Reign of Justinian). Among other things, Justinian’s rule saw a flourishment in the areas of architecture, the arts, and literature.
It was a time of re-building for the mpire. Justinian pursued an ambitious dream of restoring the old Roman Empire. In fact, Justinian led the Byzantine army in many wars to regain this land. These wars destroyed much of the great architecture that Justinian himself had created. More than any other series of events before of since that time. Justinian was successful in driving out the Ostrogoths from Italy, and the Vandals from Africa. During the western wars Justinian bought peace with the Persians, weakened the empire, and oppressed his subjects (Justinian).
Justinian tried to restore the empire to match the size that it was at the time of the Roman Empire. These immense military efforts did all but exhaust the empire’s treasury. He even had to pay Persia for peace just so that he could have a free hand in the west. However, even after Justinian’s immense efforts, after his death, most of Italy, Southern Spain, and Africa were once again recaptured, leaving only Justinian’s dream of restoring the empire to the glory it once knew. His dream had failed (The Empire at the time of Justinian).
The westerners didn’t want to return to some of the old Roman ways such as Roman taxation, Roman justice, and the imperial influences in their lives. The Easterners didn’t want to waste money efending western conquests and were impoverished by the cost of these wars. During this time of war Justinian had to raise the taxes in order to pay for the war, and rebuild the burnt city as fire was set to the city in the Nika Revolt. There were great losses due to the wars. Italy laid in ruins and residents lived in poverty for centuries after this tragedy.
Along with this, much of Rome’s great buildings could have survived if Justinian had left the Ostrogoths in Italy. Even though Justinian’s reconquests in the west were not permanent, his destruction or weakening of civilized Germanic ribes was. The only tribe untouched by Justinian was the Burgundians who had too few people to exercise any real power. Easterners didn’t stop the new invaders in the west when Justinian died. The Persians recognized the weakness, and after Justinian’s death, they attacked the Byzantine Empire.
After all this, the Eastern and Westerners wanted to restore the empire. Finally, in 632 AD, the Byzantine’s were victorious over the Persians but because both of the groups of people were so weak, it was easy for the Muslim armies to overthrow them (The Reign of Justinian) Justinian felt many of the laws of Byzantium were very confusing. many were out of date, some contradicting others, and not in one place did a complete collection of the laws exist. To solve this problem, Justinian assigned a commission to study the problem. Their work resulted in the publication of the Code of Justinian.
This code consisted of imperial decrees, legal opinions of judges and lawyers, and even a textbook for law students. The code allowed him to gain better control over his provincial governors to more effectively finance his military campaigns against Persia and other surrounding nations. Roman law formed the base of civil law. Still today many countries have bits and pieces of the code entwined in their law. It became a model for new laws and systems of laws. And many legal maxims still in use today have been derived from Justinian’s Code (Justinian’s Code). The Code was published on April 7, 529.
Justinian’s Code is just as notable and publicly known as Hammarabi’s Code. Parts of Justinian’s Code resembles parts of Hammarabi’s Code (The Empire at the time of Justinian). Another over looked characteristic of Justinian was his religion. He was very religious. He strengthened Christianity at the expense of non-Christian ulture. Justinian abolished all pagan teachers and all schools of pagan philosophy. Justinian was undoubtedly the most famous of Byzantine emperors. “Justice”, the meaning and spelling are taken from Justinian. He was married to Theodora, who was a famous actress.
The results of his decisions were critical in the development in western Europe. The Middle Ages would not have happened had it not been for Justinian. It was not necessarily his achievements but because of his failures that history turned out the way that it did. Justinian is known as the last great Roman Emperor (Justinian). Justinian thought of himself as the restorer of Roman power and prestige (The Empire at the time of Justinian). On the issue of architecture, Justinian restored many of the old, traditional Roman Churches.
The most famous and noted of these is St. Sophia, or the Church of Holy Wisdom. It was known as an architectural wonder of the middle ages. This is just one of the numerous churches that Justinian restored (The Empire at the time of Justinian). Justinian was a very fine architect. The public buildings and other structures were used as gifts, but also monuments that declared the greatness of a ruler. He was eager to have a permanent literary record of his building achievements. As previously mentioned, Justinian restored many of the Churches in his empire.
He also rebuilt a hospital that was free of charges for the poor of the city. The reign of Justinian would have been incomplete if it had not brought with it some new monuments to the glory of the empire. ” He wanted to provide the people with the much needed public buildings. “Justinian surpassed the work of Constantine, who up to that point, had been the greatest builder among the Christian emperors of the Empire. ” (The Empire at the time of Justinian) On the ubject of art and literature, Justinian supported each of these. He supported the Classical Greek Literature, and the arts. At first the Christians in the empire didn’t accept the literature and education of the Classical Greek style.
They (the Christians) failed to see a way in which the blasphemous literature could be brought into a relationship with the Christian teaching. But in time, and with a few actions of Justinian, the Christian thinkers began to realize that there was much that could be learned from the Classical Greek teachings. One action of Justinian was, in my opinion, a bit harsh. There were schools located throughout the empire, but one in particular, in Athens, the teachers would only teach the Classics in their Pagan views, as they still remained Pagans.
Justinian gave them the opportunity to become Christian, and when they refused he shut down the school. Because of the favorable atmosphere of the capital city, a number of distinguished literary figures of Justinian’s time popped up. Their works were largely influenced by the great Greek philosopher such as Aristotle and Plato. It is said that if Justinian had sided with the Christians when dealing with the Classical Greek eachings, he would be cutting a major part of his heritage.
The people, most of which, were not prepared for such an action (The Empire at the time of Justinian). Even though his dream of restoration had failed, he didn’t fail in all areas. many of the areas such as art, literature, architecture, and the famed Code of Justinian, are still around today. Parts of the code are found in laws of different countries. Justinian’s reign would prove to be beneficial not only to his empire, but to the world as we know it today. Justinian was a very important ruler who did much to influence history.