Justinian Emperor

Brittney Boehme


After Constantine died, his sons ruled and were followed by many other rulers. Finally in 527 a Macedonian named Justinian came to rule. he was a strong ruler said to be one of the greatest. He had served in the army and was a very good general,He was trained in law, music, architechture, and theology.

Autocrat Ruler

An autocrat is an absolute ruler, especially a monarch who holds and exercises the powers of government as by inherent right, not subject to restrictions. This was a prime example of Justinian He controlled the army, navy, headed the church and was the supreme judge. He could declare war or make peace. The church taught that the emperor's acts were inspired by god. Therefore, what Justinian did could not be questioned. THose who came in contact with him were expected to bow down before him and kiss his and hands and feet.


Theodora the beautiful wife of Justian was an ancient stripper, or dancer some others prefer. But she was a big help to the emperor. She was an "actress" and she was very poor. There were laws prohibiting upper class from marrying actresses because many people had low opinions of them. But Justinian was desperate to marry Theodora so he abolished the law and married her, making her his empress. At first she only entertaiend guests and attended palace ceromonies. However she began to take an interest in politics. She convinced Justinian to allow women more rights. For the first time, a Byzantine wife could own land equal to her dowry, and a widow could raise and support her children without government interference. Later on there was a revolt and uprising because the senators were upset in the hightened taxes. the poor were angry because they were recieveing less free food adn entertainment and the rich, for the first time hads to pay taxes. The leaders of the revolt were ready to crown a new emperor and Justinian was ready to flee, but his empress convinced him to stay and fight. In the end Justinian trapped the rebels and killed 30,000 of them. As a result of this, it made him a stronger leader and gave him better control on the government.

Hagia Sophia

"Holy wisdom" or the church was one the biggest acomplishments of Justinian's rein. He required nearly 10,000 workers and 200 supervisors, who labored in shifts. It was bulit exactly how Justinian planned, gold and silver ornaments, woven cloth, and colorful mosiacs everywhere. The most impressive of the church was the huge dome that rose high over hte central part of the church. Sunlight poured through many windows in the dome, at night thousands of oil lamps were lit turning the building into a beacon seen for many miles. It still stands today as the religious center for the Byzantine.
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Justinian's Code

Corupus Iurus Civilis or the Justinian Code, was the result of Emperor Justinian's desire that existing Roman law be collected into a simple and clear system of laws, or "code." Tribonian, a legal minister under Justinian, lead a group of scholars in a 14-month effort to codify existing Roman law. The result was the first Justinian Code, completed in 529. This code was later expanded to include Justinian's own laws, as well as two additional books on areas of the law. In 534, the Justinian Code, made up of the Code, the Digest, and the Institutes, was completed.

Rights for Women (as seen in Theodora)

As Theodora and Justinian continued their rule, the Empress began to take an interest in politics. She convinced Justinian to allow women more rights. For the first time, a Byzantine wife could own land equal to her dowry, and a widow could raise and support her children without government interference.

Economic and Military Strength

Justinian wanted to reunite the eastern and western parts of the Empire adn restore all glory and power that was Rome's. To do this he needed to conquer the German kingdoms in Western Europe and North Africa. He apponted an officer named Belisarius to reorganize and lead the Byzantine Army. Until this time, the cavalry had been divided into groups of private soldiers hired by landowning nobles. Each group had its own commanders. Foot soldiers, who made up the largest part of the army, were called up when needed and then sent back to their homes. As a result, they felt little loyalty toward their officers. When Belisarius took command, he set up a basic group of loyal and heavily armed cavalry soldiers. The group was so strong that the other soldiers willingly obeyed its orders. Then, Belisarius developed a series of battle moves that greatly strengthened the army's striking power. During this time, the Byzantine navy was also improved and the first secret weapon in history was developed. It was called Greek fire, a chemical mixture that ignited when it came into contact with water. Greek fire burned a person's skin and was hard to put out. The Byzantines guarded their secret so carefully that its exact formula is still unknown.

Differences Between East and West

The Byzantine Empire approached a split in the church, The Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox spoke Greek, the patriarch was allowed to Marry and the represented the East. In the Roman Catholic the pope was NOT allowed to marry, they spoke Latin, and they represented the west. When the divided it was known as the Great Schism and they divided because of the belief in Icons.

Art and Learning

Roman achievements in engineering and law. Unique Contributions in the Arts Byzantine artists made unique contributions, especially in religious art and architecture, that influenced Western styles from the Middle Ages to the present. Icons, designed to evoke the presence of God. go viewers a sense of personal contact with the sacred. Mosaics brought scenes from the Bible to life. In architecture, Byzantine palaces and churches blended Greek. Roman. Persian, and other Middle Eastern styles. The World of Learning Byzantine scholars preserved the classic works of ancient Greece and Rome. In addition, they produced their own great books, especially in the field of history. Like the Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides, Byzantine historians were mostly with writing about their own times. Procopms an advisor to the general Bclisarius. chronicled the Byzantine campaign against Persia In his Secret History. Procoptus Savacelv criticized Justinian and Theodora. He called the emperor ninth an evil-doer and easily led into evil . . never of his own truth ~ Anna