Emperor Justinian

The story of Justinian's reign


  • Justinian served in the army and was a good general
  • He also studied law, music, architecture, and theology (the study of religion)

Type of ruler

  • He was an autocrat, or ruler with complete authority
  • He used the law to unify the empire
  • He controlled the army and navy, made the laws, headed the Church and the government, and was supreme judge
  • He also could declare war or make peace
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  • Theodora was Justinian's wife; her family was poor
  • She served as advisor and coruler to Justinian
  • She helped him make politiccal decisions, one of them being that she convinced him to stay and fight when people rebelled
  • She also convinced him to allow women more rights
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Hagia Sophia

  • One of Justinian's greatest accomplishments was getting the church of the "Holy Wisdom" rebuilt
  • He also built churches, bridges, monasteries, and forums
  • Mosaics were included in the construction, but the huge dome over the rectangular opening was the most impressive
  • It was the religious center of the Byzantine Empire and still stands today
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Justinian's Code

  • In six years, Tribonian and the group developed a legal code that became the law of the land, or Justinian's Code
  • It's also considered one of Justinian's greatest accomplishments
  • It influences the legal systems of almost every western country
  • Our government is based on this system
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Rights for women

  • Justinian abolished the law that marriage between actresses and high government officials were forbidden
  • He altered divorce laws so that Byzatine women could own property equal to their dowry
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Economic and military strength

  • Peasants worked the land, paid taxes, and provided soldiers for the military
  • The Byzantine empire had a healthy money economy
  • Belisarius set up a group of loyal and heavily arned cavalry soldiers and developed battle moves that helped strengthen the army's power
  • Greek fire was the first secret weapon in history and the exact formula is still unkown
  • The army was able to control more of the Mediterranean and regain most of the western provinces, which later became lost after Justinian's death
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Differences between East and West

  • In the West they had a patriarch
  • They also celebrated Easter as the day Jesus rose from the dead
  • The East didn't emphasize Christmas as the day of the birth of Jesus
  • The Byzantine christians used icons in their worship, but the west were against this
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Great Schism

  • The two branches split
  • The Byzantine church became the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western branch became the Roman Catholic Church
  • They treated each other as enemies
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  • Byzantine artists influenced Western styles
  • Mosaics brought scenes from the Bible to life
  • Icons gave viewers a sense of personal contact with the sacred
  • Byzantine palaces and churches contained many different styles of art including: Greek, Roman, Persian, and other Middle Eastern styles
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  • Byzantine scholars saved the works of ancient Greece and Rome
  • They focused on writing about their own times
  • Many Greek scholars left Constantinople to teach at Italian universities in the 1400s
  • They took Greek manuscripts to the West
  • Also, diffused the Greek and Byzantine cultures
  • The works of these scholars influenced the Renaissance
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