After the emperor Constantine established the Byzantine Empire, Justinian I was one of the greatest emperors that the Byzantine Empire had ever seen. As Justinian brought order to the empire by a legal code, he rebuilt many buildings that had been demolished, like the Hagia Sophia, as well. Not much is known about Justinian’s early life. According to the textbook History of Our World, Justinian was born into a poor family and, when he became emperor, listened to his entire subjects, from the simplest peasants to the richest nobles (Page 286). In History of Our World, Justinian created order in the empire, too. The laws of the Byzantine Empire were old, recycled, Roman laws. Many laws couldn’t work as well as they used to and some laws contradicted each other. Justinian decided to fix this problem by creating a new set of laws known as Justinian’s code, which was considered to be one of the most significant accomplishments during Justinian’s reign (Page 287). According to the website Ancient History Encyclopedia, Justinian was a great army commander, too. In the article “Justinian I”, many of the lands that were gained by the Romans, such as Africa and Italy, were taken over by other societies, such as the Vandals and the Goths. Justinian started a military campaign to retake Africa from the Vandals and Italy from the Goths and succeeded, claiming the lands for the Byzantine Empire (Par. 3). According to the same article, Justinian ordered the rebuilding of the church known as the Hagia Sophia as well as many other important buildings that had been demolished. When the Hagia Sophia was done, Justinian cried out “Solomon, I have outdone thee!” (Par. 4) Justinian’s wife, according to the book The Byzantine Empire, by Jennifer VanVoorst, influenced many of Justinian’s decisions. For example, Theodora, Justinian’s wife, tried to push Justinian to give more rights to women (Page 43). However, according to the article “Justinian I”, Justinian wasn’t always popular, as two Samaritan revolts and several Nika riots were led against his empire (Par. 5). Overall, however, the reign of Justinian was one of the best times for the Byzantine Empire, as the empire flourished under the emperor’s reign. Justinian brought about some of the best inventions in the empire, but the most significant was probably his code of laws.
Hayes Jacobs, Heidi, LeVasseur, Michael L., History of Our World. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2005. Print.
This source probably provided me with the most information about Justinian and was the first source to introduce me to Justinian.
Fretland VanVoorst, Jennifer, The Byzantine Empire. Kingston, Ontario: Compass Point Books, 2013. Print.
Used a very minor source, the pages in this book that contained the information that I needed didn’t provide too much new information, although there were some very slight nuances, such as Justinian’s wife being an influence to his decisions.
Wyeth, Will. “Justinian I.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. 28 September, 2012. Web. Monday, 16 November, 2015.
This site was used as a pretty big source. This article provided me with information that neither of the books had, such as Justinian being a good army general.