58 Facts About Justinian


Justinian I, known as Justinian the Great, was Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565.

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Justinian's reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire".

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Justinian engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I's reign, and later again during Khosrow I's reign; this second conflict was partially initiated due to his ambitions in the west.

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Justinian's reign marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded works such as the Hagia Sophia.

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Justinian is called "Saint Justinian the Emperor" in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Justin, who was commander of one of the imperial guard units before he became emperor, adopted Justinian, brought him to Constantinople, and ensured the boy's education.

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Justinian served as a candidatus, one of 40 men selected from the scholae palatinae to serve as the emperor's personal bodyguard.

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The chronicler John Malalas, who lived during the reign of Justinian, describes his appearance as short, fair-skinned, curly-haired, round-faced, and handsome.

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Justinian was known as "the emperor who never sleeps" for his work habits.

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Justinian was by profession an actress and some twenty years his junior.

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Justinian's rule was not universally popular; early in his reign he nearly lost his throne during the Nika riots, and a conspiracy against the emperor's life by dissatisfied businessmen was discovered as late as 562.

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Justinian was struck by the plague in the early 540s but recovered.

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Justinian, who had always had a keen interest in theological matters and actively participated in debates on Christian doctrine, became even more devoted to religion during the later years of his life.

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Justinian was succeeded by Justin II, who was the son of his sister Vigilantia and married to Sophia, the niece of Theodora.

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Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the Church of the Holy Apostles until it was desecrated and robbed during the pillage of the city in 1204 by the Latin States of the Fourth Crusade.

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Justinian achieved lasting fame through his judicial reforms, particularly through the complete revision of all Roman law, something that had not previously been attempted.

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The total of Justinian's legislation is known today as the Corpus juris civilis.

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Early in his reign, Justinian had appointed the quaestor Tribonian to oversee this task.

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Justinian passed laws to protect prostitutes from exploitation and women from being forced into prostitution.

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One of the most spectacular features of Justinian's reign was the recovery of large stretches of land around the Western Mediterranean basin that had slipped out of Imperial control in the 5th century.

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From his uncle, Justinian inherited ongoing hostilities with the Sassanid Empire.

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Justinian then tried to make alliance with the Axumites of Ethiopia and the Himyarites of Yemen against the Persians, but this failed.

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Justinian was taken to Constantinople, where he was paraded in a triumph.

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Justinian sent another general, Narses, to Italy, but tensions between Narses and Belisarius hampered the progress of the campaign.

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Justinian first sacked Beroea and then Antioch, besieged Daras, and then went on to attack the Byzantine base in the small but strategically significant satellite kingdom of Lazica near the Black Sea as requested by its discontented king Gubazes, exacting tribute from the towns he passed along his way.

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Justinian forced Justinian I to pay him 5,000 pounds of gold, plus 500 pounds of gold more each year.

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Justinian replaced him with Bessas, who was under a cloud after the loss of Rome in 546, but he managed to capture and dismantle Petra in 551.

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Finally, Justinian dispatched a force of approximately 35,000 men under the command of Narses.

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Justinian saw the orthodoxy of his empire threatened by diverging religious currents, especially Monophysitism, which had many adherents in the eastern provinces of Syria and Egypt.

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Justinian, who continued this policy, tried to impose religious unity on his subjects by forcing them to accept doctrinal compromises that might appeal to all parties, a policy that proved unsuccessful as he satisfied none of them.

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Justinian made the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed the sole symbol of the Church and accorded legal force to the canons of the four ecumenical councils.

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Justinian protected the purity of the church by suppressing heretics.

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Justinian neglected no opportunity to secure the rights of the Church and clergy, and to protect and extend monasticism.

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Justinian granted the monks the right to inherit property from private citizens and the right to receive solemnia, or annual gifts, from the Imperial treasury or from the taxes of certain provinces and he prohibited lay confiscation of monastic estates.

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Justinian rebuilt the Church of Hagia Sophia, the original site having been destroyed during the Nika riots.

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Justinian entered the arena of ecclesiastical statecraft shortly after his uncle's accession in 518, and put an end to the Acacian schism.

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Justinian's policies switched between attempts to force Monophysites and Miaphysites to accept the Chalcedonian creed by persecuting their bishops and monks – thereby embittering their sympathizers in Egypt and other provinces – and attempts at a compromise that would win over the Monophysites without surrendering the Chalcedonian faith.

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The Presbyter Julian and the Bishop Longinus conducted a mission among the Nabataeans, and Justinian attempted to strengthen Christianity in Yemen by dispatching a bishop from Egypt.

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Justinian interfered in the internal affairs of the synagogue and encouraged the Jews to use the Greek Septuagint in their synagogues in Constantinople.

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Justinian persecuted them with rigorous edicts, but could not prevent reprisals towards Christians from taking place in Samaria toward the close of his reign.

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The consistency of Justinian's policy meant that the Manicheans too suffered persecution, experiencing both exile and threat of capital punishment.

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Justinian was a prolific builder; the historian Procopius bears witness to his activities in this area.

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Rivalry with other, more established patrons from the Constantinopolitan and exiled Roman aristocracy might have enforced Justinian's building activities in the capital as a means of strengthening his dynasty's prestige.

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Justinian strengthened the borders of the Empire from Africa to the East through the construction of fortifications and ensured Constantinople of its water supply through construction of underground cisterns.

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Justinian made the traffic more efficient by building a large granary on the island of Tenedos for storage and further transport to Constantinople.

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Justinian tried to find new routes for the eastern trade, which was suffering badly from the wars with the Persians.

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At the start of Justinian I's reign he had inherited a surplus 28,800,000 solidi in the imperial treasury from Anastasius I and Justin I Under Justinian's rule, measures were taken to counter corruption in the provinces and to make tax collection more efficient.

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Justinian had the city rebuilt, but on a slightly smaller scale.

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Justinian's legacy is elaborated on, and he is portrayed as a defender of the Christian faith and the restorer of Rome to the Empire.

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Justinian confesses that he was partially motivated by fame rather than duty to God, which tainted the justice of his rule in spite of his proud accomplishments.

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Dante uses Justinian to criticize the factious politics of his 14th Century Italy, divided between Ghibellines and Guelphs, in contrast to the unified Italy of the Roman Empire.

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Justinian is a major character in the 1938 novel Count Belisarius, by Robert Graves.

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Justinian is depicted as a jealous and conniving Emperor obsessed with creating and maintaining his own historical legacy.

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Justinian appears as a character in the 1939 time travel novel Lest Darkness Fall, by L Sprague de Camp.

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Glittering Horn: Secret Memoirs of the Court of Justinian was a novel written by Pierson Dixon in 1958 about the court of Justinian.

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Justinian occasionally appears in the comic strip Prince Valiant, usually as a nemesis of the title character.

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Justinian is played by Innokenty Smoktunovsky in the 1985 Soviet film Primary Russia.

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Justinian became very bitter towards Justinian and his empress, Theodora.

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