Lesson 20 Essay
Justinian began his life as a shepard boy in the Eastern Roman Empire in 482 AD. He lived a mostly calm life but at the age of sixteen he walked all the way to Constantinople (the capital of the empire), where he met his uncle, Justin, who the commander of the emperor's guard. Justinian's uncle received him well (unlike other uncles I've read about), and gave him a good education. Justinian was a relatively good looking young man and he quickly became well known throughout the empire.
The emperor at this time was Emperor Anastasius. When Anastasius died, Justinian's uncle Justin became the new emperor with much help from his nephew. As Emperor Justin grew older, Justinian started co-ruling the empire with him. Eventually, Justin appointed Justinian as Co-Emperor just a few months before Justin died. Justinian became the sole emperor in 527 and he ruled for the next 40 years. He became known as Justinian the Great through his impressive accomplishments .
Justinian was an exceptional ruler and often appointed efficient officials to government positions; some of these were unpopular because they were too efficient. The people of Constantinople revolted in 532 and much of the city burned and 30,000 citizens died. These revolts are known as the Nika Revolts.
Justinian had two generals named Belisarius and Narses. Belisarius oversaw the expanding the empire to include North Africa. Justinian made improvements to Constantinople and the general culture while the military was reclaiming parts of Italy from the Ostrogoths in 552. This was the beginning of what is known as the Byzantium Empire and it lasted for 1,000 years.
One of the things Justinian is known for is the Hagia Sophia, a magnificent cathedral, in 537. It remains mostly intact to this day. He worked on at least 34 other churches.
The first certified Roman Law was organized by Justinian and it became known as the Code of Justinian. This code laid out the basis of imperial law in Byzantium until 1453 AD. During his reign, Justinian encouraged new industries and education; he began silk production and factories were started.
Justinian remained a strong and active emperor until his death in 565AD, at the age of 83. His legacy in the empire lasted 1,000 years. However, after his death, the empire did not last that long and began weakening shortly after his death.
To conclude this essay, Justinian the Great was the best emperor in the Eastern Roman Empire, and is largely responsible for bringing Byzantium to it's peak.