Justinian and The Byzantine Empire Essay

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Justinian was one of the most influential rulers of Byzantium. When he came into power in 527 AD, he inherited a civilization in disarray. Justinian had a positive impact on the Byzantine Empire. Most notably, he introduced an improved set of laws and conquered many surrounding nations, nearly restoring the former glory of the Roman Empire. In addition to these contributions, Justinian also made advances with the Christian Church and Byzantine architecture.
Justinian was born on May 11, 483 AD in northern Illyricum (Hillard 1). His parents, who were farmers, gave him the name Flavius Peterus Sabbatus, but he changed his name when he was older to be more similar to his uncle, Justin, who adopted Justinian as his own son (Trafton 1). Justin took on the responsibility of Justinian’s education and took him to study in Constantinople as a teenager. Justinian began to work with his uncle, who was the Count of the Excubitors and a well-known man in politics (Treadgold 58). The Excubitors were the emperor’s guards and Justin’s job as the count included leading those soldiers. After Anastasius, the emperor at the time, died without announcing a successor, Justin was chosen by Anastasius’ courtiers to be the next ruler. Justin was close to 70 years old and uneducated, so he enlisted his nephew, who was then 36 years old, to assist him in his reign (Treadgold 58). When his uncle became emperor in 518 AD, Justinian became one of Justin’s advisors. As Justin grew older, he began to give Justinian’s opinions more weight in his own decisions.
In 522 AD, Justinian met a former actress. Her name was Theodora, and she had given up her original career after becoming a Christian, beginning to make a living spinning wool instead. At the...

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.... Hillard, Richard L. "Justinian I." Salem History. Salem, n.d. Web. 3 May 2014. .
5. Howe, Helen, and Robert T. Howe. From the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. N.p.: Longman, 1992. Print.
6. Hussey, Joan Mervyn. "Justinian I." Britannica School High. Britannica Digital Learning, n.d. Web. 3 May 2014. .
7. "Law of the Twelve Tables." Britannica School High. Britannica Digital Learning, n.d. Web. 3 May 2014. .
8. Snell, Melissa. "The Theodosian Code.", n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. .
9. Trafton, Jennifer, et al., eds. "Justinian I and Theodora I." Christianity Today. Christian History, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. .
10. Treadgold, Warren. A Concise History of Byzantium. N.p.: Palgrave, 2001. Print.

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