Roman Emperor (527-65)
Flavius Anicius Julianus Justinianus was born about 483 at Tauresium (Taor) in Illyricum (near Uskup); d. 565. The theory that he was a Slav by race is now abandoned (Krumbacher, “Byz. Litt.”, 237). He was the nephew of Justin I (518-27), being the son of Justin’s sister Vigilantia and a certain Sabatius. Already during his uncle’s reign he became the chief power in the state. Justin was an old man, weak in body and mind; he gradually handed over all power to his nephew. In 521 Justinian was proclaimed consul, then general-in-chief, and in April, 527, Augustus; in August of the same year Justin died, and Justinian was left sole ruler.
The thirty-eight years of Justinian’s reign are the most brilliant period of the later empire. Full of enthusiasm for the memories of Rome, he set himself, and achieved, the task of reviving their glory. The many-sided activity of this wonderful man may be summed up under the headings: military triumphs, legal work, ecclesiastical polity, and architectural activity. Dominating all is the policy of restoring the empire, great, powerful, and united. Of these many features of his reign — each of them epoch-making — it is impossible to give more than the merest outline here. Continue reading