(At birth) Petrus Sabbatius; Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus
c.482, at Tauresium - 565
April 1, 527 (jointly with his uncle Justin until August 1) - November 14, 565
Justinian was a Christian emperor of the Roman Empire on the cusp between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Justinian is sometimes called "The Last of the Romans."
History remembers Emperor Justinian for his reorganization of the government of the Roman Empire and his codification of the laws, the Codex Justinianus, in A.D. 534.
Justinian Family Data:
An Illyrian, Justinian was born Petrus Sabbatius in A.D. 483 in Tauresium, Dardania (Yugoslavia). Justinian's childless uncle became the Roman Emperor Justin I in A.D. 518 and adopted Justinian. Justinian's own birth-based status in society was not high enough to command respect without the imperial office, and his wife's position was even worse. His wife, Theodora, was the daughter of a bear-keeper father, an acrobat mother, and she herself is considered a courtesan.
Justinian died on November 14, 565, in Constantinople.
Justinian became Caesar in 525. On April 4, 527, Justin made Justinian his co-emperor and gave him the rank of Augustus. Justinian's wife Theodora received the rank of Augusta. Then, when Justin died on August 1, 527, Justinian went from joint to sole emperor.
Persian Wars and Belisarius:
Justinian inherited conflict with the Persians. His commander Belisarius
obtained a peace treaty in 531. The truce was broken in 540 and so Belisarius was again sent off to deal with it. Justinian also dispatched Belisarius to settle problems in Africa and Europe. Belisarius could do little against the Ostrogoths in Italy.
Procopius' book On Buildings [De aedificiis]
describes Justinian's building projects that included aqueducts and bridges, monasteries, orphanages, hostels, and the Hagia Sophia
, which still stands in Constantinople/Istanbul.
The religious position of the Monophysites (whom Justinian's wife, the Empress Theodora, supported) conflicted with the accepted Christian doctrine from the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). Justinian was unable to do anything to resolve the differences. He even alienated the pope in Rome, creating a schism. Justinian expelled teachers of paganism from the Academy in Athens, closing the schools of Athens, in 529. In 564, Justinian adopted the heresy of Aphthartodocetism and tried to impose it. Before the matter was resolved, Justinian died, in 565.
However improbable it may seem, this event was born of extreme sports fanaticism, and corruption. Justinian and Theodora were Blues fans. Despite fan loyalty, they attempted to reduce the influence of both teams, but too late. The Blue and Green teams created a disturbance in the Hippodrome on June 10, 532. Seven ringleaders were executed, but one of each side survived and became a rallying point that integrated fans of both teams. They and their fans began shouting Nika 'Victory' in the hippodrome. Now a mob, they appointed a new emperor. Justinian's military leaders prevailed and slaughtered 30,000 rioters.