Justinian I Essay

1280 words - 5 pages


Justinian I Justinian had a very significant role in world
history. There are many things that are
overlooked when speaking of Justinian. For instance,
Justinian was a great architect. Many times
we overlook the little characteristics of Justinian and we
focus on the code of Justinian. Justinian
was born a barbarian, probably born of Slavic parents in
Illyia. We know nothing of his early years
except that his uncle adopted him. His uncle was Justin I,
the emperor of Constantinople. Then in
527 A.D., Justin made Justinian a co-ruler. Four months
later, when Justin died, Justinian became
the sole emperor. This was the beginning of Justinian’s
famous rule, which lasted from 527 A.D.
through 565 A.D. (The Reign of Justinian). The reign of
Justinian was significant in many ways.
First of all, it marked the final end of the Roman Empire. It
was the establishment of the New
Byzantine empire. It was also the beginning of Western
Europe’s unique position within the
civilization of the old world. The religion of Islam spread
and the Franks rose to power (The Reign
of Justinian). Among other things, Justinian’s rule saw a
flourishment in the areas of architecture, the
arts, and literature. It was a time of re-building for the
empire. Justinian pursued an ambitious
dream of restoring the old Roman Empire. In fact, Justinian
led the Byzantine army in many wars to
regain this land. These wars destroyed much of the great
architecture that Justinian himself had
created. More than any other series of events before of since
that time. Justinian was successful in
driving out the Ostrogoths from Italy, and the Vandals from
Africa. During the western wars
Justinian bought peace with the Persians, weakened the
empire, and oppressed his subjects
(Justinian).

Justinian tried to restore the empire to match the size that
it was at the time of the Roman Empire.
These immense military efforts did all but exhaust the
empire’s treasury. He even had to pay Persia
for peace just so that he could have a free hand in the west.
However, even after Justinian’s
immense efforts, after his death, most of Italy, Southern
Spain, and Africa were once again
recaptured, leaving only Justinian’s dream of restoring the
empire to the glory it once knew. His
dream had failed (The Empire at the time of Justinian). The
westerners didn’t want to return to
some of the old Roman ways such as Roman taxation, Roman
justice, and the imperial influences in
their lives. The Easterners didn’t want to waste money
defending western conquests and were
impoverished by the cost of these wars. During this time of
war Justinian had to raise the taxes in
order to pay for the war, and rebuild the burnt city as fire
was set to the city in the Nika Revolt.
There were great losses due to the wars. Italy laid in ruins
and residents lived in poverty for
centuries after this tragedy. Along with this, much of Rome’s
great buildings could have survived if
Justinian had left the Ostrogoths in Italy. Even though...

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