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Justinian the Great was born in 482 at Tauresium, province of Dardania. He was the king of Eastern Roman. His reign started from the year 527. he was the emperor until his death. He came into power on 9 August 527. hi full name was Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus. After his Uncle Justin I he was the second member of the Justinian Dynasty Justinian Dynasty. He became very religious in last years of his life. He was considered as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Christians. Lutheran Church commemorated it.
How he came into Power
Haaren in Famous Men of the Middle Ages stated that about 11000 years ago the country which is now known as Bulgaria was invaded by the Goths and that was inhabited by them. A sixteen year old boy was lived in that country.
One day he left his home in that country and went to the city of Constantinople. This city was at a large distance from Bulgaria. There was no money in his pocket, that’s why he couldn’t afford the expenses of the journey. He started walking in the direction of the city. There was nothing to eat, except fruits in the way. He was a brilliant and intelligent boy. He spent his childhood in a small village. Now he wanted to go outside the village.
His uncle had gone to Constantinople some years ago. Justin was the name of his uncle. He was a soldier of the Roman army. His uncle Justin was very brave. Because of his bravery he was announced as a commander of the imperial guard.
This small army, called Imperial guards, was the protector of the emperor. Because of the achievement of his uncle, he decided to go in a big city.
He started to walk through the mountain, valley, high hills, river, and forests with a great desire of success. His journey was very dangerous and he completed it in several weeks.
After this difficult journey he reached at the main entrance of Constantinople. He was happy after accomplishing his purpose. Now he started finding his uncle. He faced no problem in finding his uncle.
His uncle Justin was very popular in Constantinople. He achieved this popularity because of his post of commander. He was the commander of imperial guard. These guards protect emperor from any kind of mishap. His uncle met him and took him in his house. This boy was treated as a family member by his uncle. His uncle Justin tried to give excellent education to this boy.
This boy was very intelligent and a keen learner. Learning everything very easily was the property of this boy. Because of it he became an excellent student in very short period of time. He was a handsome man with good height. He had a very good dressing sense. His hair was curly and colour of eyes was black. He was respected by everyone because of his learning and brightness. This boy got the name Justinian.
After some days emperor of Constantinople died and there was no other powerful candidate for this post in comparison to Justin (uncle of Justinian). He was a brave soldier with sharp mind. People told him to take over the place of emperor and people made him emperor of the Constantinople. People gave him the title of Justinus I. Now that boy had become the nephew of an emperor.
One day aristocrats of Justinus advised him to take Justinian as an adviser for ruling the empire. Justinus put that proposal in front of his nephew Justinian. This proposal was accepted by him. Till this time Justinus had become old and his health had become down. That’s why he couldn’t solve all the matters related to the state. It was the first step of Justinian in state politics and government.
A crown had been placed on the head of this boy by his uncle. After this boy became the emperor of Constantinople with his uncle. After a few months reign of his uncle had been finished with his death.
After the death of his uncle he has announced emperor of Constantinople. It happened in the year 527. He was in power for thirty eight years. In this period he did a lot of important work for his state. people gave him name “Justinian the Great” because of these works for the development of state.
Many wars were fought in his reign by the Roman army. He was an intelligent and sharp-minded person. He had no experience of fighting as a soldier. Because of it he did not go in any war. He was the strategy maker of these wars. Most of his time was spent in study by him.
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He fought these wars with the help of two great generals of his army. Roman army was led by these two generals. Belisarius and Narses are the name of these two generals. No one was a soldier like Belisarius in that time. He was the best soldier of the Roman army. He gave so many great victories to Justinian. He successfully overcame some old Roman regions that had been lost earlier. The Reign of Justinian became extraordinary in the history because of these two generals.
In his reign Roman state conquered the northern part of Africa. Justinian set up a kingdom there and Carthage was its capital. Justinian sent Belisarius in the northern part of Africa Justinian to conquer it. He went there with a large army. Thirty-five thousand men and five thousand horses were there in this army.
These men and horses were taken there with the help of a fleet of six hundred ships. Three months were taken for this work. This long time was taken because people were unknown about the power of steam at that time. Sailing vessels were used as ships. At that time Gelime was the emperor of North Africa.
After reaching Africa Belisarius made a strategy and five men were left on each ship according to the strategy. He marched with the remaining army along the coast for some days. He faced an army of the Vandals (members of North African army) about ten miles from Carthage. Brother of Gelimer was the leader of this army. Another army was also there behind this army and that was led by the Gelimer. In this battle Gelimer’s brother was killed by the Romans. Then Belisarius took control of the city. It was the end of the reign of Vandal emperor in North Africa.
Belisarius took Gelimer to Constantinople. a small state was given to Gelimer by Justinian. Gelimer passed his rest life in that state in peaceful manner.
Justinian thought for conquering Italy after conquering the North Africa. Ostrogoths was the emperor of Italy at that time. Justinian sent Belisarius and Narses both to Italy. A large army was sent there with them.
After arriving there they directly started to walk in the direction of Rome. They took possession of the city after a battle. But after a few months Vitiges, who was the king of Goths, arrived at the gate with an army. Belisarius and Narses were challenged by Vitiges for fighting. Roman army was tired till that time. It was not prepared for fight at that time, but they did not want to surrender. That’s why they fought with the army of Vitiges. Soldiers were prepared by Belisarius for this fight. He motivated them with full enthusiasm. These motivated soldiers then attacked on the army of Vitiges. In this fighting Romans defeated army of Vitiges. Immediately Belisarius attacked on city and army of Ostrogoth was taken into the possession. Then this Belisarius and Narses went to Northern Italy with army for conquering that. A long war took place there and after this war all the tribes were conquered by the Roman army.
Power of the Justinian raised in the world because of these wars. The most important result of the Italy war was merging on Rome city in Roman Empire again.
Work done by Justinian
During these wars Justinian was busy in the development of his state. He constructed large public buildings during his reign. These buildings are not only useful but very attractive also. Cathedral of St. Sophia was the greatest building constructed by Justinian. Cathedral of St. Sophia was the most beautiful building. It was the largest and biggest church structure in the world at that time.
Justinian made improvement in many existing laws. This improvement in laws was also an important work, done by Justinian. There was a need of improvement in existing laws. These existing laws were enforced by the Justinian. He also passed many new laws. These laws were very useful for the Roman Empire. He also reformed some old laws. Because of this improvement in law system Justinian became famous as greatest legislator of the world.
These Roman laws made by Justinian were not easy to understand. These laws were the reason of debate between writers. There were many views about these laws. Each writer had a different view abut these Roman laws.
That’s why Justinian employed a great lawyer for simplifying and collecting the principal laws. Tribonian was the name of this lawyer. He was an efficient lawyer, but he was not famous enough between people. Some principal laws were collected and simplify by Tribonian. This collection of simplified laws is called CODE OF JUSTINIAN. Code of Justinian still exists in this world and it was the basis for most of the European countries in making their laws.
Justinian also did work in the field of cloth manufacturing. He set up many manufacturing factories in Constantinople. These factories generally produced cloths for Roman people. Some other manufacturing factories related to other products were also established in Constantinople by Justinian. Justinian introduced Silk-worms first time in the Europe.
Justinian was very passionate and eager person. He was very passionate towards his study. Hard working was the main quality of Justinian. Generally Justinian spent his time in study. Because of his hard work he was called an emperor who never sleeps.
In the year 525 Theodora became Justinian’s wife. She was a courtesan. She was 20 years junior from him. Justinian wanted to marry with him earlier, but he could not do this because of the social class of Theodora. At that time no one could marry with a person of other social class. According to rules both the persons should be of same social class. Justinian married with Theodora after a law, passed by the uncle of Justinian in his reign. This law allowed marriages between different social classes.
Justinian was a very popular ruler, but there were some controversies in his early reign. Nika riots and a conspiracy against the emperor’s life, which was exposed later in 562, were some of them. He had been lost his throne because of these issues.
Justinian selected efficient advisors, but they were unpopular between people. This selection of unpopular people became the reason of Nika riots. People of the different races united against Justinian in 532. They demanded dismissal of Tribonian and two other ministers. Later they attempted to overthrow Justinian. Because of this riots took place there. These riots were given the name Nika riots.
In 540 Justinian was attacked by the plague. He suffered it for several days, but after some time he became well. Cancer became the cause of Theodora’s death. She was young compare to Justinian. Justinian had become more religious during the later years of his life. He had a great interest in theological matters. That’s why he participated in debates on Christian doctrine. In 565 Justinian died and this was the end of his reign. There was no one behind him for the post of emperor. That’s why his sister’s son Justin II was announced emperor of the Roman Empire.
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