Justinian—Emperor with a Lasting Legacy Essay

Justinian Emperor With A Lasting Legacy Term paper

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Justinian I was the emperor of the Byzantine Empire and ruled alongside his empress Theodora for nearly forty years (527-565 C.E). His reign brought forth substantial territorial and military success accompanied by a new design of architecture, whereas Theodora recognized women and elaborated their rights. Despite Theodora’s improvement of women’s rights, Justinian was more historically significant: he codified Roman law, built the church Hagia Sophia, and expanded the Byzantine Empire with military conquest and territorial reorganization. A particularly noteworthy achievement of Justinian was the act of revising all the laws of the Roman rulers that preceded him. As a result of many of the old laws being unnecessarily complex, disorganized, and no longer pertinent to the current way of life, Justinian appointed ten scholars lead by Tribonian to initiate the classification of the Roman laws. All the laws of the Roman Empire were consolidated into one uniform system, titled the Corpus Juris Civilis, also known as Justinian’s Code. The resulting work was more comprehensive, systematic, and thorough than any previous work of that nature, and in later centuries it became the legal basis of all European laws. Justinian\'s rule is renowned by a remarkable record of architectural production, and he began a program of urban construction that was to remake the ancient capital of Constantinople. The Nika Riot, a period of massive public and civil upheaval, resulted in the abolishment of numerous imperial and religious buildings, including the church Hagia Sophia or “Holy Wisdom”. The sovereign achievement of Justinian’s extensive reconstructive campaigns was the rebuilding of Hagia Sophia, and the architectural standard which remained would have a lasting effect of the Byzantine Empire. It was redesigned by Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician. The church was built in an extremely short period of time, only about six years. The grand dome of the Hagia Sophia was an impressive technical feat for its time and it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was also the largest cathedral in the world for almost thousand years until the Seville Cathedral. Moreover, Justinian also created new aqueducts and bridges, monasteries, orphanages, and hostels, and was successful in creating a greater sense of union in the Byzantine Empire. Along with building Hagia Sophia and others monuments and churches, Justinian sought to recover regions lost to foreign invaders and to restore the empire’s former glory with conquest and territorial reorganization. Throughout the reign of Justinian, the Byzantines faced a serious military threat from the Sassanian Empire of Persia. The emperor Chosroes I grew in strength and threatened to conquer the east of the Byzantine Empire. Due to his ambition, Justinian funded his innumerous military ventures by taxing the people relentlessly. He assembled his army and gained security by complying to indemnify tribute as a reimbursement for peace. Hereafter, his armies managed to subjugate the Vandals of Africa, the Ostrogoths of Italy, and the Visigoths of southern Spain and restored Ravenna as a capital in Italy. The empire was expanded to the most immense size it would ever acquire as a result of his conquest of the empire’s former western territories. Justinian was more historically significant because he codified Roman law, rebuilt Hagia Sophia, and expanded the Byzantine Empire, albeit Theodora improved women’s rights. All the laws of the empire were simplified into one identical system ;the destroyed Hagia Sophia was completely reconstructed and improved, and the territories lost to invaders were regained. Justinian left an eternal legacy that will not be forgotten, and will be remembered as one of the most influential leaders in world history. Works Cited “Justinian and Theodora—The Nika Rebellion” Profiles in History. World History: People and Nations. Boston: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1990. 14-15. Print. “Justinian I”. Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol 7. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Biography in Context. Web. 25 Sep. 2012 “Mosaic Portrait of Emperor Justinian I”. Europe After the Fall of the Roman Empire. Palo Alto: Teachers Curriculum Institute, 2003. 82. Print. Brooks, Sarah. “The Byzantine State under Justinian I (Justinian the Great)”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000—. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/just/hd_just.htm (originally published October 2001, last revised April 2009) Hunt, Patrick. \"Byzantine Art as Propaganda: Justinian and Theodora at Ravenna.\" Digital Image. Stanford.edu. 2006. Accessed October 20, 2013. http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/philolog/2006/01/byzantine_art_as_propaganda_ju.html

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