Justinian I

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Detail of a contemporary portrait mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

Justinian I (Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; Greek: Ἰουστινιανός Ioustinianos; 482 – 14 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565.

Quotes about Justinian I[edit]

  • Certainly in architectural brilliance and innovation alone his age deserves to be rated as a great one. Haghía Sophia, one of the greatest achievements of Christian, or human, architecture, and the Corpus juris civilis, a supreme landmark of Roman, and European, Law, stand forth as Justinian's most enviable monuments. What ruler could hope to leave finer ones?
  • Often described as the last true Roman, Justinian had many detractors – for he did not care whom he trampled over as he attempted to rebuild his empire in the aftermath of the barbarian conquests. The writer Procopius called him a demon in disguise, who had the blood of one thousand billion men on his hands; who ‘cheerfully banished wealth from Roman soil and became the architect of poverty for all.’ Yet for others, particularly those who did not have to deal with him at first hand, Justinian was a totemic emperor who deserved mention in the same breath as Augustus and Constantine. To them, he was a titan whose terrible magnificence shone far beyond the confines of his own times – so fiercely that many centuries later Dante Alighieri placed him in Paradise as the archetypical Roman: peerless lawgiver and a radiant, supremely gifted Caesar, who appeared in the afterlife surrounded by a light as bright and blinding as the sun.
    • Dan Jones, Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages (2021), pp. 85-86
  • Justinian is said to have restored one hundred and fifty cities in Africa, some of which had been altogether, and others extensively ruined; and this he did with surpassing magnificence, in private and public works and embellishments, in fortifications, and other vast structures by which cities are adorned and the Deity propitiated: also in aqueducts for use and ornament, the supply of water having been in some cases conveyed to the cities for the first time, in others restored to its former state.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on Justinian I on Wikipedia