Presentation on theme: "Justinian: The Last of The Romans Then it was Justinian, fanning the flame and openly inciting the Blues to fight, made the whole Roman Empire shake on."— Presentation transcript:
Justinian: The Last of The Romans Then it was Justinian, fanning the flame and openly inciting the Blues to fight, made the whole Roman Empire shake on its foundation, as if an earthquake or a cataclysm had stricken it, or every city within its confines had been taken by the foe. Everything everywhere was uprooted: nothing was left undisturbed by him. Law and order, throughout the State, overwhelmed by distraction, were turned upside down. -Procopius, The Secret History Nate M. 1/11/02 Power Point
The Early Years Justinian (originally named Petrus Sabbatius) was born into a family of peasants in the early 480’s (AD). Life was hard, for two centuries Germanic people have been invading the empire, and Rome had fallen to the Goths. Justinian eager to leave the farm, was finally summoned to Constantinople by Justin his uncle to serve as a palace guard. By Justinians teens, Justin was head of the palace guard and Justinian had taken a comfortable position under him.
The Succession Justin had become emperor when in his 30’s; like Justin, Justinian got his power through the military. Shortly after Justin adopted Justinian, he made him consul his main job was to set up games at the Hippodrome, but he also represented Justin in the Senate. In 527 AD Justin died, Justinian then marched to the Hippodrome were he was named emperor.
Theodora Theodora was a circus performer; Justinian first met Theodora at one of her performances. The two were married just before they were named emperor and empress; it was illegal for a Senator to marry a performer but the law was changed. Theodora instantly loved the royal lifestyle and would choose death over leaving it. Despite her background she turned out to play an influential and important role later in Justinian’s Reign.
Justinian’s Coinage The reverse side to the coin has an angel with a staff (that has a cross on top) in its right hand, and a globus cruciger in its left, to the left is a star. The figure in the center of the coin is the god Victory. Emperors often put the god Victory on their coin but notice how Victory also looks like an angel, he made this for the Christians.
Procopius Procopius was a Byzantine historian who had bitter resentment toward Justinian. He wrote a whole secret history about Justinian, Theodora, and the Byzantine court. He also wrote books about the Persian war and architecture.
Justinian’s Code Justinian was much in favor of law and order. He always wanted codification of the Roman law. With a code he would have better control over society and how he envisioned it (change it from pagan to Christian). Almost all of the new laws were strict moral codes such as the law that prohibits gaming in all cities.
Justinian’s Code: Punishments Not only were the laws harsh but so were the punishments. They were very similar to Hammurabi’s code “an eye for an eye…..”. For example anyone who was caught gambling in any way had a “minor” penalty of both of their hands cut off. The people of Constantinople were very much against most of the laws and their cruel punishments. Just five years after enforcing the code, the city of Constantinople was rioting.
Riots In response to Justinians code of law, the people of Constantinople rioted throughout the city. The riots caused huge amounts of damage, whole sections of the city were burned down. Mobs of angry citizens marched to the Hippodrome chanting “victory” and “death to Justinian”. During the riots Justinian got very frightened he pleaded Theodora to leave but she stood tall, she was determined to have power, even if it killed her.
Riot Control Justinian turned to his leading general Belisarius to take care of the riots. Belisarius sent his army into the riot slaughtering over 10,000 people before finally regaining control of the burnt streets.
A New Hope The riots left Justinian desperate for any hope of rebuilding. He first bought peace with the Persians using mainly gold. Justinian’s next goal was to regain control of the territory in Northern Africa lead by Belisarius. Two years later Belisarius returned to Constantinople with news of victory. He then wanted to recapture Rome from the Goths, in 537 (AD) Belisarius had regained Rome.
The Hagia Sophia The Hagia Sophia was originally destroyed during the riots. In celebration of Belisarius’s victories Justinian hired the greatest architects of the time to reconstruct it. The Hagia Sophia was the church of holy wisdom. Justinian believed that the completion of the church symbolized the reunited empire.
The Bubonic Plague During the year 543 (AD) the Bubonic plague had struck Rome. At least 200,000 citizens were lost, how was Justinian supposed to make up for such a loss of tax payers? To make up for the loss, Justinian sent out tax collectors and severely taxed everyone. Taxes were so heavy that if someone died, their neighbor had to make up for the tax.
Justinian: The Last of The Romans In 548 (AD) Theodora was killed by cancer. Justinian then went into a depressed state and spent his last years alone in his palace. In 565 (AD) Justinian died, as did any hope of a reunited empire. That same year Germanic and Lombard tribes poured into Rome.
Bibliography Grabsky, Phil. I,Caesar. London: BBC Books, 1997 This book had very thorough and accurate information. It also has excellent illustrations. “Justinian: The Last of The Romans.” Hail, Caesar Hail Caesar covers everything during Justinian’s reign. It also covers many other emperors. Peck, Harry. “Theodora.” New York (10, January, 02)http://www,perseus.tufts.edu The information covered in “Theodora” is mainly about when she empress. The source is accurate but hard to read. Shermerini, Joseph. “Justinian.” (10, January, 02)http://ancient-coin-forum.com/index.html The Ancient Coin Forum is an excellent source for Roman coins. It also has great coin images and detailed descriptions.