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The Age of Justinian


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  • 1. The Age of Justinian Social Studies for 10th EBG Teacher: Mauricio Torres
  • 2. Introduction • 527 – 565: The Byzantine Empire reached its greatest size under the emperor Justinian. • He was determined to revive the ancient glory of Rome by recovering the provinces that had been lost to barbarians. • He brilliantly fought and recovered much of Italy, Africa and southern Spain. • This wars exhausted his treasury and also weakened his eastern flank. • His successors lost all the lands he had recovered.
  • 3. Hagia Sophia • His longest lasting achievement was the construction of Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”). • This was made to restore the old Roman glory through a program to beautify Constantinople. • Hagia Sophia was a great church with an enormous giant dome. Its interiors glowed with colored marble and embroidered silk curtains. • When it was completed, Justinian marveled at it an evoked Solomon´s Temple: “Solomon, I have surpassed you!”.
  • 4. 3D Representation of the Original Hagia Sophia
  • 5. Code of Laws • Even though Hagia Sophia was a gigantic achievement, his biggest accomplishment was his “code” of laws. • He set up a commission to collect, revise and organize all the laws from ancient Rome. Some old laws that were obsolete were discarded and others improved. • The final result of this endeavour was the Corpus Juris Civilis, also known as the “Body of Civil Law”. • Today we call it Justinian’s Code. • In later years, it was adopted all over Europe and it is a basis for international law today!
  • 6. ABSOLUTE POWER • With the law, Justinian united and ruled the empire under his control. • He ruled as an autocrat, or sole ruler with complete authority. • His power stretched so far that he even ruled over the Church. He was called Christ’s co-ruler on Earth. • His right-hand “man” was his wife, Theodora. • She was a shrewd politician, who served alongside with Justinian and even pursued her own policies.
  • 7. Changing Fortunes • After Justinian, the empire’s fortune rose and fell. • Persians, Slavs, Vikings, Mongols and Turks attacked the empire, but they were not successful. • This way, the empire served as a buffer state. • a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers, which by its existence is thought to prevent conflict between them.
  • 8. Arab Threat • In the 600 and 700s the Arabs invaded and threatened the Byzantine Empire. • Constantinople itself was attacked, but the empire held on to their heartland and their territories in the Balkans and Asia Minor. • Their strength came from a central government and strong economy. • Peasants were the backbone of the economy: they worked the land, served as soldiers and they would also pay taxes. • While Western Europe crumbled, Byzantium flourished!
  • 9. Ask Yourself • Recall: • What does Hagia Sophia mean? • What was Justinian’s Code? • What is an autocrat? • Analyze: • Why did Byzantium serve as a buffer state between Europe and the Arabs? • Which of Justinian’s accomplishments had the longest lasting effect on humanity? Why? • Evaluate: • In what conditions did the Byzantine empire flourish?
  • 10. Bibliography • Ellis, E. G., & Esler, A. (2009). World History. (P. Hall, Ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, US: Pearson Education INC. • Burstein, S. M., & Shek, R. (2012). World History (Teacher´s Edition) (1st Edition ed.). (H. McDougal, Ed.) Orlando, Florida, US.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. • Images taken from Google.