Justinian I

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Justinian I reigned as emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565 CE. Born around 482 CE in Tauresium, a village in Illyria, his uncle Emperor Justin I was an imperial bodyguard who reached the throne on the death of Anastasius in 518 CE. Justinian is considered one of the most important late Roman and Byzantine emperors. He started a significant military campaign to retake Africa from the Vandals (in 533 to 534 CE) and Italy from the Goths (535 to 554 CE). He also ordered the rebuilding of the Hagia Sophia church (begun in 532 CE) as well as an empire-wide construction drive, resulting in new churches, monasteries, forts, water reservoirs, and bridges. His other great achievement was the completion of the legal reforms encapsulated in the Corpus Juris Civilis between 529 and 534 CE. This was the bringing together of all the Roman laws that had been issued from the time of Emperor Hadrian (117 - 138 CE) to the present. He is widely held as one of the greatest (and most controversial) late Roman/Byzantine emperors in history.

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