Key Points

Emperor Justinian the great was responsible for comprehensive expansion the the oriental Empire, and for overcoming Africa, Spain, Rome, and also most that Italy.Justinian to be responsible because that the construction of the Hagia Sophia, the center of Christianity in Constantinople. Also today, the Hagia Sophia is known as one of the greatest structures in the world.Justinian likewise systematized the roman inn legal code that offered as the basis for regulation in the byzantine Empire.After a plague diminished the byzantine population, they lost Rome and Italy to the Ostrogoths, and also several vital cities come the Persians.

You are watching: Why did justinian try to reconquer the western roman empire?


Hagia Sophia

A church built by byzantine Emperor Justinian; the center of Christianity in Constantinople and one of the greatest buildings in the human being to this day. That is currently a mosque in the Muslim Istanbul.

Nika riots

When upset racing fans, already angry over increasing taxes, became enraged in ~ Emperor Justinian for arresting two renowned charioteers, and tried come depose him in 532 CE.

Byzantine empire from Constantine to Justinian

One of Constantine’s successors, Theodosius ns (379-395), was the critical emperor to dominance both the Eastern and Western halves the the empire. In 391 and also 392, that issued a series of edicts essentially banning pagan religion. Pagan festivals and also sacrifices to be banned, as was access to every pagan temples and also places the worship. The state that the empire in 395 may be defined in terms of the outcome of Constantine’s work. The dynastic rule was established so firmly that the emperor who passed away in that year, Theodosius I, could bequeath the imperial office together to his sons, Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West.

The Eastern empire was mainly spared the obstacles faced by the west in the third and fourth centuries, early out in part to a more firmly created urban society and better financial resources, which enabled it come placate invaders with tribute and pay international mercenaries. Transparent the fifth century, various invading militaries overran the western Empire but spared the east. Theodosius II further strengthened the walls of Constantinople, leaving the city impervious to many attacks; the walls were not breached until 1204.

To fend off the Huns, Theodosius had to salary an enormous yearly tribute to Attila. His successor, Marcian, refused to proceed to pay the tribute, however Attila had currently diverted his fist to the west. After his death in 453, the Hunnic realm collapsed, and also many of the remaining Huns were often hired as mercenaries by Constantinople.

Leo I flourished Marcian together emperor, and also after the loss of Attila, the true chief in Constantinople was the Alan general, Aspar. Leo I managed to free himself from the influence of the non-Orthodox chief by sustaining the rise of the Isaurians, a semi-barbarian tribe living in southern Anatolia. Aspar and also his son, Ardabur, to be murdered in a revolt in 471, and henceforth, Constantinople revived Orthodox management for centuries.

When Leo passed away in 474, Zeno and Ariadne’s younger son succeeded to the throne as Leo II, through Zeno as regent. When Leo II died later the year, Zeno became emperor. The finish of the Western realm is sometimes dated come 476, early in Zeno’s reign, once the Germanic roman inn general, Odoacer, deposed the titular west Emperor Romulus Augustulus, however declined to replace him with another puppet.

Emperor Justinian I

In 527 CE, Justinian I concerned the throne in Constantinople. He dreamed of reconquering the floor of the Western roman Empire and ruling a single, unified Roman realm from his seat in Constantinople.


Emperor Justinian. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I depicted on one of the famed mosaics the the Basilica of san Vitale, Ravenna.

The west conquests began in 533, as Justinian sent out his general, Belisarius, to reclaim the former province of Africa native the Vandals, that had remained in control because 429 through their funding at Carthage. Belisarius successfully defeated the Vandals and claimed Africa for Constantinople. Next, Justinian sent him to take it Italy indigenous the Ostrogoths in 535 CE. Belisarius defeated the Ostrogoths in a series of battles and also reclaimed Rome. By 540 CE, most of Italy remained in Justinian’s hands. He sent an additional army to dominate Spain.

The byzantine Empire at its best extent, in 555 CE under Justinian the Great. 

Accomplishments in Byzantium

Justinian additionally undertook countless important tasks at home. Lot of Constantinople was melted down early on in Justinian’s power after a collection of riots referred to as the Nika riots, in 532 CE, as soon as angry gyeongju fans came to be enraged at Justinian because that arresting two famous charioteers (though this to be really just the last straw for a populace increasingly angry over rising taxes) and also tried to depose him. The riots were put down, and Justinian collection about rebuilding the city top top a grander scale. His greatest accomplishment was the Hagia Sophia, the most crucial church that the city. The Hagia Sophia to be a staggering occupational of byzantine architecture, intended to awe all who collection foot in the church. It to be the biggest church in the human being for virtually a thousands years, and also for the rest of Byzantine history it to be the center of Christian praise in Constantinople.


The Hagia Sophia. Byzantine Emperor Justinian built the Greek Orthodox Church of the divine Wisdom of God, the Hagia Sophia, which to be completed in only four and a fifty percent years (532 CE-537 CE). Also now, it is universally recognized as among the greatest buildings in the world.

Emperor Justinian’s most essential contribution, perhaps, was a linked Roman legal code. Before his reign, roman laws had differed from an ar to region, and many contradicted one another. The Romans had actually attempted come systematize the legal code in the fifth century however had no completed the effort. Justinian set up a the supervisory board of lawyers to put together a single code, listing each law by topic so the it could be quickly referenced. This not only served as the basis for legislation in the byzantine Empire, but it to be the main affect on the Catholic Church’s breakthrough of canon law, and went top top to become the communication of law in countless European countries. Justinian’s regulation code continues to have a significant influence on public global law come this day.

The impact of a more unified legal code and also military conflicts was the increased capacity for the byzantine Empire to establish trade and improve their economic standing. Byzantine merchants traded no only everywhere the Mediterranean region, but additionally throughout areas to the east. These contained areas about the black color Sea, the Red Sea, and also the Indian Ocean.


Theodora was empress of the byzantine Empire and the wife of Emperor Justinian I. She was among the most significant and an effective of the byzantine empresses. Part sources mention her as empress regnant, v Justinian I as her co-regent. In addition to her husband, she is a saint in the east Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14.

Theodora participated in Justinian’s legal and spiritual reforms, and her authorized in the increase of the legal rights of females was substantial. She had laws passed that prohibited required prostitution and also closed brothels. She developed a convent top top the eastern side the the Dardanelles referred to as the Metanoia (Repentance), wherein the ex-prostitutes could support themselves. She also expanded the civil liberties of women in divorce and also property ownership, describe the death penalty for rape, forbade exposure of unwanted infants, gave mothers part guardianship civil liberties over their children, and forbade the death of a wife that committed adultery.

Justinian’s Difficulties

A disastrous plague swept through the empire, death Theodora and almost killing him. The afflict wiped out vast numbers of the empire’s population, leaving towns empty and crops unharvested. The military was also afflicted, and the Ostrogoths to be able to effectively regain Italy in 546 CE, through guerrilla warfare against the byzantine occupiers.

With Justinian’s military bogged down fighting in Italy, the empire’s defenses versus the Persians top top its east frontiers to be weakened. In the Roman-Persian Wars, the Persians invaded and also destroyed a number of important cities. Justinian was compelled to create a humiliating 50-year tranquility treaty with them in 561 CE.

See more: How Do You Find The Derivative Of The Function. Y = Arctan 1 − X 1 + X Amples

Still, Justinian preserved the empire from collapse. He sent a new general, Narses, to Italy v a little force. Narses finally defeated the Ostrogoths and drove them back out that Italy. By the moment the battle was over, Italy, when one of the most prosperous soil in the old world, to be wrecked. The city that Rome changed hands lot of times, and most the the urban of Italy were abandoned or dropped into a long duration of decline. The impoverishment the Italy and the weakened byzantine military made it difficult for the realm to organize the peninsula. Quickly a new Germanic tribe, the Lombards, come in and conquered many of Italy, though Rome, Naples, and also Ravenna stayed isolated pockets of byzantine control. At the same time, another new barbarian enemy, the Slavs, showed up from north of the Danube. They ruined Greece and also the Balkans, and also in the lack of solid Byzantine military might, they settled in little communities in these lands.