Justinian I | Free Online Biblical Library

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Justinian I

483-565. Greatest of the Byzantine Roman emperors. Illyrian by birth and adopted by his uncle, Justin I, whom he succeeded in 527 as emperor, he changed his name to Flavius Justinianus. In 523 he married Theodora, who until her death in 547 had a similar influence over him as that of Livia over Augustus. A new legal code, the Corpus Juris Civilis, was made during his reign by the jurist, Trebonianus (see Justinian Code). Justinian built on a grand scale, the church of Hagia Sophia being his greatest monument. During 533-4 his armies reconquered North Africa, defeating the Vandals, and a year later he drove the Goths from Italy. A champion of Nicene orthodoxy, he closed philosophical schools in Athens, forced pagans to accept Christian baptism, and persecuted the sectarian Montanists. He failed, however, in his anti- Nestorian zeal, to win the Monophysites over to his viewpoint, and this failure led to the condemnation of Origenism* and the Three Chapters Controversy.*