Justinian came from a renowned family in Illyricum, and he ruled the empire with great courage and determination. He can be found on the Biblical Timeline around 538 A.D. with World History. His 38 years of reign were regarded as one of the finest periods of the empire. He achieved much success as a ruler. However, there was a conflict that between Justinian and Catholicism during the latter parts of his reign; which had a negative impact on the empire. Nevertheless, Justinian was still considered among the Roman Empire’s best rulers because of his achievements as a military leader and a brilliant emperor.
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Justinian ruled for 38 years, and there had numerous accomplishments that elevated the empire’s economy and military forces. He possessed exceptional military skills, and he became engaged in legal and architectural activities that improved the infrastructure of the empire. His vision was to revive the power and glory of the Roman Empire, and he succeeded in doing so. There were some failures and challenges that he encountered along the way.
Catholicism and Justinian
As a responsible ruler, Justinian was dedicated to promoting peace and order among his people. He set himself as both king and priest of the empire, and he wanted to deal with matters involving the State and the Church. Justinian wanted to reconcile various believers in his empire, specifically the Catholic and Monophysites. In fact, he was married to a Monophysite, but her influence to Justinian created some conflicts over the last few years of his rule. Soon, Justinian earned a reputation for being a persecutor of the Catholic Church, which was noted as one of his negative images as a ruler.
Theodora, his wife, was a secret Monophysite, and she encouraged him to give more freedom to Monophysites that lived in Egypt and Syria. Along the way, this would steer him farther from his duties to the Catholic Church. Theodora believed that by doing what she recommended, this would strengthen the empire’s alliance with the people in Egypt and Syria. Furthermore, this helped Justinian create an even stronger empire once he entered the East, and also after his successful attempts to conquer both Babylonia and Persia.
Theodora continued to influence and affect Justinian’s decisions until it came to a point that he began to show more favor to the monophysitism. Also, this heretic mentality reached the West and encouraged Severus (a heretic) to influence Theodora in having the sect called Miaphysitism formally recognized in the Empire. At this time, Justinian was involved in establishing his campaign to conquer Europe again. It did not take too long before Pope Silverius was deposed to be replaced by an anti-pope. This decision of Justinian put an end to his ties with the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, Justinian was determined to extend his empire over to Asia. However, he was not successful in doing so, and he had to withdraw his army from Europe only to deal with difficulties he was experiencing in Asia. The attack by Barbarians in the Balkans led to more problems that deeply concerned the emperor.
Overall, Justinian remains as the empire’s greatest rulers after the reign of Constantine. His early years as a ruler were impressive, and he possessed remarkable qualities that allowed him to garner numerous accomplishments as the empire’s courageous leader.
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