Justinian (Roman Emperor)

JUSTINIAN I., surnamed "The Great", Emperor of Byzantium, born in the village of Tauresium, Illyria, about 483 A. D. ; died Nov. 14, 565. He was the nephew of Emperor Justin, was born a slave, secured a good education at Constantinople, and received a share in the prosperity of his uncle. In 521 he was chosen consul. He was made coemperor in the government with Justin in 527, and at the death of the latter was proclaimed emperor. Owing to a wise selection of generals, his reign of 38 years became the most successful in the later history of the Roman people. The generals chosen by him included Belisarius, who in 523 and in 529 defeated the Persians and attained victories in Africa. Narses, another of his commanders, overthrew the Ostrogoths' supremacy, thereby widening the Roman dominions to about the same extent as the limits during the time of its higher prosperity. Besides being a wise ruler, Emperor Justinian ranks as a great lawgiver. He commissioned ten learned civilians to codify the imperial statutes. These, however, did not contain all the laws, since the greater part of the Roman law was included in the writings of commentators and jurists.

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