The Roman Emperor Justinian succeeded his uncle, Justin, in 527 AD. Justinian was a very strong ruler who also ruled for a long time.
Before becoming emperor, Justinian married Theodora, which upset a lot of people because she was an actress, and many people thought all actresses were bad women. But in fact she made a good empress, and Justinian seems to have loved her very much, even though they never were able to have any children. Here is a picture of Theodora from Ravenna:
Justinian made peace with King Khusrho of the Sassanids
in 532 AD
, which made it possible for him to send Roman troops
to reconquer Africa from the Vandals
, Italy from the Ostrogoths
, and Spain from the Visigoths
. This is called the Byzantine Reconquest
. These troops mainly succeeded, though after his death the land was slowly lost again to new invaders.
In the reign of Justinian, the great church
of Hagia Sophia
was built in Constantinople.
On the other hand, there were many raids into the empire during his reign, especially in the Balkans. And, beginning in 542 AD
, there was a terrible plague
throughout the Empire, which may be the first appearance of the bubonic plague.