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 the Islamic Empire.
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