Justinian I (full name Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus; commonly called Justinian the Great) Roman emperor of the East. Born of Gothic peasant parentage at Tauresium, Illyricum, in 483 A.D. Patronized by his uncle, Justin I, who, from a Thracian peasant, had become emperor, he so flattered the Senate and dazzled the people that he was made consul, and took the title of Nobilissimus.
On the death of his uncle, with whom he had latterly shared the imperial power, he was proclaimed emperor, and married an actress named Theodora. During his reign the party disputes of the Greens and the Blues became so violent, that in his attempt to quell the tumults the emperor's own life was in jeopardy, and a great part of Constantinople was destroyed by fire in 532.
Aided by his generals, he was able subsequently to restore to the Roman Empire a part of its former possessions, as when Belisarius in 523 and 529 defeated the Persians, and achieved victories in Africa, and when Narses put an end to the Ostrogoth rule in Italy. Turning his attention to the laws, Justinian commissioned 10 learned civilians to draw up a new code, and the result was the Corpus Juris Ciinlis, or body of civil law.
Justinian took great interest in building cities, fortifications and churches; among the latter he rebuilt the church of Hagia Sophia at Constantinople. To maintain his public munificence he oppressed the people with taxes.
Justinian I died in 565 A.D.