DBQ 5: Byzantine Empire under Justinian When Justinian became emperor in 527, he wanted to build a new Rome by incorporating the ancient Roman Empire. He made Constantinople the capital of the Byzantine Empire and kept the Roman culture along with the Greek culture for more than a thousand years. Justinian helped rebuild the Roman Empire by the many contributions he gave to the empire; he was able to rule a well-structured empire. Justinian was known partly for rebuilding the Roman Empire; he restored what was left after the defeat between the Romans and the barbaric tribes.
But according to document 2 Justinian was hypocritical, secretive by temperament, and two faced. But he was very clever and had a great ability to hide his real opinion. Justinian had such a great power over his empire that he was able to make the people of Constantinople convert to the Christian religion, making them believe in only one God. According to document 3 the emperor was equal to all men in nature of his body, but in authority of his rank he is similar to God, who rules all. What this really means that in eyes of others, Justinian was seen as a godly figure himself, in that he would tell people how to live.
Justinian more than anything wanted to restore the Roman Empire, and while restoring it he wanted to include much of the Roman fortifications used in the old Roman Empire. As shown in document 5, Justinian built the Hippodrome which was modeled after The Circus Maximus. Justinian started restoring the Roman Empire by trying to conquer the land that first belonged to the eastern Roman Empire. He gained back southern Spain, all of Italy, and northern Africa. Once he started gaining all this land he had to start to find a way the gain back all the money he spent on conquering land.
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As shown in document 6, The Byzantine Empire reached its greatest size under Justinian. Because of the location the Constantinople, Justinian had a great advantage because it was right in the center of two cross roads between Asia and Europe, so the empire gained a lot of money in trade because if its location. Because of all these advantages of Constantinople, it was known as the center of power. Without all the contributions Justinian made, the Roman Empire probably wouldn’t have been rebuilt. Out of the many contributions that Justinian gave to the Roman Empire a few stand out.
One of the many contributions Justinian made was the building of the Hagia Sophia which was a huge dome like building that when entered gave people the influence of god. In document 3 the Hagia Sophia is described as a spherical-shaped dome that is exceedingly beautiful. The entire ceiling is covered with pure gild, which adds glory to the beauty. The Hagia Sophia was known as a place of god, a place where people worshiped god. This was important because it taught people how important religion was in their lives and the beauty it can bring.
Another contribution Justinian gave to the Byzantine Empire was his code of law; his laws kept the empire in order and told people the way to live. According to document 1, people were finding the laws obscure because they had become for more numerous than they should be and in obvious confusion because they disagreed with each other. Justinian preserved them in the Legal Code of Emperor Justinian by controlling their discrepancies with the greatest firmness. That means that he controlled their conflicting ideas by creating this code of law.
Justinian created the laws so that everybody had fair rights. Justinian’s main goal in rebuilding the empire was to preserve the Greco-Roman culture. Justinian kept some of the old Roman traditions but fixed them to fit the requirements for the new empire, for example, laws were rearranged to become fair to everybody because many citizens didn’t agree with them and new buildings and structures were constructed which lead to a lot trade and cultural diffusion. Justinian made a large impact to the new empire.
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