Justinian's Reign and the Threat of Persian Invasion

TLDR Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, implemented reforms to reclaim lost territories in the West in order to prepare for a potential war against Persia. His reign was marked by his belief in central control and the suppression of heresy, leading to conflicts with the Senate and the people of Constantinople. Ultimately, the destruction caused by a riot in the city allowed Justinian to rebuild and consolidate his power as emperor.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Justinian, the sixth century emperor of the Byzantine Empire, was rumored to have demonic powers and the ability to detach and reattach his head, although these claims are unlikely to be true.
04:22 Justinian's belief in the importance of the office of emperor and central control led him to reassert Constantinople's control over the Roman Empire through religion, law reform, and physical control, as well as his duty to stamp out heresy and bring unity to the church.
08:20 Justinian's reign coincides with the rise of a powerful Persian empire under Kuzro, and while some historians argue that Justinian's reforms were aimed at competing with Persia, the real problem for Justinian was the constant threat of Persian invasion if he launched campaigns in the West to reclaim lost territories.
12:18 Justinian's main motivation for reclaiming lost territories in the West was to acquire the necessary resources to prepare for a war against Persia, as Rome was economically weaker and had been paying tribute to the Persians to avoid invasion.
16:12 Justinian works hard and implements new taxes, which makes him unpopular with the Senate and the people of Constantinople, as he sees himself as an autocratic figure and repudiates the idea of Roman citizens, instead viewing them as subjects.
19:59 Justinian's attempt to restore Rome to its former greatness involves crushing the dignity of the Senate and the status of the people of Constantinople as citizens, leading to a riot at the Hippodrome when he refuses to pardon the ringleaders.
24:00 The destruction and chaos caused by the riot at the Hippodrome leads Justinian to contemplate flight, but Theodora convinces him to stay and face the consequences.
27:58 Theodora recruits new platoons of police and troops, including Amundus and Belisarius, to crush the rioters and strikers in Constantinople, resulting in a massive slaughter and a devastated city.
31:37 Justinian benefits from the destruction of central Constantinople, as he can now rebuild the city as he wants and consolidate his power as emperor, despite paradoxically destroying elements of the old Roman Empire in the process.
Categories: History

Browse more History