Justin I

Justin I

Infobox Monarch
name =Justin I
title =Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

caption =Flavius Iustinus
reign =518 – August 1, 527
full name =Flavius Iustinus
predecessor =Anastasius I
successor =Justinian I
consort =Euphemia
dynasty =Justinian Dynasty
date of birth =c. 450
place of birth =Naissus (Niš, Serbia)
date of death =August 1, 527|

Flavius Iustinus (c. 450–August 1, 527), known in English as Justin I, was an Byzantine Emperor (518–527), who rose through the ranks of the army of the Byzantine Empire and ultimately became its emperor, in spite of the fact he was illiterate cite book | title = Studies on the Early Papacy | author = H. John Chapman | publisher = Kennikat Press, University of Michigan | year = 1971 | isbn = ISBN 0804611394 | pages = p.210 ] and almost seventy years old at the time of accession. His reign is significant for the founding of the Justinian Dynasty that included his eminent nephew Justinian I and for the enactment of laws that de-emphasized the influence of the old Byzantine nobility. His consort was Empress Euphemia.

Early career

Justin was an Illyrian peasant [The Cambridge Ancient History By Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, Cambridge University Press [http://books.google.com/books?id=Qf8mrHjfZRoC&pg=PA63&dq=Justin+I++Illyricum&lr=&sig=S3v2_fb4M4d4gjSl1F7VefBwd_Q] ] named "Istok" from the Latinophone region of Dardania, which is part of the province of Illyricum. [Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ: The Monasteries of Palestine, 314-631 By John Binns [http://books.google.com/books?id=pChoU6Ux2gYC&pg=PA11&dq=Justin+I+Dardania&lr=&sig=sak3d5BkL32-UEnxEl50rLpkL04] ] He was born in a hamlet near Bederiana in Naissus (modern Niš, South Serbia). [The Cambridge Ancient History By Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, Cambridge University Press [http://books.google.com/books?id=Qf8mrHjfZRoC&pg=PA63&dq=Justin+I++Bederiana+Nis&lr=&sig=S3v2_fb4M4d4gjSl1F7VefBwd_Q] ] [The Encyclopedia Americana by Grolier Incorporated [http://books.google.com/books?id=ugUaAAAAMAAJ&q=Justin+I++Bederiana+Nis&dq=Justin+I++Bederiana+Nis&lr=&pgis=1] ]

As a teenager, he and two companions fled from a barbaric invasion, taking refuge in Constantinople. Justin soon joined the army and, because of his ability, rose through the ranks to become a general and commander of the palace guard under the Emperor Anastasius I decades later. He held the rank of "Comes Excubitorum" at one time. [cite book |title=The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey |last=Jones |first=A.H.M. |year=1986 |publisher=JHU Press |location=Baltimore |isbn=0801833531 |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=IiLtO4ZvTdEC&pg=PA658&lpg=PA658&dq=%22Comes+Excubitorum%22&source=web&ots=M8RQICB-bx&sig=G9M65aWE48v0hi8xJbRy2Ay3OJU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result |pages=p. 658]


Thanks to his position commanding the only troops in the city and making gifts of money, Justin was able to secure election as emperor in 518.

A career soldier with little knowledge of statecraft, Justin wisely surrounded himself with trusted advisors. The most prominent of these, of course, was his nephew Flavius Petrus Sabbatius, whom he adopted as his son and invested with the name Iustinianus (Justinian).

Relying upon the accounts of the historian Procopius, it often has been said that Justinian ruled the empire in his uncle's name during the reign of Justin, however, there is much evidence to the contrary. The information from the Secret History of Procopius was published posthumously. Critics of Procopius (whose work reveals a man seriously disillusioned with his rulers) have dismissed his work as a severely biased source, being vitriolic and pornographic, but without other sources, critics have been unable to discredit some of the assertions in the publication. However, contrary to the secret history, Justinian was not named as successor until less than a year before Justin's death and he spent 3,700 pounds of gold during a celebration in 520. J. Norwich, "Byzantium: The Early Centuries", 189]

In 525, Justin repealed a law that effectively prohibited a member of the senatorial class from marrying a woman from a lower class of society, including the theatre, which was considered scandalous at the time. This edict paved the way for Justinian to marry Theodora, a former mime actress, and eventually resulted in a major change to the old class distinctions at the Imperial court. She became an equal to Justinian, participating in the governance with significant influence.

Later years

The latter years of the reign of Justin were marked by strife among the empire, the Ostrogoths, and the Persians. In 526, Justin's health began to decline and he formally named Justinian as co-emperor and, on April 1, 527 as his successor. On August 1 of that year, Justin died and was succeeded by Justinian.


The town of Anazarbus was re-named Justinopolis in 525, in honour of Justin I.


External links

* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/BURLAT/15A*.html Bury, John Bagnall, "History of the Later Roman Empire", Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1923]
* [http://www.roman-emperors.org/justin.htm Evans, James Allan, "Justin I (518-527 A.D.)", "De Imperatoribus Romanis", 1998]
*Gibbon, Edward, "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", [http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/hst/roman/thedeclineandfalloftheromanempire%2D4/chap4.html vol. 4, chapter xl] .
* [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/1785.html Smith, "Justinus I.", "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology", 1870, v. 2, p. 677]
*Encyclopædia Britannica [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9044211/Justin-I Justin I]

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