The Age of Justinian: The Circumstances of Imperial Power (Roman Imperial Biographies)

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The Age of Justinian examines the reign of the great emperor Justinian (527-565) and his wife Theodora, who advanced from the theatre to the throne. The origins of the irrevocable split between East and West, between the Byzantine and the Persian Empire are chronicled, which continue up to the present day. The book looks at the social structure of sixth century Byzantium, and the neighbours that surrounded the empire. It also deals with Justinian's wars, which restored Italy, Africa and a part of Spain to the empire.

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The Age of Justinian (527-565) marks the transition between Late Antiquity, when the norms of the classical world still survived, and the Byzantine period, which featured a Christian state that left little or no space for outsiders. While Justinian considered himself the restorer of the Roman Empire, his contemporaries saw him as an innovator who consciously willed change. J.A.S. Evans examines not only the history of this great emperor, but also the environment in which he lived. The Age of Justinian looks at the social structure of the empire, and the neighbours that surrounded it. It also chronicles the theological issues, which split the empire and left even deeper divisions after Justinian's death, in spite of his best efforts to settle them. At the end, Justinian found himself facing forces which were too strong even for a man with his determination. But, for all that, we are left with a sense of admiration for the great emperor and his wife, Theodora. Their aims were high and they presided over a period of brilliance. They belonged to a unique moment of history, and in the problems they encountered and the forces they faced, we can dimly recognize some that are with us to the present day.

About the Author:

J.A.S. Evans is Professor of Classics at the University of British Columbia and began his career as a papyrologist. His publications include Procopius (1972) and Herodotus, Explorer of the Past (1991).

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