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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Justin I
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
Tremissis-Justin I-sb0058.jpg
Flavius Iustinus
Reign 518 – August 1, 527
Full name Flavius Iustinus
Born c. 450
Birthplace Bederiana, near Naissus (Niš, Serbia)
Died August 1, 527 (aged 77)
Predecessor Anastasius I
Successor Justinian I
Consort Euphemia
Dynasty Justinian Dynasty

Flavius Iustinus (Greek: Ἰουστίνος: c. 450 – August 1, 527), known in English as Justin I, was a Byzantine Emperor (518–527), who rose through the ranks of the Byzantine army and ultimately became its emperor, in spite of the fact he was illiterate [1] and almost 70 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 a peasant[2] from the Latinophone region of Dardania, which is part of the province of Illyricum.[3] He was born in a hamlet near Bederiana[4] in Naissus (modern Niš, South Serbia).[4][5] He was of Thraco-Roman stock[6][7][8][9][10], and who bore, like his companions and members of his family (Zimarchus, Dityvistus, Boraides, Bigleniza, Sabatius, etc.) a Thracian name,[6][11] and who never learned to speak more than rudimentary Greek. His sister Vigilantia (b. ca 455) married Sabbatius and had three children: Vigilantia (b. ca 490), married to Dulcissimus and had Praejecta (b. ca 520), married to Artabanos (ca 515 - aft. 554), a Magister Militum of Armenian origin, and Justin II (b. ca 520); Justinian I; and a son (b. ca 485) who was the father of General Germanus Justinus.

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.[12]


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.[13]

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.


  1. ^ H. John Chapman (1971). Studies on the Early Papacy. Kennikat Press, University of Michigan. pp. 210. ISBN 0804611394. 
  2. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History By Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, Cambridge University Press[1]
  3. ^ Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ: The Monasteries of Palestine, 314-631 By John Binns[2]
  4. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History By Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, Cambridge University Press[3]
  5. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana by Grolier Incorporated
  6. ^ a b Ion I. Russu, Elementele traco-getice în Imperiul Roman și în Byzantium (veacurile III-VII), Editura Academiei R. S. România, 1976, pag.95
  7. ^ Velizar Iv Velkov, Cities in Thrace and Dacia in Late Antiquity: (studies and Materials), University of Michigan, 1977, pag.47
  8. ^ Robert Browning, Justinian and Theodora, Gorgias Press LLC, 2003, ISBN 1593330537, pag.23
  9. ^ Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, Greek Literature in Late Antiquity, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2006, ISBN 0754656837, pag.166
  10. ^ John Julius Norwich, A Short History of Byzantium, Vintage Books, 1997, ISBN 0679772693, pag.59
  11. ^ James Allan Stewart Evans, The Age of Justinian: The Circumstances of Imperial Power, Routledge, 1996, ISBN 0415237262, pag. 96
  12. ^ Jones, A.H.M. (1986). The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey. Baltimore: JHU Press. pp. 658. ISBN 0801833531. 
  13. ^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 189


External links

Justin I
Born: c. 450 Died: 1 August 527
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Anastasius I
Byzantine Emperor
with Justinian I (527)
Succeeded by
Justinian I
Political offices
Preceded by
Flavius Anastasius Paulus Probus Moschianus Probus Magnus,
Post consulatum Agapiti (West)
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Flavius Eutharicus Cillica
Succeeded by
Flavius Rusticius,
Flavius Vitalianus
Preceded by
Flavius Maximus (alone)
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Venantius Opilio
Succeeded by
Flavius Probus
Flavius Theodorus Philoxenus Soterichus Philoxenus

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JUSTIN I. (450-527),East Roman emperor (518-527), was born in 450 as a peasant in Asia, but enlisting under Leo I. he rose to be commander of the imperial guards of Anastasius. On the latter's death in 518 Justin used for his own election to the throne money that he had received for the support of another candidate. Being ignorant even of the rudiments of letters, Justin entrusted the administration of state to his wise and faithful quaestor Proclus and to his nephew Justinian, though his own experience dictated several improvements in military affairs. An orthodox churchman himself, he effected in 519 a reconciliation of the Eastern and Western Churches, after a schism of thirty-five years (see HoRMISDAS). In 522 he entered upon a desultory war with Persia, in which he co-operated with the Arabs. In 522 also Justin ceded to Theodoric, the Gothic king of Italy, the right of naming the consuls. On the 1st of April 527 Justin, enfeebled by an incurable wound, yielded to the request of the senate and assumed Justinian at his colleague; on the 1st of August he died. Justin bestowed much care on the repairing of public buildings throughout his empire, and contributed large sums to repair the damage caused by a destructive earthquake at Antioch.

See E. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (ed. Bury, 1896), iv. 206-209.

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