Justinian I of Byzantium is among the most towering figure of the ancient and medieval periods. His innovations in governance, architecture, law, and welding together religion with imperial power were blueprints of governance for the next thousand years of kings and emperors.

He rose to imperial power in 527 AD and reacquired Roman lands in Europe that were lost a century ago to Vandal and Ostrogothic invasions. He removed the rotting branches of his administration, replacing bureaucrats from the aristocracy with independent counselors.Justinian also rewrote the Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis. He gathered together legal commentaries and laws of the Roman legal system into a single text that would hold the force of law. It was composed in Latin and is still the basis of civil law in many of the empire’s descendant states.


To talk with us about how Justinian changed the world is Robin Pierson, host of the History of Byzantium Podcast. Here are five parts of history that Justinian irrevocably changed:

  • Laws
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Christianizing culture
  • Slavs
  • Islam



Robin Pierson is from London in the UK. He writes about American TV shows at thetvcritic.org and works for his father (an actor). Robin created the show to continue the narrative established by Mike Duncan’s wonderful podcast “The History of Rome.” He uses the structure of half-hour instalments told from a state-centric perspective. He pauses the narrative at the end of each century to take time to cover wider issues to do with Byzantium


The History of Byzantium: A podcast telling the story of the Roman Empire from 476 AD to 1453

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"#55: How Emperor Justinian Changed the World—Robin Pierson from The History of Byzantium Podcast" History on the Net
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