Justinian I, also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565.

The grandiose but only partially achieved rehabilitation of the Empire, or “restore of the Empire,” is a hallmark of his reign. The partial revival of the provinces of the fallen Western Roman Empire exemplified this aim.

His general, Belisarius, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius, Narses, and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy, and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The praetorian prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire’s annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian also subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before. He engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I’s reign, and later again during Khosrow I’s; this second conflict was partially initiated due to his ambitions in the west.

The universal rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern governments, is a more resonant component of his legacy. During his reign, Byzantine culture flourished, and his construction program produced works such as the Hagia Sophia. He is known as “Saint Justinian the Emperor” in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Justinian is frequently referred to as the “Last Roman” because of his restoration efforts.