Photographer's Note

In 527 emperor Justinian succeeded to the throne in Constantinople. Justinian
was clever and ambitious and saw himself as the restorer of Roman power and
prestige. His reign saw the codification of Roman law the flourishing of the
arts, architecture, and the re-building of the magnificent St. Sophia --the
Church of Holy Wisdom. Militarily, he used clever diplomacy to create enough
turmoil among the various Germanic kingdoms so that with little effort he
recaptured many of the lands that had previously been lost from the empire.
These included Africa, Italy and southern Spain.
. So, on the one hand Justinian's reign saw
prosperity in the areas or Law, architecture and art, as well as the restoration
of much of the lost western lands of the Empire. On the other hand the strain of
his military achievements created a legacy of trouble for his successors. His
campaigns were a last doomed attempt to revive a structure whose collapse was
inevitable. Within a few years after his death, most of Italy, southern Spain
and Africa were again recaptured, leaving only the eastern Roman Empire to carry
on; Justinian's dream to restore the full glory of the Roman Empire ended in
failure. In the areas of Law, Architecture and the Arts, and literature however,
innovations created during his reign were to have a lasting impact in the
history of the Eastern Roman Empire.
The Recodification of the Laws
Perhaps the most lasting monument of Justinian's reign was his codification of
Roman law. By this time it had become necessary to rewrite many of the laws as
they had become obsolete since their last codification by Theodosius is 348. In
an absolute monarchy the people ceased to be the source of the laws. It was now
the monarch, by virtue of his office, that was responsible for putting into
effect a new law, as well as the way in which it was interpreted and enforced.
The heritage of Roman law represented an unbroken tradition that continued down
to the time of Justinian. Preservation and renewal of the laws, Justinian felt,
offered the possibility of emphasizing one of major roots of the empire's
strength. This immense accomplishment, far outlasted the Byzantine empire and
survived to form the basis of European jurisprudence. On February 13, 528,
Justinian appointed ten jurists to compile a new codification of the statute
law. The ten-man commission appointed to the task of compiling the new code
included two men of particular significance. The first was Tribonian, a jurist
in the civil service and Theophilus, a professor of law at the university of
Constantinople. Under their diligent supervision, the new "Codex Iustinianus"
was published in a little over one year, April 7, 529.
Scanned :AgiasSofias Hieron

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