An Empire Reborn: Justinian and his Age

Module code: AH3083

The reign of Justinian (AD 527-565) was one of great upheaval and significance. His lengthy rule saw ambitious wars to reclaim lost territories (including Italy itself), the outbreak of plague, urban riots and palace intrigues, heresy and religious division. It also saw innovations and advances in art, architecture, law and literature, as well as elaborate forms of diplomatic ceremony and political theatre. We are especially fortunate that many aspects of this fascinating period were recorded by Procopius – viewed by many as the last great historian of antiquity – whose works artfully immortalised and at times scandalised Justinian, his wife Theodora, and the machinations of their court in Constantinople. 

This module will introduce you to the major events and developments that occurred during Justinian’s reign, as well as the diverse range of sources that help us to understand this period. The course takes a thematic approach, but will also provide you with the necessary context to navigate the period and to appreciate the various ways in which it was one of fundamental importance. 

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