09. The Reign of Justinian

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The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000 (HIST 210)

Professor Freedman opens by discussing why historians use the writings of Procopius and Gregory of Tours, a sixth century bishop whose history of the Merovingian kings is discussed the following week. Procopius’s three works — The Wars, the adulatory Buildings, and the invective Secret History — are the best sources on the reign of the Emperor Justinian. Under Justinian and his wife Theodora, the Roman Empire reached its height as it reclaimed territories in North Africa and Europe previously lost to the Vandals, Visigoths and Ostrogoths.. However, defeats in war accompanied by heavy taxation led to civil unrest. In addition to the wars, Justinian commissioned a number of large projects like the building of the Hagia Sophia and the organization of Roman law in the Corpus Iuris Civilis.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Primary Sources: Procopius and Gregory of Tours
02:19 – Chapter 2. The Emperor Justinian
08:42 – Chapter 3. Procopius as a Source on Justinian
16:28 – Chapter 4. Background on Justinian
24:10 – Chapter 5. The Circus, the Blues and the Greens, and the Nika Riots
30:20 – Chapter 6. Justinian’s Wars
38:11 – Chapter 7. Justinian’s Law Code, the Corpus Iuris Civilis

Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2011.