Justinian was a very powerful and successful ruler in the Eastern Roman Empire. He began his life as a shepherd boy, but he walked to Constantinople at age 16 just to meet his uncle Justin. After the previous emperor died, Justin became emperor which meant Justinian would become the next emperor. He became emperor in 527 A.D. and ruled for 40 years. He became Justinian the Great for his successful accomplishments as emperor. In 537 A.D. a magnificent cathedral named the Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian. He also constructed at least 34 churches! He did this because after praying to God for victory over a battle and winning it, he converted himself to Christianity. He died in 565 A. D.
After Justinian’s death, the military was too thinly spread and the treasury was running too low on funds so the empire began to decline. Heraclius was the emperor after Justinian. During Heraclius’ reign, the empire was much smaller and weaker by the eighth century. By 800 A.D. it just consisted of Asia Minor and the Balkan Islands. With the loss of size, the empire an was an ordinary European country. It was a Greek state. Christianity was very important to the state. God was supposed to have chosen the emperors and with this claim, they have the ability to rule over the church and state. Even though it was the last of the Roman Empires, it was a strong empire.