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Justinian and Theodora

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Book topics: Justinian, Theodora, Other Empresses, Procopius, Law, Era, Maurice, Phocas, Fiction, Children's Books, Byzantine Empresses, Byzantine Empire, Roman Empire, Documentaries

Books About Justinian

Justinian: The Last Roman Emperor by G. P. Baker. Biography. Justinian and wife Theodora ruled the Roman empire in its waning days.

The Emperor Justinian and the Byzantine Empire by James Allan Evans. An introduction to Justinian's reign and his time.

Justinian and His Age by Percy Neville Ure. The story of the 6th century emperor who attempted to revive the Roman Empire in Byzantium after the fall of Rome to the Goths and Vandals.

The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders by Peter Heather. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Theoderic, Justinian, and Charlemagne were each successful in their own ways.

History of Later Roman Empire by John Bury. Published in two volumes, this work covers the Eastern empire from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Justinian.

The Iohannis, Or, De Bellis Libycis by Flavius Cresconius Corippus, translated by George W. Shea. This Byzantine epic is an important source of information about Justianian's reign, his wars of reconquest, and about the Berber tribes of North Africa.

Justinian and the Making of the Syrian Orthodox Church by Volker L. Menze. Covers the period from the accession of Justin to the second Council of Constantinople in 553.

Books About Theodora

Empress Theodora: Partner of Justinian by James Allan Evans. Born into the lowest class of Byzantine society, Theodora became an actress and attracted the love of the future emperor Justinian, who made her not only his wife but also his partner in government.

Theodora: Portrait in a Byzantine Landscape by Antony Bridge. Biography of the Byzantine empress.

Theodora: Empress of Byzantium by Paolo Cesaretti. This biography gives a balanced portrait of a woman who rose from the ranks of the poor to build an empire.

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint by David Potter. Raised in a family of circus performers, Theodora became empress of the Byzantine empire and one of the dominant political figures of her era, exciting admiration and hatred.

The Power Game in Byzantium: Antonina and the Empress Theodora by James Allen Evans. Empress Theodora, wife of Justinian, and her friend Antonina both rose from theater backgrounds into positions of power and influence.

More Books About Theodora & Other Empresses

Books by & About Procopius

The Secret History by Procopius, translated by G. A. Williamson. A first-century Byzantine historian describes the injustices of Justinian's reign. Justinian, the great law-giver, is portrayed as a hateful tyrant, married to ex-prostitute, Theodora.

History of the Wars of Justinian by Procopius. First-hand accounts of Byzantine campaigns against Persians, Vandals, and Goths.

On Buildings by Procopius. About buildings erected by Justinian the Great.

Procopius and the Sixth Century by Averil Cameron. An assessment of the major historian of early Byzantium, by one of today's leading historians of late antiquity.

Hagia Sophia

Books About Hagia Sophia
More Books About Byzantine Art & Architecture

Justinian & Roman Law

The Civil Law edited by S. P. Scott. Complete English translation of the Corpus Iuris Civilis. Seven volumes.

The Institutes of Justinian. Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) was made up of four parts. The shortest part, the Institutes, is an introduction to all of Roman law.

Digest of Roman Law: Theft, Rapine, Damage and Insult by Justinian, translated by C.F. Kolbert. The cases discussed in this selection from Justinian's code are concerned with everyday events, and provide a vivid picture of ordinary Roman life.

Age of Justinian

The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian edited by Michael Maas. Twenty specialists explore the mechanics of empire, warfare, urbanism, the economy, and the great plague.

Rome Resurgent: War and Empire in the Age of Justinian by Peter Heather. Between the fall of the western Roman Empire and the collapse of the east in the face of Arab invasions, the era of Emperor Justinian dominated the Mediterranean. Famous for his conquests in Italy and North Africa, his reign was also marked by global religious conflict and an outbreak of plague.

The Age of Justinian: The Circumstances of Imperial Power by J. A. S. Evans. Looks at the social structure of sixth-century Byzantium and the neighbors that surrounded the empire.

Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe by William Rosen. Justinian seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes, but in the summer of 542 he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

Emperor Maurice

The History of Menander the Guardsman edited by R. C. Blockley. The Greek historian Menander Protector wrote during the reign of the emperor Maurice (582-602). His work is a major source for the end of Justinian's reign and those of his successors, Justin II and Tiberius II. This book includes an introductory essay, text, translation, and historiographical notes.

Maurice's Strategikon: Handbook of Byzantine Military Strategy by Maurice, edited by George T. Dennis. The Byzantine emperor Maurice (582-602 AD) compiled an influential handbook for the field commander. This first complete English translation describes in detail weaponry and armor, daily life in the army, clothing, food, medical care, military law.

History of Theophylact Simocatta translated by Michael and Mary Whitby. Theophylactus Simocattes was a secretary to 7th century emperor Heraclius. This book is a history of the reign of Emperor Maurice, who succeeded Tiberius II.

Emperor Phocas

The Politics of Usurpation in the Seventh Century: Rhetoric and Revolution in Byzantium by David Michael Olster. About Phocas, last emperor of the Justin dynasty, who was succeeded by Heraclius.

Books About Other Byzantine Emperors

Novels About Justinian I and Justinian II

The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton. In sixth-century Constantinople, a determined woman rises from common theater tart to empress of the Byzantine empire.

Justinian and Theodora by Robert Browning. The story of the peasant's son and actress who became emperor and empress.

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore: A Novel by Stella Duffy. Tells the story of the woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world's most powerful empires.

The Purple Shroud: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stella Duffy. Former actress Theodora and her husband Justinian have been crowned Emperor and Empress of the Byzantine empire, but ruling is no easy task. (Sequel to Theodora.)


One for Sorrow by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. A mystery novel set at Justinian's court in Constantinople.

Two for Joy by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. John the Eunuch, Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian, returns to solve another mystery.

Three for a Letter by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. When an entertainment for Theodora results in the death of a royal hostage and the disappearance of the empress's favorite dwarf, John the Eunuch is once again charged with ferreting out the truth.

Four for a Boy by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. More murder and mystery in Constantinople.

More Fiction About the Byzantine Empire

Children's Books

Who in the World Was the Acrobatic Empress? The Story of Theodora by Robin Phillips, illustrated by Jeff West. A biography for beginning (grade school) readers.


These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.

Justinian: The Last of the Romans. Born a peasant, he became emperor of the Roman world. But his was an empire in decline, and despite his valiant efforts, he is known as "the last of the Romans." Sometimes available from Amazon.

Documentary About the Byzantine Empire
Videos & DVDs About the Roman Empire
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The Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empresses
The Roman Empire
Attila the Hun & His Empire
The Frankish Empire
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Procopius of Caesarea: The Secret History
Procopius, The Secret History
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