527-65: Justitian I

Mosaic in Ravenna (Public Domain)


Justinian I (r. 527-565) rules his empire according to the motto “One empire, one faith, one church”. In 529, he closes the ‘pagan’ Neoplatonic Academy in Athens. In 529 and 531, he bans all heretics – including pagans and non-orthodox Christians – from becoming teachers. In 539 he introduces the death penalty for blasphemy, lest “God in his wrath may destroy the cities and their inhabitants”.