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Byzantine emperor Justinian (Flavius Justinianus Bossibootus) (emperor 527-565), polymath, polyvexatious, arm chair caesar, bully for his version of Christianity and scared of violent thunderstorms, wanted to reunite the world under his personal rule. He wanted to reclaim the lost Roman Empire in the West and introduce his own 'Justinian Code' to replace the buggy, broken Theodosian Code' to maintain important patents.
Justinian also had time to close down Plato and Aristotle's old school in Athens and depose a pope in Rome for arguing with him. Justinian feared no man but he was scared of his wife Empress Theodora, a one time stripper, lewd games enthusiast and er..later saint in the Syriac Orthodox church. When she died, Justinian showed how much he missed her by then constantly getting everything wrong.
Justinian was born Peter Sabbatical near Belgrade in around 482. He was called Sabbatical because he would often disappear without reason for six months or longer. It was a rough time to have been born. His area of the Roman Empire had been tramped through by some very ugly customers including Alaric the Goth and Attila the Hun. Whilst Justinian was growing up, the last block of unwanted house guests - the Ostrogoths - had been bribed by emperor Zeno to clear off to Italy where they occupied and stayed. Perhaps Justinian was old enough to watch the Ostrogoth leader Theodoric the Great saunter past his window on a great white stallion but whatever, Justinian retained an abiding loathing for the Goths all his long life.
Life out in the sticks was only changed when his uncle Justin (later emperor Justin I) landed a job in Constantinople and needed an assistant. Justin worked as an Excubitor which sounds suspiciously close to exhibitionist (if you change a lot of letters around). Justin seemed to be well trusted but couldn't read or abide eunuchs either and since he needed someone to read his payslip, asked Justinian to come to the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 518, the positively geriatric emperor Anastasius I died. Justin put himself forward as 'stop gap' and promised to improve his reading.
It was around then that Justinian did two things. First he changed his name to 'Justinian' in honour of his uncle (and make sure he became next emperor) and he met his wife Theodora. One can imagine that Justinian - being a dull, bookish fellow was dazzled by Theodora. Perhaps he caught her nude act down at the Hippodrome Nightclub which involved (so said the historian Procopius), propelling marble balls into wine cups with her lower pelvic love muscles. Since Justinian was a keen studier of theology and the works of various bearded wonks in the nearby monasteries, meeting Theodora must have a real glass popper.
The couple married in the Hippodrome church. Theodora brought along her family and her children from casual affairs whilst working as an actress. Luckily she didn't invite any bears as her father had once been in charge of the Byzantine Animal Entertainment department at the Hippodrome. Emperor Justin wasn't sure this was a good match but gave his blessing. Shortly after he died, it is said killed by escaped bear wearing a green ribbon (the significance of that to be revealed later).
Emperor and Goodbye Ancient Greeks
In 527 Justin the older exhibitionist died and Justinian now became emperor in name too. His first act was to close down Plato's Academy in Athens for 'paganism, student abuse and all round meaningless philosophising'. It took two years to implement but finally Greece's finest egg heads were turfed out of their college buildings and told to get proper jobs. Justinian was so pleased with his act, he had this distributed around the Byzantine Empire.
For too long the Roman state has had to pay for these loafers. They can go out and get a proper job or become bishops. This is a Christian Empire and we have no need of idle speculation. Vote Purple."
It was probably around this time that a lot of pagan classics ended up in the flames. Old classics like Caligula's Guide to Sex Slaves and Horses and Aristotle's Ancient Greek Jokes were lost. Also Emperor Claudius's autobiography is said to have ended up as fire lighter but Justinian wasn't too bothered.
Blue is the Colour
First Job:Ban the Vandals
Second Job:Wash the Goths
Death of the Wife and A Mosiac
Religious Business and a New Christian Business Centre
Third Job:Have a go at those other Goths in Spain
Waiting to Die