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Birth of an empire
A non fiction book by

Harold Lamb, master of the historical narrative, gives a comprehensive account of the life and reign of the Emperor Justinian I (482-565), from his origins as the peasant Petrus Sabbatius, to the purple clad Imperator. Upon Justinian's ascension to the throne the western provinces had already been occupied by hostile barbarians for over a generation. In the east, what remained of the Roman Empire faced invasion by the Huns from the north and by an undiminished Persian Empire across the eastern border. Despite all of this Justinian managed to withstand the waves of invasion, embark on vast architectural projects across the empire, and restore Roman mastery of the Mediterranean. This work also examines the colorful personalities surrounding Justinian. Including his wife Theodora, the actress turned empress, who was more spymaster than anything else; and the ever victorious count Belisarius, who, despite his popularity with the military, the people, and the lost provinces he reclaimed for the empire, refused to take up arms and overthrow his emperor, as so many other generals had done in the centuries before. Constantinople: Birth of an Empire is a great resource for anyone interested in eastern Roman/Byzantine history during the age of Justinian.

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