When you were in school, have you learned about how unfair the caste system of the Middle Ages was? Supposedly there was a system of classes. And the people of the lower class had no way of moving up the ranks to the higher class.
But than I learned about emperor Justinian, and it is very interesting how he broke the rule.
Justinian the Great was a Roman Emperor from 527-565 A.D. But he was not born into a royal class. He was born a peasant.
As a boy, however, he decided he will go to the city and work his way up.
So he set off on a long journey, with no money in his pocket, eating berries on the way to feed himself.
When he reached Constantinople, he began looking for his uncle immediately. His uncle was born a peasant as well. But through his service in the army, he gained the rank of commander of the imperial guard which attended the emperor.
Uncle Justin welcomed Justinian very kindly and did everything he could for the young man, including giving him the best education.
At an old age, uncle Justin was elected as emperor. But Justin could not attend to his emperial responsibilities for long, due to his age. He was advised to train Justinian to be an emperor. Which uncle Justin did. And when he died, Justinian became the emperor of the empire.
Justinian was not a good soldier, so he did not participate in wars. But he was a great scholar. So he put his mind to introducing many improvements into art and law.
Justinian met a beautiful woman, whom he fell in love with. He was not legally allowed to marry her though, for she was an actress. And actors were a very despised profession in the Roman culture. So Justinian changed the law, and married her. He gave her the title of augusta, a co-emperor essentially.
His wife was a very intelligent woman, and assisted him greatly with his duties. It is said that Justinian's truly great accomplishments lasted until she died.
Some stories of the past are just very interesting, wouldn't you agree?
You can find out more about Justinian here.
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Hart, David Bentley. The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith. London: Quercus, 2007. 98-99. Print.