The reign of Justinian (527-65) was a key phase in the transition from the Roman Empire of classical times to the Byzantine empire of the Middle Ages. A man of provincial background, he was one of the greatest rulers of the period: he launched and won wars, codified the laws, built impressive buildings and offered imaginative responses to the numerous problems he faced. John Moorhead reinterprets Justinian as man and monarch (together with his wife the empress Theodora) and assesses the evidence from this time for the evolution of a medieval world. It makes full and judicious use of the wide variety of sources available to historians; of key interest is the way John Moorhead probes indirect and unpromising sources for unexpected light they can throw on the period, while approaching the gossip of contemporary writers, such as Procopius, with caution. It thus provides a convincing reassessment of the character and action of the emperor himself, and the other major figures of the reign - his generals and formidable wife among them.