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Lesson: Code of Justinian

Author: Steve Guditus
Subject Area: Social Studies
Grade Level: 7 - 8


Students will learn about the importance and significance of the Code of Justinian, as well as the major points that comprise the set of laws.


Students will explore the background, rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire and Justinian's life, and then proceed to explore information about major points of the Code of Justinian.


Students will review the life of Justinian by going to Background; then, they will explore the sections of the Corpus Juris Civilis, and then choose one law of Justinian's to compare to a law today.

Background Builder Background

Title: Explore Byzantium URL: http://byzantium.seashell.net.nz/index.php
Directions: Click on Timeline --> Justinian The Great. Read the timeline of Justinian's life.

Vocabulary Builder Vocabulary

Vocabulary Words:
Byzantium another way to describe the Byzantine Empire
Constantinople present-day Istanbul; former capital of the Roman and Byzantine Empires
icon a picture/painting/statue of a sacred person or saint.
schism the split between the (Western European) Roman Catholic Church and the (Eastern European) Byzantine Orthodox Christian Church.
Hagia Sophia "The Church of the Holy Wisdom" - originally a church and then mosque; located in Constantinople/Istanbul.
Corpus Juris Civilis "Body of Civil Law" - set of rules written by Emperor Justinian.
Theodora Emperess and wife of Justinian; strong leader in her own right; refused to flee and abandon Constantinople as Muslims invaded.
Justinian Emperor of Byzantium; Ruled from 527 - 565.
Constantine Roman Emperor from 324 - 337; moved capital of Roman Empire to Constantinople.

Activity: Code of Justinian/Corpus Juris Civilis



Students will summarize the main points of Justinian's Code.


Use the "Summarize" function on the left to summarize the Corpus Juris Civilis in one sentence. Be sure to hit save.

Activity: Different Parts of Justinian's Code



Students will identify the three main parts of Justinian's Code and then connect one law to the USA.


Use the journal function on the left. You should write down the name of each of the three parts of Corpus Juris Civilis and then write one word that summarizes each part. Be sure to hit save. Next, scroll down and choose one law - read and understand the law. Use http://www.dictionary.com to look up the meanings of terms if necessary. Finally, use the Feeling function to compare your chosen Corpus Juris Civilis law to a law in today's world. How are they similar and different? Be sure to hit save.

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