The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the Roman Empire in the Greek-speaking, eastern part of the Mediterranean.
The history of the architecture of the western world, from 3500 BCE to present, is the story of a slow, steady advancement in building methods, materials, and styles, punctuated by a few short bursts of terrific activity that produce both monuments and techniques that have a lasting impact on future generations. The great age of Justinian during the sixth century is one of the most extraordinary of these creative explosions. If the outstanding contribution of Rome to the development of civilization was the rule of law, Justinian’s codifying of the laws alone would justify his notable place in world history. In addition to the laws, he reconstructed the flagging fortresses of the Roman Empire providing cisterns, ramparts, civic buildings, residences, waterways, churches, and indeed whole cities, an achievement that dwarfs any other architectural accomplishment by a single individual in the Roman or any other empire. Finally, he was responsible for the supreme creation of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia. Justinian’s aim was to restore the Roman empire to its former glory within a Christian context.