Byzantine Empire, Justinian I, 527-565, AV Solidus
Obv.Bust of diademed Emperor holding globus with Victoriola
Rvs.Constantinopolis enthroned, holding globus cruciger
Justin II. (* 520; † 5 October 578) was (Eastern) Roman Emperor from 14 November 565 to 5 October 578.
Justin II was the nephew and successor of Emperor Justinian I.
Justin's parents were Dulcidius and Vigilantia, Emperor Justinian's sister. Thanks to his position at court as curopalatus since 552 and the help of his wife Sophia, who was a niece of the emperor's wife Theodora, who died in 548, he apparently came to the title of emperor.
However, he had not been designated as successor by Justinian through an elevation to Caesar or co-emperor: The praepositus sacri cubiculi - the "overseer of the sacred bedchamber" and private secretary of the deceased emperor - had been the first to inform Justinian of his death, so that the latter could secretly enter the palace and thus forestall any rivals.
The future Emperor Tiberius Constantinus acted as commander of the guard during this time. Justin was proclaimed the new Augustus by senators and soldiers three days after Justinian's death. Another possible candidate was a successful general who also bore the name Justin, but who was only a great cousin of Justinian in terms of relationship. This Justin could look back on a distinguished career, but he was passed over. In 566 he was deported to Alexandria and shortly thereafter eliminated: As a successful general he could have been dangerous to the new emperor, so Justin II had him first relieved of his command and then murdered in his sleep.
The first months of Justin II's reign were quite promising: he paid off Justinian's debts, cancelled tax debts on his part, demonstratively took care of the administration of justice personally and called for religious tolerance.
Internally, however, his uncompromisingly anti-Monophysite religious policy soon caused him difficulties, which led to growing tensions between the central office and the rich Syrian and Egyptian provinces; moreover, he made himself unpopular with a rigid (but apparently not entirely unsuccessful at first) financial policy. It is remarkable that Justin II broke with a centuries-old tradition and ordered that henceforth the governors of the provinces should no longer be appointed by the emperor, but by an assembly of the local bishops and potentes.