J.A.S. Evans examines the reign of the great emperor Justinian (527-565) and his wife Theodora, who advanced from the theatre to the throne. He chronicles the origins of the split between East and West, the results of which are still with us. The book goes on to look at social structure of sixth-century Byzantium and the neighboring empires. It also covers Justinian's wars, which restored Italy, Africa and a part of SPain to the empire.