Byzantine Empire: Justinian and Theodora
Byzantine Empire: Justinian and Theodora

Byzantine Empire: Justinian and Theodora

I can describe Justinian and Theodora, and the major events that shaped the...

Try LessonFree trial. No credit card required.

8,000 schools use Gynzy

92,000 teachers use Gynzy

1,600,000 students use Gynzy


In this lesson, students learn about Justinian and Theodora and the major events that shaped the Byzantine Empire. This includes the Justinian Code, the reconquering of the western Roman Empire, and the Nika riots. The lesson includes an activity in which students work together to create their own code of law.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe the Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora and describe the Byzantine Empire.


Review the rise of the city of Constantinople and the importance of trade. Then have students watch the video of the cathedral Hagia Sophia. What do they recall?


Introduce the emperor Justinian and his wife, Theodora. Discuss Theodora’s role in passing laws that helped women. After this, explain how Justinian began to form the Justinian Code. Describe what some of these laws were like and describe the four volumes of the Justinian Code. Have students come up with laws for the categories presented and have them write their own code of law. These categories include women’s rights, robbery, and murder. You might have them work with a partner to come up with laws and punishments. Next, introduce Belisarius and Justinian’s fight to reconquer the western empire. Discuss the Nika riots and the ensuing events. Describe the reconstruction of the Hagia Sophia, the death of the empress Theodora, and finally, the decline and death of Justinian.


Check student understanding with ten multiple-choice, fill-in, and true or false questions.


Students draw a line to match the person, place, or event to its matching description.

About Gynzy

Gynzy is an online teaching platform for interactive whiteboards and displays in schools.

With a focus on elementary education, Gynzy’s Whiteboard, digital tools, and activities make it easy for teachers to save time building lessons, increase student engagement, and make classroom management more efficient.

Go to Homepage

Get started with Gynzy