Nephew of a semi-literate peasant, Justinian I was one of the most fascinating of the Roman emperors. His reign marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his prolific building works yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia, which remains the third largest church in Christendom. Although he never took part in military campaigns personally he managed to expand considerably the Eastern Roman Empire's territory. Justinian's wife Theodora, daughter of a bear keeper and former prostitute, was his partner in one of the greatest love stories in history. After her early death - in her forties - Justinian was devastated and sought oblivion in work, becoming known as the Emperor who never sleeps.
Ross Laidlaw was born in Aberdeen, brought up in Edinburgh and educated at Cambridge University. He has worked and travelled extensively in Kenya and southern Africa, and was a schoolmaster and archivist for almost forty years in the UK and Canada. He is married with two children and lives in East Lothian.