Justinian was the most famous ruler of the Byzantine Empire. He reigned from 527 until 565. Justinian’s main dream was to recreate the Roman Empire. When he was ruling, the Roman Empire had only “fallen” relatively recently. Justinian wanted to build it back up again so that it would enjoy all of the glory it had once had.
By the time that Justinian came to power, the Roman Empire in the West had fallen apart. It was made up of various smaller kingdoms, mostly under the control of Germanic tribes. Western Europe was no longer united as it had once been.
Justinian wanted to reverse this disintegration. He wanted to use his military power to reconquer the areas of the Roman Empire that had been lost. Justinian attacked North Africa in 533 and quickly conquered the Vandals in that area. He then moved on and started fighting in Italy. He was able to reconquer significant areas and return them to “Roman” control, but the wars that were needed to accomplish this devastated Italy. The wars also put a great strain on the finances of the Empire. In the end, it was all very short-lived as the Lombards retook Italy a mere three years after Justinian died.
Justinian’s dream, then, was to recreate the Roman Empire and to take control of all of the lands that were once part of that empire.