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Joint rule with Justin I (his uncle), 4 April - 1 August 527 A.D. Justinian I served his uncle, Emperor Justin I, throughout his reign formulating most imperial policy. Recognizing his brilliance, he was rapidly promoted and in the final months of Justin's reign, he was made co-emperor. Justinian's sole rule began on 1 August 527 and lasted almost four decades during which he re-conquered much of the empire lost during the preceding century, including North Africa, Italy, and parts of Spain. He is well known for his codification of the legal system. His grand scale building program included St Sophia, which still stands as the centerpiece of modern Istanbul. Unfortunately, his ambitious efforts strained the empire's resources and depleted the treasure built by Anastasius. Most of the territory he gained was lost shortly after his death.