- Oct 2018
We appear to be talking past one another, so I'll clarify my position. I haven't suggested that anyone is faulting Justinian for being proactive. But I have received a couple of replies explicitly referring to the nature and results of his proactivity. That being a topic under discussion, I wished to draw attention to the positive aspects of his proactivity. This is after all relevant to the OP, and not everyone reading the thread is necessarily aware of all the things that Justinian did besides the already-noted launching of a war against the Ostrogoths.Again, nobody is faulting Justinian for being pro-active in all of his non-military projects. Many of them are unarguably positive things. But being "pro-active" in war generally means being the aggressor, and with only a few exceptions that is not a wholly good thing. It was arguably good in North Africa, but terrible with Italy.
And to clarify for all readers, while I have expressed and explained my appreciation for proactivity among Roman emperors, I certainly do not think that proactivity is always a good thing. That would of course be a silly proposition. Take the example of Diocletian. A notoriously proactive ruler who accomplished much good for the empire, his desire to serve the empire's interests also led him to persecute the Christians and Manicheans, and to institute the ambitious failure that was the maximum prices edict.