Justin II (Justinus Canuckus Bieberus Twerkinus Twerpus), was the ruler of Byzantine emperor from 565-578. He started his reign as one of the most powerful men on the planet but ended up insane, locked inside a room and the owner of one very soiled purple loincloth.
Justin succeeded his uncle Justinian as emperor in 565. He was carried head-high on top of a circular table from the Imperial Palace in Constantinople to the Hippodrome to be greeted by his schoolboy fan base. After the long rancid years of Justinian, the Byzantines were keen to see a new emperor and hoped to benefit from job offers and re-decoration contracts. At first, it went well, but then it turned into a figurative slow-mo Chariot car crash as Justin turned out to just shit at being a ruler.
Justin was named in honour of his great uncle Justinus Canuckus Timberjerkus, a woodcutter from the River Danube territories of the Roman Empire, who had made the family name by becoming emperor earlier in the century. Justin's father was called Dulcidonus. This yawnsome name ruled him out of the imperial running. Junior Justin's mother was called Vigilanta, so named for heading a local watch committee to execute neighbours with non-compliant villa extensions.
There was also another Justin, Justinus Tattoo Timberjackus. Their uncle Justinian was forever getting them confused; when he died, it wasn't certain which one was meant to succeed. Justinus Canuckus got there first and exiled his loser-cousin Tattoo Timberjackus, then had him chained to his sister Britinius Canuckus Spearus for life — about six months, as it turned out, when both were found dead in bed, holding pillows over one another's face.
Justin's advisors recommended that a marriage might beat some sense into the emperor. They suggested the wealthy Sophia Gold-Solidus Kredit Kardos. She was the niece of Empress Theodora (wife of Justinian) by an elder sister Comito Comatose and her soldier spouse Sittas Sitar. Sophia had originally been a Monophysite Christian (i.e. not orthodox) but changed her theology when offered the hand of Justin. Contemporaries say she was very holy but she had a weakness for military male thighs. Husband Justin had thin weedy legs which had covered in copious imperial purple clothing.
The Byzantine Empire in 565 was in good shape. It now included Italy, the Costa del Sol in Spain and the complete coast of North Africa from the territories first inherited by Justinian. The new emperor got plenty of favourable 6th-century press coverage from the Christian church, but it was soon obvious that Justin couldn't cut the imperial mustard.
In 568, Justin and Sophia left Constantinople intending to tour Italy. The organiser/fixer of the event, a general called Narses, was sacked for 'lacking the balls to make it happen' — a deliberate insult, as Narses was a eunuch. A concert was booked in Milan for Justin to attend and perform in front of an audience of grateful Italians. Having put up with the Ostrogoths and their dirty ways, it should have been an easy audience to work with.
But come the day of the gig and with Justin resting backstage with Narses, an army of Lombards arrived from beyond the Alps. Barely Christian — and then of the 'wrong sort,' the Lombards were led by Audoin. A practical murderer, he had a drinking mug fashioned from the skull of his father-in-law and said he and his tribe had received an invitation to invade by Narses himself. Justin never appeared on-stage, but fled back to Constantinople.
This began a general rejection of all things Byzantine. Lombard gangs rode up and down Italy looking for plunder and posters of Justin to deface. The surviving 'Beliebers' hid out in Ravenna and Rome, but the Byzantine pop performer lost the rest of Italy, which preferred to dance the Lombarda.
For many years, the Byzantines had been bribing the Persians not to cross the Euphrates and misbehave. However, Justin refused to bribe them, saving the gold for partying. When the emperor offered to play at a joint Byzantine-Persian Peace and Harmony concert, the Persians invaded and trashed the entire frontier. To add insult to injury, they asked for a bigger cut of the gate receipts, which the miserable Justin was obliged to find.
According to the chroniclers, this humiliation pushed Justin over the edge. He refused all advice and spent months partying, racing chariots around Constantinople and crashing them into unlucky pedestrians. They couldn't sue Justin, he was after all emperor and exempt from all fines and speeding tickets.
Young fans who came to see Justin for an audience were found the next day with missing limbs or worse after the emperor had tried to eat them. This was pushing the envelope even for the normally supine Byzantines. Sophia made sure she never slept with Justin again after that, but realised she had to do something, or end up on the emperor's dinner plate.
One night, after he came back from his latest partying, Sophia had Justin slipped into a straitjacket. She announced that the emperor was taking an extended break from governing.
Justin remained emperor, but now no one took any notice of him. Sophia acted in his name and got her advisor, bodyguard and personal stylist Tiberius to become 'Caesar' (Deputy Emperor). He and Sophia became the effective rulers of the empire. Justin withdrew to his room and only then noticed there were no doorknobs with which to get out.
For the next four years, the Byzantine Empire ran by Sophia and Tiberius. Justin sometimes appeared to sign for parcels or stationery when they were out on a long cruise on the Bosphorus. Curiously, no one else seemed to be too bothered having a madman as emperor. Sometimes Justin's old fan club would come to the palace to see their old idol and would leave with signed copies of his underpants. By now, Justin was truly lost in his own world. He would spend weeks on end, lying on his bed and talking to his penis. Then Justin would stare at the mirrored ceiling, wondering who that pervert was looking down on him.
Finally in 578, Sophia got Justin to 'approve' of Tiberius as co-emperor and, when that insult didn't kill the wretch, she had him drowned in a bowl of soup. Officially, the story was that Justin had been so happy to resign that death had come up from behind him and snatched his tormented soul. It was a mild way to get sacked; at least Justin didn't have his eyes, ears, tongue or nose cut off — a fate that befell several of his successors.