Anastasius I Dicorus

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Anastasius I Dicorus_table_infobox_0

Anastasius IAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_0_0
Emperor of the Byzantine EmpireAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_1_0
ReignAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_2_0 11 April 491 – 9 July 518Anastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_2_1
PredecessorAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_3_0 ZenoAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_3_1
SuccessorAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_4_0 Justin IAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_4_1
BornAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_6_0 c. 431

Dyrrhachium, modern Durrës in AlbaniaAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_6_1

DiedAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_7_0 9 July 518 (aged 87)

ConstantinopleAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_7_1

BurialAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_8_0 Church of the Holy ApostlesAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_8_1
ConsortAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_9_0 AriadneAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_9_1
Regnal nameDominus Noster Flavius Anastasius Augustus 'Dicorus'Anastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_10_0
Regnal nameAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_11_0
DynastyAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_12_0 Leonid dynastyAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_12_1
FatherAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_13_0 PompeiusAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_13_1
MotherAnastasius I Dicorus_header_cell_0_14_0 Anastasia ConstantinaAnastasius I Dicorus_cell_0_14_1

Anastasius I (Greek: Ἀναστάσιος, Anastásios; c. 431 – 9 July 518) was Byzantine emperor from 491 to 518. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_0

He made his career as a government administrator. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_1

He came to the throne at the age of 61 after being chosen by the wife of his predecessor, Zeno. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_2

His religious tendencies caused tensions throughout his reign. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_3

He is often recognized as the first Byzantine emperor. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_4

His reign was characterised by improvements in the government, economy, and bureaucracy in the Eastern Roman empire. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_5

He is noted for leaving the imperial government with a sizeable budget surplus of 23,000,000 solidi due to minimisation of government corruption, reforms to the tax code, and the introduction of a new form of currency. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_6

He is venerated as a saint by the Syriac Orthodox Church on 29 July. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_7

Early life Anastasius I Dicorus_section_0

Anastasius was born at Dyrrachium; the date is unknown, but is thought to have been no later than 431. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_8

He was born into an Illyrian family. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_9

Anastasius had one eye black and one eye blue (heterochromia), and for that reason he was nicknamed Dicorus (Greek: Δίκορος, "two-pupiled"). Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_10

Before becoming emperor, Anastasius was a particularly successful administrator in the department of finance. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_11

Accession Anastasius I Dicorus_section_1

Following the death of Zeno (491), there is strong evidence that many Roman citizens wanted an emperor who was an Orthodox Christian. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_12

In the weeks following Zeno's death, crowds gathered in Constantinople chanting "Give the Empire an Orthodox Emperor!" Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_13

Under such pressure, Ariadne, Zeno's widow, turned to Anastasius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_14

Anastasius was in his sixties at the time of his ascension to the throne. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_15

It is noteworthy that Ariadne chose Anastasius over Zeno's brother Longinus, who was arguably the more logical choice; this upset the Isaurians. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_16

It was also not appreciated by the circus factions, the Blues and the Greens. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_17

These groups combined aspects of street gangs and political parties and had been patronised by Longinus. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_18

The Blues and Greens subsequently repeatedly rioted, causing serious loss of life and damage. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_19

Religiously, Anastasius' sympathies were with the Monophysites. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_20

Consequently, as a condition of his rule, the Patriarch of Constantinople required that he pledge not to repudiate the Council of Chalcedon. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_21

Ariadne married Anastasius on 20 May 491, shortly after his accession. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_22

He gained popular favour by a judicious remission of taxation, in particular by abolishing the hated tax on receipts which was mostly paid by the poor. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_23

He displayed great vigour and energy in administering the affairs of the Empire. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_24

His reforms improved the empire's tax base and pulled it from financial depression and bleak morale. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_25

By the end of his reign, it is claimed that the treasury had 320,000 lb gold reserve. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_26

Foreign policy and wars Anastasius I Dicorus_section_2

Under Anastasius the Eastern Roman Empire engaged in the Isaurian War against the usurper Longinus and the Anastasian War against Sassanid Persia. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_27

The Isaurian War (492–497) was stirred up by the Isaurian supporters of Longinus, the brother of Zeno, who was passed over for the throne in favour of Anastasius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_28

The battle of Cotyaeum in 492 broke the back of the revolt, but guerrilla warfare continued in the Isaurian mountains for several years. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_29

The resistance in the mountains hinged upon the Isaurians' retention of Papirius Castle. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_30

The war lasted five years, but Anastasius passed legislation related to the economy in the mid-490s, suggesting that the Isaurian War did not absorb all of the energy and resources of the government. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_31

After five years, the Isaurian resistance was broken; large numbers of Isaurians were forcibly relocated to Thrace, to ensure that they would not revolt again. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_32

During the Anastasian War of 502–505 with the Sassanid Persians, the Sassanids captured the cities of Theodosiopolis and Amida, although the Romans later received Amida in exchange for gold. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_33

The Persian provinces also suffered severely and a peace was concluded in 506. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_34

Anastasius afterward built the strong fortress of Daras, which was named Anastasiopolis, to hold the Persians at Nisibis in check. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_35

The Balkan provinces were denuded of troops, however, and were devastated by invasions of Slavs and Bulgars; to protect Constantinople and its vicinity against them, the emperor built the Anastasian Wall, extending from the Propontis to the Black Sea. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_36

He converted his home city, Dyrrachium, into one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic with the construction of Durrës Castle. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_37

Domestic and ecclesiastical policies Anastasius I Dicorus_section_3

The Emperor was a convinced Miaphysite, following the teachings of Cyril of Alexandria and Severus of Antioch who taught "One Incarnate Nature of Christ" in an undivided union of the Divine and human natures. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_38

However, his ecclesiastical policy was moderate. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_39

He endeavoured to maintain the principle of the Henotikon of Zeno and the peace of the church. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_40

Yet, in 512, perhaps emboldened after his military success against the Persians, Anastasius I deposed the Patriarch of Chalcedon and replaced him with a Monophysite. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_41

This violated his agreement with the Patriarch of Constantinople and precipitated riots in Chalcedon. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_42

The following year the general Vitalian started a rebellion, quickly defeating an imperial army and marching on Constantinople. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_43

With the army closing in, Anastasius gave Vitalian the title of Commander of the Army of Thrace and began communicating with the Pope regarding a potential end to the Acacian schism. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_44

Two years later, General Marinus attacked Vitalian and forced him and his troops to the northern part of Thrace. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_45

Following the conclusion of this conflict, Anastasius had undisputed control of the Empire until his death in 518. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_46

Successor Anastasius I Dicorus_section_4

The Anonymous Valesianus gives an account of Anastasius attempting to predict his successor: Anastasius did not know which of his three nephews would succeed him, so he put a message under one of three couches and had his nephews take seats in the room. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_47

He believed that the nephew who sat on the couch with the message would be his heir. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_48

However, two of his nephews sat on the same couch, and the one with the concealed message remained empty. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_49

After putting the matter to God in prayer, he determined that the first person to enter his room the next morning would be the next Emperor. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_50

That person was Justin, the chief of his guards. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_51

Anastasius had never thought of Justin as a successor, but from this point on he treated him as if he would be. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_52

Anastasius died childless in Constantinople on 9 July 518 and was buried at the Church of the Holy Apostles. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_53

He left the Imperial treasury with 23,000,000 solidi, which is 320,000 pounds of gold or 420 long tons (430 t). Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_54

The illiterate, peasant-born Justin then became the next emperor. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_55

Meanwhile, the heir apparent Justinian engrossed himself in the life of Constantinople. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_56

Family Anastasius I Dicorus_section_5

Anastasius is known to have had a brother named Flavius Paulus, who served as consul in 496. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_57

With a woman known as Magna, Paulus was father to Irene, who married Olybrius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_58

This Olybrius was the son of Anicia Juliana and Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_59

The daughter of Olybrius and Irene was named Proba. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_60

She married Probus and was mother to a younger Juliana. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_61

This younger Juliana married another Anastasius and was mother of Areobindus, Placidia, and a younger Proba. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_62

Another nephew of Anastasius was Flavius Probus, consul in 502. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_63

Anastasius' sister, Ceaseria, married Secundinus, and gave birth to Hypatius and Pompeius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_64

Flavius Anastasius Paulus Probus Moschianus Probus Magnus, consul in 518, was a great-nephew of Anastasius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_65

His daughter Juliana later married Marcellus, a brother of Justin II. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_66

The extensive family may well have included several viable candidates for the throne. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_67

Administrative reform and introduction of new coinage Anastasius I Dicorus_section_6

Anastasius is famous for showing an uncommon interest in administrative efficiency and issues concerning the economy. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_68

Whenever it was possible in governmental transactions, he altered the method of payment from goods to hard currency. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_69

This practice decreased the potential for embezzlement and the need for transportation and storage of supplies. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_70

It also allowed for easier accounting. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_71

He also applied this practice to taxes, mandating that taxes be paid with cash rather than with goods. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_72

He eliminated the practice of providing soldiers with their arms and uniforms; instead he allotted each soldier a generous sum of money with which to purchase their own. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_73

These changes to imperial policy seem to have worked well; taxpayers often paid smaller tax bills than they had before, while government revenue increased. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_74

The increase in revenue allowed the emperor to pay soldiers a higher wage, which attracted native Roman soldiers to the military, as opposed to the barbarian and Isaurian mercenaries which some previous emperors had been forced to rely on. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_75

Anastasius is often cited for his "prudent management" of the empire's finances. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_76

Amidst these reforms, though, Anastasius continued the practice of selling official positions. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_77

He sold so many that he has been accused of having facilitated the creation of a civilian aristocracy. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_78

This claim is strengthened by the growth in influence of families that often held high level positions in the government, such as the Appiones from Egypt. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_79

This has puzzled historians, given that the emperor seems to have minimised government corruption/inefficiency in other areas. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_80

Anastasius I also gave official positions to his close friend General Celer, his brother-in-law, his brother, his nephews, and his grand-nephews. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_81

The complex monetary system of the early Byzantine Empire, which suffered a partial collapse in the mid-5th century, was revived by Anastasius in 498. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_82

The new system involved three denominations of gold, the solidus and its half and third; and five of copper, the follis, worth 40 nummi, and its fractions down to a nummus. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_83

It would seem that the new currency quickly became an important part of trade with other regions. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_84

A follis coin has been found in the Charjou desert, north of the River Oxus. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_85

Four solidi from his reign have been recovered as far from the Roman Empire as China. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_86

China might seem an unlikely trading partner, but the Romans and the Chinese were probably able to do business via Central Asian merchants travelling along the Silk Roads. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_87

Some Roman trading partners attempted to replicate the coins of Anastasius. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_88

The currency created by Anastasius stayed in use and circulated widely for long after his reign. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_89

A 40-nummi coin of Anastasius is depicted on the obverse of North Macedonia's 50 denar banknote, issued in 1996. Anastasius I Dicorus_sentence_90

See also Anastasius I Dicorus_section_7

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Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasius I Dicorus.