Anastasio I Biography

Flavius Anastasius (c. 430 A.D. – 9 July 518 A.D.). Better known as Anastasius I, he was a political and military leader, who became Emperor of Byzantium.

His mandate was characterized by an extremely austere treatment of the Administration of State Goods, which had an impact on the increase of the imperial coffers. He also faced the Isaúrica War and the Persian War, as well as numerous religious tensions.

Anastacio I was also called by its nickname “Dicorus” (two pupils) attributed to its particularity of having the pupils of different colors.

Assumption to the throne

Anastasio was born in 430 A.D. During the rule of the Byzantine emperor Zenon served as silentiarius (officer of the Court). On Zeno’s death, Zeadna’s widow chose Anastasius as his successor.

On April 11, 491 A.D., this palatial officer became Anastasio I, emperor of Byzantium. One month after her appointment, the recent widow married the new emperor. However, the couple did not have offspring. Some historians point out that the cause of this lies in the age of Anastasio, who by the time of ascending to the throne was already sixty years old.

Main economic measures

The first steps taken by this Emperor were well received by the people, as they were ordinances that came to simplify the life of important sectors of the Empire. In this sense, shortly after taking power, Anastasio I decided to repeal the tax known as the chrysargiron.

Likewise, in 498 A.D., it decided to abolish the collatio lustralis tax, intended to collect dividends from the activities of artisans. He distinguished himself by being a ruler inclined to austerity. He banned the fighting of wild animals within the kingdom, as well as holding banquets and evening meetings.

On the economic side, Anastasio I devoted a great deal of energy and time to his nation’s administrative affairs. His dramatic restriction of public spending earned him a reputation as a minet. However, its management resulted in an increase of 320 thousand pounds of gold.


In 492 A.D., Anastasio I had to face the Isaúrica War, which originated in the revolution starring the followers of Longino, brother of the former emperor Zeno. Although he was banished – by Anastasius I – to Thebaida, Egypt, and his Army, defeated during the Battle of Cotyaeum, located in Frigia, his supporters remained for at least six years, until 498 A.D., in the Isaurian Mountains, from where they harassed the Empire.

Similarly, between 502 and 505, Emperor Anastasius I had to face the Persian War. During the conflict, the cities Theodosysopolis and Amida were taken by the Persians. However, some time later, the Romans managed to take control of Amida again.

In 506, meeting the two kingdoms exhausted by armed conflict, Anastasio I starred alongside the Persian leader, the signing of peace.

However, after the Persian War, Anastasio I began the construction of the fortress of Daras, so that we could closely monitor any possible threats from Nísibis. Likewise, in 512 A.D., he ordered the construction of the Wall of Anastasio, in order to protect the city of Constantinople from invasions promoted by the Bulgarians and Slavs.

The construction ordered by this emperor stretched from the Propontide to the boundaries with the Black Sea. He also devoted his efforts to renewing and making improvements to the Byzantine fortresses of the Danube.

Religious tensions

As for his domestic policy, he sought to bring good relations with the other rulers, as well as not to enter into religious conflicts. Although Anastasius I was regarded as a monophisite, he tried to maintain the principle of Henotikon, instituted by Zeno. In this sense, in order to preserve the peace of the Church, he signed a declaration of Orthodoxy.

However, from 512 on, popular pressure forced him to declare himself publicly monophasite. The announcement was well received in Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, however, the European side of the Empire was affected, causing tremendous popular discontent among citizens.

In these circumstances, Vitalino – master militum by Tarcia – composed with a horde of the Huns, decided to rise up against Anastasio I, in 514 A.D. After a year of fighting, the subversives were appeased, after their final defeat, during a Naval War, won by the Imperial side, commanded by General Marino.

Final years and succession

Finally, on July 9, 518 A.D., Anastasio I died. He was succeeded by Justino, who served as commander of the Imperial Guard. However, there are many legends that surround this succession.

According to historians the one who takes the most weight is the one who dictates that Emperor Anastasius I, troubled by the matter of succession, decided to give this responsibility to the first to enter through the door to the room where he was located, being the luck that led Justin to be the one.

However, another group of researchers dismiss this story, giving more weight to the possibility that Justino, as Commander of the Imperial Guard, has risen up in arms, after Anastasio I’s death, in order to gain force to gain power.

About the image: coins minted during the rule of Emperor Anastasius I, in which the effigy of this sovereign can be distinguished.


Anastasio I Biography
Source: Education  
August 14, 2019

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