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Anastasius I
Augustus (Estern Roman Empire)  AD 491 - 518

Second husband of Ariadne;
Son-in-law of Leo I and Aelia Verina;
Brother-in-law of Leontia (wife of Patricius);
Step-father of Leo II.

Anastasius, a Monophysite by religious affiliation and a person sufficiently educated to be considered for a bishop’s see at a certain point of his palace career, had a long reign but there is disappointingly little that survives from his time. He was selected by the widow of his predecessor, Zeno, and spent long years suppressing the large-scale insurrection of Zeno’s fellow-Isaurians. Despite his apparent desire for peace, demonstrated by his two treaties with the Ostrogothic ruler of Italy, Theodoric, in 488 and 498, he had to wage wars on two fronts, against the constant intrusions of Bulgarians and Slavs in the Balkans and the Persians in Mesopotamia (502-505). To counter the Goths, Anastasius approached the new rising power in the West, the Franks, and sent consular insignia to Clovis, thus giving legitimacy to the future rulers of Gaul. After the peace with the Persians, Anastasius dedicated himself to reforming the financial system of the empire by abolishing some of the most onerous taxes and to strengthening the imperial defenses with a remarkable line of fortifications, much of which still stands. His years in power contributed markedly to the further drifting apart of the eastern and western parts of the Empire and laid the foundations of the slowly emerging Byzantine Empire, even though the inhabitants of the eastern part continued to call themselves “Romans” (Romaioi) right up to 1453.

Mints: Antioch, Constantinopolis, Nicomedia, Thessalonica.

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