Anastasios I

Anastasios I
   Emperor (q.v.) from 491-518 whose reign is often seen as a prelude to the age of Justinian I (q.v.). Despite his relative obscurity as a court attendant (silentarios), the empress Ariadne (q.v.) chose him to succeed her husband Zeno (q.v). The choice proved to be a good one for the internal administration of the empire. His new large follis, along with smaller coins of lesser value, corrected the previous poor quality of copper coins in circulation. He also reformed the way taxes were collected, and he abolished the hated chrysargyron (q.v.), which unduly burdened urban populations. At the same time he replaced local officials with state-appointed tax collectors. These and other financial reforms enhanced state revenues, so much so that upon Anastasios's death the treasury held a surplus of 320,000 pounds of gold. Less successful was his religious policy. The Henotikon (q.v.) resulted in the Akakian Schism (q.v.) between Rome and Constantinople (qq.v.), which ended only in 519. His subsequent support of Monophysitism (q.v.) provoked periodic unrest in Constantinople and became a pretext for the revolt of Vitalian (q.v). Besides a hostile relationship with the papacy (q.v.), he had hostile relations with the ruler of Italy, Theodoric (qq.v.). Bulgar (q.v.) attacks from the north prompted his famous, but ineffective, Long Wall in Thrace (qq.v.), and in East Persia (q.v.) he briefly captured the important frontier fortress of Amida (q.v.).

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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