Anastasius I(ănəstā`shəs, –zhəs), c.430–518, Roman emperor of the East (491–518); successor of Zeno, whose widow he married. He broke the power that the Isaurians had enjoyed since Leo I, made peace with Persia, maintained friendly relations with Theodoric the Great, and made Clovis I an ally. He built a wall to protect Constantinople against the Slavs and Bulgars. His reign saw the revision of tax collection and the abolition of gladiatorial contests. His Monophysite inclinations stirred religious unrest throughout the empire. Anastasius was succeeded by Justin I.
Born circa 430; died July 9 or 10, 518. Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire from 491.
After a lengthy struggle Anastasius secured the full submission of the military and landholding Isaurian aristocracy that had enjoyed tremendous influence under previous emperors of Byzantium. Anastasius I relied for support on the trade and moneylending aristocracy. He strove to put the state’s finances in order. He abolished the khrisargir, the tax imposed in 314 on the townspeople who engaged in trade or handicraft, and introduced a monetary land tax (khrisotelia) in place of the supply of provisions and recruits for the army. Around 500 he promulgated a law that gave a tenant the right to a piece of land he had rented for 30 years, provided the prescribed payments had been made. Anastasius supported the Monophysites. He suppressed the uprisings led by Vitalian, commander of the federates (513–15). He fortified Constantinople, completing the building of the Long Walls. In 502–05 (or 502–06) he engaged in war against Iran.
M. IA. SIUZIUMOV