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Law of Anastasius I Dicorus

Law of Anastasius I Dicorus



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Anastasius, Eastern Roman Emperor

Anastasius I (Latin: Flavius Anastasius c. 430 – July 518) was Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor from 491 to 518.

Background and personal characteristics

Anastasius was born at Dyrrhachium the date is unknown, but he is thought to have been born no later than 430 or 431. He was born into an Illyrian family,[1] the son of Pompeius (born c. 410), nobleman of Dyrrachium, and wife Anastasia Constantina (born c. 410). His mother was an Arian, sister of Clearchus, also an Arian, and a paternal granddaughter of Gallus (born c. 370), son of Anastasia (born c. 352) and husband, in turn daughter of Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus and wife and cousin Constantina.[2]

Anastasius had one eye black and one eye blue (heterochromia),[3] and for that reason he was nicknamed Dicorus (Greek: Δίκορος, "two-pupiled").

At the time of the death of Zeno (491), Anastasius, a palace official (silentiarius), held a very high character, and was raised to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire by Ariadne, Zeno's widow, who preferred him to Zeno's brother, Longinus.

Ariadne married him shortly after his accession on 20 May 491. His reign, though afterwards disturbed by foreign and internecine wars and religious distractions, commenced auspiciously. He gained the popular favour by a judicious remission of taxation, and displayed great vigour and energy in administering the affairs of the empire.

The principal wars in which Anastasius was engaged were the Isaurian War and the War with Persia.

The former, which lasted from 492 to 497, was stirred up by the supporters of Longinus, the brother of Zeno who had been candidate to his succession against Anastasius. The battle of Cotyaeum in 492 "broke the back" of the revolt, but guerrilla warfare continued in the Isaurian mountains for some years longer.

In the war with Sassanid Persia (502�), Theodosiopolis and Amida were captured by the enemy, but the Persian provinces also suffered severely and the Byzantines recovered Amida. Both adversaries were exhausted when peace was made (506) on the basis of the status quo. Anastasius afterwards built the strong fortress of Daras to hold in check the Persians in Nisibis. The Balkan provinces however were left denuded of troops 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 Euxine.

Domestic and ecclesiastical policies

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, but his ecclesiastical policy was moderate he endeavoured to maintain the principle of the Henotikon of Zeno and the peace of the church. It was rebellious demonstrations of the Byzantine populace, that drove him in 512 to abandon this policy and adopt Miaphysitic programme. His consequent unpopularity in the European provinces was utilized by an ambitious man, named Vitalian, to organize a dangerous rebellion, in which he was assisted by a horde of "Huns" (514�) it was finally suppressed by a naval victory won by the general Marinus.

The Anonymous Valesianus tells an account about his choosing of a successor: Anastasius could not decide which of his three nephews should succeed him, so he put a message under a couch and had his nephews take seats in the room, which also had two other seats he believed that the nephew to sit on the special couch would be his proper heir. However, two of his nephews sat on the same couch, and the one with the concealed message remained empty. Then, after putting the matter to God in prayer, he determined that the first person to enter his room the next morning should be the next emperor, and that person was Justin, the chief of his guards. In fact, Anastasius probably never thought of Justin as a successor, but the issue was decided for him after his death. At the end of his reign, he left the imperial treasury richer by 23,000,000 solidi or 320,000 pounds of gold.[4]

Anastasius died childless in Constantinople on 9 July 518 (some sources say 8 or 10 July) and was buried at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Anastasius is known to have had a brother named Flavius Paulus, who served as Roman consul in 496.[5] A sister-in-law, known as Magna, was mother to Irene and mother-in-law to Olybrius. This Olybrius was son of Anicia Juliana and Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus.[6] The daughter of Olybrius and Irene was named Proba. She married Probus and was mother to a younger Juliana. This younger Juliana married another Anastasius and was mother of Areobindus, Placidia, and a younger Proba.[7] Another nephew of Anastasius was Flavius Probus, Roman consul in 502.[8] Caesaria, sister of Anastasius, married Secundinus. They were parents to Hypatius and Pompeius.[8] Flavius Anastasius Paulus Probus Moschianus Probus Magnus, Roman Consul in 518 also was a great-nephew of Anastasius. His daughter Juliana later married Marcellus, a brother of Justin II.[7] The extensive family may well have included viable candidates for the throne.[9]

Byzantine Empire coinage reform

The main elements of the complex monetary system of the early Byzantine Empire, which suffered a partial collapse in the 5th century, were revived by Emperor Anastasius I (491�) in 498. 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).

A 40 nummi coin of Anastasius is depicted on the obverse of the Macedonian 50 denars banknote, issued in 1996.[10]


Leo I and Leo II, 457-474

After the death of Marcian and the end of the Theodosian dynasty, Leo I was placed upon the throne by the Alan general Aspar, who served as commander-in-chief of the Eastern Roman army and enjoyed a role similar to that of Ricimer in the Western Roman Empire, appointing puppet emperors. Aspar had believed that Leo I would be a weak puppet, but Leo grew increasingly independent of him and after Aspar and his son Ardabur were murdered in a riot in 471, the Eastern Empire was restored to fully roman leadership, which it would retain for centuries to come. [1]

By the time of Leo's accession, the Western Roman Empire had nearly collapsed entirely. Though it enjoyed a brief restoration of power under Emperor Majorian, the West had become restricted to northern Gaul, Italy and parts of Illyria by the late 460s. Leo attempted to reconquer North Africa from the Vandals. The campaign was unsuccessful [2] and Northern Africa would remain outside of imperial control until the reign of Justinian I in the early 500s.

Leo I was the earliest emperor to be crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople and not by a military leader, representing the ecclesiastical hierarchy. This change would eventually become permanent and the religious nature of the coronation had completely replaced the military version in the Middle Ages.

As condition for an alliance with the Isaurians, Leo married his daughter Ariadne to Tarasicodissa, who took the name Zeno, in 466. The son of Ariadne and Zeno, Leo II, succeeded upon the death of Leo I in 474 but he died after only 11 months of rule and was succeeded by Zeno.


Contents

Early life and accession to the throne Edit

The Justinian Dynasty began with the accession of its namesake Justin I to the throne. Justin I was born in a small village, Bederiana, in the 450s CE. [1] Like many country youths, he went to Constantinople and enlisted in the army, where, due to his physical abilities, he became a part of the Excubitors, the palace guards. [2] He fought in the Isaurian and Persian wars, and rose through the ranks to become the commander of the Excubitors, which was a very influential position. In this time, he also achieved the rank of senator. After the death of the Emperor Anastasius, who had left no clear heir, there was much dispute as to who would become emperor. [3] To decide who would ascend the throne, a grand meeting was called in the hippodrome. The Byzantine Senate, meanwhile, gathered in the great hall of the palace. As the senate wanted to avoid outside involvement and influence, they were pressed to quickly select a candidate however, they could not agree. Several candidates were nominated, but were rejected for various reasons. After much arguing, the senate chose to nominate Justin and he was crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople John of Cappadocia on 10 July. [2]

Reign Edit

Justin, who was from a Latin speaking province, spoke little Greek [1] and was almost completely illiterate. [2] As such, he surrounded himself with intelligent advisers, the most notable of which was his nephew, Justinian. Justinian may have exerted great influence on his uncle and is considered by some historians, such as Procopius, to be the real power behind the throne. [3] [4] After his accession, Justin removed the other candidates to the throne two were executed and three were punished either with death or exile. Unlike most emperors before him, who were Monophysite, Justin was a devout Orthodox Christian. [5] Monophysites and the Orthodox were in conflict over the dual natures of Christ. Past emperors had supported the Monophysites' position, which was in direct conflict with the Orthodox teachings of the Papacy, and this strife led to the Acacian Schism. Justin, as an Orthodox, and the new patriarch, John of Cappadocia, immediately set about repairing relations with Rome. [6] After delicate negotiations, the Acacian Schism ended in late March, 519. After this initial ecclesiastical overhaul, the rest of Justin's reign was relatively quiet and peaceful. In 525, perhaps at the insistence of Justinian, Justin repealed a law which effectively forbade court officials from marrying people of low class. This allowed Justinian to marry Theodora, who was of low social standing. In his last years, conflict increased around the Empire. There was increased strife with the Ostrogothic Kingdom in the Italian Peninsula. Their king, Theodoric the Great, was suspicious of plots by the Byzantines and turned on the Roman senatorial class, going so far as executing the philosopher Boethius, who was attempting to end the persecution. [7] However, Theodoric died in 526, ending the persecution. The Sasanian Empire, likewise, resumed hostilities with the Byzantines, and the Iberian War began in the east which would not reach its conclusion until the reign of Justinian. In 527, Justin appointed Justinian co-emperor after becoming dangerously ill. Justin recovered from the illness, however, several months later, he died of an ulcer on an old wound and Justinian then ascended the throne. [8]

The strength of the dynasty was shown under Justinian I. After the Nika Riots, Justinian rebuilt the city and reformed the law with the "Code of Justinian".

Justinian had inherited a war with Persia from his uncle and previous emperor, Justin I. Justinian continued the war, succeeding in sending a force all the way down the Euphrates, but the raid stalled, and he lost the beginnings of a new fortress in a crushing defeat. This impasse of sorts led to Justinian negotiating the "Eternal Peace" in which he agreed to pay eleven thousand pounds of gold in return for a cease in hostilities and the defense of several mountain passes. [9]

He then set about satisfying his dream to rebuild the Roman Empire. On his command, his favored general, Belisarius, began reconquering old Roman territory, starting with the Vandals.

The Vandals, after maintaining North African dominance since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, had become content and laid back their army, despite being twice the size to the 15,000 men commanded by Belisarius, was poorly trained, and ill-equipped to deal with an Imperial threat. The Vandal king, Gelimer, attempted to surround the Byzantines at the battle of Ad Decimum he defeated Belisarius, but went hysterical after finding the body of his dead brother. Belisarius rounded up his remaining men and broke the disorganized mass of Vandals, now poorly commanded. Belisarius went on to capture Carthage, and the Byzantines were victorious. [10]

Justinian then recalled the victorious Belisarius. In Italy, dynastic squabbles amongst the ruling Ostrogoths gave Justinian an opportunity to invade, and he sent Belisarius to Sicily with 7500 men. Belisarius arrived and received only token resistance. [11] He then moved on to mainland Italy. After putting down a mutiny in recently conquered North Africa, Belisarius landed in mainland Italy finding the same token resistance. The Gothic garrison of Naples resisted however, and after several months siege, [12] Belisarius sacked the city. After more ensuing dynastic squabbles, resulting in the deaths of two kings, Belisarius was invited to Rome by the pope while the king was in Ravenna. Hearing of this, the Gothic king, Witigis, sent a huge force, some accounts put the force as large as 150,000, to besiege Rome. [13] Belisarius had been fortifying Rome, and a siege ensued. One year and nine days later, after a grueling siege, Witigis had displayed his utter inabilities as a king, and Belisarius had showed his brilliance as a commander. The Goth army then moved to besiege Ariminium, which suffered due to lack of food. Narses, another Byzantine general, was called in to help and he used his influence to help Belisarius break the siege. After a massacre at Milan, breaks in Narses' command chain were revealed following a letter from Belisarius, Narses was recalled by Justinian. Thereafter, the campaign became a war of sieges, which came to an end after Belisarius pretended to accept an offer to become Western Roman Emperor. [14] He marched into the city unopposed, occupied it, then disposed of King Witigis.

Belisarius was recalled from Italy and then immediately sent to the Persian front, which had flared into warfare again. During this period, the Ostrogoths retook most of Italy. After the Persian front died down, with the Persians swearing they would never fight the Byzantines again until after his death, Belisarius retook Italy and captured southern Spain in a war that lasted 18 years. [15]

Justinian's wars of reconquest had expanded the empire to include the former Roman provinces of Italia, Baetica, and Africa Proconsularis. These additions expanded the Byzantine Empire to the largest point in its history.

After Justinian's reconquest and extensive rebuilding programs, the empire's treasury was left empty. [16] The financial mess weakened the Empire and forced his successor, Justin II, to suspend payments to the Avars. While the Byzantines were distracted with the Persians, Lombard hordes under king Alboin invaded Italy, and soon conquered most of the peninsula. Later wars with the Persians did not go well in Syria, resulting in mental illness that drove Justin II to his grave.

Tiberius II succeeded Justin II. His four-year reign was marked by Imperial weakness due to the Empire being over-stretched. He reinforced Ravenna, his generals found success against the Persians in battles in Armenia and against the Berbers in North Africa. At the same time, the Slavs began migrating all the way down into Greece. The overstretched Emperor ran out of money, couldn't pay the Army of the East which was fighting the Persians, and they threatened to mutiny. As his forces were deployed elsewhere, the Avars took advantage of him and forced Tiberius to give up the key city of Sirmium. After this setback, Tiberius ate some bad food, which may have been intentionally poisoned, fell ill, and died.

Maurice, the fifth and final emperor of the Justinian Dynasty, reportedly came from Armenia, and began his career in Constantinople as a Notarius. He eventually rose to the rank of secretary of the Imperial bodyguard, and, in 577 AD was appointed commander in chief of the army. He, after hard campaigning in the East in the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 572–591, was promoted to the rank of patricius. In 582 he married the Emperor's daughter, and succeeded him on the throne at the age of forty three. [17]

Maurice's reign was marked by constant money troubles. Maurice ascended the throne and received a completely bankrupt empire, and this Financial state continued until beyond the end of his reign. He also inherited military troubles: the Slavs were continuing to migrate into the empire, oftentimes violently imperial hold over Italy was utterly collapsing he also still had to continue the war with Persia that he had fought in for his entire military career. This Persian war also struggled with money difficulties, leading up to a major mutiny in 588 however, the money dispute was resolved the following spring. During the mutiny, a civil war began between rival factions in Persia, and Maurice saw an opportunity. He gave his support to Khosrau II [18] in Persia, and he succeeded in gaining the throne. This ended the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 572–591.

Maurice then turned his attention to the Balkans, which, after a decade of inattention from the army, had become completely ravaged by the Slavs. With the full attention of the army, the Byzantines drove back the Slavs, expelled them from the empire, and then ravaged their lands beyond the Danube. The Byzantines, after this decisive victory, were now easily able to hold the frontier on the Danube as it had been since the Roman Empire, as well as gain control over some minor territories in southern Dacia.

Despite these extensive military victories, Maurice was extremely unpopular within the borders of the empire, due to the fact that he always had an empty treasury, and often had to reduce payments to his soldiers. As a result of this unpopularity, he was deposed by the Greens in 602 and replaced with their choice, Phocas.


Joannina Belisarius (abt. 0530)

Since her marriage date of 547 is established (a year her parents were away in Italy), give her an age of, say, 17 at the time, which would make her birth year 530.

547 Marriage to Anastasius

Joannina married Anastasius. Pocopius wrote of the marriage, "For the two entered forthwith into a relationship by marriage and Joannina, the only daughter of Belisarius, was betrothed to Anastasius, grandson of the Empress." [1]

Belisarius forced them to separate after eight months. There was no issue of the marriage. [2]

Cameron adds more detail: Procopius describes how Empress Theodora schemed to marry Anastasius, a son of Theodora's unnamed daughter, to Joannina, daughter of Belisarius, with the object of gaining control of Belisarius' vast wealth (Joannina being his only child and sole heir). Belisarius' imperious wife Antonina was strongly opposed to the match, and it was only (so Procopius alleges) by prevailing upon Anastasius to seduce Joannina while Belisarius and Antonina were away in italy (547) that Theodora managed to bring it off. [3] [4]

The latest that the birth of Theodora's daughter can well be placed is ca 515 (if she gave birth to Anastasius at the age of 15 and he married Joannina at the age of 18) [3] [4]

The real objection to Justinian's paternity of Theodora's daughter is that she is referred to invariably as the daughter of Theodora, not the daughter of Justinian and Theodora. [3]

The moment Theodora was dead (in 548), Antonina took her daughter away from the young Anastasius, thereby "gaining a great reputation for heartlessness in the eyes of all men" since the couple were devoted to each other. Her reason, according to Procopius was that she "scorned a grandson of Theodora as a kinsman." [3]


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Contents

The first emperor, Augustus, inherited a Senate whose membership had been increased to 900 Senators by his adoptive father, Julius Caesar. Augustus sought to reduce the size of the Senate, and did so through three revisions to the list of Senators. [1] By the time that these revisions had been completed, the Senate had been reduced to 600 members, and after this point, the size of the Senate was never again drastically altered. To reduce the size of the Senate, Augustus expelled Senators who were of low birth, [1] and then he reformed the rules which specified how an individual could become a senator. Under Augustus' reforms, a senator had to be a citizen of free birth, have not been convicted of any crimes under lex Julia de vi private, and have property worth at least 1,000,000 sesterces. [2]

Under the Empire, as was the case during the late Republic, one could become a senator by being elected quaestor. Under the Empire, however, one could only stand for election to the Quaestorship if one was of senatorial rank, and to be of senatorial rank, one had to be the son of a senator. [1] If an individual was not of senatorial rank, there were two ways for that individual to become a senator. Under the first method, the Emperor granted that individual the authority to stand for election to the Quaestorship, [1] while under the second method, the Emperor appointed that individual to the Senate by issuing a decree (the adlectio). [3]

Beginning in 9 BC, with the passage of Augustus' lex Julia de senatu habendo, [2] an official list of Senators (the album senatorium) was maintained and revised each year. Individuals were added to the list if they had recently satisfied the requirements for entry into the Senate, and were removed from the list if they no longer satisfied the requirements necessary to maintain Senate membership. [3] The list named each senator by order of rank. [3] The Emperor always outranked all of his fellow Senators and was followed by "Consuls" (the highest-ranking magistrate) and former Consuls, then by "Praetors" (the next highest ranking magistrate) and former Praetors, and so on. A senator's tenure in elective office was considered when determining rank, while Senators who had been elected to an office did not necessarily outrank Senators who had been appointed to that same office by the Emperor [3]

Members of the senatorial order were distinguished by a broad reddish-purple stripe edging their togas – the formal dress of all Roman citizens.

Under the Empire, the power that the Emperor held over the Senate was absolute, which was due, in part, to the fact that the Emperor held office for life. [4] During Senate meetings, the Emperor sat between the two Consuls, [5] and usually acted as the presiding officer. Senators of the early Empire could ask extraneous questions or request that a certain action be taken by the Senate. Higher ranking senators spoke before lower ranking senators, although the Emperor could speak at any time. [5] Besides the Emperor, Consuls, and Praetors could also preside over the Senate.

The Senate ordinarily met in the Curia Julia, usually on either the Kalends (the first day of the month), or the Ides (around the fifteenth day of the month), although scheduled meetings occurred more frequently in September and October. Other meetings were held on an ad hoc basis. [3] Under Augustus, a quorum was set at 400 Senators, although eventually excessive absenteeism forced the Senate to lower the number of Senators necessary for a quorum, and, on some matters, to revoke the quorum rules altogether. [5]

Most of the bills that came before the Senate was presented by the Emperor or his supporters in the body. In the early principate, Augustus and Tiberius made conscious efforts to hide their influence on the body, lobbying in private instead of directly proposing legislation. [2] Since no senator could stand for election to a magisterial office without the Emperor's approval, Senators usually did not vote against bills that had been presented by the Emperor. [ citation needed ] If a senator disapproved of a bill, he usually showed his disapproval by not attending the Senate meeting on the day that the bill was to be voted on. [6] Each Emperor selected a quaestor to compile the proceedings of the Senate into a document (the acta senatus), which included proposed bills, official documents, and a summary of speeches that had been presented before the Senate. The document was archived, while parts of it were published (in a document called the acta diurna or "daily doings") and then distributed to the public. [6]

According to the Historia Augusta (Elagabalus 4.2 and 12.3) emperor Elagabalus had his mother or grandmother take part in Senate proceedings. "And Elagabalus was the only one of all the emperors under whom a woman attended the senate like a man, just as though she belonged to the senatorial order" (David Magie's translation). According to the same work, Elagabalus also established a women's senate called the senaculum, which enacted rules to be applied to matrons, regarding clothing, chariot riding, the wearing of jewelry etc. (Elagabalus 4.3 and Aurelian 49.6). Before this, Agrippina the Younger, mother of Nero, had been listening to Senate proceedings, concealed behind a curtain, according to Tacitus (Annales, 13.5).

While the Roman assemblies continued to meet after the founding of the Empire, their powers were all transferred to the Senate, and so senatorial decrees (senatus consulta) acquired the full force of law. [4] The legislative powers of the Imperial Senate were principal of a financial and an administrative nature, although the senate did retain a range of powers over the provinces. [4] The Senate could also regulate festivals and religious cults, grant special honors, excuse an individual (usually the Emperor) from legal liability, manage temples and public games, and even enact tax laws (but only with the acquiescence of the Emperor). [4] However, it had no real authority over either the state religion or over public lands.

During the early Roman Empire, all judicial powers that had been held by the Roman assemblies were also transferred to the Senate. For example, the senate now held jurisdiction over criminal trials. In these cases, a consul presided, the senators constituted the jury, and the verdict was handed down in the form of a decree (senatus consultum), [4] [7] and, while a verdict could not be appealed, the Emperor could pardon a convicted individual through a veto. Each province that was under the jurisdiction of the Senate had its own court, and, upon the recommendation of a consul, decisions of these provincial courts could be appealed to the Senate. [7]

In theory, the Senate elected new emperors, while in conjunction with the popular assemblies, it would then confer upon the new emperor his command powers (imperium). [7] After an emperor had died or abdicated his office, the Senate would often deify him, although sometimes it would pass a decree (damnatio memoriae or "damnation from memory") which would attempt to cancel every trace of that emperor from the life of Rome, as if he had never existed. [7] The emperor Tiberius transferred all electoral powers from the assemblies to the Senate, [7] and, while theoretically, the senate elected new magistrates, the approval of the Emperor was always needed before an election could be finalized. Despite this fact, however, elections remained highly contested and vigorously fought. [7]

Under Vespasian (69-79 AD) senators were accorded an increased role as senior officials of the Imperial household in Rome or as provincial rulers directly representing the emperor. At the same time, members of the Equestrian order were employed in administrative positions that earlier emperors had reserved for freedmen. In the case of the Senate this expanded responsibility ensured an increased opportunity for providing advice and exercising authority. At the end of the Flavian dynasty the Senate was able to choose Nerva as the new emperor – the first time under the Empire that such an initiative had been possible. [8] However, after the death of Marcus Aurelius, the Senate became increasingly irrelevant, as Emperors become more hostile to its members and less frequently consulted it. [2] By the Severan dynasty, the Senatorial class was also increasingly separated from the actual operations of government, which were increasingly taken over by equestrians and other members of the Imperial bureaucracy. [2]

Around 300 AD, the Emperor Diocletian enacted a series of constitutional reforms. In one such reform, Diocletian asserted the right of the Emperor to take power without the theoretical consent of the Senate, thus depriving the Senate of its status as the ultimate depository of supreme power. Diocletian's reforms also ended whatever illusion had remained that the Senate had independent legislative, judicial, or electoral powers. The Senate did, however, retain its legislative powers over public games in Rome, and over the senatorial order. The Senate also retained the power to try treason cases, and to elect some magistrates, but only with the permission of the Emperor. In the final years of the Empire, the Senate would sometimes try to appoint their own emperor, such as in the case of Eugenius who was later defeated by forces loyal to Theodosius I. The Senate remained the last stronghold of the traditional Roman religion in the face of the spreading Christianity, and several times attempted to facilitate the return of the Altar of Victory, first removed by Constantius II, to the senatorial curia.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Roman Senate continued to function under the barbarian chieftain Odoacer, and then under Theoderic the Great who founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom. The authority of the Senate rose considerably under barbarian leaders who sought to protect the institution. This period was characterized by the rise of prominent Roman senatorial families such as the Anicii, while the Senate's leader, the princeps senatus, often served as the right hand of the barbarian leader. It is known that the Senate installed Laurentius as antipope in 498 despite the fact that both King Theoderic the Great and Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus supported Pope Symmachus.

The peaceful co-existence of senatorial and barbarian rule continued until the Ostrogothic leader Theodahad began an uprising against Emperor Justinian I and took the senators as hostages. Several senators were executed in 552 as a revenge for the death of the Ostrogothic king Totila. After Rome was recaptured by the Imperial (Byzantine) army, the Senate was restored, but the institution (like classical Rome itself) had been mortally weakened by the long war between the Byzantines and the Ostrogoths. Many senators had been killed and many of those who had fled to the East chose to remain there thanks to favorable legislation passed by emperor Justinian, who however abolished virtually all senatorial offices in Italy. The importance of the Roman Senate thus declined rapidly. In 578 and again in 580, the Senate sent envoys to Constantinople who delivered 3000 pounds of gold as a gift to the new emperor Tiberius II Constantinus along with a plea for help against the Lombards who had invaded Italy ten years earlier. Pope Gregory I, in a sermon from 593 (Senatus deest, or.18), lamented the almost complete disappearance of the senatorial order and the decline of the prestigious institution. It is not clearly known when the Roman Senate disappeared in the West, but it is known from Gregorian register that the Senate acclaimed new statues of Emperor Phocas and Empress Leontia in 603. [9] The institution must have vanished by 630 when the Curia was transformed into a church by Pope Honorius I. The Senate did continue to exist in the Eastern Roman Empire's capital Constantinople, however, having been instituted there during the reign of Constantine I. The Byzantine Senate survived until at least the mid-14th century, before the ancient institution finally vanished from history.


Anastasius II

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Anastasius II, (born, Rome [Italy]—died Nov. 19, 498, Rome), pope from Nov. 24, 496, to 498.

In notifying the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I of his accession, Anastasius expressed a conciliatory attitude toward the late patriarch Acacius of Constantinople, who had been deposed and excommunicated in 484 by Pope St. Felix III. The Acacian Schism resulted from this act. The pope’s reception of the Byzantine deacon Photinus, sent to Rome by a supporter of Acacius, was followed by a schism at Rome and the charge that the pope desired to rehabilitate Acacius. Anastasius died in the midst of the controversy, and his actions have led many to consider him a traitor to the western cause.

A confused tradition blamed Anastasius for being led by Photinus into heretical opinions concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ. Dante (Inferno XI, 8) placed him among the heretics in the sixth circle of hell.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.


Gelasius I on Spiritual and Temporal Power, 494

Letter of Pope Gelasius to Emperor Anastasius on the superiority of the spiritual over temporal power: The pope's view of the natural superiority of the spiriitual over the temporal power finds a clear expression the following remarkable letter of Gelasius I (494).

There are two powers, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. Of these that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, dear son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in things divine you bow your head humbly before the leaders of the clergy and await from their hands the means of your salvation. In the reception and proper disposition of the heavenly mysteries you recognize that you should be subordinate rather than superior to the religious order, and that in these matters you depend on their judgment rather than wish to force them to follow your will.

If the ministers of religion, recognizing the supremacy granted you from heaven in matters affecting the public order, obey your laws, lest otherwise they might obstruct the course of secular affairs by irrelevant considerations, with what readiness should you not yield them obedience to whom is assigned the dispensing of the sacred mysteries of religion. Accordingly, just as there is no slight danger m the case of the priests if they refrain from speaking when the service of the divinity requires, so there is no little risk for those who disdain - which God forbid -when they should obey. And if it is fitting that the hearts of the faithful should submit to all priests in general who properly administer divine affairs, how much the more is obedience due to the bishop of that see which the Most High ordained to be above ,ill others, and which is consequently dutifully honored by the devotion of the whole Church.

translated in J. H. Robinson,

Readings in European History , (Boston: Ginn, 1905), pp. 72-73 This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

(c)Paul Halsall Jan 1996
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The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University. Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]


List of Byzantine emperors

This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD, which marks the conventional start of the Byzantine Empire (or the Eastern Roman Empire), to its fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 AD. Only the emperors who were recognized as legitimate rulers and exercised sovereign authority are included, to the exclusion of junior co-emperors (symbasileis) who never attained the status of sole or senior ruler, as well as of the various usurpers or rebels who claimed the imperial title.

Traditionally, the line of Byzantine emperors is held to begin with the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, who rebuilt the city of Byzantium as an imperial capital, Constantinople, and who was regarded by the later emperors as the model ruler. It was under Constantine that the major characteristics of what is considered the Byzantine state emerged: a Roman polity centered at Constantinople and culturally dominated by the Greek East, with Christianity as the state religion.

The Byzantine Empire was the direct legal continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire following the division of the Roman Empire in 395. Emperors listed below up to Theodosius I in 395 were sole or joint rulers of the entire Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire continued until 476. Byzantine emperors considered themselves to be rightful Roman emperors in direct succession from Augustus ΐ] the term "Byzantine" was coined by Western historiography only in the 16th century. The use of the title "Roman Emperor" by those ruling from Constantinople was not contested until after the Papal coronation of the Frankish Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor (25 December 800 AD), done partly in response to the Byzantine coronation of Empress Irene, whose claim, as a woman, was not recognized by Pope Leo III.

The title of all Emperors preceding Heraclius was officially "Augustus", although other titles such as Dominus were also used. Their names were preceded by Imperator Caesar and followed by Augustus. Following Heraclius, the title commonly became the Greek Basileus (Gr. Βασιλεύς), which had formerly meant sovereign but was then used in place of Augustus. Following the establishment of the rival Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe, the title "Autokrator" (Gr. Αὐτοκράτωρ) was increasingly used. In later centuries, the Emperor could be referred to by Western Christians as the "Emperor of the Greeks". Towards the end of the Empire, the standard imperial formula of the Byzantine ruler was "[Emperor's name] in Christ, Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" (cf. Ῥωμαῖοι and Rûm).

In the medieval period, dynasties were common, but the principle of hereditary succession was never formalized in the Empire, Α] and hereditary succession was a custom rather than an inviolable principle. Ώ]


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