|Emperor of the Romans|
|Reign||4 June 713 – 715|
|Died||1 June 719|
Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople
(now Istanbul, Turkey)
|Dynasty||Twenty Years' Anarchy|
|Twenty Years' Anarchy|
Anastasius II or Anastasios II (Latin: Artemius Anastasius; Greek: Ἀρτέμιος Ἀναστάσιος, romanized: Artemios Anastasios, died 719) was the Byzantine emperor from 713 to 715. He is noted for reversing the religious policies of his predecessor and for appointing the theologian Germanus as patriarch of Constantinople. He was deposed by Theodosius during the Byzantine campaign against the Umayyad Caliphate.
Anastasius was a Greek, originally had the baptismal name of Artemios (Greek: Ἀρτέμιος; male form of Artemis), and had served as a bureaucrat and Imperial secretary (asekretis) for his predecessors as Emperor. Troops of the Opsikion Theme stationed in Thrace overthrew Emperor Philippicus Bardanes (Philippikos) in 713; they then acclaimed Artemios as Emperor. He chose Anastasius as his regnal name. Soon after his accession, Anastasius II imposed discipline on the army and executed those officers who had been directly involved in the conspiracy against Philippicus.
Anastasius upheld the decisions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council and deposed the Monothelete Patriarch John VI of Constantinople, replacing him with the orthodox Patriarch Germanus in 715. This also put an end to the short-lived local schism with the Catholic Church.
The advancing Umayyad Caliphate surrounded the Empire by land and sea (they penetrated as far as Galatia in 714), and Anastasius attempted to restore peace by diplomatic means. His emissaries having failed in Damascus, he undertook the restoration of Constantinople's walls and the rebuilding of the Roman fleet. However, the death of the Caliph al-Walid I in 715 gave Anastasius an opportunity to turn the tables on his rival. He dispatched an army under Leo the Isaurian, afterwards emperor, to invade Syria, and he had his fleet concentrate on Rhodes with orders not only to resist the approach of the enemy but to destroy their naval stores.
At Rhodes, Opsician troops, still resenting the Emperor's strict measures, mutinied, slew the admiral John, and proclaimed as emperor Theodosius III (Theodosios), a tax-collector of low extraction. After a six-month siege, Constantinople was taken by Theodosius; Anastasius, who had fled to Nicaea, was eventually compelled to submit to the new emperor in 716 and retired to a monastery in Thessalonica.
In 719, Anastasius headed a revolt against Leo III, who had succeeded Theodosius, receiving considerable support, including auxiliaries reportedly provided by Tervel of Bulgaria. However the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, who offers this information elsewhere, confuses Tervel with his eventual successor Kormesiy, so perhaps Anastasios was allied with the younger ruler. Another explanation holds that Kormesiy represented Tervel during the Bulgarians' negotiation with Anastasius. In any case, the rebel forces advanced on Constantinople. The Bulgarians betrayed Anastasius, leading to his defeat. The enterprise failed, and Anastasius fell into Leo's hands and was put to death by his orders on 1 June. He was killed along with other conspirators including Niketas Xylinitas and the archbishop of Thessaloniki. Anastasius' wife Irene had him buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles.
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- Sheppard, Si (2020-03-19). Constantinople AD 717–18: The Crucible of History. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4728-3693-9.
- "Roman Emperors – DIR Anastasius II". De Imperatorbis Romanis – An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Australian Catholic University. 25 November 2000. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- Ostrogorsky, George (1956). History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
- The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
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