Anastasius I was born in Dyrrhachium (now Durrs, Albania). As a palace official in Constantinople, he was known for his ability and integrity. Anastasius was proclaimed emperor on the death of Zeno in 491; later that same year, he married Zeno’s widow. Anastasius’s reign was troubled by a revolt of the Isaurians (whom he had removed from power), a war with Persia (502-05), and invasions of Huns, Slavs, and Bulgars.
To protect the capital and its vicinity, Anastasius built a wall that still bears his name about 56 km (about 35 mi) west of Constantinople. Unpopular with many because he favored the Monophysitic Doctrine, he was praised by others for suppressing licentious dances and gladiatorial combats with wild beasts. When he died, the empire was intact. He left a substantial treasury, which he had increased by about 320,000 pounds of gold, and a well-disciplined army.