He was paralyzed by a sword wound to his neck while fighting against the Bulgars at the Battle of Pliska (July 26, 811), in which his father was killed. Stauracius was saved by the Imperial guard which retreated from the battlefield, protecting the crown heir. Because of his wound he was formally crowned at Adrianople, the first time an emperor had been crowned outside Constantinople since the deposition of the last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustus, in 476.
During his short reign there was a constant battle at the imperial court for an heir. Stauracius' sisters tried to influence him to choose their husbands. He lost patience with them and threatened to abolish the Empire and declare a republic. In the end one of his sisters gained enough support to arrange for her husband, Michael I Rhangabes, to depose Stauracius on October 2, 811. Stauracius retired to a monastery where he died five months later.