Leo V the Armenian

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Leo V
Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans
Leo V solidus.jpg
Gold solidus of Leo V, with his son and co-emperor, Constantine
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
Reign 22 June 813 – 25 December 820
Predecessor Michael I Rangabe
Successor Michael II
Co-emperor Symbatios-Constantine
Born 775[ citation needed ]
Died 24 December 820 (aged 45) [1]
Consort Theodosia
Issue Symbatios-Constantine
Basil
Gregory
Theodosios
Father Bardas

Leo V the Armenian (Greek : Λέων ὁ ἐξ Ἀρμενίας, Leōn ho ex Armenias; 775 – 24 December 820) was Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 813 to 820. A senior general, he forced his predecessor, Michael I Rangabe, to abdicate and assumed the throne. He ended the decade-long war with the Bulgars, and initiated the second period of Byzantine Iconoclasm. He was assassinated by supporters of Michael the Amorian, one of his most trusted generals, who succeeded him on the throne.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Michael I Rangabe byzantine emperor

Michael I Rhangabe was Byzantine Emperor from 811 to 813.

Contents

Life

Leo was the son of the patrician Bardas, who was of Armenian descent (according to Theophanes Continuatus, Leo was also of 'Assyrian', [2] that is Syrian, [3] descent). Leo served in 803 under the rebel general Bardanes Tourkos, whom he deserted in favor of Emperor Nikephoros I. The Emperor rewarded Leo with two palaces, but later exiled him for marrying the daughter of another rebel, the patrician Arsaber. On the other hand, a contemporary source [4] says that one general Leo of the Armeniakon theme was punished for his humiliating defeat by the Arabs during which he also lost the salaries of his thematic units [5] (a modern scholar [6] suggests that this Leo is not the same with the emperor). Punishment also included depriving of his military rank, beating and hair cutting. [7]

Armenia Republic in South Caucasus in West Asia

Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located in Western Asia on the Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

Theophanes Continuatus or Scriptores post Theophanem is the Latin name commonly applied to a collection of historical writings preserved in the 11th-century Vat. gr. 167 manuscript. Its name derives from its role as the continuation, covering the years 813–961, of the chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, which reaches from 285 to 813. The manuscript consists of four distinct works, in style and form very unlike the annalistic approach of Theophanes.

Bardanes, nicknamed Tourkos, "the Turk", was a Byzantine general of Armenian origin who launched an unsuccessful rebellion against Emperor Nikephoros I in 803. Although a major supporter of Byzantine empress Irene of Athens, soon after her overthrow he was appointed by Nikephoros as commander-in-chief of the Anatolian armies. From this position, he launched a revolt in July 803, probably in opposition to Nikephoros's economic and religious policies. His troops marched towards Constantinople, but failed to win popular support. At this point, some of his major supporters deserted him and, reluctant to engage the loyalist forces in battle, Bardanes gave up and chose to surrender himself. He retired as a monk to a monastery he had founded. There he was blinded, possibly on Nikephoros's orders.

Proclamation of Leo as emperor, miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes MadridSkylitzesFol12vDetail.jpg
Proclamation of Leo as emperor, miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes

Recalled by Michael I Rangabe in 811, Leo became governor of the Anatolic theme and conducted himself well in a war against the Arabs in 812, defeating the forces of the Cilician thughur under Thabit ibn Nasr. Leo survived the Battle of Versinikia in 813 by abandoning the battlefield, but nevertheless took advantage of this defeat to force the abdication of Michael I in his favor on 11 July 813. In a diplomatist move, he wrote a letter [8] to Patriarch Nikephoros in order to reassure him of his orthodoxy (Nikephoros being obviously afraid of a possible iconoclast revival). One month later, during his entrance to the Palace quarter, he kneeled before the icon of Christ at the Chalke Gate. [9] A further step in preventing future usurpations was the castration of Michael's sons. [10]

Thabit ibn Nasr ibn Malik al-Khuza'i was an Abbasid general and governor of the Cilician frontier zone with the Byzantine Empire in 808–813.

Battle of Versinikia battle

The Battle of Versinikia was fought in 813 between the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire, near the city of Adrianople (Edirne) in present-day Turkey.

With Krum of Bulgaria blockading Constantinople by land, Leo V had inherited a precarious situation. He offered to negotiate in person with the invader and attempted to have him killed in an ambush. The stratagem failed, and although Krum abandoned his siege of the capital, he captured and depopulated Adrianople and Arkadioupolis (Lüleburgaz). When Krum died in spring 814, Leo V defeated the Bulgarians in the environs of Mesembria (Nesebar) and the two states concluded a 30-year peace in 815. According to some sources, [11] [12] Krum participated in the battle and abandoned the battlefield heavily injured.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

The siege of Adrianople in 813 was a part of the wars of the Byzantine Empire with the Bulgarian khan Krum. It began soon after the Byzantine field army was defeated in the battle of Versinikia on 22 June. At first the besieging force was commanded by Krum's brother. The khan himself went on with an army to Constantinople. After an unsuccessful Byzantine attempt to murder him ruined all prospects for negotiations with them, Krum ravaged much of Eastern Thrace and then turned against Adrianople which was still under siege. The city—one of the most important Byzantine fortresses in Thrace—held out for a while despite being attacked with siege engines. Yet, without any help from outside, the garrison was forced to capitulate due to starvation. On Krum's order the population of Adrianople and the surrounding area was transferred to Bulgarian territory north of the Danube.

Lüleburgaz Place in Kırklareli, Turkey

Lüleburgaz is a town and district of Kırklareli Province in the Marmara region of Turkey.

With the iconodule policy of his predecessors associated with defeats at the hands of Bulgarians and Arabs, Leo V reinstituted Iconoclasm after deposing patriarch Nikephoros and convoking a synod at Constantinople in 815. The Emperor used his rather moderate iconoclast policy to seize the properties of iconodules and monasteries, such as the rich Stoudios Monastery, whose influential iconodule abbot, Theodore the Studite, he exiled.

Iconoclasm the destruction of religious icons

Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are erroneous or pernicious".

Theodore the Studite Byzantine saint

Theodore the Studite was a Byzantine Greek monk and abbot of the Stoudios Monastery in Constantinople. He played a major role in the revivals both of Byzantine monasticism and of classical literary genres in Byzantium. He is known as a zealous opponent of iconoclasm, one of several conflicts that set him at odds with both emperor and patriarch.

Leo V appointed competent military commanders from among his own comrades-in-arms, including Michael the Amorian and Thomas the Slav. He also persecuted the Paulicians. When Leo jailed Michael for suspicion of conspiracy, the latter organized the assassination of the Emperor in the palace chapel of St. Stephen on Christmas Eve, 820. Leo was attending the matins service when a group of assassins disguised as monks suddenly threw off their robes and drew their weapons. In the dim light they mistook the officiating priest for the Emperor and the confusion allowed Leo to snatch a heavy cross from the altar and defend himself. He called for his guards, but the conspirators had barred the doors and within a few moments a sword stroke had severed his arm, and he fell before the communion-table, where his body was hewed in pieces. His remains were dumped unceremoniously in the snow and the assassins hurried to the dungeons to free Michael II. Unfortunately for them Leo had hidden the key on his person, and since it was too early in the morning to find a blacksmith Michael was hastily crowned as Emperor with the iron clasps still around his legs. Leo's family (including his mother and his wife Theodosia) was exiled to monasteries in Princes' Islands. His four sons (including ex co-emperor Symbatios) were castrated, a procedure so brutally carried out that one of them died during the "operation". [13]

Michael II Byzantine emperor

Michael II, , surnamed the Amorian or the Stammerer, reigned as Byzantine Emperor from 25 December 820 to his death on 2 October 829, the first ruler of the Phrygian or Amorian dynasty.

Thomas the Slav Byzantine military commander

Thomas the Slav was a 9th-century Byzantine military commander, most notable for leading a wide-scale revolt in 821–23 against Emperor Michael II the Amorian.

Paulicianism

Paulicians were a Christian adoptionist sect from Armenia which formed in the 7th century, possibly influenced by Gnostic movement and religion of Marcionism and Manichaeism. According to medieval Byzantine sources, the group's name was derived from the 3rd century Bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata, but Paulicianists were often misidentified with Paulianists, while other derived their name from Paul the Apostle, hence the Paul's identity is disputed. It is considered they were formed by Constantine-Silvanus.

Even sources vehemently hostile to Leo (Theophanes Continuatus, [14] patriarch Nikephoros) acknowledge his competence in managing state affairs. Unfortunately, as with all iconoclast emperors, his actions and intentions cannot be easily reconstructed due to the extreme bias of the iconodule sources (there are no surviving contemporary iconoclast sources of any kind).[ citation needed ]

Children

All known children of Leo V are traditionally attributed to his wife Theodosia, a daughter of the patrician Arsaber. [15] Genesius records four sons: [16]

The existence of a daughter has been debated by historians and genealogists. The tentative name "Anna" has been suggested.

Possible descendants

Nicholas Adontz in his book The age and origins of the emperor Basil I (1933) expressed a theory that Leo V and Theodosia were ancestors of Basil I. The theory was partly based on the account of his ancestry given by Constantine VII, a grandson of Basil I. Also the accounts given by Theophanes Continuatus. [15]

Basil I, according to these accounts, was a son of peasants. His mother is named by Constantine VII as "Pankalo". The name of his father was not recorded. The names Symbatios and Constantine have been suggested. Both were names used by the eldest sons of Basil. With eldest sons of Byzantines typically named after their grandfathers. [15]

The paternal grandfather of Basil is named as Maiactes. The paternal grandmother was not named but was identified as a daughter of "Leo", a citizen of Constantinople. Adontz identified this Leo as Leo V. Which would make Leo V and Theodosia great-grandparents of Basil I. [15]

Adontz also suggested Constantine VII had made a mistake in the generations separating Maiactes and Basil. Suggesting Basil was a great-grandson of Maiactes and not old enough to have seen the wars with Krum of Bulgaria. Making Leo V and Theodosia actually fourth-generation ancestors of Basil. [15]

The theory has been accepted by several genealogists, including Christian Settipani in his search for descent from antiquity. The name "Anna" has been suggested for the daughter of Leo V and Theodosia, because it was given to daughters of Basil I, Leo VI the Wise, Constantine VII and Romanos II. Almost every emperor that would claim descent from this woman. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Bardas was a Byzantine noble and high-ranking minister. As the brother of Empress Theodora, he rose to high office under Theophilos. Although sidelined after Theophilos's death by Theodora and Theoktistos, in 855 he engineered Theoktistos's murder and became the de facto regent for his nephew, Michael III. Rising to the rank of Caesar, he was the effective ruler of the Byzantine Empire for ten years, a period which saw military success, renewed diplomatic and missionary activity, and an intellectual revival that heralded the Macedonian Renaissance. He was assassinated in 866 at the instigation of Michael III's new favourite, Basil the Macedonian, who a year later would usurp the throne for himself and install his own dynasty on the Byzantine throne.

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Byzantine Iconoclasm two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities

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Theodosia was the Empress consort of Leo V the Armenian. Theodosia was the daughter of Arsaber, a Byzantine patrician. The name and rank of her father were recorded by both Genesius and Theophanes Continuatus, the continuer to the chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor. The name of her mother is unknown.

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Constantine (son of Leo V) Byzantine emperor

Symbatios, variously also Sabbatios (Σαββάτιος) or Sambates (Σαμβάτης) in some sources, was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor Leo V the Armenian. Soon after the coronation of his father, he was crowned co-emperor and renamed Constantine (Κωνσταντῖνος). He reigned nominally along with his father until the latter's deposition in 820, after which he was exiled to Prote, one of the Princes Islands, as a monk.

Theophylact (son of Michael I) 9th-century Byzantine co-emperor

Theophylact or Theophylaktos was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor Michael I Rhangabe and grandson, on his mother's side, of Nikephoros I. He was junior co-emperor alongside his father for the duration of the latter's reign, and was tonsured, castrated, and exiled to Plate Island after his overthrow, under the monastic name Eustratius.

Gregory Pterotos was a Byzantine general and relative of Emperor Leo V the Armenian, who took part in the rebellion of Thomas the Slav against Leo's murderer, Michael II the Amorian.

Euthymius of Sardis

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References

  1. Chisholm, 1911
  2. Theophanes Continuatus, 6. 4–5
  3. Romilly James Heald Jenkins,Byzantium: The Imperial Centuries, AD 610-1071, University of Toronto Press, 1987, ISBN   0-802-066674, p.130
  4. Theophanes the Confessor, Χρονογραφία (Chronicle), 489. 17–21
  5. Theophanes Continuatus, 11. 3–14
  6. David Turner, The Origins and Accession of Leo V (813–820), Jahrburch der Osterreichischen Byzantinistik, 40, 1990, pp. 179
  7. Scriptor Incertus, 336. 10–12
  8. Theophanes the Confessor, Χρονογραφία (Chronicle), 502. 19–22
  9. Theophanes Continuatus, 18. 19–21
  10. Scriptor Incertus, 341. 10–11
  11. John Skylitzes, Synopsis of Histories (Σύνοψις Ἱστοριῶν), 13. 47–49
  12. Joannes Zonaras, Extracts of History (Επιτομή Ιστοριών), 381. 5–10
  13. Theophanes Continuatus, 40–41. 7
  14. Theophanes Continuatus, 30. 14–15
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chris Bennett, "The Relationship of Basil I to Leo V" (1995)
  16. Charles Cawley, "Medieval Lands" Leon V (August 2012)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Michael I
Byzantine Emperor
22 June 813 – 25 December 820
with Constantine (Symbatios) (22 June 813 – 25 December 820)
Succeeded by
Michael II