|Leo V the Armenian|
|Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans|
|Emperor of the Byzantine Empire|
|Reign||22 June 813 – 25 December 820|
|Predecessor||Michael I Rangabe|
|Died||24 December 820|
|Issue|| Symbatios-Constantine |
Leo V the Armenian (Greek : Λέων ὁ ἐξ Ἀρμενίας, Leōn ho ex Armenias; born c. 755 - died 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.
Leo was the son of the patrician Bardas, who was of Armenian descent (according to Theophanes Continuatus, Leo was also of 'Assyrian',that is Syrian, 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 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 (a modern scholar suggests that this Leo is not the same as the emperor). Punishment also included deprivation of his military rank, beating and hair cutting.
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 diplomatic move, he wrote a letterto 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. A further step in preventing future usurpations was the castration of Michael's sons.
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,Krum participated in the battle and abandoned the battlefield heavily injured.
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.
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 the 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".
Even sources vehemently hostile to Leo (Theophanes Continuatus, [ citation needed ]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).
All known children of Leo V are traditionally attributed to his wife Theodosia, a daughter of the patrician Arsaber.Genesius records four sons:
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, as well as the accounts given by Theophanes Continuatus.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, but 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. 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. Adontz also suggested Constantine VII had made a mistake in the generations separating Maiactes and Basil. This suggests that Basil was a great-grandson of Maiactes and not old enough to have seen the wars with Krum of Bulgaria, which would make Leo V and Theodosia fourth-generation ancestors of Basil.
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.
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.
Michael I Rhangabe was Byzantine Emperor from 811 to 813.
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.
Theophanes the Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy who became a monk and chronicler. He served in the court of Emperor Leo IV the Khazar before taking up the religious life. Theophanes attended the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 and resisted the iconoclasm of Leo V the Armenian, for which he was imprisoned. He died shortly after his release.
This is an alphabetical index of people, places, things, and concepts related to or originating from the Byzantine Empire. Feel free to add more, and create missing pages. You can track changes to the articles included in this list from here.
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.
Theodora was a Byzantine empress as the spouse of the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, and regent of her son, Michael III, from Theophilos' death in 842 to 855. For her restoration of the veneration of icons, which ended the Byzantine Iconoclasm, she is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church; her Feast Day is 11 February. Several churches hold her as their patron saint.
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.
Theodotos I Kassiteras, Latinized as Theodotus I Cassiteras Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1 April 815 to January 821.
Byzantine Iconoclasm refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities within the Orthodox Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy. The "First Iconoclasm", as it is sometimes called, existed between about 726 and 787. The "Second Iconoclasm" was between 814 and 842. According to the traditional view, Byzantine Iconoclasm was started by a ban on religious images by Emperor Leo III and continued under his successors. It was accompanied by widespread destruction of images and persecution of supporters of the veneration of images. The pope remained firmly in support of the use of images throughout the period, and the whole episode widened the growing divergence between the Byzantine and Carolingian traditions in what was still a unified church, as well as facilitating the reduction or removal of Byzantine political control over parts of Italy.
The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Isaurian or Syrian dynasty from 717 to 802. The Isaurian emperors were successful in defending and consolidating the Empire against the Caliphate after the onslaught of the early Muslim conquests, but were less successful in Europe, where they suffered setbacks against the Bulgars, had to give up the Exarchate of Ravenna, and lost influence over Italy and the Papacy to the growing power of the Franks.
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.
Prokopia was the Empress consort of Michael I Rhangabe of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a daughter of Nikephoros I. The name of her mother is not known. Her only known sibling is Staurakios.
Anna was the wife of Artabasdos, one of two rival Byzantine Emperors in a civil war which lasted from June, 741 to November, 743. The other Emperor was her brother, Constantine V.
Genesius is the conventional name given to the anonymous Byzantine author of Armenian origin of the tenth century chronicle, On the reign of the emperors. His first name is sometimes given as Joseph, combining him with a "Joseph Genesius" quoted in the preamble to John Skylitzes. Traditionally, he has been regarded as the son or grandson of Constantine Maniakes.
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.
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 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.
The history of the Eastern Roman Empire (324–1453) is generally considered to fall into three distinct eras:
Euthymius of Sardis was metropolitan bishop of Sardis between ca. 785 and ca. 804, and a leading iconophile during the period of Byzantine Iconoclasm. Martyred in 831, he is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrated on 26 December.
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| Byzantine Emperor |
22 June 813 – 25 December 820
with Constantine (Symbatios) (22 June 813 – 25 December 820)