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Leo V the Armenian
Leo V the Armenian
(Greek: Λέων ὁ ἐξ Ἀρμενίας, Leōn ho ex Armenias; 775 – 24 December 820) was Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
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.

Contents

1 Life 2 Children 3 Possible descendants 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Life[edit] 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
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]

Proclamation of Leo as emperor, miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes

Recalled by Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe
in 811, Leo became governor of the Anatolic theme
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
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] With Krum of Bulgaria
Krum of Bulgaria
blockading Constantinople
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
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. 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
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
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] 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[edit] 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]

Symbatios (Συμβάτιος), renamed Constantine, co-emperor from 814 to 820. Castrated and exiled following the assassination of his father. Basil. Castrated and exiled following the assassination of his father. Still alive in 847, recorded to have supported the election of Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople. Gregory. Castrated and exiled following the assassination of his father. Still alive in 847, recorded to have supported the election of Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople. Theodosios (died in 820). Died soon after his castration.

The existence of a daughter has been debated by historians and genealogists. The tentative name "Anna" has been suggested. Possible descendants[edit] Nicholas Adontz
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
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
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
Constantine VII
and Romanos II. Almost every emperor that would claim descent from this woman.[15] See also[edit]

Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
portal

List of Byzantine emperors

References[edit]

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Leo (emperors)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 439–440. 

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

External links[edit]

Leo V coinage

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leo V.

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

v t e

Roman and Byzantine emperors

Principate 27 BC – 235 AD

Augustus Tiberius Caligula Claudius Nero Galba Otho Vitellius Vespasian Titus Domitian Nerva Trajan Hadrian Antoninus Pius Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
and Lucius Verus Commodus Pertinax Didius Julianus (Pescennius Niger) (Clodius Albinus) Septimius Severus Caracalla
Caracalla
with Geta Macrinus
Macrinus
with Diadumenian Elagabalus Severus Alexander

Crisis 235–284

Maximinus Thrax Gordian I
Gordian I
and Gordian II Pupienus
Pupienus
and Balbinus Gordian III Philip the Arab
Arab
with Philip II Decius
Decius
with Herennius Etruscus Hostilian Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus
with Volusianus Aemilianus Valerian Gallienus
Gallienus
with Saloninus and Valerian II Claudius
Claudius
Gothicus Quintillus Aurelian Tacitus Florian Probus Carus Carinus
Carinus
and Numerian

Gallic Emperors: Postumus (Laelianus) Marius Victorinus (Domitianus II) Tetricus I
Tetricus I
with Tetricus II
Tetricus II
as Caesar

Dominate 284–395

Diocletian
Diocletian
(whole empire) Diocletian
Diocletian
(East) and Maximian
Maximian
(West) Diocletian
Diocletian
(East) and Maximian
Maximian
(West) with Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
(West) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
(West) with Severus (West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Severus (West) with Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Maxentius
Maxentius
(West) with Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Licinius
Licinius
I (West) with Constantine the Great (West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Maxentius
Maxentius
(alone) Licinius
Licinius
I (West) and Maximinus II (East) with Constantine the Great (Self-proclaimed Augustus) and Valerius Valens Licinius
Licinius
I (East) and Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) with Licinius
Licinius
II, Constantine II, and Crispus
Crispus
as Caesares (Martinian) Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(whole empire) with son Crispus
Crispus
as Caesar Constantine II Constans
Constans
I Magnentius
Magnentius
with Decentius as Caesar Constantius II
Constantius II
with Vetranio Julian Jovian Valentinian the Great Valens Gratian Valentinian II Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
with Victor Theodosius the Great (Eugenius)

Western Empire 395–480

Honorius Constantine III with son Constans
Constans
II) Constantius III Joannes Valentinian III Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
with Palladius Avitus Majorian Libius Severus Anthemius Olybrius Glycerius Julius Nepos Romulus Augustulus

Eastern/ Byzantine Empire 395–1204

Arcadius Theodosius II Pulcheria Marcian Leo I the Thracian Leo II Zeno (first reign) Basiliscus
Basiliscus
with son Marcus as co-emperor Zeno (second reign) Anastasius I Dicorus Justin I Justinian the Great Justin II Tiberius
Tiberius
II Constantine Maurice with son Theodosius as co-emperor Phocas Heraclius Constantine III Heraklonas Constans
Constans
II Constantine IV
Constantine IV
with brothers Heraclius
Heraclius
and Tiberius
Tiberius
and then Justinian II as co-emperors Justinian II
Justinian II
(first reign) Leontios Tiberios III Justinian II
Justinian II
(second reign) with son Tiberius
Tiberius
as co-emperor Philippikos Anastasios II Theodosius III Leo III the Isaurian Constantine V Artabasdos Leo IV the Khazar Constantine VI Irene Nikephoros I Staurakios Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe
with son Theophylact as co-emperor Leo V the Armenian
Leo V the Armenian
with Symbatios-Constantine as junior emperor Michael II
Michael II
the Amorian Theophilos Michael III Basil I
Basil I
the Macedonian Leo VI the Wise Alexander Constantine VII
Constantine VII
Porphyrogennetos Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos
with sons Christopher, Stephen and Constantine as junior co-emperors Romanos II Nikephoros II Phokas John I Tzimiskes Basil II Constantine VIII Zoë (first reign) and Romanos III Argyros Zoë (first reign) and Michael IV the Paphlagonian Michael V Kalaphates Zoë (second reign) with Theodora Zoë (second reign) and Constantine IX Monomachos Constantine IX Monomachos
Constantine IX Monomachos
(sole emperor) Theodora Michael VI Bringas Isaac I Komnenos Constantine X Doukas Romanos IV Diogenes Michael VII Doukas
Michael VII Doukas
with brothers Andronikos and Konstantios and son Constantine Nikephoros III Botaneiates Alexios I Komnenos John II Komnenos
John II Komnenos
with Alexios Komnenos as co-emperor Manuel I Komnenos Alexios II Komnenos Andronikos I Komnenos Isaac II Angelos Alexios III Angelos Alexios IV Angelos Nicholas Kanabos (chosen by the Senate) Alexios V Doukas

Empire of Nicaea 1204–1261

Constantine Laskaris Theodore I Laskaris John III Doukas Vatatzes Theodore II Laskaris John IV Laskaris

Eastern/ Byzantine Empire 1261–1453

Michael VIII Palaiologos Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
with Michael IX Palaiologos
Michael IX Palaiologos
as co-emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos John V Palaiologos John VI Kantakouzenos
John VI Kantakouzenos
with John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
and Matthew Kantakouzenos as co-emperors John V Palaiologos Andronikos IV Palaiologos John VII Palaiologos Andronikos V Palaiologos Manuel II Palaiologos John VIII Palaiologos Constantine XI Palaiologos

Italics indicates a co-emperor, while underlining ind

.