The Info List - Leontios

(or Leontius) (Greek: Λεόντιος, Latin: Leontius Augustus) (d. 15 February 706) was Byzantine emperor
Byzantine emperor
from 695 to 698. Little is known of his early life, other than that he was born in Isauria. He was given the title of patrikios, and made Strategos
of the Anatolic Theme
Anatolic Theme
under Emperor Justinian II. He led forces against the Umayyads
during the early years of Justinian's reign, securing victory and forcing the Umayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, to sue for peace. In 692, Justinian declared war upon the Umayyads
again, and sent Leontios
to campaign against them. However, he was defeated decisively after the Battle of Sebastopolis, and imprisoned for his failure by Justinian. He was released in 695, and given the title of Strategos
of Hellas. After being released, he led a rebellion against Justinian, and seized power, becoming emperor in the same year. He ruled until 697, when he was overthrown by Apsimar, a Droungarios who had taken part in a failed expedition that had been launched by Leontios, to recover Carthage. After seizing Constantinople, Apsimar took the royal name Tiberios III, and had Leontios' nose and tongue cut off. He was sent to the Monastery of Dalmatou, where he remained until February 706. By this time Justinian had retaken the throne; both Leontios
and Tiberios were executed.


1 History 2 References

2.1 Primary sources 2.2 Citations 2.3 Bibliography

3 See also 4 External links

History[edit] Before the reign of Justinian II, Leontios' life is somewhat obscure. It is known that he was originally from Isauria. During the reign of Justinian II, Leontios
was initially a patrikios, and strategos of the Anatolic Theme.[1] Leontios
led forces against the Umayyads, who were distracted by a war with the Zubayrids, at some point during the early reign of Justinian. The Umayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, sued for peace in 688, agreeing to increase the tribute payments from the Umayyad Caliphate to the Byzantine Empire, which had started under Emperor Constantine IV, to a weekly tribute of 1,000 pieces of gold, one horse, and one slave. Justinian invaded again around 692, because he felt the Umayyads
were in a weak position. The Umayyads
repulsed the Byzantine attackers and invaded North Africa
North Africa
and Anatolia. After the decisive defeat of the Byzantines by the Umayyads
at the Battle of Sebastopolis, Justinian blamed Leontios, and had him imprisoned in 692.[2][3] Leontios
was released in 695, in order to lead troops against the Umayyads, because Justinian feared losing the city of Carthage in the Exarchate of Africa.[2] Leontios
was made Strategos
of Hellas upon his release.[4][5] However, upon his release, Leontios
launched a revolt,[2] taking advantage of Justinian's upopularity. Justinian was vastly unpopular amongst the population, with the aristocracy opposed to his land policies, and the peasantry to his tax policies.[6] Leontios
led a march on the guards barracks, freeing those who were imprisoned by Justinian for opposing him. His force was joined by a host of Blues supporters, and then marched to the Hagia Sophia. He was met by Patriarch Kallinikos, who declared his support for Leontios' bid for the throne. Leontios
then led his forces to the Great Palace of Constantinople, and captured Justinian and his ministers.[7] They were brought to the Hippodrome, where Justinian's nose was cut off, a common practice in Byzantine culture, in order to remove threats to the throne.[6][8] After Justinian's nose was cut off, Leontios
exiled him to Cherson,[4][6] and his ministers were dragged by their feet from wagons, and then burned alive.[7] In 698, the Umayyads, led by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, invaded the Exarchate of Africa, and seized Carthage. Leontios
sent a fleet to retake the Exarchate, but the expedition failed.[7][9] The forces initially were able to retake Carthage, however it was swiftly retaken by the Umayyads
after the Byzantine fleet was decisively defeated just outside the harbor of the city.[10] One of the commanders of this expedition, Apsimar, a Droungarios of German origins, started a revolt against Leontios, taking the regnal name Tiberios III, leading his men back to Constantinople, and allied himself with the Greens. His force seized Leontios, and cut off his nose and tongue,[7][9][11][12] before sending him to live in the Monastery of Dalmatou,[7][9] where he stayed under guard until 15 February 706, when Justinian II
Justinian II
retook the throne with the assistance of the Bulgar
king Tervel, and had both Leontios
and Tiberios III
Tiberios III
dragged to the Hippodrome.[13] There they were publicly humiliated, then taken away and beheaded.[14][15] References[edit] Primary sources[edit]

Theophanes the Confessor, Chronographia.


^ Brubaker & Haldon 2011, p. 586. ^ a b c Necipoğlu & Leal 2010, p. 15. ^ Rosser 2001, p. 2. ^ a b Saxby & Angelov 2016, p. 27. ^ Carr 2015, p. 100. ^ a b c Ostrogorsky 1956, pp. 116–122. ^ a b c d e Carr 2015, p. 101. ^ Saxby & Angelov 2016, p. 45. ^ a b c Garland 2017, p. 2. ^ Konstam 2015, p. 8. ^ Melton 2014, p. 533. ^ Brubaker & Haldon 2011, p. 730. ^ Carr 2015, p. 102. ^ Carr 2015, p. 103. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 2084.


Brubaker, Leslie; Haldon, John (2011). Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era, C. 680-850: A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521430937.  Carr, John (2015). Fighting Emperors of Byzantium. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781783831166.  Garland, Lynda (2017). Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience 800-1200. Routledge. ISBN 9781351953719.  Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6  Konstam, Angus (2015). Byzantine Warship vs Arab Warship: 7th–11th Centuries. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472807588.  Melton, J. Gordon (2014). Faiths Across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610690263.  Necipoğlu, Gülru; Leal, Karen (2010). Muqarnas. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004185111.  Ostrogorsky, George (1956). History of the Byzantine State. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0813511986.  Rosser, John H. (2001). Historical Dictionary of Byzantium. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810866218.  Saxby, Michael; Angelov, Dimiter (2016). Power and Subversion in Byzantium: Papers from the 43rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Birmingham, March 2010. Routledge. ISBN 9781317076933. 

See also[edit]

Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire

List of Byzantine emperors

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leontius.

Leontios Born: Unknown Died: February 706

Regnal titles

Preceded by Justinian II Byzantine Emperor 695–698 Succeeded by Tiberios III

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