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Title: Leo IV (775-780 A.D.)
Contributor(s): Garland, Lynda (author)
Publication Date: 2002
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Abstract: Leo IV is often considered primarily as an appendage of his redoubtable wife and successor Irene, from whose point of view all our historical sources are written -- this is due partly to the brevity of his reign, as well as to the fact that it was very much in the interests of his widow to rewrite history in her own favour. Leo was the son and heir of the committed iconoclast emperor Constantine V, who married three times: by his first wife, Irene the Khazar, he had one son, Leo, in January 750; his second marriage was childless; and his third marriage, to Eudocia, produced five sons and a daughter. Leo was crowned co-emperor by his father in 751, and in December 769 married Irene, a member of the Sarandapechys family from Athens, in the chapel of St Stephen in the Daphne palace adjoining the Great Palace. Their only son Constantine (named after his grandfather) was born on 14 January 771. The choice of Irene as an imperial bride is surprising, both because her family was not particularly prominent and because of the reverence for icons which she later displayed. Nevertheless, even in the family of Constantine V, discreet iconophilism and devotion to certain saints and monastic institutions, seems to have been expected of imperial women: certainly Constantine's third wife Eudocia patronised the monastery of St Anthusa of Mantineon. It is also possible, as suggested by Cedrenus below, that Irene may have been expected by her father-in-law prior to her marriage to swear an oath that she would not publicly reverence icons.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: DIR: De Imperatoribus Romanis ("On The Rulers of Rome") - An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families
Publisher: Academic Computer Services of Salve Regina University
Field of Research (FOR): 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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