Leo III the Isaurian
Historical Figure
Nationality: Byzantine Empire
Date of Birth: 685
Date of Death: 741
Cause of Death: Natural causes - edema
Religion: Eastern Orthodox
Occupation: Monarch, Soldier
Spouse: Maria
Children: Constantine V, four others
House: Isaurian
Political Office(s): Byzantine Emperor
Turtledove Appearances:
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct
"Farmers' Law"
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
"Islands in the Sea"
POD: 717 CE
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
Date of Death: 718
Cause of Death: Died during the fall of Constantinople, precise manner unknown
Relatives: Niketas (grandson)
Political Office(s): Emperor of the Romans
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian (c. 685 – 18 June 741) was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741. He put an end to a period of instability, successfully defended the empire against the invading Umayyads, and forbade the veneration of icons.

Leo III the Isaurian in JustinianEdit

Leo was the current emperor when Brother Elpidios read the autobiography of Justinian II to Myakes. Elpidios asked Myakes for his opinion of Leo. Myakes acknowledged that, while Leo was a strong emperor, he did not believe Leo had been born to it the way Constantine IV and Justinian had been.[1]

Leo had originally met Justinian and Myakes when the emperor was marching on Constantinople in the early 700s to reclaim his throne; while most inhabitants were fleeing the advance of the Bulgar army sent to assist Justinian's action, Leo brought a hundred sheep to the emperor.

After regaining the throne and executing the "usurpers" Leontios and Apsimaros, Justinian sent Leo to oversee military operations in the east. He had begun hearing baseless tales about disloyalty from his henchman Helias and the patrician Mauros, and had found out Leo had multiple mistresses in addition to his wife, so Justinian decided to use the man's talents and deceptions instead of having them be used against him. But, as Justinian slipped further into insanity, he began to believe Leo was working against him.

Leo III the Isaurian in "Farmers' Law"Edit

Leo III's iconoclasm was surpassed by his son and heir, Constantine V.[2]

Leo III the Isaurian in "Islands in the Sea"Edit

Leo III was the last Romans emperor. His reign was short, as Constantinople was attacked and ultimately overrun by Arabs led by Suleiman and Maslama.[3]

Leo's young grandson Niketas survived the downfall, and later settled in Italy where he joined the Church.[4]


  1. Justinian, pg. 83.
  2. See, e.g., Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 217.
  3. See, e.g., Departures, pg. 75
  4. Ibid., pg. 76.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Theodosios III
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
Succeeded by
Constantine V
Regnal titles
(Fictional Work)
Preceded by
Theodosios III
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
("Islands in the Sea")

Succeeded by
None, empire vanquished and absorbed by the Umayyad Caliphate