Isaurian Dynasty

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Isaurian Dynasty


(more correctly, Syrian dynasty), a dynasty of Byzantine emperors (ruled 717–802). The name “Isaurian” is related to the epithet of its founder, Leo III the Isaurian. Actually, he was not from Isauria but from Syria.

Byzantium’s position improved under the Isaurian dynasty, which came to power after a period of unrest. The theme system of provincial administration took shape, based on the tax obligations and military service of the free peasantry. The subjugation of the Slavic settlers in Macedonia, Greece, and the Peloponnesus was basically completed. The dynasty (with the exception of Irene) successfully fought with the Arabs and the Bulgars. In the course of the struggle with the icon worshippers, the Isauri-ans confiscated the wealth of the church and the monasteries, thus consolidating the unity of the multinational empire.

The rulers of the Isaurian dynasty were Leo III (ruled 717— 741), Constantine V (741–775), Leo IV (775–780), Constantine VI (780–797), and Irene (the wife of Leo IV; 797–802).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.