Byzantium Under The Isaurians - Leo III The Isaurian, 717–741 - Final Years

Final Years

The adoption of iconoclasm seemed indeed to be vindicated in the Emperor's eyes, for success returned to the Imperial arms, and the Muslims suffered a series of defeats between 727 and 732. The next years were more difficult, especially as the Arabs defeated the Khazars and forced their leader to convert to Islam. In 740 however the emperor and his son scored a decisive victory over an invading Arab army at Akroinon, which halted the momentum of the Arab attacks.

In March 741 (older sources prefer to date it to 726), Leo also promulgated the Ecloga, a revised selection of laws, drawn chiefly from the older Codex Justinianus. Christian influence is evident in the marked decrease of crimes subject to capital punishment, but the collection conversely expanded the use of mutilation, perceived as more humane, as punishment. The Ecloga proved popular as a concise legal handbook, remaining the standard legal text until the introduction of the Epanagoge in the late 9th century, and was translated into Slavonic, Arabic and Armenian.

Leo died peacefully in his bed on 18 June 741, the first emperor to do so since Constantine IV. During his reign, he had succeeded in warding off the Arab attacks and consolidate the Empire's eastern frontier. On the other hand, his introduction of a new and unnecessary theological dispute, albeit for the moment relatively mild, compromised his efforts to restore stability to the Empire.

Read more about this topic:  Byzantium Under The Isaurians, Leo III The Isaurian, 717–741

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