Maria (wife of Leo III)

Maria (Greek: Μαρία; died after 718) was the Empress consort of Leo III the Isaurian[1][2] of the Byzantine Empire.

Empress of the Byzantine Empire
Born7th century
Died8th century
SpouseLeo III the Isaurian
Constantine V
Maria (Μαρία)
DynastyIsaurian Dynasty
Isaurian or Syrian dynasty
Leo III 717–741
with Constantine V as co-emperor, 720–741
Constantine V 741–775
with Leo IV as co-emperor, 751–775
Artabasdos' usurpation 741–743
Leo IV 775–780
with Constantine VI as co-emperor, 776–780
Constantine VI 780–797
under Irene rule as regent, 780–790, and rule with her as co-emperor, 792–797
Irene as empress regnant (sole emperor) 797–802
Preceded by
Twenty Years' Anarchy
Followed by
Nikephorian dynasty


The throne of the Byzantine Empire was unstable in the early 710s. Justinian II had been deposed and executed in 711. His deposition was followed by the brief reigns of Philippikos (711–713), Anastasios II (713–715) and Theodosios III (715–717). All three were elevated to the throne after coup d'états by factions of the Byzantine army.

A revolt by Leo, strategos of the Anatolikon Theme, and Artabasdos, strategos of the Armeniac Theme, succeeded in deposing Theodosios. On 25 March 717, Leo was proclaimed emperor in Hagia Sophia. Maria enters historical record at this point as his Empess consort.

In July 718, Maria gave birth to Constantine during an ongoing Siege of Constantinople by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, a general of the Umayyad Caliphate. The siege was broken by August of the same year and the Umayyad forces retreated. On 25th, Maria was granted the title of Augusta and her son was baptised by Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople. Constantine was proclaimed co-emperor in August 720.

Leo remained Emperor to his death on 18 June 741. Whether Maria survived him is unknown.


Maria and Leo III had four known children:

The names and place of burial of two other daughters were recorded in De Ceremoniis by Constantine VII. However nothing else is known of them.


  1. ^ Judith Herrin (2013). Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium. Princeton University Press.
  2. ^ Philip Grierson (1973). Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. Dumbarton Oaks.
  3. ^ Timothy Dawson, Graham Sumner (2015). By the Emperor's Hand: Military Dress and Court Regalia in the later Romano-Byzantine Empire. Frontline Books. "Theofanês records that Maria, wife of Leo III, attended the baptism of their son, Constantine."
  4. ^ Gregory E. Roth. AuthorHouse, 2012. Paradox Beyond Nature: An Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Dialogue on the Marian Homilies of Germanos I, Patriarch of Constantinople (715—730).

External linksEdit

  • A short article on her by Lynda Garland
  • Cawley, Charles, Her profile, along with her father, ., Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy
Royal titles
Preceded by Byzantine Empress consort
Succeeded by