Maria, wife of Leo III

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Byzantine empress
Born 7th century
Died 8th century
Spouse Leo III the Isaurian
Issue Anna, Constantine V, Irene, Kosmo
Full name
Dynasty Isaurian Dynasty
Isaurian or Syrian dynasty
Leo III 717–741
with Constantine V as co-emperor, 720–751
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 as regent, 780–790, and with her as co-regent, 792–797
Irene as empress regnant 797–802
Preceded by
Twenty Years' Anarchy
Followed by
Nikephorian dynasty

Maria was the Empress consort of Leo III the Isaurian of the Byzantine Empire.


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 Maslamah 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.

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Royal titles
Preceded by
Theodora of Khazaria
Byzantine Empress consort
Succeeded by
Tzitzak and Anna