Byzantine Empire /
Bynames: Leo the Wise; Leo the Philosopher
His 26 year long reign represents one of the one of the most brilliant periods of the empire's history.
The main international challenge of his reign was, as before, the Abbasids along the southeastern border and the Bulgars along the northwestern border. Increasingly also, Arab pirates in the Aegan Sea became a challenge.
His ancestry was a question of much uncertainty, but in reality there is little reason to doubt that he was Emperor Michael 3's oldest son. He was apparently born shortly after a mock-wedding between Michael's mistress, Eudocia Ingerina, and Basil. As emperor, Basil attempted to circumvent him by appointing the younger son, Constantine, first heir. After Constantine died, the relation between Basil and Leo became very hostile. Among Leo's first acts as an emperor was to honour Michael by reburying him.
Leo caused much scandal with his numerous marriages, yet he was unable to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. After his first 3 wives died, he took a mistress, whom he married first after she finally gave him an heir, Constantine.
He oversaw the completion of the great juridical endeavour began by Basil 1, the 60 volume law code Basilica. He was an active writer, dealing with a wide range of ecclesiastical and secular problems, in addition to a funeral panegyric on his father, liturgical poems, sermons and orations, secular poetry and military treatises.
Her continued Basil's successful policy in Christian matters, and his reign saw no major conflicts over religious issues.
Leo was another emperor following the example of the Abbasid Caliph Harun ar-Rashid, walking around the capital, talking to people to get to know their thoughts and needs. It is reported that on one occasion he was arrested by the city guards.