Leo VI and the Cleansing of the Law

Journal Article

The Byzantine emperor Leo VI “the Wise” (r. 886-912) rewrote civil law in an attempt to bring it into conformity with the ecclesiastical canons of the eastern Christian church. In the context of the later ninth century and the adjustment of the empire to a cultural context where iconophile theology had won a decisive battle, Leo wanted to demonstrate unimpeachable orthodoxy in the citizenry and to develop unity and harmony in a religious context that had been shredded for more than a century over the iconoclast controversy. His method for achieving this required reshaping the behavior and customs of his subjects by means of an extensive legislative program. Leo’s introduction to his new laws described the endeavor as cleansing ("anakatharsis" is the Greek term he uses).

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Riedel, MLD

Published Date

  • 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 (2016) /

Start / End Page

  • 129 - 142

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1057-5367