Leo the Wise


Book Details

Author  Lars Brownworth
Publication Date   October 19, 2010
Pages  24


This 7,000 word micro-book is the first in Lars Brownworth's "Byzantium: The Rise of the Macedonians" series.

In the autumn of 886, the newly crowned emperor Leo VI presided over one of the strangest funerals in Byzantine history. The body of the long dead Michael III was dug up from its modest tomb and transported by imperial barge across the Bosporus. There it was carried in an ornate procession to the Church of the Holy Apostles and reverently laid in a sarcophagus that had once belonged to the 5th century emperor Justin I. It was a remarkable honor for a man who had been known in life as Michael the Drunkard, and the watching courtesans couldn’t fail to miss the point. Rumors had swirled in the capital for years that Michael was Leo’s true father and this seemed to dramatically confirm it. For those who looked a step further the audacity was breathtaking. Justin I had been followed on the throne by his far more brilliant nephew. If Michael now occupied his sarcophagus, than the twenty year old Leo had just proclaimed that he was the new Justinian.

Lars Brownworth created the genre-defining 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast, which prompted the New York Times to liken him to some of history's great popularizers. Recently, he finished a book titled Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization, which is available in bookstores now. He speaks at various conferences and is currently working on a new podcast that brings to life the reign of the Normans.

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