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Artabasdus (Artavazd) was Eastern Roman Emperor (742-743 AD). Anna, daughter of Leo III, was born prior to her father's accession and, according to Theophanes, it was in 715 that she was promised in marriage to the Armenian Artabasdus, general of the Armeniac theme, following Theodosius III's deposition of Anastasius II. The marriage took place some time after Leo became emperor, in March 717, and Artabasdus was given the rank of curopalates or major-domo of the palace, a high honorary title, and made count (comes) of the Opsikion theme. Artabasdus rebelled against Constantine V Copronymus, his brother-in-law, shortly after his accession in 741, relying on iconophile support for his following. The rebellion lasted two and a half years and during this period Artabasdus ruled with his eldest son Nicephorus as co-emperor. He may also have made his younger son, Nicetas, co-emperor and crowned his wife Anna as Augusta. He was supported by strong iconodule (i.e. supporters of holy images) factions among the clergy and common people.

Constantine took refuge in the Isaurian mountains whence his dynasty originated, and with support of the Asian part of the Byzantine army, who were iconoclasts to a man, captured Constantinople in 743. Artabasdos and his two sons were blinded. According to the (of course) anti-iconoclast Life of Michael the Syncellus, 'after blinding the husband of his sister Anna, the most orthodox ruler Artabasdus, Constantine banished him with his wife and his nine children to the aforesaid monastery (of Chora on the outskirts of Constantinople), after he had turned the monastery into a lodging house for laymen'.

Theophanes reports that, thirty years after the suppression of the rebellion, still incensed presumably at Anna's support of the ambitions of her husband and sons, Constantine forced his elder sister to proceed to the monastery of Chora, where Artabasdus was buried, dig up his bones, place them in her cloak (pallium), and throw them into the so-called tombs of Pelagius, charnel pits, among the bodies of executed criminals.


Byzantine Emperor

Preceded by: Constantine V

Succeeded by: Constantine V

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