Leo the Deacon

Leon Diakonos (medium Greek Λέων ο Διάκονος, Latinized Leo the Deacon; * 950, † 1000 ) was a Byzantine historian. His historical work is one of the most important historical sources for Byzantine history in the second half of the 10th century.

Information about Leon arising from statements in his historical work. He was born about 950 in Kaloe Ionia and studied in Constantinople Opel, where he was ordained a deacon. Under Basil II, he took part in a 986 campaign against the Bulgarians and fled together with the remains of the imperial army after the failed siege of Sofia.

Well to 992, he began to write a history of the Byzantine Empire. His historical work is divided into ten concise books and describes the time of the Emperor Romanus II Nicephorus II Phocas and John I Tzimiskes ( 959-976 ); few slots also report the following years. The work is based on the ancient models (see also Macedonian Renaissance ). Leon wrote, for the first time in Byzantium since the 7th century, in imitation of Thucydides History and used a classical language. He is also oriented to the late antique classical historians, especially Agathias. The account is based largely on eyewitness accounts well, although Leon apparently heranzog and written sources. The font will be counted in the research of the most important contemporary historical works in Byzantium, although Leon not acted particularly critical in its presentation; against the Emperor Nikephoros II Phokai and especially about he was very positive. Probably died in Leon before he could continue his work.

Michael Psellos tied in the 11th century to the work of Leon and grabbed likewise on an ancient tradition ( historia perpetua, a continuous time history ).

Editions and translations

  • Leonis Diaconi Caloënsis historiae libri decem. Edited by Charles Benoit Hare ( Corpus Historiae Scriptorum Byzantinae 3). Bonn 1828th
  • Leon Diakonos: Nikiforos Fokas " The pale death of the Saracens " and John Tzimiskes: The period from 959 to 976 Übers by Franz Loretto. Styria, Graz-Vienna - Cologne, 1961 ( Byzantine historian 10).
  • The History of Leo the Deacon: Byzantine military expansion in the tenth century. Introd. , Transl. , And annotations by Alice - Mary Talbot and Denis F. Sullivan. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington / DC 2005 (English translation with detailed introduction and a good comment ).