ABSTRACT

Michael’s first wife Thekla was daughter of Bardanes the Turk, one of the leading Armenians of the beginning of the ninth century.1 His surname was probably due to a Khazar descent through his mother’s line.2 Through his father’s line he could have had Mamikonian origins, as Settipani suggests, but this is conjectural, for the name is quite frequent at the time3 and also appears in other Armenian families.4 Anyway, Bardanes could have been descended from a princely family and have rallied around him much support when he claimed the throne in 803.5 As Settipani convincingly argues, Leo’s father Bardas married the sister of Bardanes the Turk.6 This marriage seems to have cemented an alliance between the two families and fostered the career of Leo, who began his military training under Bardanes’ command.