Leo II Last Coin Basilicus

Eastern Roman Empire

Ruler: Zeno
Reigned: Eastern Augustus 476 - 491 AD
Denomination: AV Solidus
Mint: Constantinople
Obverse: Helmeted, pearl-diademed and cuirassed bust three-quarters facing, holding spear over right shoulder and behind head, and shield with horseman motif. "D. N. ZENO PERP. AVG."
Reverse: Victory standing left, supporting long jewelled cross, star in right field. "VICTORI-A AVGGG I"
Mint marks:
Reference: RIC X, 910
Weight: 4.2 gms
Nominal Weight: 4.5 gms
Diameter: 19.1 mm


During the reign of Leo I, the Isaurian chieftain Tarasicodissa came to Constantinople where he changed his name to Zeno and, in A.D. 467, married the emperor's elder daughter, Ariadne. Leo II, the son of Zeno and Ariadne, succeeded Leo I on February 3rd, 474, and six days later the young ruler crowned his father co-emperor. Zeno became sole emperor on the death of Leo II later the same year, but he was very unpopular because of his Isaurian origin, and he had to contend not only with the aggression of the Ostrogoths but also with frequent revolts and usurpations. He died following an attack of epilepsy on April 9th, 491, after a turbulent reign of seventeen years.

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