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    Leo II and Zeno, Eastern Roman Empire (AD 474). AV solidus (21mm, 4.42 gm, 6h). NGC MS 5/5 - 1/5, plugged. Constantinople, 10th officina, February-November AD 474. D N LEO ET Z-ENO P P AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted and cuirassed facing bust (of Zeno?), head slightly right, spear in right hand over shoulder, shield in left decorated with horseman motif / SALVS REI-PVBLICAE I, Leo II (on left) and Zeno (on right) enthroned facing, each nimbate, diademed and wearing imperial mantle, mappa in right hands; cross above, CONOB in exergue. RIC X 803.

    From the Morris Collection.

    During his long, tumultuous reign, Leo I "The Great" relied on a Romanized Isaurian chieftain, Zeno, to do much of the reign's heavy lifting and dirty work. To cement the relationship, he married his daughter Ariadne to Zeno; about AD 467 she bore him a son who was named Leo after his grandfather. When Leo I died on January 18, 474, the child ascended to the Eastern Roman Throne as Leo II, but it soon became clear he needed a protector and the Byzantine Senate named his father Zeno as co-Augustus on February 9. The child fell ill toward the end of the year and died in November, leaving the unpopular Zeno as sole ruler. Rumors flourished that Zeno had poisoned his own son, but this seems as unlikely as it was unnecessary.

    The very rare gold coinage of the brief joint reign depicts an armored figure on the obverse, presumably Zeno, while the reverse depicts the two rulers seated in a double throne. Interestingly, the smaller of the two figures, Leo II, is seated to the left, in the "senior" position.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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