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    Leo II and Zeno, Eastern Roman Empire (AD 474). AV solidus (21mm, 4.45 gm, 6h). NGC Choice AU 4/5 - 4/5, die shift. Constantinople, February-November AD 474. D N LEO ZE-NO PP AЧG, 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, 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 note (no officina, no ET in obverse legend and AЧG form). Depeyrot 93/1 var. (no officina).

    Ex Marc Poncin Collection (Classical Numismatic Group, Mail Bid Sale 72, 14 June 2006, lot 1940); Classical Numismatic Group 66 (19 May 2004), lot 1660.

    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.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    5th-9th Thursday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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