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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Late Empire| ▸ |Leo I||View Options:  |  |  | 

Leo I, 7 February 457 - 18 January 474 A.D.

Leo I, a native of Dacia, assumed the purple after the death of Marcian in 457 A.D. Leo came to the throne at a time when the Eastern Roman army was made up almost entirely of Germans, and it is through the efforts of Leo that the powerful German military faction's influence was destroyed. After being struck down by illness, he raised his infant grandson to the purple, then died shortly after.


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Leo I (Latin: Flavius Valerius Leo Augustus; 401 18 January 474) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 457 to 474. A native of Dacia Aureliana near historic Thrace, he was known as Leo the Thracian. Ruling the for nearly 20 years, Leo proved to be a capable ruler. He oversaw many ambitious political and military plans, aimed mostly at aiding the faltering Western Roman Empire and recovering its former territories. He is notable for being the first Eastern Emperor to legislate in Greek rather than Latin. He is commemorated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church, with his feast day on January 20.
RL87910. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC X 693 (R), LRBC II 2264, DOCLR 565, cf. SRCV 21441 ff., Hunter V -, VF, tight flan, crude, weight 0.580 g, maximum diameter 8.5 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, c. 462 - 472 A.D.; obverse D N LEO P F AVG (or similar, all off flan or unstruck), pearl-diademed, draped [and cuirassed?] bust right; reverse Leo's Latin monogram within wreath, mintmark in exergue (off flan); ex Beast Coins; rare; $85.00 (74.80)


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In 467, Vandal pirates raided, sacked and enslaved the people living in Illyricum, the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece. In 468, Leo spent 64,000 pounds of gold (more than a year's revenue and bringing Leo near to bankruptcy) to assemble a fleet of over 1,100 ships carrying 100,000 men. During peace negotiations the Vandal King Genseric used fire ships, filled with brushwood and pots of oil, to destroy 700 imperial galleys 45 miles from Carthage. The defeated General Basiliscus escaped back to Constantinople where he was forced to seek sanctuary in the church of Hagia Sophia to escape the wrath of the people. Leo I gave him an imperial pardon, but banished him for 3 years to Heraclea Sintica (Thrace).
RL91322. Bronze half centenionalis, cf. RIC X 674, LRBC II 2258, DOCLR 573, SRCV V 21457, Hunter V -, aF, oval flan with large split, weight 0.740 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, obverse D N LEO P F AVG (or similar), pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse lion crouching left, head right, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; $45.00 (39.60)


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RIC X divides this type into two phases. The earlier phase (457 - 468) is distinguished by an angular form of the letter G and the spear usually pointing between the second P and E of PERPET. The later phase (468 - 473) the G's are rounded and the spear usually points between the E and T.
SH87295. Gold solidus, DOCLR 525, Hunter V 6, Tolstoi 8, Ratto 245, RIC X 605, Depeyrot 93/1, SRCV V 21404, Choice EF, well centered on a broad flan, nearly as struck with much mint luster, radiating flow lines, weight 4.425 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, early phase 457 - 468 A.D.; obverse D N LEO PERPET AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left decorated with horseman; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG S (victory of the three emperors, 6th officina), Victory half left supporting long jeweled cross, star right, CONOB in exergue; ex Dutch Numismatic Auction, auction 1, lot 485; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DNLEOPERPETAV
DNLEOPERPETAVG
DNLEOPERPETVVSAVG
DNLEOPFAVG


REFERENCES|

Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 8: Nepotian to Romulus Augustus, plus tesserae & cotorniates. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Constantin II Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
Grierson, P. & M. Mays. Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. (Washington D.C., 1992).
Hahn, Wolfgang. Moneta Imperii Romani-Byzantinii. (Vienna, 1989).
Kent, J. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume X, The Divided Empire and the Fall of the Western Parts, AD 395 - 491. (London, 1994).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire...Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 12, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Leo I