Leo I the Thracian Byzantine Emperor 457-474 A.D.
Biography & Authentic Ancient Medieval Coins
for Sale and Investment
Buy authentic ancient coins of Emperor Leo I
Leo I was a Byzantine Emperor who ruled from 457 to
474. He was known as Magnus Thrax (the "Great Thracian") by his supporters, and
Leo the Butcher by his enemies.
Get incredible value with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE of
Example of Authentic Ancient
Leo I - Roman Emperor: 457-474 A.D. -
Bronze AE2 Constantinople mint, for use at Cherson.
Reference: Unlisted Type
DN LEONIS PF AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
SALVS R-PVBLICA (sic), Leo standing right, holding labarum and globe,
bound captive; CON in exergue.
* Numismatic Note: Unique type, not listed in any
reference book with DN LEONIS PF AVG,
the most similar type being RIC X 657.
The Chi Rho is one of the earliest
christograms used by Christians. It is
formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of
Greek : "Χριστός" ), chi = ch and rho =
r, in such a way to produce the
monogram ☧. The Chi-Rho
symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a
particularly valuable or
relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for
chrēston, meaning "good." Although not technically a cross, the Chi
Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status
as the Christ. There is early evidence of the Chi Rho symbol on
Christian Rings of the third century.
The labarum (Greek:
λάβαρον) was a
vexillum (military standard) that
displayed the "Chi-Rho"
symbol, formed from the first two
Greek letters of the word "Christ"
ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) Chi (χ)
and Rho (ρ).
It was first used by the
Constantine I. Since the vexillum
consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was
ideally suited to symbolize
crucifixion. The Chi-Rho symbol was
also used by Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly
valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing
for chrēston, meaning "good."
Valerius Leo (40118 January 474), known in English as Leo the
Thracian or Leo I, was a Byzantine Emperor who ruled from 457 to 474. He
was known as Magnus Thrax (the "Great Thracian") by his supporters, and
Leo the Butcher by his enemies.
Ruling the Eastern Empire for nearly 20 years from 457 to 474, Leo
proved to be a capable ruler, overseeing many ambitious political and
military plans, aimed mostly for the aid of the faltering Western Roman
Empire and recovering its former territories. Born as Leo Marcellus in
the year 401 to a Thraco-Roman family (of the Daci or Bessi tribe), he
served in the Roman army, rising to the rank of count (comes). He was
the last of a series of emperors placed on the throne by Aspar, the Alan
serving as commander-in-chief of the army, who thought Leo would be an
easy puppet ruler.
Leo's coronation as emperor on February 7 457, was the first known to
involve the Patriarch of Constantinople. Leo I made an alliance with the
Isaurians and was thus able to eliminate Aspar. The price of the
alliance was the marriage of Leo's daughter to Tarasicodissa, leader of
the Isaurians who, as Zeno, became emperor in 474. In 469 Aspar
attempted to assassinate Zeno, and very nearly succeeded. Finally in 471
Aspar's son Ardabur was implicated in a plot against Leo and both were
killed by palace eunuchs acting on Leo's orders.
During Leo's reign, the Balkans were ravaged time and again by the East
Goths and the Huns. However, these attackers were unable to take
Constantinople thanks to the walls which had been rebuilt and reinforced
in the reign of Theodosius II and against which they possessed no
suitable siege engines.Leo's reign was also noteworthy for his influence
in the Western Roman Empire, marked by his appointment of Anthemius as
Western Roman Emperor in 467. He attempted to build on this political
achievement with an expedition against the Vandals in 468, which was
defeated due to arrogance of Leo's brother-in-law Basiliscus. This
disaster drained the Empire of men and money. The expedition, which cost
130,000 pounds of gold and 700 pounds of silver, consisted of 1,113
ships carrying 100,000 men, but in the end lost 600 ships.
Leo's greatest influence in the West was largely inadvertent and at
second-hand: the great Goth king Theodoric the Great was raised at Leo's
court in Constantinople, where he was steeped in Roman government and
military tactics, which served him well when he returned after Leo's
death to become the Goth ruler of a mixed but largely Romanized people.
Leo died of dysentery at the age of 73 on January 18, 474.Leo and Verina
had three children. Their eldest daughter Ariadne was born prior to the
death of Marcian (reigned 450 - 457). Ariadne had a younger sister,
Leontia. Leontia was first married to Patricius, a son of Aspar. Their
marriage was probably annulled when Aspar and another of his sons,
Ardabur, were assassinated in 471. Leontia then married Marcian, a son
of Anthemius and Marcia Euphemia. The couple led a failed revolt against
Zeno in 478-479. They were exiled to Isauria following their defeat.
An unnamed son was born in 463. He died five months following his birth.
The only sources about him are a horoscope by Rhetorius and a
hagiography of Daniel the Stylite.
The Georgian Chronicle, a 13th century compilation drawing from earlier
sources, reports a marriage of Vakhtang I of Iberia to Princess Helena
of Byzantium, identifying her as a daughter of the predecessor of Zeno.
This predecessor was probably Leo I, the tale attributing a third
daughter to Leo. Cyril Toumanoff identified two children of this
marriage. Mithridates of Iberia and Leo of Iberia. This younger Leo was
father of Guaram I of Iberia. The accuracy of the descent is unknown.