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Leo I the Thracian Byzantine Emperor 457-474 A.D.
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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.

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Example of Authentic Ancient Coin of:

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, spurning
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 the word Christ ( 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" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor 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."

Flavius Valerius Leo (401–18 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.

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