Zeno was an Isaurian chieftain who moved to Rome and married Emperor Leo I's daughter, Ariadne. Their son, Leo II, succeeded Leo I as emperor, and shortly after declared his father Augustus. An exceedingly unpopular emperor, Zeno spent his 17-year reign defending the empire not only against the barbarians but also against many rebellions. He died in 491 A.D after suffering an epileptic fit.
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VICTORIA AVGGG [A-I], Victory standing half left holding long jeweled cross, star right, CONOB in exergue
1st Issue, p. 306, pl. 30
905 (R5) D N ZENO P-ERP AVG
3rd Issue, p. 307, pl. 30
910 (C) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed with trefoil ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
911 (S) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed without ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
912 (R4) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed with cross on helmet, horseman ridding down enemy
4th Issue, p. 308, pl. 31
927 (R) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed with trefoil ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
928 (R3) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed without ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
5th Issue, p. 309, pl. 31
929 (C) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed with trefoil ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
930 (C) D N ZENO - PERP AVG, pearl diademed without ornament, horseman ridding down enemy
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ZENO, Eastern emperor from 474 to 491 A.D. Descended from an illustrious Isaurian family, he was originally named Trassalisseus, which he changed to Zeno on his marriage, in 468 A.D., to Ariadne, daughter of the Emperor Leo I and Verina. In 474 A.D., on the death of Leo I, Zeno took over the government of the Empire since the new emperor Leo II, Leo I's grandson, as well as the son of Zeno and Ariadne, was only a child. The boy lived only a short time, however, and on his death Zeno became sole Emperor. His reign was oppressive, and many revolts occurred which caused Zeno to flee to Isauria. Verina, widow of Leo I, claimed the Empire and installed her brother, Basiliscus, on the throne in 476 A.D. The following year, Basiliscus was deposed and Zeno reclaimed the Empire, but he showed no better qualities and rebellions were frequent. In 491 A.D., after a turbulent reign of seventeen years, he died and was succeeded by Anastasius, who married his widow Ariadne. The following coins of Zeno are extant:-
LEO II AND ZENO
1. Gold Solidus. Obverse: D N (Domini) LEO ET ZENO P P AVG (Perpetui Augusti). Helmeted bust, facing, of Leo II, holding spear over his right shoulder and shield engraved with a horseman. Reverse: SALVS REIPVBLICAE I or Q. Leo II and Zeno seated facing, both nimbate, Zeno on the left, Leo II on the right; between their heads, a cross, and above, a star; in exergue, CONOB.
2. Gold Solidus. Obverse: Same legend and type as above. Reverse: VICTORIA AVGGG (Augustorum). Victory standing facing left, holding a long cross: in field, a star; in exergue, CONOB.
3. Gold Tremissis. Obverse: Same legend. Diademed bust of Leo II facing right. Reverse: VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM. Victory walking, holding wreath and globe; in field, star.
4. Gold Tremissis. Obverse: Same legend and type as above. Reverse: Cross within wreath; in exergue, CONOB.
ZENO AND LEO II
1. Gold Tremissis. Obverse: D N ZENO ET LEO NOV CAES. Diademed bust of Zeno facing right. Reverse: VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM. Victory standing facing left, holding wreath and globe surmounted by cross; in exergue, CONOB.
Obverse legends for gold and silver, D N ZENO PERP [or PERPE] AVG [or AV]. Principal reverse legends: Solidus, semissis and tremissis - VICTORIA AVGGG.