AE Nummus. 0.84g, 10.3mm
MINTED: Constantinople mint, AD 457-474
REF: RIC X 674
OBVERSE: [D N LEO P F AVG], Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: Lion crouching left, head reverted; [all within wreath, CON in exergue].
Ex BCD Collection, with his tag noting “[Ex] Thess., Nov. 97, Sfr. 20.-”
This small late Roman bronze is an odd thing to be provenanced to the collection of BCD, one of the most prominent collectors of Mainland Greek coinage in the past half century. It did, however, somehow find its way into his vast collection, and was kept together with his group of "unknowns", coins that he either could not definitively attribute, or were deemed outside his area of specialization. As indicated on his tag, BCD acquired this particular piece in 1997.
Typically compact flan with dark black patina.
Leo I, known also as Leo the Thracian because of his Dacian origin, was ruler of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during a period when the western half was in terminal decline. He was a senior officer in the Roman armies who became emperor thanks to the influence of Aspar, the powerful magister militum. Once he was emperor, Leo gradually solidified his power base and eventually did away with Aspar. Though Leo sought to strengthen and support his colleagues in the west (in all, a list of five short-lived emperors ruled in the west during Leo's reign in the east), his efforts were ultimately in vain, and within 2 years of his death in 474, after a rule of 17 years, the Western Roman Empire came to an end with the overthrow of Romulus Augustus by Odoacer, a Goth who crowned himself King of Italy.
LEO I . AD 457-474 . AE Nummus . Lion . *A curiosity from the BCD Collection*
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