ROMAN EMPIRE, Zeno, 474-491 AD, gold, solidus, Constantinople mint


ROMAN EMPIRE, Zeno, 474-491 AD, solidus, no date (476-491 AD), Constantinople mint, officina 10, Obverse: helmeted bust 1/4 R, D N ZENO PERP P F AVG, Reverse: Victory standing L holding long cross, VICTORIA AVGGG I, CON OB, star in right field, gold, 20mm, 4.48g, SR21514, XF-AU

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The Emperor tried to trim back the power of the German generals, and Zeno came to the attention of the throne as a loyal ally. Relations blossomed into a marriage with Emperor Leo’s daughter. When Leo died, followed shortly by the death of the child Emperor Leo II, Zeno was called to the throne. After an eventful life he was succeeded by Anastasius, considered by us today as the first Byzantine Emperor.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.