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Leo and Marcian, a couple of my favorite Emperors


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I'm not really sure why but the coinage of Leo and Marcian are some of my favorite Roman types. Here's the matching AR Siliqua types from Constantinople of the two Emperors:

Leo I AR Siliqua (16mm, 1.2gms)

Obv: D N LEO PERPET AVG; Pearl-diademed and cuirassed bust right

Rev: SAL REI PYI in three lines within wreath, CONS(star) in exergue


Marcian AR Siliqua (16mm, 1.2gms)

Obv: D N MARCIANVS PERPET AVG; Pearl-diademed bust right

Rev: SAL REI PYI in three lines within wreath, CONS(star) in exergue


The Marcian coin was found in a bag of coins that I purchased from a man whose father told him were all pulled from the bank of a river somewhere in the mideast (he wasn't sure where though). I liked the story so I decided not to clean if further.

Anyways, Leo has lots of interesting ae types (monograms, lions) and Marcian monograms are mostly plentiful although some are tougher than others. Got any?




Edited by O-Towner
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Very nice! I don't have any silver from this period, one Solidus and a whole mess of AE4s. It's an interesting time for coins. The gold was where they put all the energy, the silver could still be very respectable.... You'd think more of that would've carried over to the bronze.

I really only have one Leo Bronze that I like -- but can't find a photo -- it's a Leo "AE2" (20.5mm, 3.12g qualified as AE2 in RIC at that point, I guess) with SΛLVS R PVRLICΛ (sic) reverse legend and Leo stepping on a captive. (It's the latest coin in my "captives collection," I believe.)

Hopefully I can find & photo that one in the morning (but maybe at the safety deposit box), otherwise the others all look like the AE4s below.

Yikes, I only know that these photos are Leo (or Leo and Verina) from my notes:

First one is definitely the lion type reverse (which hardly ever really looks like a lion at all):


I believe these next two are both Leo on the obverse and Verina on the reverse holding a scepter:


Here's my Marcian Solidus (notice the cross graffito on the obv., I guess the one on back wasn't enough, very common for gold coins of the 4th, 5th  & 6th centuries):


It's hard to see even under magnification, but Marcian's shield shows him on horseback spearing a fallen enemy. (Same motif is carried over to Byzantine Solidi and Folles of Justinian, and not unlike the reverse on Paeonian Tetradrachms posted elsewhere.)


Just a couple AE4s that have photos handy:

One & a half Marcian... I like the first one because it's got a lot more obverse legend than you usual see. All of my Marcian AE4s are monogram types (at least half a dozen or so, some with nothing left on the front)... (Is there any other kind?)


They always look a bit better in hand (first one above):


Edited by Curtis JJ
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Nice coins !



My Marcian and Leo:


Marcianus (Reg. 450-457)
AE 4 – Nummus
Obv: DN MARCIANVS PF AVG, Bust of Marcian, draped, cuirrased right
Rev: Marcian monogram 1 within wreath.
Mint Mark: CVZ
AE, 1.0g, 9-10 mm
RIC X Marcian, p.283, 561 [R]



Leo I. (457-474)
Obv: D N LEO PE-RPET AVG, Bust of Leo I, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed, right
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM: Victory, winged, draped, advancing front, head left, holding wreath in right hand and cross on globe in left hand; star in right field
Av, 1.49g, 14.5mm
RIC X Leo I (East) 611, p.286, 611






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These little bronzes are difficult to attribute and often even harder to photograph.

This Leo is identifiable not by the obverse inscription, but by the figure of Verina on the reverse.

Leo I, AD 457-474.
Roman Æ Half Centenionalis, 0.82 gm, 10 mm, 6 h.
Constantinople, AD 457-474.
Obv: DN LEO, diademed and draped bust, right.
Rev: b E, Verina standing facing, holding globus cruciger and transverse scepter.
Refs: LRBC II 2272; RIC 714; Sear 21436; Vagi 3739; MIRB 30.
Marcian nummus 2.jpg
Marcian, AD 450-457.
Roman Æ nummus, 1.41 g, 10.3 mm, 12 h.
Constantinople, AD 450-457.
Obv: D N MARCIANVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
Rev: Monogram in wreath:
Ꚛ above; CON in exergue.
Refs: RIC 546; RCV 21395.
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On 8/16/2022 at 10:07 PM, JayAg47 said:

And to think they still called themselves a republic!

Res Publica =/= Republic

This is  a classic case of pushing modern connotations of a word onto the past. A more accurate definition of the latin phrase is commonwealth.

For anyone interested in learning how and why Byzantium did have a functional Roman Res Publica still in the 1400s, I would recommend reading https://www.amazon.com/Byzantine-Republic-People-Power-Rome/dp/0674365402


Edited by TheTrachyEnjoyer
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The larger and tougher to find Ae type from Leo:

Leo Ae2 : Constantinople mint, for use at Cherson : Ref: RIC X 657 ; 19.9mm, 4.9gms

Obv: D N LEO PERPET AVG; Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right

Rev: SALVS R-PVBLCA (sic); Leo standing right, holding labarum and globe, spurning bound captive, CON in exergue


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