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Leo I Magnus Thrax

Bust of Leo I Thrax. Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Jona Lendering.
Leo I (Louvre)
Leo I: emperor of the East-Roman (Byzantine) empire (457-474).

c.401: full name unknown
7 February 457: recognized as emperor
18 January 474: natural death

nicknamed 'the great Thracian' and 'the Butcher'

Successor of: Marcianus


  • married to: Verina
  • children: Ariadne (married to Zeno), Leontia
Main deeds:
  • 457 Marcian dies without successor; general Aspar appoints Leo; he is crowned by patriarch Anatolius
  • in the Sasanian Empire, Yazdgard II is succeeded by Hormizd III (died 459) and Peroz; during Leo's reign, Ricimer is military leader in the west
  • 458 Consul with Majorian (in the west), who is recognized as emperor by Ricimer and Leo I
  • 461 Ricimer replaces Maiorianus as emperor in the west by Libius Severus
  • 462 Consul II (with Libius Severus)
  • 465 Ricimer puts Libius Severus to death
  • 466 Consul III (with Tatianus)
  • 467 Leo's daughter Ariadne marries Zeno; Ricimer and Leo make Anthemius emperor in the west
  • 468 Anthemius consul II (without colleague); the Huns defeated; Leo's expedition against king Gaiseric of the Vandals fails; at the same time, Anthemius' expedition against the Visigoths ends in disaster
  • 469 Zeno consul (with Flavius Marcianus); Aspar tries to kill Leo, and very nearly succeeds
  • 471 Consul IV (with Caelius Aconius Probianus); Aspar's son Ardabur conspires against Leo; Leo orders the execution of Aspar and Ardabur
  • 472 Ricimer captures Rome, kills Anthemius, appoints Olybrius; Leo refuses to recognize the new emperor, who dies of dropsy in the same year, two months after Ricimer
  • 473 Consul V (without colleague); Ricimer is succeeded as military leader in the west by his son Gundobad, who appoints Glycerius emperor in the west; Leo appoints his grandson Leo II as successor; this creates tensions his son-in-law Zeno
  • 474 Leo II consul; Leo ignores the new ruler in the west and sends Julius Nepos to Italy; death of Leo I.
  • Leo II dies soon after. Zeno has great difficulty to establish his reign and has to leave Constantinople in 475. During this crisis, the West-Roman empire disintegrates
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Coin of Leo I. Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens (Greece). Photo Marco Prins.
Coin of Leo I. Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens.

Buildings: Church of St. John of the Stadium

Succeeded by: Leo II, Zeno I

Contemporary events:

    459 Death of Simeon Stylites

This brief article has been written to offer background information
to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, this webpage will be
improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.

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