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Basiliscus (Leo) Caesar (AD 476-477/8)

Hugh Elton

Florida International University

As part of his counter-attack against Basiliscus, Zeno persuaded Armatus to support him by promising to make his son, Basiliscus, Caesar. Basiliscus was acclaimed in late 476. Since his given name was politically unacceptable, it was changed to Leo and appears so on coins. Basiliscus was deposed on his father's execution in 477/8, but his life was spared. He worked first as a reader in a church at Blachernae, then became bishop of Cyzicus.


For references to primary sources, see entries in RE or the PRLE. Translations of much of the source material can be found here in Ralph Mathisen's DIR essays on the "Shadow Emperors", or in C.D. Gordon ( The Age of Attila: Fifth-Century Byzantium and the Barbarians [Ann Arbor, 1960]) and R.C. Blockley (Fragmentary Classicizing Historians of the Later Roman Empire [Liverpool, 1983], vol. 2.).

Croke, B., "Basiliscus the Boy Emperor", GRBS 24 (1983): 81-91

Kent, J.P.C., Roman Imperial Coinage volume 10 (London, 1994), 117

Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 2, ed. J.R. Martindale (Cambridge, 1980)

Copyright (C) 1998, Hugh Elton. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

Comments to: Hugh Elton.

Updated:10 June 1998

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