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Zeno, AV Solidus - RIC X, --


Zeno, AV Solidus, 476-491, Second Reign, Constantinople, Officina 1 D N ZENO-PEPR AVG Pearl-diademed, helmeted, cuirassed bust facing, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield decorated with horseman riding down enemy in left hand VICTORI_A AVGGG I Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right hand * in right field CONOB in exergue 20mm, 4.50g RIC X, -- (cf. RIC X, 910 for type with regular obverse legend) Ex Byzantium Coins, VCoins, December 2006 Note: This is an extremely interesting coin. Stylistically, it certainly does fit with the issues of Constantinople during Zeno's second reign, however, the obverse legend with PEPR (Z4 legend in RIC) instead of the usual PERP (Z1) is only attested in RIC on the following solidi, all from the Milan mint under Julius Nepos: RIC X, 3227, 3234 and 3238. None of the examples plated in RIC under Julius Nepos from Milan are even remotely similar in style to this example, safely ruling out that possibility. RIC does list the Z4 legend for issues minted by Zeno from the Milan, Ravenna and Rome mints under his own name, but does not cite any examples using the legend in the listings. Another unusual attribute to observe is the shape of the top of Victory's wing - it is usually found with a flat or decending angle at the upper-base, then cresting to a point. On this specimen, the top of the wing is very rounded and the entire wing, along with the rest of the reverse is in the finest style. Some notes from Marc Poncin on January 18, 2007 - "Looking at the Zeno solidus, which is unusual as you have stated with those legends for Constantinople, I would especially be interested to see G. Lacam (end of Imperial Roman gold coinage) for a similar reference to your coin. When I look at the coin, it has a Dalmatian feel to it and could have been minted at Salona which became the headquarters of Julius Nepos, during his second reign, before his assassination there by Glycerius and also based there as bishop of Salona. As Julius Nepos was officially supported by the eastern emperor Zeno, it is more then reasonable Zeno would have had an engraver sent to Julius Nepos to mint coins for himself and in the name of Zeno, as Dalmatia was a vital buffer and military zone between east and west of the empire and vital and important coinage was needed to pay for the garrisons stationed there. Constantinople was too far away to assure a reliable source of income in a very volatile region at that period. The style is very different to the often crude second reign solidi of Julius Nepos but they are some rare and lovely executed second reign style solidi which points the way that an engraver from Constantinople or from the west was engaged by Nepos to strike well executed and stylistic coins which might explain your coin."

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