as Augustus (Usurper in Constantinople) AD 475 - 476
Brother of Aelia Verina;
Husband of Aelia Zenonis;
Father of Marcus;
Brother-in-law of Leo I;
Uncle of Aelia Ariadne and Leontia (wife of Patricius).
AD 475 - Sole reign
AD 475 - Augustus with his son Marcus as Caesar
AD 475 - 476 - co-Augustus with his son Marcus
Paralel rulers of the Western Roman Empire:
Julius Nepos (AD 474 - 475, 480)
Romulus Augustus (AD 475 - 476)
Basiliscus was the brother of Aelia Verina, wife of the Emperor wife of the Emperor Leo I and magister militum in Thrace. This family connection secured him the command of large fleet which sailed forth in 468 to deal with the Vandals of North Africa and ended up with the annihilation of half of the 1,113 ships he led. After such a disaster Basiliscus only avoided execution due to the intervention of his sister and had to retire. His second chance came in 475 when a conspiracy by Verina misfired and the Senate offered him the Eastern Empire. His bad luck pursued him even on the throne, with his reign remembered mostly for a great fire that consumed most of the capital with some of its best classical works of art. His inept religious policies and his open favoritism of Monophysitism alienated important allies. The situation became as untenable as to allow Zeno to return to Constantinople, capture Basiliscus and sent him and his whole family off to Cappadocia where they were walled up in a dried-up reservoir and died of starvation.
Coins of Basiliscus are found bearing his name alone as well as with his brother Marcus whom he briefly recognized as co-emperor—a highly and unusually elaborate dynastic policy. No coins in the name of Marcus alone are known.
Mints: Constantinopolis, Cyzicus, Mediolanum, Nicomedia, Rome, Thessalonica.
List all Basiliscus coins in the Catalog.