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Leo was born in the Balkans, in about. 401 A. D. His mother's name was Lallis, and either his father or his home village was called Rusumblada. He married Verina before becoming emperor and they had three children. Ariadne was born before Leo became emperor; a second daughter Leontia was born in 457, and an anonymous son died at age five months in 463. Marcian, the ruler before Leo died of illness in A. D. 457, leaving the throne vacant. This had often led to civil war in the past but the strong hand of Aspar, the Ostrogothic master general who had gained so much political power during the reigns of Theodosius II and Marcian. Aspar made it so that Leo would be the next leading ruler. Leo's coronation on February 7, 457 is the first known involving the patriarch of Constantinople as well as the army and Senate. Leo was the first Roman emperor to be crowned by a bishop instead of a high ranking or powerful senator. The bishops of the large cities had steadily been gaining power in the government and the Bishop of Constantinople, (Eastern Orthodox Church) was the most powerful. It is a testimony to the power that the church had gained and would continue to hold in politics, the Patriarch of Constantinople would crown all future Byzantine emperors. Early in his reign, Leo decided that Aspar and his Ostrogothic retainers held too much power. Leo started to replace the German troops with Isaurian tribesmen from the mountains of Eastern Asia Minor. The citizens found the tribesmen crude and insolent barbarians offensive. He allowed one Isaurian chieftain by the name of Tarasicodissa to marry his daughter Ariadne. Tarasicodissa took the more acceptable Greek name of Zeno. In 471, Leo had Aspar murdered during a period of anti German feeling by the people of the empire due to the great many barbarians in the military. Leo died of dysentery aged 73, on 18 January, 474. His son, Leo II, succeeded him.
This article claims Aspar attempted to assassinate Leo in 469, and that Leo killed Aspar in 471 after Aspar's son Ardabur was implicated in a second plot against the emperor.
Other histories say that Ardabur was accused of colluding with the Persians (but not specifically against Leo) in 466, but that Aspar and Leo were subsequently reconciled. Leo then made Patricius, another son of Aspar, his designated successor in 470; and it was the popular unrest following this announcement that led Leo to have Aspar and his sons killed.
What are the sources for the version of events in this article, and in particular Aspar's "very nearly successful" assassination attempt in 469? —benadhem (talk) 20:50, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Although Friell states that Leo was "a Dacian by origin", but the note to this sentence adds that he "was born in Thrace but also said to be from the province of Dacia in the Diocese of Moesia." (Stephen Williams; Gerard Friell: The Rome that Did Not Fall: The survival in the East in the fifth century; Routledge; ISBN 0-415-15403-0, page 170 and note 4 on page 261). Therefore, the source refers to his birth in Dacia Aureliana and not to his ethnic Dacian origin. Borsoka (talk) 15:39, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Bury also states that he was "a native of Dacia" which does not refer to Leo's ethnic origin either, but only to his place of birth. Bury adds that "Leo's Dacian origin is mentioned by Candidus (...), John Mal. (...) says that he was a Bessian." Borsoka (talk) 02:15, 14 October 2012 (UTC)