Zeno (emperor)

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Zeno (Latin: Flavius Zeno; Greek: Ζήνων; c. 425 – 9 April 491), originally named Tarasis,[1] was Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues. His reign saw the end of the Western Roman Empire under Julius Nepos and Romulus Augustulus, but he contributed much to stabilizing the eastern Empire.

In ecclesiastical history, Zeno is associated with the Henotikon or "instrument of union", promulgated by him and signed by all the Eastern bishops, with the design of solving the monophysite controversy.



Rise to power

Early life

Zeno's original name was Tarasis.[1] Tarasis was born in Isauria, at Rusumblada, later renamed Zenonopolis in Zeno's honour.[2] His father was called Kodisa (as attested by his patronimic "Tarasicodissa"), his mother Lallis, his brother Longinus. Tarasis had a wife, Arcadia, whose name indicates a relationship with the Constantinopolitan aristocracy, and whose statue was erected near the Baths of Arcadius, along the steps that led to Topoi.[3] According to a Near Eastern Christian legend, Zeno had two daughters, Hilaria and Thaopesta, who followed a religious life,[4] but historical sources attest the existence of only one son by Arcadia, called Zenon.[5] Tarasis was probably related to the Isaurian general Zeno, who had fought against Attila in 447 to defend Constantinople and had been consul the following year.[2]

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