The Eastern senate offered to elect Aspar emperor, which might have been the best way to assure his downfall. But he prudently declined, passing the crown on to his subordinate officer Leo. Like Marcian, Leo was in his late fifties, lacking a power base, a hereditary claim to the throne, a son to succeed him, or much of a reputation. In an attempt to enhance his frail legitimacy, Leo had himself crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople, a ceremony that set a precedent for emperors in the future. Though Leo had the wits and will to be more than a figurehead, his barbarian master was still more powerful than he. Aspar commanded one of the two praesental armies, Aspar’s son Ardabur commanded the Army of the East, and Aspar’s ally Theoderic Strabo (“the Squinter”) led the empire’s Ostrogothic allies in Thrace.
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