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Description

Rare Crispus Solidus, Ex-Biaggi

Crispus as Caesar (AD 317-326). AV solidus (19.25mm, 4.45 gm, 6h). Trier, AD 319-320. FL IVL CRIS-PVS NOB CAES, laureate head of Crispus right / SECVRITAS REI PVBLICAE, Securitas standing facing, head right, leaning on column and placing right hand on head; PTR in exergue. RIC VI 247. Depeyrot 27/4. Alföldi 459. Biaggi 2065 (this coin). Very rare, and possessing a distinguished pedigree. Extremely Fine.

Ex Biaggi Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 49, 21 October 2008), lot 480; Hess (9 May 1951), lot 283. 

The eldest son of Constantine I, Flavius Julius Crispus inherited much of his father's charisma and military prowess. Born circa AD 295-305, Crispus was the only child of Constantine's liaison with Minervina, probably his common-law wife. After his father became Caesar, Crispus could only watch as his mother was set aside (or perhaps she had died earlier) so Constantine could marry Fausta, daughter of Maximian. In late AD 316, Constantine raised Crispus to the rank of Caesar and began grooming him for the succession. Crispus spent the next few years at Trier on the German frontier, honing his skills as a soldier; in the early 320s he oversaw campaigns against the Franks and Alemanni. Crispus further distinguished himself as his father's naval commander against Licinius in 324. After winning a signal victory in the Civil War, he was heaped with honors and seemed fully secure as Constantine's primary heir. In AD 326, he traveled to Italy to celebrate his father's 20th anniversary of rule. There, he ran afoul of a plot hatched by his stepmother Fausta, who wanted to advance her own three sons in the succession. The nature of the plot remains obscure, but Crispus  was arrested in the town of Pola, charged with treason, and beheaded. Soon thereafter, Constantine ordered Fausta's execution. The events of AD 326 so embittered Constantine that he never returned to Italy, and they may have played a role in his decision to move the imperial capital to Byzantium, soon renamed Constantinople.



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Auction Dates
Sep-Oct, 2013
25th-1st
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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