Crispus, Caesar, 316-326. Solidus (Gold, 19 mm, 4.38 g, 11 h), Nicomedia, 324. FL IVL CRIS-PVS NOB CAES Laureate bust of Crispus to left, heroically nude, wearing balteus around neck and holding spear and shield. Rev. CONCOR-D-I-A AVGG NN / SMNM Concordia seated to left on ornamented throne, holding caduceus in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left. Depeyrot 33/3. RIC 61. Extremely rare. A spectacular piece, boldly struck and with a wonderful portrait of monumental elegance. A few tiny marks, otherwise, extremely fine.
Ex Roma XIX, 26 March 2020, 945.
Crispus' descendance from Constantine's obscure first wife (or concubine?), Minervina, did not hinder his rise to power. Born in circa 300, he was the emperor's eldest son and hence of great value to the imperial domus as he demonstrated dynastic continuity at a time when the son of Licinius, Constantine's rival, was still an infant. Crispus rose to the rank of Caesar on 1 March 317 and was sent to Gaul by his father, where he successfully fought off Frankish and Alemannic invasions. During the civil war of 324, Crispus commanded his father's fleet and defeated Licinius' admiral Amandus (or Abandus) in the Battle of the Hellespont, winning Constantine naval supremacy and opening Asia for invasion. In the spring of 326, however, Crispus and his stepmother Fausta were suddenly executed on charges of adultery, a dramatic event that has led some historians to believe that he had plotted against his father with the help of the emperor's young wife. A damnatio memoriae was enacted and his name was erased from all public records and inscriptions.