Hostilian, as Caesar, 250-251. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 3.88 g, 1 h), Rome. C VALENS HOSTIL MES QVINTVS N C Bare-headed and draped bust of Hostilian to right, seen from behind. Rev. PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS Hostilian, as prince of the youth, standing front in military attire, head to left, holding signum in his right hand and scepter in his left. Calicó 3316. Cohen 33. RIC 181b. Fully lustrous and undoubtedly among the finest known. A magnificent piece with a splendid portrait of the finest style struck in high relief. Virtually as struck.
Hostilian was the younger son of the Roman general, C. Messius Quintus Decius Valerinus, who in 249 became the emperor Trajan Decius after rebelling against Philip I. When Decius and his elder son, Herennius Etruscus, were defeated and killed by Gothic invaders in the disastrous Battle of Abrittus in mid 251, Hostilian was adopted by the new emperor Trebonianus Gallus, who accepted the young prince as his co-ruler to avoid the outbreak of civil war. This surprising decision did not hold very long, as Hostilian conveniently passed away some months later, making way for the appointment of Gallus' own son, Volusian, to the rank of Augustus. Aurelius Victor and the Epitome de Caesaribus report that Hostilian died of the Plague of Cyprian, but the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death have led many to believe that he was, as the Byzantine historian Zosimos claims, executed at the behest of Gallus.