Hostilian, 251. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 3.80 g, 7 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 baton in his right hand and short transverse spear with his left. Calicó 3318a (same dies). Cohen 37. RIC 183b. Very rare. An attractive, superb and lustrous coin, surely one of the finest known examples. Very minor flan flaw on the reverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.
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 older 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 a civil war. This surprising move did not last 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 of his death has lead many to believe that he was, as the Byzantine historian Zosimos claims, executed at the behest of Gallus.