Rufrius Crispinus

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Rufrius Crispinus
Died 66
Sardinia
Allegiance Roman Empire
Years of service 43–50
Rank Praetorian prefect
Commands held Praetorian Guard

Rufrius Crispinus was a knight who lived during the later Julio-Claudian dynasty. The satirist Juvenal spitefully described him as one the "dregs" of the "Nile", indicating his Egyptian origin. It is believed he came to Rome as a fish merchant. Under the Roman Emperor Claudius he was the commander of the Praetorian Guard. In 47, he suppressed a rebellion and was promoted by the Senate to the rank of praetor and was given one and half a million sesterces.

In 51, the Empress Agrippina the Younger removed him from the commander position and replaced him with Sextus Afranius Burrus. She regarded Crispinus loyal to Messalina's memory.

Crispinus married Poppaea Sabina, who would become Empress (also Nero's second wife) and would bear him a son of the same name. They divorced, and Poppaea married Otho, whom she also divorced, then the Emperor Nero.

He later became a member of the Roman Senate, due to property qualifications and enjoyed senator status. Martial passingly mentions his purple cloak suiting his complexion. In 65, due to Nero's hate for him, he was banished. One year later, Nero ordered his execution. His son would also die at Nero's hand, by being drowned during a fishing trip. Also, his ex-wife was kicked to death by Nero. That Nero murdered the young son of Poppaea it is a claim difficult to believe, the young boy would have never posed a threat to Nero's rule because of his father low status. That he kicked his beloved wife Poppea while pregnant is also a claim that is coming solely from his detractors. She could have died of an internal hemorrhage while pregnant.

Sources[edit]

  • Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
  • Suetonius - The Twelve Caesars - Nero & Otho