Calvia Crispinilla

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Calvia Crispinilla
Died After 70
Nationality Roman Empire
Occupation Courtier
Title "Mistress of the Imperial wardrobe"
Spouse(s) Sextus Traulus Montanus

Calvia Crispinilla (fl. c. 54) was a Roman Imperial courtier.


Calvia Crispinilla was possibly of African origins.[1] She was a favourite of the emperor Nero, serving as "mistress of the Imperial wardrobe" at the palace. A noblewoman of unknown lineage, she was considered to have great power and influence,[2] having accompanied Nero and his third wife Statilia Messalina to Greece at 66.[1] She was seen as a greedy and rapacious by her contemporaries. Tacitus called Calvia Crispinilla a "tutor in vice" (magistrate libidinum) of Nero.[1][3] When Nero married the young castrated boy Sporus[2] in 67, he made her the "mistress of wardrobe" of Sporus (epitropeia ten peri estheta).[3]

By 68–69, after changing her political associations, Crispinilla was said to be the instigator of the unsuccessful revolt of Lucius Clodius Macer in Africa. She was subsequently credited with being behind the defection of Galba from Nero.[1][2]

After Nero's death, Calvia Crispinilla was married to Sextus Traulus Montanus, a wealthy senator. During Otho's brief period as emperor there was a public outcry for her execution but Otho seems to have protected her, and she survived unscathed.[1]

... and the successive regimes of Galba, Otho and Vitellius brought her no harm. In after days she enjoyed great influence as a wealthy woman who had no heirs - for, whether times are good or bad, such qualities retain their power.

— Tacitus

Historical evidence[edit]

Several olive oil amphorae have been recovered from Poetovio in the Adriatic region, bearing stamps with her name or Calvia and Traulus Montanus together. Two of her slaves, Camulus and Quietus, are attested by a surviving inscription near Tarentum.[1]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Calvia Crispinilla". Women of History. A Bit of History. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Lightman, Marjorie; Lightman, Benjamin (2000). "A to Z of Ancient Greek and Roman Women". Infobase Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8160-6710-7. 
  3. ^ a b Champlin, 2005, p.146