Rufrius Crispinus

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

Rufrius Crispinus was an equestrian who lived during the later Julio-Claudian dynasty.[1] 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.[2]

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

Crispinus married Poppaea Sabina, who would later 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, going on to marry the Emperor Nero.

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


  1. ^ Vasily Rudich (15 August 2005). Political Dissidence Under Nero: The Price of Dissimulation. Routledge. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-1-134-91451-7.
  2. ^ Cornelius Tacitus (1891). P. Cornelii Taciti Annalium ab excessu divi Augusti libri. Clarendon Press. pp. 604–.


  • Tacitus, Annals
  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, "Nero", & "Otho"