Obverse: Draped Bust of the Empress Facing Right
Reverse: Hilaritas, Standing to the Left, Holding a Long Palm Frond and a Cornucopiae
Bruttia Crispina was the daughter of Lucius Fulvius Bruttius Praesens, one of Marcus Aurelius’ generals who served in the Sarmatian campaign of 175 A.D. In order to reward his dutiful general, Aurelius had Crispina betrothed to his son Commodus in 177 A.D., the same year Commodus was raised to the position of Augustus and ruled alongside his father. In 182 A.D., a Senatorial plot against Commodus was uncovered and repressed. Apparently Crispina was implicated for she was banished shortly thereafter under the charges of adultery to the island of Capri where she was executed a year later. Otherwise, little is known about the life of Crispina. However, judging from the portraiture on her coins, we can assume that she was a true beauty.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is a memorial an ancient Empress passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.