Roman Empire, Hostilian, AE Sestertius

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Roman Empire, Hostilian Caesar, 251, AE Sestertius

Bust r.
Rs.Apollon sitting l., with branch, ellbow on lyra.



Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus (* 235; † 251 in Viminatium).
He was Roman Emperor from June to November of the year 251.

Hostilian was the son of the Emperor Decius and his wife Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla and the younger brother of the co-emperor Herennius Etruscus.

After his father's assumption of power in the summer of 249, Hostilian received the title Caesar together with his brother in 250.

However, he was overshadowed by his older brother, who was entrusted with his own military command soon after Decius came to power. At the beginning of 251, Decius made Herennius nominally co-emperor (Augustus) with equal rights. At that time he was preparing a campaign against the Goth king Kniva, who had crossed the Danube border and plundered on Roman territory.

Decius and Herennius went to war, Hostilian, who had now also been elevated to Augustus, initially stayed in Rome with his mother.

The campaign turned into a disaster. Decius and Herennius died in the battle of Abrittus in the first half of June 251. They were the first emperors to fall in battle against foreign enemies.

Hostilian last stayed with his court in the frontier town of Viminatium, the headquarters of the 7th Legion, in the eastern part of present-day Serbia, and also had coins with his portrait minted there. To what extent he was personally involved as a commander in military conflicts with the Goths is not known.

According to Aurelius Victor, Hostilian died in November 251 from the plague introduced into the empire during the Gothic war. Zosimos reports of a murder plot by Trebonianus Gallus. 


Additional product information

Origin Roman Empire
Mint Rome
Grading a VF
Material Bronze
Full weight

22.83 g

Literature RIC 215

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