Bruttia Crispina

Bruttia Crispina (164 – 184) was the wife of Roman Emperor Commodus. She was born in Rome in 164 to consul Gaius Bruttius Praesens. Crispina’s brother was future consul Lucius Bruttius Quintius Crispinus. Her father’s family members were from Volceii, Lucania, Italy, being closely associated with the Roman Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.

Bruttia Crispina married Commodus in 178. The event was commemorated on coinage and largesse was distributed to the people. An epithalamium for the occasion was composed by the sophist Julius Pollux. Like many marriages of young members of the upper orders, it was an arranged marriage: Crispina’s father and Marcus Aurelius (Commodus’ father) had arranged for it to occur. Commodus disliked Crispina, presumably due to her character – she was a beautiful woman, but said to be vain and haughty. She received the title of Augusta. In 184, Crispina may have been pregnant. She was accused of adultery by Commodus and exiled to the island of Capri where she was executed. Her fall is sometimes associated with the conspiracy of Lucilla in 182.