22. A Scheming Stepmom
Crispus also played a key role in a subsequent battle that secured his father’s triumph over Licinius. All signs indicated that Crispus was destined to go places and that he would make a worthy successor to his father someday. Then in 326, his life came to a sudden end when his stepmother, eager to remove an obstacle to her own sons’ succession to the throne, falsely accused Crispus of having tried to assault her. An enraged Constantine had his eldest son tried and convicted before a local court, then ordered him hanged.
Flavia Maxima Fausta (289 – 326), daughter of the Roman Emperor Maximianus, was married to Constantine the Great in 307 to seal an alliance between him and her father. She bore Constantine three sons, but her stepson Crispus, Constantine’s eldest from a previous marriage, stood between her kids and the throne. In 326, Crispus was at the height of his power and the odds on favorite to succeed Constantine, after he played a key role in the defeat of his father’s chief challenger. So Fausta engineered his downfall. She succeeded, but as seen below, karma caught up with her.