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Home>Catalog>Themes>Personifications>Hope
Hope and Fate (Elpis or Spes)

Elpis to the Greeks, or Spes to the Romans, was the personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Hope is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.


Fausta, Augusta 324 - 326 A.D., Second Wife of Constantine the Great

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Fausta is depicted as Spes, the Roman personification of hope. She holds her infant children, Constantine II and Constantius II, her hopeful promise for the future of the "Republic."
RL70607. Bronze AE 3, RIC Heraclea VII 80, aEF, green patina, well centered, slight porosity, weight 3.379 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 325 - 326 A.D.; obverse FLAV MAX FAVSTA AVG, draped bust right, hair waived, bun at back, wearing pearl necklace; reverse SPES REIP-VBLICAE, Fausta standing facing, looking left, holding infants Constantine II and Constantius II, SMH∆ in ex; rare; $150.00 (€130.50)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RB72113. Copper as, RIC II 894, BMCRE II 725, BnF III 757, Cohen I 457, VF, nice glossy green patina, weight 10.266 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 76 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS VII, laureate head right; reverse Spes standing left, flower in right, raising skirt with left, S - C flanking at sides; ex Classical Numismatic Group; $120.00 (€104.40)


Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.

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In November 268, at the Battle of Lake Benacus a Roman army of 35,000 men under emperor Claudius II defeated the Germanic tribes of the Alamanni along the banks of Lake Garda.
RA72404. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 26, Venèra Hoard 9073, RIC V 168, Cohen VI 284, aEF, tight flan, weight 4.053 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 1st emission, c. Sep 268 - mid 269; obverse IMP CLAVDIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes standing left, raising flower in right, raising fold of drapery with left, P in exergue; ex Robert T. Golan; $50.00 (€43.50)


Carinus, First Half 283 - Spring 285 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Elpis is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.

RX58108. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4701; Geissen 3177; Curtis 1917; Dattari 5584; SNG Cop 952; BMC Alexandria p. 317, 2454; Kampmann 115.10; Emmett 4007, VF, weight 7.244 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 283 - 28 Aug 284 A.D.; obverse A K M A KAPINOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; $40.00 (€34.80)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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In 265, Gallienus twice tried to crush the usurper Postumus. The first time, Aureolus, commander of the elite cavalry, carelessly let him escape. The second time, Gallienus sustained an arrow wound and broke off his siege. Gallienus gave the order to fortify Milan and Verona and made no further serious attempts to overcome his rival. He then devoted his attention to the political and military problems in the eastern part of the Empire.
RA68752. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1197c (22 ex.), RIC V S485, RSC IV 322a, Cunetio 1651, SRCV III -, VF, weight 3.202 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 264 - 265 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse INDVLG AVG, Spes walking left, flower in extended right, with left raising fold of drapery, P left; rare; $40.00 (€34.80)


Carus, Early September 282 - c. July or August 283 A.D.

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Carus defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube, invaded Syria and Mesopotamia, conquered the Persian capital Ctesiphon, and pressed on with the Roman army beyond the Tigris. In his short reign, Carus was recognized as both Germanicus Maximus and Persicus Maximus.
RB73453. Bronze antoninianus, Venèra Hoard IV 300 (14 specimens), cf. RIC V 82, Cohen 79, Pink VI/2, Hunter 15, SRCV III 12180 (different busts), F, rough, weight 3.089 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 282 - 283 A.D.; obverse IMP CARVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes standing left, flower in right, raising skirt with left, SXXI in ex; $40.00 (€34.80)


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Elpis is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.
BB71183. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4931; BMC Alexandria p. 324, 2501; Dattari 5670; SNG Cop 1014, Emmett 4046, VF, tight flan, weight 4.966 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 289 - 28 Aug 290 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYAΛ ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left, L - S (year 6) flanking across field; $35.00 (€30.45)


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek equivalent of the Roman Spes, the goddess of hope. She was traditionally defined as "the last goddess" (Spes, ultima dea), meaning that hope is the last resource available to men. Elpis personified hope for good harvests, and for children, and was invoked at births, marriages, and other important times.
BB71192. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4750; Curtis 1980; Geissen 3202; SNG Cop 968; Emmett 4046; BMC Alexandria p. 323, 2499 var (obverse legend, in error?), VF, weight 8.864 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 20 Nov 284 - 28 Aug 285 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYAΛ ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left, LA (year 1) left; $35.00 (€30.45)


Maximianus, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek equivalent of the Roman Spes, the goddess of hope. She was traditionally defined as "the last goddess" (Spes, ultima dea), meaning that hope is the last resource available to men. Elpis personified hope for good harvests, and for children, and was invoked at births, marriages, and other important times.
RX71235. Billon tetradrachm, cf. Milne 4829; Dattari 5875; Curtis 2071; Geissen 3286; BMC Alexandria p. 329, 2556; SNG Cop 1024; Kampmann 120.17 (Milne 4814, Emmett 4114), VF, excellent centering, weak legend, weight 7.235 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 286 - 28 Aug 287; obverse A K M OYA MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right, raising drapery with left, star behind, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; $35.00 (€30.45)


Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Julian II, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
BB62314. Bronze AE 3, RIC VIII Sirmium 87, aVF, weight 1.878 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina(?), Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbi mint, as caesar, 6 Nov 355 - 3 Nov 361 A.D.; obverse D N IVLIA-NVS NOB C, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES REI-PVBLICE, emperor standing left, globe in right hand, spear in left, S in left field, [A?]SIRM in ex; scarce; $26.00 (€22.62)



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Catalog current as of Sunday, May 03, 2015.
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Hope and Fate