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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Personifications ▸ HopeView Options:  |  |  |   

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.


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 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 hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RS79920. Silver denarius, RIC III A479(a), BMCRE IV A960, RSC II 473, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, gVF, ragged flan, weight 3.407 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 158 - 159 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAES ANTON AVG P II F, bare head right; reverse TR POT XIII COS II, Spes advancing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand; $200.00 (178.00)


Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - Late May 238 A.D., Pella, Macedonia

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Pella was founded in 399 B.C. by King Archelaus (413 - 399 B.C.) as his capital. It was the seat of Philip II and of his son, Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C., it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later the city was destroyed by an earthquake. By 180 A.D., Lucian could describe it in passing as "now insignificant, with very few inhabitants."
RP83513. Bronze AE 26, SNG ANS 636, Varbanov III 3742 (R4) var. (bust also draped), AMNG III / 2 p. 99, 34 var. (same); SNG Hunterian 658 var. (same); BMC Macedonia -, aVF, excellent portrait, areas not fully struck, holed, slightly off center on a tight flan, centration dimple on reverse, weight 8.921 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Pella mint, 20 Mar 235 - Late May 238 A.D.; obverse IMP C C IVL VER MAXIMINVS, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse COL IVL AVG PELLA, Spes seated left, putting her right hand to her mouth; $150.00 (133.50)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 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 hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RS75200. Silver denarius, RIC IV 254d, RSC III 546, BMCRE VI 897, Hunter III 75, SRCV II 7927, Choice VF, perfect centering, nice portrait, toned, some reverse die wear, weight 3.165 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes advancing left, flower in right, with left raising skirt; $135.00 (120.15)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 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 hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RS76110. Silver denarius, RIC IV 254d, RSC III 546, BMCRE VI 897, Hunter III 75, SRCV II 7927, gVF, interesting sharp portrait, toned, well centered and struck, weight 2.891 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes advancing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand; $135.00 (120.15)


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."
RL76975. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier p. 209, 484; LRBC I 36; SRCV IV 16560; Cohen VII 17, EF, excellent centering, green patina, cleaning scratches, spot of corrosion, weight 2.804 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 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, PTR followed by dot over crescent with horns up in exergue; $135.00 (120.15)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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In 110 A.D., the Forum of Trajan was constructed in Rome by the Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
RB73736. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 338a, RIC II 519, Cohen II 459, Strack I 403, BnF IV 543 var. (slight drapery), BMCRE III 810 var. (same), SRCV II 3200 var. (same), F, nice portrait, green patina, corrosion, encrustation, weight 27.445 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 109 - 110 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate head right; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Spes advancing left, raising flower in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, S - C flanking across field; $130.00 (115.70)


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."
RL84214. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Ticinum p. 387, 203; LRBC I 488; SRCV VII 16565; Cohen VII 17, Choice VF, attractive chocolate surfaces, very light marks and porosity, weight 2.918 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, c. 326 A.D.; obverse FLAV MAX FAVSTA AVG, draped bust right with hair waived, bun at back, wearing pearl necklace; reverse SPES REIPVBLICAE, Fausta standing facing, looking left, holding infants Constantine II and Constantius II, S crescent T in exergue; rare; $95.00 (84.55)


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 hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RB73623. Copper as, RIC II, part 1, 894; BMCRE II 725, BnF III 757, Cohen I 457, Hunter I C3852, SRCV I -, F, centered, dark green patina, cleaning scratches, light corrosion and encrustations, weight 9.599 g, maximum diameter 27.5 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; $70.00 (62.30)


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 hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.

RX77915. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4721, Curtis 1919, Geissen 3180, SNG Cop 954, SGICV 4779, VF, flan crack, reverse little off-center and struck with a broken die, corrosion, weight 7.725 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 15o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 283 - 28 Aug 284 A.D.; obverse A K M A KAPINOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, star upper right, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren, ex Pegasi Numismatics; rare; $50.00 (44.50)


Gallic Empire, Tetricus II, Spring 274 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, Tetricus II, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the future hope of the people.
RA77910. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 272, Hunter IV 3, Cohen VI 87, SRCV III 11294, VF, good portrait for the issue, well centered, small flan splits, reverse die wear, light marks and corrosion, weight 1.830 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, as caesar, 273 - spring 274 A.D.; obverse C PIV ESV TETRICVS CAES, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes advancing left, extending flower in right, raising skirt drapery with left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren, ex CNG/Seaby; $45.00 (40.05)




  



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Hope and Fate