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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Personifications>Hope PAGE 1/212

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
Click for a larger photo 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 VII 80, SRCV 3905, aEF, green patina, well centered, slight porosity, weight 3.379 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, Heraclea 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 (112.50)

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.
Click for a larger photo In 232, Severus Alexander launched a counterattack against the Persian forces of King Ardashir I, who had invaded Mesopotamia. Alexander gave the order to march to the capital at Ctesiphon, but was defeated and withdrew to Syria. After heavy losses on both sides, a truce was signed.
RB60647. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 648, Cohen 549, VF, chipped, weight 22.254 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 232 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate bust right with slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse SPES PVBLICA S C, Spes advancing left, flower in right, raising skirt with left; $80.00 (60.00)

Aelius, Caesar, July or August 136 - 1 January 138 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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, Aelius, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people. Aelius was never to become emperor, dying shortly before Hadrian.
RB70479. Copper as, SRCV II 3993, RIC II 1067, F, rough, porous, weight 11.844 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 137 A.D.; obverse L AELIVS CAESAR, bare head right; reverse TR POT COS II S C, Spes advancing right, holding flower and raising drapery; scarce; $75.00 (56.25)

Saloninus, Summer 260 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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, Saloninus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RS65679. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1707u, RIC V 36 (Antioch), RSV IV 95a, SRCV III -, VF, weight 3.752 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Samosata (Adiyman Province. Turkey) mint, as caesar, 3rd emission, Jan - summer 260 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes on left, raising skirt, presenting flower to prince, star above; $65.00 (48.75)

Tacitus, 25 September 275 - 12 April 276 A.D.
Click for a larger photo
RB33969. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 61, VF, weight 3.564 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 276 A.D.; obverse IMP CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Spes advancing left, holding flower and lifting fold of dress; nicely centered, some pin prick pitting; $55.00 (41.25)

Carinus, First Half 283 - Spring 285 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Click for a larger photo 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's 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 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, holding flower and raising fold of dress, date L - B (year 2) across field; $40.00 (30.00)

Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.
Click for a larger photo The first officinan letter "A" sometimes resembles H on this type.
RL60022. Bronze AE 3, RIC VIII 81, VF, nice patina, weight 1.852 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) 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 slightly left, head left, globe extended in right, inverted spear behind in left, ASIRM in ex; $36.00 (27.00)

Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. 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, Julian II, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the future hope of the Roman "Republic."
BB62132. Bronze AE 3, RIC VIII 81, VF, weight 2.445 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) mint, as caesar, 6 Nov 355 - Feb 360; obverse D N IVLIA-NVS NOB C, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES REI-PVBLICE, emperor standing slightly left, head left, globe extended in right, inverted spear behind in left, BSIRM in ex; $30.00 (22.50)

Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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 87, aVF, weight 1.878 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 180o, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) 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 (19.50)

Tacitus, 25 September 275 - 12 April 276 A.D.
Click for a larger photo In 275, Aurelian was murdered by the Praetorian Guard near Byzantium. On 25 September, the elderly senator Marcus Claudius Tacitus was proclaimed emperor by the Senate. On 12 Apr 276, Tacitus, aged around 75 years, died after personally leading a successful campaign against a Gothic invasion.
BB62837. Bronze antoninianus, RIC V 207, aF, encrusted, corrosion, weight 3.706 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA, Victory standing right holding palm and presenting wreath to Tacitus, standing left holding scepter, T (third officina) in ex; $19.00 (14.25)



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Catalog current as of Monday, July 28, 2014.
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Hope and Fate