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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.


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 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, 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; $155.00 SALE PRICE $140.00

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 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 SALE PRICE $135.00

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 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.
RS71291. Silver denarius, RIC IV 364, RSC III 58, SRCV II 6266, gVF, weight 3.469 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 225o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II, laureate head right; reverse BONA SPES (good hope), Spes walking left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00

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, holds the world in his hand and is identified as the future hope of the Roman "Republic."
RL70747. Bronze AE 3, RIC VIII Nicomedia 114, Choice gVF, green patina, highlighting earthen encrustations, weight 1.537 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 6 Nov 355 - 3 Nov 361 A.D.; obverse D N IVLIA-NVS NOB C, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES REI-PVBLICE, Julian standing slightly left, head left, globe extended in right, inverted spear behind in left, SMNΓ in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00 ON RESERVE

Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00

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; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50 ON RESERVE

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 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 SALE PRICE $36.00

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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 SALE PRICE $36.00

Carus, Early September 282 - c. July or August 283 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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 SALE PRICE $36.00

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.
Click for a larger photo In 143 A.D., Antyllus, a Greek surgeon who lived in Rome, treated an aneurysm by performing the first arteriotomy. He lived in the same era as Galen, and as Galen was dominant in medicine, Antyllus excelled in surgery. His works have been lost, though some are reflected in the writings of Oribasius and Paul of Aegina. He developed specific instructions for a number of operations. He also listed the indications and contraindications and described the complications that could arise from the operations. His operation for aneurysm remained the standard procedure until the 19th century. Antyllus is also said to have developed a procedure to extract cataracts from the eye via suction, later improved by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi in the 10th century.
RB71501. Copper as, RIC III 730, BMCRE IV 1619, Cohen II 444, SRCV II -, F, corrosion, weight 2.634 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 143 - 144 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head right; reverse IMPERATOR II, Spes standing left, flower extended in right, raising fold of dress with left, S - C flanking at sides; scarce; $36.00 SALE PRICE $32.40



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Hope and Fate