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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.


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.
Click for a larger photo "Nobody is familiar with his own profile, and it comes as a shock, when one sees it in a portrait, that one really looks like that to people standing beside one. For one's full face, because of the familiarity that mirrors give it, a certain toleration and even affection is felt; but I must say that when I first saw the model of the gold piece that the mint-masters were striking for me I grew angry and asked whether it was intended to be a caricature. My little head with its worried face perched on my long neck, and the Adam's apple standing out almost like a second chin, shocked me. But Messalina said: "No, my dear, that's really what you look like. In fact, it is rather flattering than otherwise." -- From the novel "Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina" by Robert Graves
SH71772. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 99, SRCV I 1853, BMCRE I 124, BnF II 167, Cohen 85, aF, centered, rough, small edge crack, weight 16.621 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 41 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, laureate head right; reverse SPES AVGVSTA S C, Spes walking left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left; $160.00 (120.00)

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 (112.50)

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 (112.50)

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."
RL90387. Silvered AE 3, RIC VII Thessalonica 161 (R3), LRBC 827, SRCV IV 16571, aVF, some silvering, weight 3.105 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Thessalonica mint, 326 - 328 A.D.; obverse FLAV MAX - FAVSTA AVG, draped bust right, hair waived, bun at back, wearing pearl necklace; reverse SPES REI-PVBLICAE, Fausta standing facing, looking left, holding infants Constantine II and Constantius II, SMTSB in exergue; scarce; $120.00 (90.00)

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.
RB72529. Copper as, RIC II Hadrian 1067 (S), BMCRE III 1931, Cohen 57 (8f.), SRCV II 3993, F, weight 9.609 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 137 A.D.; obverse L AELIVS CAESAR, bare head right; reverse TR POT COS II, Spes walking left, raising flower in right, lifting skirt drapery with left, S - C flanking across field; scarce; $85.00 (63.75)

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)

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 (52.50)

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), RSC 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)

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 (48.75)

Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.
Click for a larger photo
RB33969. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 61, VF, nicely centered, porous, weight 3.564 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early - Jun 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; $55.00 (41.25)



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Catalog current as of Monday, December 22, 2014.
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Hope and Fate