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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Gods,Non-Olympian>Spes

Elpis or Spes

Elpis was the Greek, and Spes the Roman, 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. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.


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.

RX51956. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4701; Geissen 3177; Curtis 1917; Dattari 5584; SNG Cop 952; BMC Alexandria 2454; Kampmann 115.10; Emmett 4007, VF, weight 7.617 g, maximum diameter 19.5 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; $36.00 (27.00)

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.

RX51976. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4701; Geissen 3177; Curtis 1917; Dattari 5584; SNG Cop 952; BMC Alexandria 2454; Kampmann 115.10; Emmett 4007, VF, weight 7.239 g, maximum diameter 19.2 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; $36.00 (27.00)

Maximianus, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 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.

RX51993. Billon tetradrachm, BMC Alexandria 2555, SNG Cop 1023, Milne 4828-9 var (star), Dattari 5873-5 var (same), VF, weight 7.558 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 286 - 28 Aug 287; obverse A K M A OYA MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right, raising drapery with left, L - B (year 2) across fields; $28.00 (21.00)

Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.
Click for a larger photo The only known unexcavated Roman Hippodrome in the world is in Sirmium. A colossal building about 150 meters wide and 450 meters long lies directly under the Sremska Mitrovica town center, beside the old Emperor's Palace. In early 1970s American archeologists sponsored by the U.S. Government made an offer to the citizens of Sremska Mitrovica to completely rebuild the town on another location so Sirmium could be excavated. The request was refused and there are still no plans to excavate the arena, which would require the removal of the entire present town center.
BB53648. Bronze AE 3, RIC VIII 81 or 83, F, weight 1.441 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, 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, spear in left, ASIRM[...] in ex; $22.00 (16.50)

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)

Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 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, Julian II, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
BB62125. Bronze AE 3, SRCV 4064, F, weight 1.814 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain 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, spear vertical in left, uncertain mint mark in ex; bargain priced!; scarce; $15.00 (11.25)


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Catalog current as of Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
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Elpis or Spes