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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Hope||View 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.


Saloninus, Summer 260 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, Saloninus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RL88067. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1707e(1) (Samosata), RIC V-1 36 (Antioch), RSC IV 95a (Antioch), Hunter IV 12, Cunetio 865 (3 spec.), SRCV III 10775, nice VF, attractive dark tone, porosity, weight 3.111 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, as caesar, Jan - summer 260 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Saloninus (on left) standing right, wearing military garb, holding spear, confronting Spes standing left, raising skirt with left hand, presenting flower to prince with right hand, wreath above; $175.00 (154.00)


Fausta, Augusta, 8 November 324 - Autumn 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."
RL89946. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Thessalonica p. 519, 161 (R3); LRBC I 827; SRCV IV 16571; Cohen VII 17, aEF, slightly rough green patina, small encrustations, weight 2.687 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 326 - 328 A.D.; obverse FLAV MAX FAVSTA AVG, draped bust right, no diadem or stephane, hair waved, bun at back, wearing pearl necklace; reverse SPES REIPVBLICAE, Fausta standing facing, looking left, veiled and draped, holding infants Constantine II and Constantius II, SMTSA in exergue; scarce; $150.00 (132.00)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 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. This coin advertises Carausius as the source of hope for the people.
RA73259. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 1010, Webb Carausius 2235, Cohen VII 339, King Unmarked -, SRCV IV -, Hunter IV -, aVF, centered on a broad flan, green patina with red earthen deposits, legends weak, weight 3.311 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 225o, unmarked (Londinium?) mint, c. mid 286 - 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes walking left, flower in right hand, lifting skirt with left hand, no mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $110.00 (96.80)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 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. This coin advertises Carausius as the source of hope for the people.
RA73289. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 1010, Webb Carausius 2235, Cohen VII 339, King Unmarked -, SRCV IV -, Hunter IV -, VF, nice green patina, reverse a little off center on a broad flan, bumps and marks, light earthen deposits, weight 3.363 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, unmarked mint, c. mid 286 - 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, early reign moustache portrait type; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes walking left, flower in right hand, lifting skirt with left hand, no mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $110.00 (96.80)


Gallic Empire, Tetricus II, Spring 274 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.
RA20942. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 270, Schulzki AGK 9a, Cunetio 2647, Elmer 791, Cohen VI 88, Hunter IV 11, SRCV III 11292, aVF, interesting multi-color patina, edge cracks, weight 3.243 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Mainz or Treveri (Trier) mint, as caesar, 273 - spring 274 A.D.; obverse C PIV ESV TETRICVS CAES, radiate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse SPES AVGG (hope of the two emperors), Spes advancing left, extending flower in right hand, raising skirt drapery with left hand; $85.00 (74.80)


Fausta, Augusta, 8 November 324 - Autumn 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."
RL91457. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Ticinum p. 387, 203 (R5); LRBC I 488; SRCV IV 16565; Cohen VII 17; Hunter V 7 var. (1st officina), Choice VF, well centered, dark patina with earthen highlighting, weight 2.823 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, c. 326 A.D.; obverse FLAV MAX FAVSTA AVG, draped bust right with hair waved, bun at back, wearing pearl necklace; reverse SPES REIPVBLICAE, Fausta standing facing, looking left, holding infants Constantine II and Constantius II, T crescent T in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; rare; $80.00 (70.40)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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In 359, Shapur II the Great of the Persian Empire invaded southern Armenia. The Romans implemented a scorched earth policy and placed strong guards at the Euphrates crossings. Shapur II besieged the Roman fortress of Amida (modern Diyarbakir). After seventy-three days the city was conquered and the population massacred. In the winter of 359, Shapur II halted his campaign, due to heavy casualties. In 360, Shapur II continued his campaign against the Roman fortresses; capturing Singara, Bezabde and Nisibis.
RL88062. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 117, LRBC II 2504, Voetter 47, SRCV V 18320, Cohen VII 188, Choice VF, nice green patina, well centered, light earthen deposits, edge a little ragged, weight 1.298 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 358 - 3 Nov 361; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES REIPVBLICE (the hope of the Republic), emperor standing left, wearing helmet and military dress, globe in right hand, spear in left hand, SMKA exergue; $70.00 (61.60)


Severina, Augusta Spring 274 - November 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Severina was the wife of Aurelian. She was possibly the only Roman empress ever to rule in her own right, which she did during the interregnum after her husband's murder.
RX88869. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3108; Dattari 5502; Milne 4474; Curtis 1824; SNG Cop 892; BMC Alexandria p. 308, 2378; Emmett 3967.7 (R1), aVF, well centered, some porosity, brown patina with blue-green area on reverse, weight 8.753 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 275 - 28 Aug 276 A.D.; obverse OVΛΠ CEVHPINA CEB, diademed and draped bust right; reverse ETOVC Z (year 7), Elpis standing left holding flower and raising skirt; $70.00 (61.60)


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-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 hand, raising skirt with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at sides; $40.00 (35.20)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek equivalent of the Roman Spes, the goddess of hope. She was traditionally defined as "the last goddess" (Spes, ultima dea), meaning that hope is the last resource available to men. Elpis personified hope for good harvests, and for children, and was invoked at births, marriages, and other important times.
RP89878. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5533; Milne 4531; Curtis 1881; Geissen 3128; BMC Alexandria p. 313, 2417, F, nice portrait, slight off center, weight 6.283 g, maximum diameter 21.60 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 276 - 28 Aug 277 A.D.; obverse AK M AVP ΠPOBOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in extended right hand, raising skirt with left hand, date B / L (year 2) left; $38.00 (33.44)







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Hope and Fate