Hope by any other name...

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Public Domain: Painting by John William Waterhouse (1847-1917)

    Elpis (ἐλπίς) with a flower in hand is depicted on this Alexandrian tetradrachm of Salonina the wife of Gallienus. Elpis is the Greek equivalent of Roman Spes or Hope. Perhaps because these tetradrachms are so different than the Roman republican denarii, what started as a small distraction has become a small collection of Alexandrian coins from the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus. Here's the latest addition from regnal year (RY) 15 of Gallienus.
    Salonina Elpis Alexandria.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria, Salonina, Augusta & wife of Gallienus, AD 254-268, Tetradrachm, dated RY 15 (AD 267/8)
    Obv: KORNHLIA CALWNEINA CEB, draped bust right, wearing stephane
    Rev: Elpis advancing left, holding flower and hem of skirt; palm frond before, IЄ/L (date) to right.
    Ref: Dattari (Savio) 5334

    This reverse type was introduced by Domitian and continued to be used to the time of Diocletian.[*] The regnal year ended on Aug 28 and the new year started Aug 29th, this coin was issued in the 15th and last year of Gallienus' reign.

    The palm branch, a symbol of victory, does not appear on all tetradrachms with Elpis, but seems to always appear on all Elpis reverses for Gallienus and Salonina. Hope for victory?

    In 268, Gallienus defeated invaders in Moesia, and put down a revolt in Milan by Aureolus only to be assassinated in a plot by the head of the praetorian guard together with Claudius II and Aurelian. Here's an unusual Gallienus from AD 259/260 - like the one above from Salonina - the portrait was the initial draw on this coin:
    Gallienus Alexandria RY7.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria, Gallienus (AD 253-268), Tetradrachm, dated RY 7 of Valerian I & Gallienus (AD 259/260)
    Obv: A K Π ΛI OV ΓAΛΛIANOC EV EV C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: Alexandria standing left, wearing turreted crown, holding bust of Sarapis and scepter, L-Z (date)

    Prometheus gave mankind fire, and in return, Zeus gave Pandora, the first woman, to the brother of Prometheus, Epimetheus. Elpis, hope, is the one "misery" that fails to escape from Pandora's box in the telling by Hesiod.
    For when the woman the unwieldy lid
    Had once discover’d, all the miseries hid
    In that curs’d cabinet dispers’d and flew
    About the world; joys pined, and sorrows grew,
    Hope only rested in the boxe’s brim,
    And took not wing from thence…

    - Hesiod, Work & Days 160

    The "box" was a πίθος (pithos) - which is really a large terracotta storage jar something like this one:
    Public Domain image
    There is scholarly debate about what it means that Hope (also translated as Expectation) stayed in the pithos. Is "hope" an evil (false expectation) or a good (motivating optimism)? Does it remain in the box for mankind or hidden from mankind?[*][*][*] The painting at the start of this post is of Pandora opening the box, from 1896, oil on canvas. Erasmus of Rotterdam (AD 1456-1536) is most often cited as the source of the mistranslation of Greek πίθος to Latin pyxis (“small box”).[*]

    For anyone who made it this far in my wandering thoughts on this coin, Elpis, and Pandora, corrections, additions and comments are as usual appreciated. Share your coins of ἐλπίς, Elpis, Spes or Hope by any other name, coins of Gallienus and Salonina or anything else you find interesting or entertaining.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Great tetradrachms and great write up!
    I need to take better pictures before I post. Looking forward to seeing what others post though.
    Sulla80 and Justin Lee like this.
  4. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    BOT on that Salonina!

    Tarsos1.jpg Cilicia, Tarsos. AE35. Philip I or II / Spes
    AVT KAI IOV ΦIΛIΠΠON ЄVT ЄVC CЄ around, Π - Π in field, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right.
    TAPCOV THC MHTPOΠOΛEΩC AMK, Elpis (Spes) standing left, holding flower and pulling on skirt, Γ B across fields.

    Philip I or Philip II as Augustus, same obv. die as Ziegler, Smaller German Collections, pl. 42, 799 ("Philip II"); SNG Paris 1730 ("Philip I"); and SNG Aulock 6062 ("Philip I").

    The light beard would speak for Philip I, yet the features look different and younger than other portrait dies at Tarsus that are definitely Philip I. -Curtis Clay
    TJC, Pishpash, zumbly and 8 others like this.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Great writeup @Sulla80 and great coins.

    Here is a SPES reverse on an extremely rare Domitian 'O' m int denarius. If it did not have the hole I would never have been able to afford it.

    D 1489 VESP.jpg
    Domitian AR Denarius Unknown mint in Asia Minor. ‘O’ mint. 76 CE
    (19.15mm 3.13g)
    Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III; Head Laureate right, a small ‘O’ is visible below the neck truncation.
    Rev: PRINCEP IVVENTVT; SPES standing left with flower
    RIC 1489 (R2); BMC 481 [VESPASIAN]; RSC 375a; RPC 1462 (this coin cited as example #2 on RPC online).
    TJC, Pishpash, Clavdivs and 9 others like this.
  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent @Sulla80 . Again I'm gonna go to bed smarter tonight. Here's an As of Vespasian with Spes on reverse I've never posted here before:

    Vespasian As
    Rome 76AD 27mm 8.33g
    SPES holding flower & raising hem of skirt
    RIC II 894
    TJC, Pishpash, zumbly and 7 others like this.
  7. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I love these busts of Gallienus on his Alexandrian tets! The first 2 have palms.
    Gallienus, Ruled 253-268 AD
    AE Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria
    Struck 262/263 AD
    Obverse: AYT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in beak; before, palm; behind, LI, RY 10.
    References: Emmett 3806, Dattari 5276
    Size: 23mm, 11.9g

    Gallienus, Ruled 253-268 AD
    BL Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria
    Struck 261/262 AD
    Obverse: AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front, slight drapery on left shoulder.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left, holding wreath in beak, palm over shoulder, ENATOV to left and L to right (year 9=261/262 AD).
    References: Emmett 3802, Dattari 5286, Köln 2908

    Gallienus, Ruled 253-268 AD
    BL Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria
    Struck 263/264 AD
    Obverse: AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CЄB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    Reverse: Tyche standing left, holding rudder and cornucopiae; L IA (retrograde) in left field, RY 11.
    References: Emmett 3836, Dattari 5267
    Size: 24mm, 9.69g

    Notes: Fascinating retrograde date.

    (attribution not handy at the moment, but will add. Ex: @jb_depew)

    Also, the bust on your Salonina is quite unique... Thinner and more delicate, and more similar to earlier empresses. Mine all have palms.
    Cornelia Salonina, Wife of Gallienus who ruled 253-268 AD
    AE Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria
    Struck 264/265 AD
    Obverse: KOPNHΛIA CAΛΩNЄINA CЄB, diademed and draped bust of Salonina right.
    Reverse: Eirene standing left, holding olive branch and sceptre; palm before, IB/L (date), (RY 12 = 264/265 AD).
    References: Köln 2969; Dattari 5331; Milne 4102; Emmett 3855
    Size: 18mm, g
    Notes: A very beautiful and intelligent woman, she was extremely loyal to her husband. Opinion is divided as to whether she was murdered in the purge of Gallienus’ family after his murder, or if she survived.

    The same type as above.
    (attribution not handy at the moment, but will add. Ex: @jb_depew)

    Cornelia Salonina, Wife of Gallienus who ruled 253-268 AD
    AE Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria, Struck 265/266 AD
    Obverse: KOPNEΛΙΑ CAΛΩNEINA CEB, draped bust right, wearing stephane.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left, head right, wreath in beak; in left field, palm branch; LIΓ in upper right field, RY 13 (original envelope is incorrect)
    References: Emmett 3853, Dattari 5347
    Size: 22mm, 6.9g
    Ex: The Reverend Willis McGill Collection (McGill was an American missionary stationed in Egypt, who started collecting there during World War I)

    The only Alexandrian Elpis in my collection is this Tacitus.
    Tacitus, Ruled 275-276 AD
    AE Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria, Struck 275/276 AD
    Obverse: A K K A TAKITOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
    Reverse: Elpis advancing left, holding flower, raising hem of skirt, ЄTOVC A to right and left, RY 1.
    References: Emmett 3975, Dattari 5516
    Size: 21.3mm, 9.1g
    Ex: X6 Collection

    And here are a few of my more recent imperial Spes.
    Faustina II, Wife of Marcus Aurelius
    AE Sestertius, Struck 145-161 AD, Rome mint
    Obverse: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, Bust of Faustina the Younger, draped, right, hair is elaborately dressed in horizontal lines with ringlets down front: it is coiled in a chignon on back of head.
    Reverse: AVGVSTI PII FIL, Spes, draped, standing front, head left, holding up flower-bud in right hand and gathering up fold of skirt in left, S-C across field.
    References: RIC III 1371
    Size: 30mm, 23.5g

    Antoninus Pius, Ruled 138-161 AD
    AE Sestertius, Struck 140-144 AD, Rome
    Obverse: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, Laureate head right.
    Reverse: Spes, draped, advancing left, holding dress and gathering up fold of skirt, S-C across fields.
    References: RIC III 626
    Size: mm, 25.57g

    Trajan, Ruled 98-117 AD
    AE Sestertius, Struck 103-111 AD, Rome
    Obverse: IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, draped on left shoulder.
    Reverse: S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Spes, draped, advancing left, holding up flower in right hand and raising skirt with left; S-C across fields.
    References: RIC II 519
    Size: 30mm, g
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
    TJC, DonnaML, Limes and 11 others like this.
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Spes on an eastern mint Severan:

    Julia Domna, AD 193-217.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.40 g, 17 mm, 12 h.
    Eastern mint, AD 194-195.
    Obv: IVLIA DO MNA AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: BONA SPES, Spes standing left, holding flower and lifting fold of skirt.
    Refs: RIC 614; BMCRE 412-13; Cohen/RSC 8; RCV 6575; CRE 387.
    Limes, Pishpash, zumbly and 8 others like this.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Wow, @Sulla80 ! Thanks for the great narrative, nice pics, and super coins! You pick’em purdy!

    Here are a couple SPES

    As an afterthought... how did Spes help these two rulers? :)


    RI Tetricus II 273-274 CE BI Ant SPES w Flower


    RI Fausta 325-326 CE AE3 Spes stdg 2 infants SMHA 20mm 3.48g scratch over eye damnatio memoriae by Constantine
    TJC, DonnaML, Johndakerftw and 9 others like this.
  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Wow, that is an eviable Salonina, @Sulla80! Great portrait and wonderful surfaces.

    Antoninus Pius - Gemini Lot A - 6 Elpis Y11 Dattari.jpg
    Billon Tetradrachm. 13.81g, 24mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 11 = AD 147/8. Dattari-Savio pl. 111, 8160 (this coin); Emmett 1383.11; RPC Online Temp 13607 (this coin cited). O: Laureate bust right. R: L ENDEKATOV, Elpis standing left, lifting hem of skirt and holding flower.
    Ex Robert L. Grover Collection of Roman-Egyptian Coinage, previously held by the Art Institute of Chicago (1981.511); ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    Claudius II Gothicus - Alexandria Tetradrachm Elpis ex Clain 3730.jpg
    Potin Tetradrachm. 9.24g, 22.7mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 2 (AD 269/270). Emmett 3881; Dattari 5388. O: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: Elpis standing left, holding flower and raising skirt; L-B in field.
    Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
    TJC, Alegandron, DonnaML and 6 others like this.
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Well here is a nearly invisible Spes.. hauntingly hovering behind Fortuna on this coin of Aelius Caesar. Again I have to thank our friend @Justin Lee for pointing this coin out to me on VCoins.. I was completing my inexpensive "Five Good Emperors" set and wanted to add a bargain Aelius sestertius to fill out the story. I think this was listed as an Antonius Pius (?) so was well under $20 ...

    This may actually be the first "photo bomb" ever in recorded history..


    super rough but a fun coin.... most wouldn't have this in their collection but it has found a good home.
    TJC, dougsmit, Alegandron and 8 others like this.
  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    RIC Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 99
    41-50 AD, (36mm, 25.3gm)
    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Reverse depiction: Personification of Spes
    holding flower in right hand and raising skirt with left hand
    Inscription: SPES AVGVSTA - S C (exergue)
  13. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Elpis Holding Flower and Hitching Skirt...

    Marcus Aurelius as Caesar:

    Type: AE Drachm, 33mm, 22.95 grams of Alexandria

    Obverse: Bare headed and draped bust of Aurelius right

    Reverse: Elpis Standing left holding flower and hitching skirt

    Reference: BMC 1238 listed as "rare" by R.A. Numismatics


    Nice portrait to me on this Salonina tet of Alexandria:

    EGYPT, Alexandria

    Billon Tetradrachm, 23mm, 9.8 grams, 12h

    Dated RY 15 (A.D. 267-268)

    Diademed and draped bust right.

    Reverse: Eagle standing right, holding wreath in beak; palm in left field, L IE to right

    Reference: Koln 2983; Dattari 5346; Milne 4189; Curtis 1642; Emmett 3854


  14. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    unique obverse on this Spes RIC 703b var III Antoninus Pius 0703b var mini.jpg
  15. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    An amazing and diverse gallery of hopes - spanning centuries from Claudius (41–54 CE) to Tetricus (271-274 CE) and 1000s of km, spanning Trier, Gaul to Tarsus, Cilicia to Alexandria, Egypt to Rome...all consistent with a standing hope, raising a flower, holding her skirt.
    Alegandron and DonnaML like this.
  16. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter



    RI Eugenius 392-394 CE AE 12mm 1.0g Aquileia SPES wreath palm Victory RIC59


    RI Macrianus 260-261 CE Usurper AR 22mm 4.4g BI Ant Spes Publica star Sear 3.10811. RIC 13 pg 581 R2 Rare
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Herennius Etruscus Caesar (son of Trajan Decius), AR Antoninianus, 250 AD. Obv. Radiate & draped bust right, Q HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C / Rev. Spes advancing left, raising skirt & holding flower, SPES PVBLICA. RIC IV-3 149, RSC IV 38. 22 mm., 4.37 g.

    Herennius Etruscus - Spes.jpg

    Here's Mom, holding a long-barreled revolver to her forehead:

    Herennia Etruscilla (wife of Trajan Decius) AR Antoninianus, 249-251 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, Draped bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind / Rev. PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia standing left lifting her veil and holding scepter. RIC IV-3 58b, RSC IV 17. 21.77 mm., 3.82 g.

    Herennia Etruscilla jpg.jpg
    TJC, Bing, Roman Collector and 3 others like this.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I lost track. Did anyone show the Philip I Eastern mint antoninianus with SPES FELICITATIS ORBIS?

    Septimius Severus issued Spes in more than one declension from 'Emesa'.
    rg1140bb1193.jpg rg1500bb0433.jpg

    As did Julia Domna:
    rk5180b01934lg.jpg rk5330bb2281.jpg

    I did not check to see how many of my Alexandrian Elpis tetradrachms had already been shown so I'll ask forgiveness for the duplicates.
    Antoninus Pius year 11

    Commodus year 30

    Philip I year 4

    Tacitus year 1

    Diocletian year 9 pa2690b01950lg.jpg
    TJC, Bing, Roman Collector and 3 others like this.
  19. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I was too distracted admiring the hopeful coins to notice anything duplicate...BONAE SPEI / BONA SPES series is great fun - the Philip "hope of joyful world"!
  20. Macromius

    Macromius Still around sometimes...

    @Sulla80 Best post/thread ever!! Incredible coins galore...
  21. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The only coin of Elpis that I have, is a potin tetradrachm which was struck at Alexandria. Salonina is on obverse.

    Salonina O     ElpisPotin.JPG SalonElpis R   Tetalexand.JPG
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page