BEAUTIFUL ELPIS -- Maximianus, 285 - 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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.

Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5875; Milne 4829; Curtis 2071; Geissen 3286; BMC Alexandria p. 329, 2556; SNG Cop 1024, aEF, weight 6.660g, maximum diameter 20.5mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 286 - 28 Aug 287; obverse Α Κ Μ ΟΥΑ ΜΑΞΙΜΙΑΝΟC CΕΒ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right, raising drapery with left, star behind, L - B (year 2) across fields.

An altogether beautiful coin with a crisp, clear image of Elpis, the Goddess 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.