Spes.Iconografia. simbologia, ideologia nella moneta romana (I-III sec.)

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Spes.Iconografia. symbolism, ideology in the Roman coin (1st-3rd century)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


[Autom. eng. transl.] In the monetary sphere, the personification of hope is depicted for the first time on Claudius sesterzi, although his cult is documented as early as the Republican age. Spes will appear later on the coinage of the Augusti, the Augustae and the Caesares destined for birth or adoption to the succession, up to the beginning of the IV century. The text examines the iconographic, symbolic and ideological aspects of this monetary subject, inserting it into a broader framework of typological and stylistic considerations, as well as ideological and historical-political considerations. The first part of the volume opens with the iconographic examination of the personification, as it appears on the issues of Claudio, according to the following categories: the garments and the hairstyle, the attribute of the flower, the archaic style. The following representations are then discussed, both those in which Spes is represented alone, and those in which she is represented together with divinities, personifications, real characters. These subjects are compared to images of Spes in the statuary and in the glyptic. The third chapter deals with the problem of the sculptural derivation of the monetary type, proposing to recognize the model to which the mint engravers drew in the Spes simulacrum placed in the Spedes aedes, which stood in the Foro Olitorio, which was consecrated in 17 AD, after the fire suffered in 31 BC, precisely from the brother of Claudius, Germanicus. The Second Part examines the traits that qualify Spes's monetary representation, that is, the almost constant progress towards the left and the gesture of holding a flower (or bud) in the right hand. Both find a precise echo in the description of the action of hope in Latin literary and poetic sources. The Third Part considers the political and ideological significance of the term "spes" in the Republican and Imperial periods, drawing first of all on written documentation. The issues of the imperial period are then examined, so as to identify the ideological meaning assumed by the representation of Spes as a monetary subject. The personification can be related to the emperor, the imperial couple, the Caesares, the Roman people, other personifications such as Fortuna, Victoria, Salus, Indulgentia, Securitas and Felicitas. Finally, the writings defining the personification on the coins are discussed (Spes Augusta, Spes Aug, Spes Populi Romani, Spes Publica, Bona Spes, Spes Firma, Spes Perpetua, Spes Felicitati Orbis). In the Appendix Claudio's emissions of sestertiums are the subject of an in-depth study, so as to circumscribe their chronology and to identify the motivation that led to the choice of this innovative monetary subject.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Spes.Iconografia. symbolism, ideology in the Roman coin (1st-3rd century)
Original languageItalian
PublisherVita e Pensiero
Number of pages132
ISBN (Print)88-343-7576-9
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Ideologia imperiale
  • Monetazione imperiale
  • Spes


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