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A Very Veristic Vespasian

David Atherton

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Another bargain from eBay ... purchased for the low price, but more importantly because of the fantastic portrait. By the time this coin was struck late in Vespasian's reign his portraits had evolved into the classic 'straining' style that has since become iconic.





Æ As, 11.76g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN COS VIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower
RIC 1011 (C). BMC 739. BNC 776.
Acquired from eBay, January 2023.

Spes, the goddess of hope, is seen here as an 'heir apparent' type. She is represented on Roman coins as a young girl, reminiscent of earlier Greek cult statues depicting Elpis. H. Mattingly in BMCRE II says 'the flower held by Spes is an opening bud, she is raising her skirt in order to hasten forward'. Spes occurs quite commonly under Vespasian and is frequently paired up with all three Flavians as a hopeful expression of future dynastic success.


And in hand.



As always, thanks for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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Nice bronze! It might have been a bargain but the coin would grace any collection. That is interesting about Spes. I have a similar coin, struck under Vespasian featuring Titus and the goddess.

Something appealing about an anepigraphic reverse too.

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