|O: laureate draped bust of Diocletianus||R: Elpis holding flower and raising skirt
L A (coin is from 1st year of reign)
|bronze tetradrachm struck in Alexandria 284-285 AD; ref.: Milne 4750|
In Greek mythology, Elpis (Ancient Greek: ἐλπίς) is the spirit of hope (usually seen as an extension to suffering by the Greeks, not as a god). She was depicted as a young woman, usually carrying flowers or a cornucopia in her hands.
In Hesiod's Works and Days, Elpis was the last item in Pandora's box (or jar). Based on Hesiod's description, the debate is still alive to determine if Elpis was only hope, or more generally expectation. Her equivalent in Roman mythology was Spes.
The more famous version of the Pandora myth comes from one of Hesiod's poems, Works and Days. In this version of the myth (lines 60–105), Hesiod expands upon her origin, and moreover widens the scope of the misery she inflicts on mankind. Pandora brings with her a jar[a][b] containing[c] "burdensome toil and sickness that brings death to men" (91–92), diseases (102) and "a myriad other pains" (100). Prometheus had – fearing further reprisals – warned his brother Epimetheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus. But Epimetheus did not listen; he accepted Pandora, who promptly scattered the contents of her jar. As a result, Hesiod tells us, "the earth and sea are full of evils" (101). One item, however, did not escape the jar (96–99), hope:
Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.
Hesiod does not say why hope (elpis) remained in the jar.[d] The implications of Elpis remaining in the jar were the subject of intense debate even in antiquity.
Hesiod closes with this moral (105): "Thus it is not possible to escape the mind of Zeus."
|Look up Elpis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|