In 136, Aelius was adopted by an aging and ailing Hadrian and made caesar, successor to the throne. He had no military experience but had served as a senator and had powerful political connections. He was known for luxurious taste, an extravagant lifestyle, but also poor health. He was never to become emperor, dying before Hadrian, on 1 January 138.
Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named “ultima dea” – for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Aelius, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people. Aelius was never to become emperor, dying shortly before Hadrian.
Bare head of Lucius Aelius right
L AELIVS CAESAR
Spes walking left, holding flower and raising hem of skirt
TR POT COS II
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