The Abraham Cowley
Text and Image Archive

Public Trust Bearing Fruit

Hadrian, AR denarius, RIC 241a (134-38 AD).
Obv.: Hadrian laureate head r., HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P
Rev.: Fides (Good Faith) with wheat-ears and bowl of fruit, FIDES PVBLICA

Under subsequent rulers, coins with this same reverse sometimes bore an alternative legend describing the figure at center as Bonus Eventus, "Good Yield"; other issues routinely presented Spes (Hope) with her signature icon, a
flower. As in Cato the Elder's induction to his Art of Farming (De Re Rustica 1.1.4-7), success clearly involved fostering both "flowers" and "yields," furthering promise as well as performance, whatever mishaps and checks might intervene; thus one rarer depiction of Saturn's wife Ops or "Abundance" centers her very throne on a flower. Such connections may also begin to explain the odd tale in Ovid's Fasti 5.255 of how Juno conceived war-god Mars with the help of a flower; the story yields a coin-type of its own and inspires a brief passage in Cowley's Plantarum (5.585-91).
Ant. Pius, AE sestertius, Cohen 569 (140-43 AD). Obv: Pius laur. head r., ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III
Rev.: Saturn's wife Ops (Abundance) seated r. with scepter, flower under throne, OPI AVG S C

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