Greece – 2 Euro, Union of Ionian Islands with Greece, 2014

Commemorative 2 euro coins issued to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece.

The ‘Seven Point Star’ symbolizes the “Ionian Dimension” (“ΙΟΝΙΑ ΔΙΑΣΤΑΣΗ”): the ‘Group of Seven Islands’ in the Ionian Sea bore and inspired outstanding representatives in the fields of Art, important musicians, poets, painters and politicians. Clockwise from top, the visuals symbolize the following islands: Corfu’s emblem is the “apedalos naus” (“ΑΠΗΔΑΛΟ ΝΑΥΣ”: ship without steering gear), as ‘Great Nautical Powers’ were attributed to the island and its sailors were well known for their nautical abilities and skills since ancient times .  Zakynthos is represented by the sacrificial tripod of Apollo — Ithaca: Odysseus is depicted with the anciant hat Pileus “ΠΙΛΟ” — Paxi’s emblem is a trident “ΤΡΙΠΟΥΣ”: according to a mythological tale, it was created when Poseidon hit the island of Corfu with his trident, splitting it in two — Kythira, the island of celestial Aphrodite, is symbolized by her ‘emergence from the sea’ “ΚΥΘΕΡEΙΑ ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΗ” — Lefkada is represented by the ‘Apolonian harp’ (“Απολλώνια Άρπα”), symbol for its ‘Great Musical Tradition’ — Cephalonia’s emblem is its mythical hero Cephalus, depicted with his hound and spear.

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Greece – 2 Euro, DOMENIKOS THEOTOKOPOULOS, 2014

EL GRECO. Commemorative 2 euro coin issued to commemorate the 400 years since the death of Domenikos Theotokopoulos.

El Greco, born Doménikos Theotokópoulos (1541 – 7 April 1614), was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. “El Greco” (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his national Greek origin.

El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

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Malta – 2 Euro, 50 Years of Independence, 2014

Malta celebrates 50 years of Independence. A former British colony and naval base for the British army, Malta sought independence from the Queen following a democratic vote in the Maltese Parliament in 1962. This process led to the British Empire releasing it’s Mediterranean stronghold and granting the Maltese islands their state of independence on the 21st September, 1964. This year (2014) the islands celebrate 50 years of Independence with a string of events organised by the National Festivities Committee.

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Portugal – 2 Euro, the Carnation Revolution, 2014

The Carnation Revolution was a military coup in Lisbon, Portugal on 25 April 1974 which overthrew the regime of dictatorship. The revolution started as a military coup organized by the Movimento das Forcas Armadas (Armed Forces Movement), composed of military officers who opposed the regime, but the movement was soon coupled with an unanticipated and popular campaign of civil resistance. This movement would lead to the fall of the dictatorship and the withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies. The name “Carnation Revolution” comes from the fact no shots were fired and when the population took to the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnation flowers were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army. The Portuguese celebrate the national holiday of Freedom Day on 25 April every year to celebrate the revolution.

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