GREEK MYTHOLOGY – THE OLYMPIAN GODS – ARTEMIS. Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto, was born on the island of Delos together with her twin brother Apollo.
She was the goddess of hunting and wildlife, but also of childbirth, hence her role as protectress of children. Typically depicted with a bow and quiver of arrows and accompanied by a deer, Artemis was a virgin deity, like Athena and Hestia. She would punish harshly anyone who dared to cross her.
From Agamemnon, who had killed her sacred deer, she demanded the sacrifice of his own daughter Iphigenia in retribution. Due to the nature of her cult, she was mainly worshipped in country areas.
Major sanctuaries to Artemis were located in Sparta (Artemis Orthia), in Caryes, Laconia, where the local women (Caryatids) honoured the goddess with dances, as well as in Brauron, Attica. The famous temple dedicated to her in Ephesos was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
THE NEUTRON STAR, 2023. The Neutron Star coin, the third and final coin in The Uncharted Universe, shows how a massive star, combined with gravitational collapse, becomes one of the densest stellar objects in the universe (2023).
In the centre of The Neutron Star coin, a hemisphere curves inwards on one side and outwards on the other. Neutron stars are still something of a mystery, but this little masterpiece makes them a lot more tangible. Among the densest stellar objects in the universe, neutron stars are heavier than the Sun itself.
A superb representation of this unique galactic phenomenon, this little beauty weighs considerably less. Featuring a semi-sphere in its centre that curves inwards on one side and outwards on the other, the last coin in The Uncharted Universe series is designed to be a simplified representation of that unique galactic phenomenon – the neutron star. There are thought to be up to one billion neutron stars in the Milky Way.
This figure is obtained by estimating the number of stars that have undergone a supernova explosion, a spectacular explosion of a massive star. Combined with gravitational collapse, this creates a compact and super-dense object known as a neutron star. After black holes, neutron stars are the densest stellar objects in the universe.
Gold coin 200 euro 2023 dedicated to 100 years from the birth of Maria Callas. Maria Callas (1923 –1977) was a Greek soprano, one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century.
Many critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and, further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner.
Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina (the Divine).
Greece – 10 euro silver, MATHEMATICIANS – EUCLID, 2023
Euclid is considered the father of geometry. He lived in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I and must have flourished about 300 BC. His central work was the Elements, where he presented the fundamental concepts and principles of geometry and, based on five indemonstrable postulates or axioms (e.g. two points determine one and only one straight line), managed to summarise the geometric wisdom of the time in a comprehensible and coherent system, named Euclidean geometry in his honour.
His influence was so immense that it was not until the 19th century that a non-Euclidean geometry was developed. He also wrote Optics, Catoptrics, Conics, etc. They say that when Ptolemy once asked him if there was in geometry any shorter way than that of the Elements, he replied that there was no royal road to geometry.
THE AUTOMATIC MAIDSERVANT OF PHILO. GREEK CULTURE – ANCIENT GREEK TECHNOLOGY
The automatic maidservant of Philo is described in the Pneumatics of Philo of Byzantium, a 3rd century BC engineer who lived in Alexandria. It is an automaton (robot) in the form of a (life-size) maidservant holding a wine jug in her right hand.
Inside the effigy were two tanks, one for wine and one for water (as the Greeks used to drink their wine diluted), and a mechanism consisting of liquid and air tubes. By placing a cup on the extended left hand of the maidservant, the mechanism started to work.
Air pressure pushed the liquids (first wine and then water) through the right arm into the jug and then into the cup, in the desired proportion. The automatic maidservant is the first known functional robot.
GREEK CULTURE – ANCIENT GREEK TECHNOLOGY – THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM. The Antikythera mechanism was recovered from a shipwreck found in 1900 by sponge divers off the island of Antikythera.
Built in Hellenistic times, this intricate device was used for astronomical calculations and has been described as the oldest analogue computer. Its more than 30 bronze gearwheels rotated pointers over different dials. Thus, manually selecting a date on the main dial – which represented the zodiac, as well as the solar and lunar years – shifted the smaller gears, so that the pointers on the other dials indicated the position of the selected date in the four-year cycle of the Panhellenic games (Olympia, Pythia, Isthmia, Nemea), the positions of the five then-known planets and the correlation with astronomy cycles that were of particular interest to the ancient Greeks.
The mechanism also predicted solar and lunar eclipses. Research on the mechanism, which has fascinated scholars for decades, is still ongoing under the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, which, using advanced imaging technologies, continues to provide impressive new insights into the mechanism’s complex inner workings.
Commemorative coin 2 euro dedicated to the anniversary of 200 years since the introduction of the first Greek constitution.
From 20 December 1821 to 16 January 1822, the revolted Greeks held their first National Assembly at Nea Epidavros (known then as Piada), which adopted modern Greece’s first government charter, the Provisional Constitution of Greece.