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.
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.
George Gordon Byron (London 1788-Missolonghi 1824) was an emblematic figure of European Romanticism and one of the most important poets of the 19th century.
From a very young age, he embraced liberal and philhellenic ideals. His Grand Tour of the Mediterranean in 1809 brought him to Greece, to which he dedicated the second canto of his defining poetic work, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
The outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821 set fire to Byron’s romantic soul. He ultimately moved to Greece in 1823 in order to take part in the struggle and settled in Missolonghi, where he spent much of his fortune on setting up military and naval units. However, he was never to see action, as his life was cut short on 19 April 1824, following a serious illness. His untimely death was a tragic loss and was deeply mourned by the Greeks, but at the same time boosted philhellenic sentiment around the world.
Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, was one of the most popular Olympian deities. According to Homer, she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione, while according to Hesiod, she was born from the sea foam produced by Ouranos’s genitals, severed by his son Kronos. Her birthplace was contested by Paphos (Cyprus) and Kythera, hence her epithets Kypris and Kythereia. She was worshipped as Aphrodite Ourania (the heavenly) and Pandemos (“of all folk”, the vulgar), alluding, respectively, to spiritual and to sensual love. Although married to Hephaistos, Aphrodite had numerous lovers, including gods (most notably Ares) and mortals (Adonis or Anchises, to whom she bore Aeneas, progenitor of the Romans). One tradition portrays her as mother of Eros (Cupid), the mischievous winged god. Over the centuries, Aphrodite has inspired such masterpieces of art as the Knidian Aphrodite (by Praxiteles), the Venus de Milo and the Birth of Venus (by Boticelli).
Ares, son of Zeus and Hera, was the god of war. His children from his adulterous affair with Aphrodite, the wife of Hephaistos, included Harmonia (who later wed Cadmos, the founder of Thebes) and his companions in battle, Phobos and Deimos (embodiments of fear and dread, respectively). In contrast with his sister Athena, who represented protection of cities and strategy,
Ares was associated with the blind brutality of war. This explains why he was not popular with the Greeks, who – despite their frequent wars and high regard for military valour – were not a bellicose people. Even his own father, Zeus, in the Iliad calls him the most loathsome of the Olympian gods because of his belligerent nature. Very few temples were devoted to Ares in the Greek world (in Troizina, Geronthrai and Alikarnassos).
As for the Temple of Ares in the ancient agora of Athens, it had originally been erected in some other community of Attica, in honour perhaps of another god, before being moved to the centre of Athens and rededicated to Ares during the reign of Augustus, probably in connection with the Roman cult of Mars Ultor.