On 31 March Greece has issued a 2 euro circulation coin dedicated to the Battle of Thermopylae 2,500 years ago. The coin features a Greek helmet to remember the battle between Greeks and Persians fought in the summer of 480 BC at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae.
In that critical moment the Greek force blocked the only way the Persian army could take to the south. In the end the bulk of the alliance marched on and only a small force led by the Spartan king Leonidas remained to hold back the enemy, destined to die. This episode of the Persian war has become fundamental to the myth of the Spartan bravery, and a foundation of the national idea of modern Greece.
Now, Greek has issued 300,000 pieces of the new 2 euro commemorative circulation coin: “2,500 YEARS SINCE THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE” with year mark 2020 and issuing volume of 750,000 pieces.
The coin’s outer ring features the 12 stars of the European Union. The central field of the coin depicts an ancient Greek helmet. Inscribed along the inner edge are the words “2500 YEARS SINCE THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE” and “HELLENIC REPUBLIC”. Also inscribed in the background are the year of issuance and a palmette (the mintmark of the Greek Mint). Visible down and right of the helmet is the monogram of the artist (George Stamatopoulos).
The common side on the commemorative coin and the edge lettering are the same as on regular 2€ coins.
For further information on the coin go to the Bank of Greece.
Do you know, why the place was called Thermopylae? Because of its warm springs where people still take baths as you can learn in an episode of the Numismatic Diary of a Journey Throughout Greece.
As for Thermopylae and the myth of the Spartians you may wish to watch this video:
Here you can even see the Greek historiographer Herodotus re-evocating the battle scenes …
And someone even reconstructed the battle field with LEGO bricks.