November 29, 2012 – The Bank of Greece has issued a new collector’s coin which pays tribute to one of the world’s most noted and quoted philosophers emerging from the ancient world. Socrates (c. 469-399 BC). Considered by scholars throughout recorded history as one of the premier founders of modern Western philosophy, the teachings of Socrates have left their ever-present impact and influence on debate, reason, logic, ethics and to the overall practice of the democratic principle which have been the model that has shaped modern states and civilisations.
Bust of Socrates. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BC. From the Quintili Villa on the Via Appia. Photo: Jastrow / Wikipedia.
At a time of social and moral decline within Athens, Socrates openly criticised and questioned prominent Athenians and refused to sanction the existing state of affairs, which was contributing to the city-state’s decline. At the same time, Socrates claimed complete loyalty to his city, his actions resulted in his arrest and prosecution in what was one of the most well-known and memorable occurrences reported and whose details survive to this day.
The School of Athens, fresco by Raffaello Sanzio (1511). Socrates is the man in the second line wearing brown clothes and making gestures. Source: Wikipedia.
Socrates was found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of ‘not believing in the gods of the state’ and sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock.
The death of Socrates did not lessen his following or influence within Athenian society but rather heightened it due to the perception that his death was more to do with propaganda and politics.
This impressive coin, which combines both classical and contemporary element to the design is the work of artist/sculptor George Stamatopoulos whose previous designs also include the current Greek one and two Euro circulation coins.
Included on the obverse is a detailed profile portrait facing to the left of the philosopher positioned towards the right half of the coin with a background of Greek words and text attributed to Socrates. His name and year of birth and death as well as the Greek Mint’s mintmark are seen just to the base of the portrait.
The reverse design includes the Greek crest which is positioned towards the upper half with the coin’s denomination of ‘10 Euro’ written in Greek just underneath with the year of issue “2012” below the coin’s face value. The text “Elleniki Dimokratia” in Greek is seen along the upper edge. Struck to proof quality in sterling silver, the coin weighs 34.1 grams with a diameter of 40 mm. This coin’s mintage is authorised at just 5,000 examples.
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Bank of Greece, please visit their website.
A special e-mail address has been arranged for interested collectors, to e-mail directly for information on ordering outside of Greece.To do so, please click here.
Although Socrates did not leave any written work, by transmission through his pupils, among them Plato, above all, we have many famous quotations of the great philosopher. You can find some of them here.