|25th Centenary of the Battle of Marathon|
Greek commemorative 2 euro coins 2010 - 2.500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon
Description: The inner part of the coin shows a synthesis of a shield and a runner/warrior symbolizing the battle for freedom and the noble ideals derived from the battle of Marathon. The bird on the shield symbolises the birth of western civilization in its present form. Surrounding the centre is the Greek inscription ΜΑΡΑΘΩΝΑΣ/2500 ΧΡΟΝΙΑ/490 Π.Χ./2010 Μ.Χ. (Marathon/2,500 years/490 BC/2010 AD) and the name of the issuing country (ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ). The twelve stars of the European Union surround the design on the outer ring of the coin.
Reverse: left from the coin centre face value: 2, on the right inscription: EURO; in the background of the inscription a map of Europe; in the background of the map vertically six parallel lines ending on both sides with five-pointed stars (the reverse is common for all euro coins)
Issuing volume: 2.5 million coins
Date of issue: October 2010
Face value: 2 euro
Diameter: 25.75 mm
Thickness: 2.2 mm
Weight: 8.5 gr
Composition: BiAlloy (Nk/Ng), ring Cupronickel (75% copper - 25% nickel clad on nickel core), center Nickel brass.
€2 Edge Inscription: The Greek €2 coin edge inscription is 'EΛΛHNIKH ΔHMOKPATIA' (Hellenic Republic), followed by a star:
Mint Location: Μέντα της Ελλάδας (Mint of Greece), in Athens, Greece.
Mint Marks: Mintmark of the Athens mint: a stylized acanthus leaf. Located just inside the upper left of the inner circle.
National Identification: Text: 'ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ'; (Hellenic Republic) Local long form of Greece.
This is one of only three Greek Euro coins to bear a national identification.
The first Persian invasion was a response to Greek involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius asked for his bow, he placed an arrow upon the string and he discharged it upwards towards heaven, and as he shot into the air he said: "Zeus, grant me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!". Also he charged one of his servants, to say to him, every day before dinner, three times: "Master, remember the Athenians."
At the time of the battle, Sparta and Athens were the two largest city states. Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretrea. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon. The Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon.
The Greeks could not hope to face the superior Persian cavalry; however, when learning that the Persian cavalry was temporarily absent from the camp, Miltiades ordered a general attack against the Persians. He reinforced his flanks, luring the Persians' best fighters into his centre. The inward wheeling flanks enveloped the Persians, routing them. The Persian army broke in panic towards their ships, and large numbers were slaughtered. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. Darius then began raising a huge new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece; however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, indefinitely postponing any Greek expedition. After Darius died, his son Xerxes I restarted the preparations for a second invasion of Greece, which finally began in 480 BC.
The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in European history. The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.