The Bank of Greece (BoG) has just issued a series of commemorative coins to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the battle of Thermopylae and the naval battle of Salamis.
The two silver coins which depict scenes of the 480 BC battles and Greek military leaders are part of BoG's annual monetary program run jointly with the Greek Finance Ministry. A total of 6,000 coins will be released.
In the battle of Thermopylae the outnumbered alliance of Greek city-states led by King Leonidas of Sparta eventually lost to the Persian forces, but until today it is a point of reference as an example of heroic resistance to defend sovereignty and freedom.
In the naval battle of Salamis, the alliance of the Greeks led by Athenian politician and general Themistocles resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks, marking a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars.
While presenting the coins on Tuesday evening, BoG Governor Yannis Stournaras and Finance Minister Christos Staikouras agreed that the coins carry Greece's message for struggle for freedom and cooperation through culture around common values of humanity.
"Many scholars and historians believe that in the Thermopylae and Salamis, European civilisation began... A Europe of freedom, democracy, equality and independence starts from there... These battles belong to the world, they belong to humanity," the minister added.