ATHENS - Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yannis Stournaras presented on Tuesday coins celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae and the Naval Battle of Salamis, at an event at the bank.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and honorary president of the Thermopylae-Salamis 2020 anniversary year, Marianna Vardinoyannis.
The collectors' coins are part of the BoG's coin programme that it runs jointly with the Finance Ministry since 1984.
"As has been written, these battles belong to the world, to the universe; they are the ambassadors of the Greek spirit and grandeur that never left the country," Staikouras said, noting national unity, faith and a sense of Greek identity as the values the coins stand for.
Governor Stournaras said 2020 also marks additional anniversaries: the centennial of the incorporation of Thrace in the Greek state, the centennial of the founding of the Economic University of Athens, the 75th anniversary of the National Foundation of Radio and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Greek popular painter Theofilos.
The issues include a 2-euro coin bearing an ancient Greek soldier's helmet and struck to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae. Greece is planning a series of events this year to mark the anniversary of Thermopylae, when a small Greek force fought to the last man to hold a strategic pass against an invading Persian army, and the more effective sea battle of Salamis in which a Greek fleet defeated the Persian navy, killing the momentum of the invasion.