Author Topic: Ionian Islands  (Read 3271 times)

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Offline <k>

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Ionian Islands
« on: July 03, 2011, 12:24:28 AM »
I found this striking image while Googling recently. I had never seen this design before, nor did I know about the British history of these islands. Does anyone have any interesting facts to share?

akona20

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Re: Ionian Islands
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 12:49:54 AM »
Interesting sidelight to British history. The defeat of the French fleet in late 1809 opened up the string of islands to British rule completed in 1814. The islands were given back to Greece formally in 1865.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ionian Islands
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 02:19:11 AM »
There are several mini-series of UK coins for the Ionian Islands under British control. You will be familiar with the "British" side, so I wil restrict myself to the "native" side.

2 oboli 1819. Winged lion with halo left, facing, holding bible and bundle of arrows,  IONIKON   KPATO∑ (presumably Ionian Islands), date.

The lion is the traditional personal emblem of St. Mark. It usually holds an open bible, showing the text PAX TIBI MARCE on the left and EVANGELISTA MEVS on the right (peace to you, Mark my evangelist) rather than showing the cover and no arrows. It is the symbol of the Republic of Venice, whose patron saint is St. Mark.

Venetian legend has it that, while visiting the region of Italy that would later become the Veneto, Mark was approached by an angel, greeted with those words, and told that the Venetian lagoon would be his ultimate resting place: "Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum". It is more likely that Venice's original patron saint, St. Theodore, a soldier-saint perhaps best known for battling a dragon (or, as a statue of him in Venice depicts it, a crocodile), was considered too insignificant as Venice grew and became the dominant player in European trade. In 828, a collection of bones from an Egyptian tomb, said to be those of the evangelist were brought to Venice, so the city changed allegiance. BTW, in correct Latin, MEVS should have been MI, but in the Middle Ages, bad latin was acceptable, as long as it was produced by the high clergy :)

The picture is part of a decoration from the Doge's palace on San Marco square (I think itis the pink building behind the lion.)

Peter
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 03:15:02 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Ionian Islands
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 02:43:35 AM »
My Latin is definitely rusty (like a construction that is kept together by rust ;) ) but "meus" looks good to me here. By the way, if anybody here is a Generali customer (insurance group), he or she will know that motto; the company from Trieste picked the Venetian lion too ...

Christian

Offline bagerap

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Re: Ionian Islands
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 02:33:42 PM »
This thread reminded me to dig out my own Ionians, particularly this pretty little Lepton:


And for the first time I noticed what looks like a pretty little die crack:



Not sure if I'm happy about that or not.
Bob

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ionian Islands
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 03:29:59 PM »
Very well preserved coin, Bob. Since you saw the crack only now, it can't be all that striking, so you have the choice to consider it a bug or a feature :)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.