MYRTIS, 5 EURO SILVER COLLECTOR COIN 2020. This coin gives us an idea of what an Athenian girl in Pericles’s time might have looked like. The obverse features a bust of Myrtis, a name conventionally
given to an eleven-year-old girl who died in the Plague of Athens (430-426 BC) during the Peloponnesian War. Her perfectly preserved skull allowed scientists to recreate her facial features using the “Manchester method”. The rim is adorned with sprays of myrtle, as the girl’s name alludes to the myrtle tree. On the reverse is depicted the DNA sequence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, a deadly pathogen causing typhoid fever that claimed thousands of lives during the Plague of Athens. At centre is the national coat of arms surrounded by the wording “HELLENIC REPUBLIC”. Myrtis was named a friend of the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations Regional Information Centre and, as part of the UN campaign “We Can End Poverty”, sent her message to the world about disease prevention.
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