joi, 31 martie 2016

Scara Mohs de duritate a mineralelor

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What is Mohs Hardness Scale? 

 The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. It was created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. The method of comparing hardness by seeing which minerals can scratch others, however, is of great antiquity, having been mentioned by Theophrastus in his treatise On Stones, c. 300 BC, followed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, c. 77 AD.

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of matter to scratch another mineral. The samples of matter used by Mohs are all different minerals. Minerals are pure substances found in nature. Rocks are made up of one or more minerals.

Making Hardness Comparisons

"Hardness" is the resistance of a material to being scratched. The test is conducted by placing a sharp point of one specimen on an unmarked surface of another specimen and attempting to produce a scratch. Here are the four situations that you might observe when comparing the hardness of two specimens:

If Specimen A can scratch Specimen B, then Specimen A is harder than Specimen B.
If Specimen A does not scratch Specimen B, then Specimen B is harder than Specimen A.
If the two specimens are equal in hardness then they will be relatively ineffective at scratching one another. Small scratches might be produced, or it might be difficult to determine if a scratch was produced.
If Specimen A can be scratched by Specimen B but it can not be scratched by Specimen C, then the hardness of Specimen A is between the hardness of Specimen B and Specimen C.

Mohs Hardness Testing Tips

A list of minerals in order of hardness can be a handy reference. If you determine that a specimen has a hardness of Mohs 4 you can quickly get a list of potential minerals.
Practice and experience will improve your abilities when doing this test. You will become faster and more confident.
If the hardness of the unknown specimen is about 5 or less, you should be able to produce a scratch without much exertion. However, if the unknown specimen has a hardness of about 6 or greater, then producing a scratch will require some force. For those specimens, hold the unknown firmly against the table, place the standard specimen against it, press firmly with determination, then holding pressure slowly drag the standard specimen across the surface of the unknown.
Don't be fooled by a soft standard specimen producing a mark on a hard unknown. That mark is like what a piece of chalk produces on a blackboard. It will wipe off without leaving a scratch. Wipe your finger across the tested surface. If a scratch was produced there will be a visible groove. If marks wipe away then a scratch was not produced.
Some hard materials are also very brittle. If one of your specimens is breaking or crumbling rather than scratching, you will have to be very careful while conducting the test. Testing tiny or granular specimens can be difficult.
Some specimens contain impurities. If the results of your test are not visibly conclusive, or if the information from your test does not conform with other properties, do not hesitate to do the test again. It is possible that a small piece of quartz (or another impurity) was embedded in one of your specimens.
Don't be wimpy! This is a very common problem. Some people casually rub one specimen back and forth against another and then look for a mark. That is not how the test is done. It is done with a single, determined motion with the goal of cutting a scratch.
Be careful. When you hold the unknown specimen against the table, position it so that the known specimen will not be pulled across one of your fingers.
This test should be done on a lab table or work bench with a durable surface or a protective covering. Don't do this type of testing on fine furniture.
Test tiny particles or grains by placing them between two pieces of an index mineral and scraping them together. If the grains are harder than the index mineral scratches will be produced. If the grains are softer they will smear.

Hardness Variations in a Single Mineral

Most minerals have a fairly consistant hardness. For example, the hardness of calcite is always about 3. However, some minerals have a range of hardness.

Minerals that are part of a solid solution series can change in hardness as the composition varies. Atomic bonds between some elements are stronger than others. An example is garnet which has a composition of X3Y2(SiO4)3 where X can be Ca, Mg or Fe and Y can be Al, Fe or Cr. Garnets with different compositions have different hardness. Garnets range in hardness from 6.5 to 8.

Minerals such as kyanite have different hardness in different directions. Kyanite is a mineral that frequently occurs in blade-shaped crystals. These crystals have a hardness of about 5 if they are tested parallel to the long axis of the crystal and a hardness of about 7 if they are tested parallel to the short axis of a crystal.

Weathering can also influence the hardness of a mineral. Weathering usually changes a mineral's composition with the weathering product usually softer than the original material. When testing the hardness or streak or other property of a mineral, the best way to test is on a freshly broken surface that has not been exposed to weathering.

Some Notes on Spelling

Mohs Hardness Scale is named after its inventor, Friedrich Mohs. This means that an apostrophe is not needed when typing the name of the test. "Moh's" and "Mohs' " are incorrect.

Google is really smart about these names. You can even type "Moe's Hardness Scale" as a query and Google knows to return results for "Mohs Hardness Scale". :-)

Sursa informaţiilor GeologyIn.

O nouă monedă comemorativă bimetalică chineză - 31.03.2016

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China issues massive silver commemorative featuring rare NASA space gold

By …..

In the mid-1980s, NASA sent six large plates of 24-karat gold into space aboard the Space ShuttleChallenger. The gold, along with other types of metal and materials, was installed outside of theInternational Space Station to measure the effects of exposure to the severe condition of outer space, including potentially dangerous meteorites. This “space gold” remained in orbit for 69 months–over 5 1/2 years in outer space. During that time, this gold traveled over 625 million miles around the earth. In the early ’90s, NASA brought the gold back to earth, where it was studied intensely for over 25 years.

The gold was never intended to be made available to collectors. But recently, these same gold plates that had reflected the moon daily for over five years in orbit were brought to auction by the government. secured this gold and then partnered with the China Mint with one sole purpose in mind: to create a record-setting new 2015 Moon Festival Panda 2.2 Pound Silver & Gold Proof. Each commemorative proof contains 2.2 pounds of 99.9% pure silver accented with a tenth-ounce of 24-karat “space gold”. It is struck to a massive 100 mm diameter (nearly 4″ wide).

Only enough gold was recovered from orbit for China to create 2,000 proofs for the entire world.


On this FIRST-EVER Bimetallic 1 kilo Panda, it features a single Panda gazing up at the moon lounging against a Bamboo branch. English Inscriptions include MOON FESTIVAL and 1 Kg Ag .999.


Features the Great Wall of China in a night setting (also first of its kind) and has the Chinese map of the heavens and an ancient armillary sphere. There is also a very special Mintmark that has never been on the face of a silver kilo coin in china, the famed ‘Y’ mintmark from the Shenyang Mint, appearing on only two gold coins before. The mintmark is found below the great wall.

Beneath both the Wall and the mintmark is the year 2015.

Chinese Moon Festival

Why the Moon Festival? The Moon Festival is the second largest holiday celebration in China, second only to Chinese New Year. To honor the 3,000-year tradition of the Moon Festival, China knew there could be no better choice than gold which had traveled closer to the moon than any other gold in existence.

“This is the largest and most exciting Panda Silver & Gold Commemorative Proof ever issued,” saidBill Gale, founder of “It celebrates over 3,000 years of Chinese culture, while also having a strong American and international connection, thanks to the innovative use of the ultra-rare space gold. We are honored to have parbe named by the China Mint as the exclusive worldwide distributor for the 2015 Moon Festival 2.2 Pound Silver & Gold Proof.”

Sursa informaţiilor CoinWeek.

Comoara lui Vasco da Gama - Epava corabiei Esmeralda a fost descoperită - 31.03.2016

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Portuguese ship wrecked on a remote island in the Sultanate of Oman is the earliest ship of discovery to be found and scientifically investigated by archaeologists

By Blue Water Recoveries Ltd ……

Oman’s Ministry of Heritage & Culture (MHC), in cooperation with Blue Water Recoveries Ltd (BWR) of West Sussex, UK, announce the discovery and archaeological excavation of a Portuguese East Indiaman that was part of Vasco da Gama’s 1502-1503 Armada to India. The ship, which sank in a storm in May 1503 off the coast of Al Hallaniyah island in Oman’s Dhofar region, is the earliest ship from Europe’s Age of Discovery ever to be found and scientifically investigated by a team of archaeologists and other experts.

Details of the wreck site, published on March 15 in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (IJNA) reveal that the ship is believed to be the nauEsmeralda commanded by Vicente Sodré, the maternal uncle of Vasco da Gama and a descendent of the nobleman Frederick Sudley of Gloucestshire, UK. A website with high-resolution images and video of the excavation was also launched today:

The wreck site was initially discovered by a BWR team in 1998, on the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s epic discovery of the direct sea route to India, but full-scale archaeological survey and excavation by the MHC didn’t begin until 2013. Since then two more excavations have been conducted in 2014 and 2015, with more than 2,800 artefacts being recovered. The project has been jointly managed by the MHC and David L. Mearns of BWR and has been conducted in strict compliance with the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001.

Key individual artefacts that helped in identification of the wreck site as Vicente Sodré’s Esmeraldainclude:
an important copper-alloy disc marked with the Portuguese royal coat of arms and an esfera armilar (armillary sphere), which was the personal emblem of King Dom Manuel I.
a bronze bell with an inscription that suggests the date of the ship was 1498.
gold cruzado coins minted in Lisbon between 1495 and 1501.
an extraordinarily rare silver coin, called the Indio, commissioned by Dom Manuel in 1499 specifically for trade with India. The extreme rarity of the Indio (there is only one other known example in the world) is such that it has legendary status as the ‘lost’ or ‘ghost’ coin of Dom Manuel.

The bulk of the recovered artefacts were artillery and ordnance from the arsenal on board the ship. These included lead, iron and stone shot of various calibres, a large number of bronze breech chambers and several ancient firearms. Together they provide tangible proof of the military objectives of this fleet as ordered by Dom Manuel and brutally carried out by Vasco da Gama and his two uncles Vicente and Brás Sodré.

The historical and archeological importance of the wreck site, based on future studies of the artefact assemblage, could be enormous. As one of the very early Ships of Discovery that pre-dates the nearest Iberian shipwreck in age by 30 to 50 years, the artefacts are expected to reveal new discoveries about how maritime trade and warfare was conducted in the Indian Ocean at the turn of this vital century.

It was the efforts of several governmental agencies that made this project happen. These includeOman Royal Navy, Oman Royal Airforce, Oman Royal Police and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs along with the help of the local people at Al Halaniyah.

On the International level the project has benefited immensely from the contributions of a large group of independent archaeologists, scientists and other experts, who analysed the artefacts in forensic detail using cutting-edge technologies. The institutions involved include Bournemouth University; the Smithsonian Institution; Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust; Univeridade de Nova Lisboa;WMG, University of Warwick; Oxford Isotrace Laboratory; GUtech, Oman; Banco de Portugal, Lisbon; Lisbon Geographical Society; LNEG, Lisbon; London Geochronology Centre; Durham University and the Mary Rose Trust, UK.

These analyses were partly supported by grants to David L. Mearns from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council and the Waitt Institute.

His Excellency Hassan Al Lawati the Adviser to the Minister For Heritage Affairs comments “This project is regarded as the first that is conducted in Oman and the region in underwater archaeology. Therefore, the Ministry has taken a proactive approach to ensure that the project will be efficiently conducted. This was done by involving the expertise in underwater archaeology and by working under international regulations such as the UNESCO convention of 2001. This project provided great opportunity in term of capacity building to the National team in all related aspects of underwater heritage site studies. We appreciate the joint efforts of the local and international entities and institutes that made this project a huge success.”

“This project differs from the majority of maritime archaeology projects in that we set out to specifically find the wreck site of the Sodré ships, using a suvivor’s and other historical accounts, because of their very early age and the potential they held for new discoveries. It is extremely gratifying therefore that this strategy has paid off with such interesting revelations even though we are still at a relatively early stage in the study of the artefact assemblage,” said Project Director David L. Mearns.

Archaeological Director Dave Parham of Bournemouth University commented “it is fascinating to work on a site that is involved in such early European maritime connections with the Indies. The armaments that the site has produced are already providing us with information about the martial nature of these voyages and the site has the potential to tell us much more about the men and ships that undertook these adventures and the peoples that they encountered.”

Ibrahim Al Busaidi, Lecturer at the history section in Sultan Qaboos University commented “The arrival of the Portuguese to India in 1498, led by Vasco da Gama is considered the beginning of a new era of communication between East and West at the beginning of modern times. This historical discovery documents this communication and confirms Oman’s global stature and importance in the midst of the international competition between the various forces in the beginning of modern times. The artifacts that were found among the wreckage of the sunken ship of captain Vicente Sodré (1503) will provide the researchers and scholars, in the field of geographic explorations and the studies related to the Indian Ocean, a lot of historical information related to the nature of the Portuguese campaigns to the east and its goals, and the types of ships and weapons in addition to the economic aspects, such as currencies. Also it lends a lot of historical facts and supports the documentations on the Portuguese presence in the Middle East.”

About Oman’s Ministry of Heritage & Culture

The MHC is the official government body responsible for the protection of Oman’s underwater cultural heritage and their management of this project represents the first government-led archaeological excavation of an historic wreck-site in Omani waters. Within the MHC an underwater archaeology programme has been recently established to begin the process of cataloguing and investigating sites of underwater cultural heritage throughout the territorial waters of Oman. Following conservation and analysis, the recovered artefacts will be preserved in a single coherent collection owned by the MHC for ultimate display in Museums.

About BWR / David L. Mearns

David L. Mearns is one of the world’s most experienced and successful shipwreck hunters and has led the research and discovery of 24 major shipwrecks around the world. He is best known for locating the wrecks of HMS Hood in 2001, the British bulk carrier Derbyshire in 1994, and the cargo ship Lucona sunk by a time bomb as part of an Austrian insurance fraud scheme. He was awarded an Honorary Order of Australia Medal for locating the wrecks of HMAS Sydney in 2008 and AHSCentaur in 2009. In 2015 he was a member of Paul Allen’s team that successfully located the wreck of the Japanese super battleship MUSASHI and recovered the bell of HMS Hood on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence.

Sursa informaţiilor CoinWeek.

O nouă monedă olandeză de 10 cenţi - 31.03.2016

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One of the coins is colored so say "official" by one of the mints of the euro zone, are the 10 "Cents Luck", at least that are presented by the Mint of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt). Every two years been issuing of these coins which is colored orange number 10 marks the face value on the reverse.

Presented in a coincard, this lucky coin intended to be the charm for the country teams celebrating one of the great sporting competitions held during the year, this time the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The coin presented at the coincard you can see above, is available in the shop of the Dutch Mint KNM price of € 4.95 plus shipping cost incurred.

As I said above is not the first year that a coin of this kind is issued, in 2012 and in 2014 also became, as you can see under these lines.

I do not dislike include one of these currencies, as something curious, within our collections.

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Top 10 Societăţi Secrete din Lume/Top 10 Real Life Secret Societies - Video

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În perioada 11-15 aprilie vom desfăşura la muzeul nostru ATELIERE DE ARHEOLOGIE EXPERIMENTALĂ.
Acţiunile sunt organizate sub egida Complexului Muzeal Judeţean Neamţ si se adreseaza exclusiv elevilor!

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Piesa zilei la Muzeul de Istorie Botoşani. Statuetă feminină aparţinând culturii Cucuteni (4600-3800 î.Hr.)

Piesa zilei la Muzeul de Istorie Botoșani. 

Statuetă feminină aparţinând culturii Cucuteni (4600-3800 î.Hr.), descoperită ca urmare a cercetărilor arheologice de la Vorniceni, judeţul Botoşani, coordonate de arheologul Maria Diaconescu.
Piesa este întreagă, în poziţie şezând, cu picioarele îndreptate în jos şi genunchii flexaţi. Picioarele sunt demarcate doar pe partea dorsală. Statueta este decorată cu incizii în care s-a aplicat culoare roşie, pe ambele suprafeţe, păstrată doar parţial.
Motivele decorative sunt realizate din benzi formate din romburi şi linii.
Romburile apar în zona abdomenului şi pe spatele statuetei, în aceeaşi zonă corespondentă. Pe partea dorsală prin linii sunt sugerate drapaje.
Cel mai interesant element este ornamentul sub forma unui şorţ amplasat in partea frontală. Şorţul este format din două benzi, umplute cu împunsături, sugerând un material textil. Pe părţile laterale, liniuţele sugerează franjurii care cad pe părţile laterale ale picioarelor. Motivului decorativ al ,,șorțului” cu franjuri este întâlnit în plastica antropomorfă neolitică.
Capul e modelat sub forma unei proeminenţe conice, fără detalii de fizionomie. Sunt modelaţi doar umerii de formă conică, uşor aplatizaţi.

Sursa informaţiilor Muzeul de Istorie Botoșani.

CARAFA SARREGUEMINES - Exponatul Lunii Aprilie - Muzeul Judeţean Teleorman

Muzeul Judeţean Teleorman vă invită vineri, 1 aprilie a.c., ora 11.00, la deschiderea Exponatului Lunii Aprilie.
Pentru perioada 1 – 30 aprilie 2016, Muzeul Judeţean Teleorman propune publicului vizitator un obiect deosebit aflat în patrimoniul instituţiei. Este vorba de CARAFA SARREGUEMINES.
Carafa Sarreguemines, ce face obiectul Exponatului Lunii, a fost fabricată în perioada 1900-1920 în oraşul Sarreguemines, situat în nord-estul Franţei, în regiunea Lorena pe cursul râului Sarr, oraş renumit pentru fabrica de ceramică, porţelan şi teracotă.
Carafa este de formă conică cu toartă şi cioc. Toarta imită o creangă răsfrântă de copac. Decorul carafei înfăţişează scene de petrecere, realizate în relief, în curtea unui han, la umbra unor copaci. Personajele beau şi dansează. Uşa hanului este deschisă, de ea sprijinindu-se hangiul, iar pe frontispiciul clădirii este prezentă steaua lui David. Porţelanul exterior are culoarea verde-kaki iar partea interioară a carafei are culoarea bleu. Pe fundul carafei este inscripţionată marca Sarreguemines şi sub ea numărul 17.
Fabrică de ceramică, porţelan şi teracotă de la Sarreguemines a fost fondată la sfârşitul secolului al XVIII-lea de către Paul Geiger şi Paul Utzschneider. Activitatea a început în 1790 când s-a alăturat şi Nicolas-Henri Jacobi. Pe parcursul secolului al XIX-lea, ceramica de Sarreguemines a fascinat întreaga lume prin diversitatea şi originalitatea colecţiilor de vase decorative, fresce de perete, teracote şi alte produse de acest gen. Printre clienţii acestei fabrici s-a numărat şi Napoleon I, iar ceramica de Sarreguemines a decorat pereţii metroului din Paris. Activitatea fabricii de ceramică Sarreguemines a încetat in anul 2007.

Sursa informaţiilor Muzeul Judeţean Teleorman.

Obiectul săptămânii: MATRICE SIGILARĂ

Obiectul săptămânii:


Comanditar / proprietar: Târgul Mediaș
Datare: 1448
Material: Argint
Inscripție: S (I G I L L U M) * O P I D I * M E D I E S * 1 4 4 8
(Sigiliul Târgului Mediaș - 1448)
Dimesiuni: D= 28 mm, H= 23 mm, D amprentei = 26 mm.
Istoric: obiectul a fost donat în anul 1934 de către fam. Graeser din Mediaș. Legenda este scrisă cu majuscule în limba latină şi cu caractere gotice. În câmpul sigiliului se regăseşte un scut cu o mână deschisă, orientată în sus (simbol heraldic asemănător cu cel al Scaunului Mediaș). În partea dreaptă este amplasată o stea în cinci colţuri, iar la stânga, o lună nouă. Scutul este încadrat de elemente vegetale, de frunze şi ramuri.
Matricea reprezintă cel mai vechi sigiliu cunoscut al Mediașului.

Sursa informaţiilor Muzeul Mediaş.

O nouă monedă engleză de circulaţie de 1 £ - 31.03.2016

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Pocket money may look a bit different this time next year because the £1 coin is changing.

The new one will have 12 sides instead of a smooth, rounded edge.

It's the first time the pound coin has been changed in more than 30 years.

The Royal Mint, who produce all of our coins, say the new design will make pound coins harder to illegally copy.

The coins will not be available to use until March 2017.

But they've already started to be made by the Royal Mint with 4,000 coins being created every minute.

The current coins will not be out of date as soon as the new ones are released. There will be a six month period when both the old and the new pound coins can be used.

Sursa informaţiilor BBC.

UNITED KINGDOM: Yesterday, the first ever new 1 Pound coin has been coined. The new coin counts with the highest anti-counfernit security all over the world, like iSIS technology and latent image. More details:

RING: Nickel-Brass
CENTER: Nickel plated
DIAMETER: 23.43 mm
WEIGHT: 8.61 mm
THICK: 2.80 mm
EDGE: segmented

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O revistă americană de numismatică/pentru colecţionari: Intelligent Collector mag 2016 3 - 31.03.2016

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miercuri, 30 martie 2016

Apariţie editorială: Zargidava / Revistă de Istorie XV - Bacău 2016 - Cuprins

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O revistă belgiană de numismatică: Info Monnaie Magazine No. 68 Martie 2016 - 30.03.2016

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Today I will leave the magazine published by the Monnaie Royal de Belgique, three or four times a year, which shows the latest releases offered for sale by the Mint of Belgium. Apart from the coins minted by the Mint, also they appear other, from other countries, trying to sell us some exorbitant prices.

Top see the cover of issue 68 of the magazine dated March Monnaie Info 2016. I leave you with the version that you can read French, I believe that although not dominéis language, will understand without problems.

Sursa revistei aici.

Revista Info Monnaie Magazine No. 68 Martie 2016 în format PDF.

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Târg cu meşteri și produse tradiţionale - 1 – 3 aprilie 2016

În perioada 1 – 3 aprilie 2016, între orele 10 și 19, organizăm Târg cu meşteri și produse tradiţionale, în curtea interioară a Muzeului Naţional al Ţăranului Român. Intrarea este liberă, iar accesul se face din strada Monetariei nr. 3.

La mijlocul postului Paştelui, pricepute încondeietoare de ouă vin să ne încânte cu lucrările lor şi să ne povestească, în dulcele grai bucovinean, despre închistritul ouălelor. Publicul larg este aşteptat să viziteze târgul unde meşteşugarii expun ceramică de Corund, de Horezu sau de Marginea, icoane, obiecte din lemn pentru gospodărie, crestate cu motive populare, ii cu mătase minuţios lucrate, brâie şi chimire, podoabe tradiţionale făcute cu multă migală şi cu mult suflet.

Artişti plastici şi artizani fac dovada ingeniozităţii lor prin decoraţiuni pascale, vestimentaţii din lână împâslită sau din bumbac pictate manual, bijuterii din alamă sau din piele naturală, împletituri din in şi din lână, obiecte din sticlă şi ceramică pictată, sculpturi în marmură, tablouri din flori naturale presate, hăinuţe unicat pentru copii, cămăşi şi accesorii cu un design deosebit, haine din piele, cosmetice făcute doar cu ingrediente naturale.
Producătorii vin cu brânzeturi proaspete şi afumate, miere, vin de Panciu şi ţuică de prune din Argeş, fructe autohtone şi zarzavaturi proaspete, sucuri naturale şi conserve pe alese, plăcinte boiereşti, turtă dulce de Covasna, prăjituri de casă, cozonaci bucovineni şi alivenci.

Pentru cei care apreciază obiectele vechi şi tradițiile, anticarii prezenţi la târg vor fi pregătiţi cu costume populare autentice din toate zonele etnografice ale ţării, lăzi de zeste, blidare, dulăpioare, roţi de tors, bancuri de tâmplărie, vârtelniţe, putineie, pristolnice şi covoare ţesute la război.

Preparate calde vor fi gătite pentru toate gusturile: sărmăluţe cu carne sau de post, fasole bătută înfăţoşată cu ceapă călită, ghiveci de legume cu orez, precum şi o gamă variată de produse din peşte. La grătar se va frige scrumbie de Dunăre, păstrăv şi crap, iar la ceaun va fierbe, la foc mic de lemne, un borş pescăresc cu mămăliguţă.

Pentru că şi în această sâmbătă se face pomenirea celor adormiţi, moldovence pricepute vor frământa aluat de post pentru poale-n brâu. De asemenea, vor coace colaci din aluat dospit din făină de grâu, colaci având formă de cerc, reprezentând continuitatea dintre noi şi cei dragi mutaţi la cele veşnice.

Organizatori eveniment:
Fundaţia Kogaion 115 şi Soram Consult

Sursa informaţiilor Muzeul Naţional al Ţăranului Român.

Imaginea zilei: Pandantive eneolitice din mandibule de Canis Familiaris L.

Imaginea zilei: Pandantive eneolitice din mandibule de Canis Familiaris L.
Sursa: Capodopere 2019 (proiect MNIR

Loc de descoperire: tell Sultana-Malu Roșu, com. Mănăstirea, jud. Călărași, locuința L14; Cultura Gumelnița; Datare: 4500-3900 a. Chr.; Material: os;Tehnica: șlefuire, perforare; Dimensiuni: mandibula 1: L - 121 mm, grosime medie – 10 mm; mandibula 2: L – 121 mm, grosime medie – 11 mm.

Sursa informaţiilor MNIR.

LANSĂRI DE CARTE: Volker Wollmann, Patrimoniu preindustrial și industrial în România, vol. V și Revista Bistriței XXIX/2015 - Complexul Muzeal Bistrița-Năsăud


Complexul Muzeal Bistrița-Năsăud vă invite joi 31 martie ora 13,00 la lansarea volumelor Volker Wollmann, Patrimoniu preindustrial și industrial în România, vol. V și Revista Bistriței XXIX/2015.
Evenimentul se va desfășura la Casa Argintarului/Centrul German , str. Dornei nr. 5
Lucrarea Dr. Volker Wollmann, devenită o adevărată enciclopedie a științei și tehnicii românești, abordează cu aceeași competență și acribie, probate în anterioarele volume, avuția tehnică, inventivitatea și valorile pe care societatea românească le-a înregistrat.
Recentul număr din Revista Bistriței abordează o gamă largă de subiecte privitoare la istoria județului: privitoare la Limesul Roman din sectorul nordic al provinciei, familia nobiliară de Șintereag, Stema Bistriței, Fondurile școlare năsăudene, Participanți din județ la primul război mondial etc.

Gavrilaș Vasilichi George Alexandru

Sursa informaţiilor Complexul Muzeal Bistrița-Năsăud.

Mineral Expo - Timişoara

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O nouă monedă comemorativă lituaniană din aur - 30.03.2016

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Lithuania 5€ gold coin for physics.

Coin is made of gold (Au 999)
Diameter – 13,92 mm
Weight– 1,244 g
Quality proof
Mintage - 5 000

Price - €85

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marți, 29 martie 2016

În Australia a fost descoperit un meteorit mai vechi decât Terra

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A meteorite fragment believed to be older than Earth itself has been discovered in Australia, and it almost washed away before scientists had a chance to get to it. The recovery operation involved a network of 32 remote camera observatories, a mass of complicated geographical calculations, an aerial spotter, a remotely operated drone, two human searchers, and a whole lot of luck.

It all began on 27 November 2015, when the fragment was hurtled down to Earth's surface from space. Locals in the William Creek and Marree areas of South Australia witnessed its descent, and it was also spotted by the Desert Fireball Network (DFN) - a series of linked digital cameras that monitor the skies above the outback and look for traces of incoming meteorites. Once the rock had been spotted, the race was on to find it.

After some image analysis, triangulation, and other calculations, the search began in earnest around the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre area - the lowest natural point in Australia - on December 29. An unmanned drone and a manned light aircraft were used to guide DFN team members, Phil Bland and Robert Howie from Curtin University, to the correct spot, with the assistance of a local search party.

Three days into the search, they found it: a 1.7-kg (3.7-lb) rock embedded in thick salt lake mud, some 42 cm (16.5 inches) below the surface. If the researchers had been a few days later, heavy rains would've washed away the rock for good.

According to its discoverers, the meteorite fragment is a chondrite or stony meteorite that they estimate to be more than 4.5 billion years old - not a bad innings when you consider that Earth itself has been around for about that amount of time. "It was an amazing team effort - we got there by the skin of our teeth," said Bland.

Not only is it an exciting geological discovery that should eventually teach us more about the origins of the Universe, it's a huge boost for the founders of the Desert Fireball Network scheme. "This meteorite is of special significance as the camera observations used to calculate the fall positions have also enabled the solar system orbit of the meteorite to be calculated, giving important contextual information for future study," added Bland. "It demonstrates beyond doubt that this giant machine that we've built really works."

The researchers believe the rock came from somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, and now the serious work of studying the object can begin. "The fact we have managed to retrieve the meteorite at all is remarkable," said Bland's colleague, Jonathan Paxman. "Our people worked around the clock to reduce the data, enabling rapid recovery of something that would have been lost if we'd gotten there any later."

This article originally appeared on

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Cel mai mare cristal de tanzanit din lume

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Tanzanite’s blue-violet color was first discovered in 1962 in Tanzania and is considered to be even rarer than diamond.

The largest tanzanite crystal “The Mawenzi,” was found in 2005 and crystal weighed 16,839 carats. 

Photo credit TanzaniteOne

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Trei noi monede comemorative franceze - 29.03.2016

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In 2012 the Monnaie de Paris began a series of collector coins dedicated to the great French ships over the centuries. Five are the years that has lasted this series, which concludes in this 2016, in which each year is paying homage to a sailing ship, a warship and an ocean liner.

I will present the third and final of this year and the collection dedicated to Transatlantic Ile de France, which will have three versions for the same design, with facial 10 euros minted in silver and the other two 50 euros one in silver and the other gold. The date of issue is scheduled next June 1.

The obverse of the coin depicts the ocean liner Ile de France on a seaplane flying over. This aircraft was traveling on the boat, he was off using a catapult, allowing the Ile de France carrying deliver mail 24 hours before it reached its destination. At the base of the coin the name of the ship appears written in a font that evokes the time where there was a rise of ocean liners.

Two chimneys of a steamboat leaving the two columns of smoke: on the back a common composition at five coins dedicated to the series of transatlantic shown. In the center the name of the series "Les grands français navires" and the year of issue below.

Characteristics of coins

Name and recommended price: 10 € (55 €) / 50 € (435 €) / 50 € (480 €)
Metal: Silver 900 / Silver 950 / Gold 920
Weight: 22.2 g / 163.8 g / 8.45 g
Diameter: 37 mm / 50 mm / 22 mm
Issuing volume: 3,000 / 250/500

Transatlantic Ile de France

The Ile de France was a French ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. This ship was one of the first major transatlantic built after the conclusion of the First World War. It was not the biggest or the fastest ship, but was considered the most beautifully decorated ship built for the French Line until the arrival of the SS Normandie.

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Petru Rareş. Din viaţa unui principe al Moldovei

Complexul Muzeal Iulian Antonescu vă invită miercuri 30 martie orele 12, la sediul din sr 9 Mai nr 7, la conferinţa ştiinţifică susţinută de prof.univ.dr. Ştefan S. Gorovei
Programul conferinţei:
• Cuvânt de întâmpinare prezentat de prof.dr. Anton Coşa,
• Conferinţa ştiinţifică: Petru Rareş. Din viaţa unui
principe al Moldovei susţinută de prof.univ.dr. Ştefan S.
Gorovei de la Universitatea "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" Iaşi,Facultatea de Istorie

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Expozitia „Așezămintele Brâncovenești: 1835-2015”

Asociația Istoria Artei, în parteneriat cu Muzeul Municipiului București și Centrul Cultural Palatele Brâncovenești de la Mogoșoaia, vă invită miercuri, 6 aprilie, de la ora 18:30, la vernisajul expoziției „Așezămintele Brâncovenești: 1835 – 2015”, care va fi deschisă publicului între 6 aprilie 2016 – 15 mai 2016, în sala Lapidarium a Casei Filipescu-Cesianu.
La eveniment vor prezenta istoricii de artă Angelica Iacob, Mădălina Mirea, Oana Marinache și urbanistul Andrei Popescu.
În perioada 15 septembrie - 15 noiembrie 2015 Asociația Istoria Artei a desfășurat proiectul cultural „Așezămintele Brâncovenești: 1835-2015” cu sprijinul financiar al Administrației Fondului Cultural Național în sesiunea III/2015 Patrimoniu cultural material.

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Vernisajul expoziției lunii aprilie "Ploieștiul de altădată, sursă de inspirație în arta plastică"

Muzeul Județean de Istorie și Arheologie Prahova din Ploiești, str. Toma Caragiu, nr.10 vă invită vineri, 1 aprilie 2016, ora 11, la vernisajul expoziției lunii aprilie "Ploieștiul de altădată, sursă de inspirație în arta plastică". Expoziția este organizată în colaborare cu profesorii îndrumători și elevii talentați ai Colegiului de Artă ,,Carmen Sylva’’ din Ploiești.
Muzeul Județean de Istorie și Arheologie Prahova prin această expoziție pune în valoare din bogatul său patrimoniu o mică parte din colecția de Cărți Poștale Vechi. În expoziție se vor regăsi, alături de Cărțile Poștale cu imagini din Ploieştiul secolului XX, reproduceri în diferite tehnici (grafică, acuarelă, ceramică și gravură) a clădirilor și monumentelor din Ploieștiul de altădată, realizate de tinerii artiști. Tema expoziției a pornit de la proiectul educativ ,,Ploieștiul de altădată’’, proiect inițiat ca o călătorie în timp prin intermediul Cărților Poștale.
Expoziția este deschisă publicului larg în luna aprilie, lună în care o săptămână este dedicată activităților extracurriculare și extrașcolare, în cadrul programului ,,Școala altfel: Să știi mai multe, să fii mai bun!’’. Prin acest proiect expozițional încercăm să evidențiem cum o activitate extrașcolară poate fi transformată într-o minune plină de culoare și rafinament ce poate fi admirată de publicul vizitator.
Implicarea elevilor în constituirea unei expoziții temporare a fost posibilă datorită parteneriatelor educaționale încheiate între Muzeu și școli.

Muzeograf Monica Cirstea

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Muzeul de Istorie „Paul Păltănea” Galaţi în parteneriat cu Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale şi Editura Muzeului de Istorie Galaţi vă invită miercuri, 30 martie 2016, ora 14.00 la un dublu eveniment: vernisajul expoziţiei "160 DE ANI DE LA ÎNFIINȚAREA COMISIEI EUROPENE A DUNĂRII", realizată de muzeograf Mariana-Delia Pohrib şi lansare editorială "ROMÂNIA ŞI COMISIA EUROPEANĂ A DUNĂRII. DIPLOMAŢIE. SUVERANITATE. COOPERARE INTERNAŢIONALĂ", autor Ştefan Stanciu, Ediţia a II-a.
Evenimentele vor avea loc la Muzeul „Casa Colecțiilor”, str. Eroilor, nr. 64, Galaţi.
Vă așteptăm ! Intrarea liberă!

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Top 10 femei pe monede partea I - 29.03.2016

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By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….

Is there anything better suited to honor the famous figures of history than a coin?

Different artifacts associated with an individual may still exist, but these objects are frequently irreplaceable and irreproducible, with much of the appeal based on a personal connection to the individual instead of intrinsic worth–though even that can be improved upon, as coins owned by such famous people enjoy the same kind of reflected glamour.

Extant works of art may have been commissioned by an individual or even portray them. Sometimes both conditions are true. Sometimes individuals are famous for the art they themselves produced. But unless you have the budget to collect it or manage a museum, you must go to the art yourself, it does not come to you.

Various places and buildings associated with a given individual might be established to house the art or artifacts of a given individual if they are famous or important enough. A museum or two might house a collection of such items for a limited time.

But a coin? A coin can last forever, it seems. It often has value in and of itself, and assuming you haven’t collected it, a coin goes wherever you do.

This is because nothing as durable as a coin is as mobile, and nothing as mobile as a coin is as durable.

And whether by design or just a happy coincidence, this fact wasn’t lost on our leaders.

The Propaganda Value of Coins

We’ve talked about propaganda before. Most coins are propaganda of one sort or another. The ancient turtle coins of Aegina and the silver owls of Athens, for example, served as marketing material and advance press for their home cities wherever they circulated, projecting both power and a brand into the world.

And of course, innumerable kings, queens, tyrants and pretenders have historically sought to strengthen their own positions by placing themselves or symbols of significance (including other people) on the coinage they control.

Indeed, controlling the production of money and deciding who or what goes on it is one way to “frame the narrative”. Done effectively, the people come to believe that their money, with their particular constellation of gods, heroes and ideals on display, means something and has worth beyond whatever precious metals it may or may not contain. This meaning and worth, in turn, becomes something that be exploited by the powerful, whether for personal gain, the greater good, or some admixture of the two.

Keep that in mind as you consider our list; “The Top 10 Women on Coins“.

Also, keep in mind that we make no claim to objectivity. This is a purely subjective survey, arbitrarily limited to 10 women. We applied no mathematical methodology to our choices and examined no statistics. Nevertheless, some deference to generally-accepted notions of “importance” and “greatness” was paid.

Having said that, we realize one or two selections may be more “obscure” than the others. We hope that by writing about them we’ve satisfied a curiosity you didn’t even know you had, perhaps starting with…

10.) Marianne

Marianne is the national symbol of the Republic of France, a fusion of the personifications of Liberty and Reason. Born of the 18th-century Enlightenment, she has stood for Democracy at its best and, sometimes, at its worst.

As with her cousin across the Atlantic, Marianne was conceived as an intentional break from monarchic representational conventions. Which is only natural since her first appearance was on a 1789 medal honoring the storming of the Bastille, a Parisian fort used as a state prison. The Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 is often considered the initial conflict of the French Revolution (much like the First “Battle” of Ft. Sumter was to the American Civil War).

During the First Republic, established by the revolution in 1792, Marianne is portrayed in repose, but by the Reign of Terror in 1793, she is portrayed as a more violent, bare-breasted figure leading revolutionaries into battle. After the Terror, she loses some of her fearsomeness but a precedent for representing her dual nature had been set.

1935-36 100 franc gold coin. Image courtesy APMEX

After the Napoleonic Era, in which she was used as a subversive symbol, came the Second republic and the revolutionary year of 1848. This time, the republic embraced both versions as needed: the bare-breasted militant wearing a Phrygian cap and a red corsage, and a more conservatively demeanored Marianne, whose notable features include rays of sunlight around her head–much like theStatue of Liberty, which was designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

In 1849, she made her first appearance on a French postage stamp, as frequent a home for her as French coins and paper money.

Between the start of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, the Third Republic made much use of Marianne as a symbol of the French nation. It was a time of nation-building and the rise of nationalism across Europe, and many of the national symbols we associate with Western Europe have, if not their origins, then at least their “formalizations” born out of this period. The version of Marianne we are familiar with today is based on the main figure in Triumph of the Republic, a sculpture created by artist Aimé-Jules Dalou in 1899 and located at the Place de la Nation in Paris.

Perhaps one of the most influential portrayals of Marianne comes from this period: sculptor-engraver Oscar Roty’s design for La Semeuse (1897), otherwise known as The Sower, from which Adolph Weinman drew a heavy amount of inspiration for his Walking Liberty half dollar obverse design in 1916.

Yes, Marianne is the spiritual grandmother of the design of the American Silver Eagle bullion coin.

Then, in 1940, the Nazi war machine occupied the seat of government in Paris along with the northern and western regions of the country. A southern district bordered on Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the Mediterranean Sea–known as Vichy France for its substitute capital in Vichy–was “allowed”, for a time, to administer itself, although it was subservient to the German regime.

And like the French have done in all such times, they resisted.

And one of the symbols of that resistance was Marianne.

After the liberation of France by Allied forces in 1944, into the immediate postwar period and beyond, there was less social and psychological need for such propaganda, and the French became less personally invested in such symbols even though Marianne continued to appear on coins and currency in a formal manner. She was the last person portrayed on the French franc before the changeover to euros, and her effigy has adorned the national side of different French euros since 1999.

9.) Cleopatra 

Cleopatra (lived 69 BCE – 30 BCE) entered the romance and mythology of Western European culture long ago, but that romanticism exerts an attraction still today.

And depending on what a word like “great” means to you, she also represents one of the quandaries of being labeled one of the great women of history. Equal weight is given to her reputed beauty and charm as is given to her iron will and deft (if ultimately doomed) leadership. A descendant of the Macedonian general Ptolemy I Soter, the successor of Alexander the Great in Egypt, her commitment to her adopted homeland and its people not only won hearts and minds but also motivated everything she did that has come down to us in both legend and fact.

This commitment, too, is a recurring theme in this list.

Cleopatra VII Philopator (“Beloved of (the) father”) was born in 69 BCE to the pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes. He was regarded as a weak king and a bad ruler, and in fact a native rebellion forced him into a three-year exile in Rome between 58 and 55 BCE. His first- and second-oldest daughtersCleopatra VI Tryphaena and Berenice IV ruled in his stead. He returned to power with the help of the Roman general Pompey the Great.

Upon his return, he beheaded his daughter Berenice (Cleopatra VI died while he was in exile) and appointed Cleopatra (our Cleopatra, barely a teenager) his co-ruler.

When her father died in 51 BCE, an 18-year-old Cleopatra married and became co-pharaoh with her 10-year-old brother, Ptolemy XIII. The duo had to contend with many of the problems their father had left for them, and Cleopatra wasn’t about to let another Ptolemy muck it up again. Later in the year, she made her move, removing his name from government letterhead and his portrait from the coinage.

With this act she became the first female to appear alone on Egyptian coins.

Dealing with yet another entanglement of her father’s making, she soon made enemies of the Romans who had helped her father regain power. This, along with a conspiracy of her brother’s supporters, resulted in her overthrow in 48 BCE–just in time for another Roman civil war.

When Pompey sought sanctuary in Alexandria after losing the Battle of Pharsalus to Julius Caesar, Ptolemy XIII had him beheaded. He then made a present of Pompey’s head to Caesar, who arrived a few days later following Pompey’s forces to Egypt. Unfortunately this had the opposite effect than Ptolemy intended, and Caesar captured the city for himself.

This was a golden opportunity for Cleopatra.

If you’ve seen Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra (1963), then you’ve seen how she smuggled herself naked into Caesar’s private chambers in a rolled-up rug. The ancient writer Plutarch tells the story, and it’s a good one, but no one can say that it actually happened. What did happen, however, was that Cleopatra became Caesar’s mistress and gave birth to a son, Caesarion. Yet despite Cleopatra’s efforts, Caesar would not make him his heir, adopting his nephew Octavian instead.

Still, she got her throne back, albeit alongside a second brother.

After Caesar returned to Rome, she followed him there, where the married Caesar scandalized Roman society with his none-too-discreet affair. She was in the city when he was assassinated on the Ides of March (March 15), 44 BCE.

Her brother soon died (poison?) and Caesarion became her heir and co-ruler.

Meanwhile, Octavian and Roman general Marc Antony fought another civil war against the party of the assassins. Because of her allegiance to Caesar, Cleopatra supported his nephew and his allies. After the dust settled, Antony ordered her to meet with him in 40 BCE; naturally, her seduction of Marc Antony was complete and total.

She bore him twins.

Cleopatra and Marc Antony silver denarius, 32 BCE. Obverse: Cleopatra w/ diadem. Inscription: CLEOPATRA[E REGINAE REGVM]FILIORVM REGVM (In the reign of Queen Cleopatra and her sons); Reverse: Marc Antony. Inscription: ANTONI ARMENIA DEVICTA (Antony Conquered Armenia).
Years later in 36 BCE, Antony–still married to Octavian’s sister–returned to Alexandria for good. This did not help relations between the two Roman leaders, and eventually yet another civil war took place. Antony was finally defeated at the naval Battle of Actium in 31 BCE when Cleopatra and he fleet abandoned the fight and Marc Antony followed her.

Both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide before Octavian could capture them. Legend says she took an asp to her bosom and died from a snakebite.

8.) Livia

After the death of Marc Antony, Octavian was the de facto ruler of the Roman world. The Roman Senate would grant him the title Augustus in 27 BCE, the year that officially marks the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Livia was his wife.

She would become the first empress of Rome.

Livia Drusilla (lived 58 BCE – 29 CE) was born into a political family; it just happened to be the wrong one. Her father and first husband supported the assassins of Julius Caesar and fought against the faction of Octavian and Marc Antony. And when the assassins were defeated (her father committing suicide alongside Brutus andCassius), her husband joined Marc Antony in his fight against Octavian.

Having received amnesty from Octavian, Livia and her young family (including future emperorTiberius), returned to Rome from their refuge in Greece. Octavian was sufficiently charmed upon meeting her that he eventually divorced his current wife (on the day she gave birth to their only child, no less) and forced Livia’s husband to divorce her. The union lasted over 50 years until the death of Augustus (Octavian) in 14 CE.

Over that time she served as the living embodiment of Augustus’ revival of conservative family values, which lent much moral force to Augustus’ campaign to reform Roman society. Taking advantage of the supposed moral superiority or position of woman in society is one of the major reasons we see women used on coins as a means of propaganda; to that end Livia became the first Roman woman to appear on the provincial coinage of the Empire in 16 BCE.

But she was also Augustus’ most trusted advisor, and fiercely ambitious when it came to the political fortunes of her sons Drusus and Tiberius – both of them fathered by her first husband. Several mysterious deaths later, Augustus adopted Tiberius as his heir and future emperor in 4 CE.

British writer Robert Graves, author of I, Claudius (1934), did much to popularize the idea of Livia as politically-motivated poisoner, but the rumors had been around since her own lifetime.

After Augustus died and Tiberius ascended the throne, Livia continued to enjoy status and power. Eventually, however, she outwore her welcome in her son’s court, to the point where, in 29 CE when she died, the emperor didn’t even attend her funeral.

Not only that, but he undid any and all honors that the Roman Senate had bestowed upon her. And in a peculiarly Roman twist, Tiberius refused to deify his mother, which she desperately wanted for herself not because of vanity (and who knows if that were the case) but because Livia believed that the only way she would escape punishment for the sins she had committed in this life was to become a god.

Tiberius died in 37 CE and was succeeded by his great-nephew Caligula. At the death of Caligula in 41 CE, Livia’s grandson Claudius became emperor. It was Claudius who restored his grandmother’s honors and, finally, deified her.

But while she did appear on provincial issues, Livia was never directly portrayed on Roman coinage. Instead, allegorical figures or female deities such as Vesta (goddess of the hearth and family) were clearly modeled on her. And oddly enough, the majority of issues were released during the reign of her son Tiberius.

7.) Isabella I of Spain

Most Americans know Isabella I of Spain (lived 1451 – 1504) as the “Isabella” half of “Ferdinand and Isabella”. They are the royal duo who sent Christopher Columbus to the New World.

But that mission was only possible after the Reconquista of Spain was completed during their reign, with a victorious campaign against the Muslim Emirate of Granada.

And Isabella was a significant part of the unification of Spain as a modern country.

She was born the daughter of John II, king of Castile and Leon. At the time of her birth and right up until the successful Reconquista, the Spain we know today consisted of several smaller kingdoms, both Christian and Muslim. Her older half-brother Henry IV became king after the death of their father, and following years of forced isolation and the military rebellion of a group of nobles–who first took their younger brother Alfonso as champion before he died of the plague–Isabella became Henry’s legal heir.

Since the political situation in this divided Spain was dicey at best, Isabella had been promised in marriage to the son of a potential ally by the age of six. Her husband-to-be was none other than Ferdinand of Aragon, whom she would eventually marry… but not until the court intrigue and political machinations had reached “Byzantine” levels. The betrothal to Ferdinand was called off at least once, and she was promised to several other candidate grooms before everyone involved finally agreed that yes, Isabella would marry Ferdinand.

In the end, they even needed special permission from the pope since they were second cousins. They didn’t get it, but a forgery made by cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (a future pope and member of the notorious Renaissance family) and a well-timed elopement made the marriage happen.

She inherited the Castilian throne in 1474, and immediately had to deal with plots against her. War with Portugal lasted until 1476, but at its conclusion Ferdinand and Isabella were secure in their positions.

Isabella then did two things that solidified her place as rightful monarch: one, she personally put down another rebellion while Ferdinand was campaigning elsewhere, and two, she bore a son. This is yet another way in which “greatness” means something different for women in history than it does for men–both the “manly” arts of war and statecraft and “womanly” attributes like fertility are often required of them.

And much like Cleopatra, she was forced to fix the mess her male predecessor left behind. And frequently, the enactment of her reforms were strict and unforgiving, leading to such travesties as the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

In this regard, she shares a similarly mixed legacy in common with Catherine the Great of Russia, whom we will learn more about below.

1893 World’s Columbian Exposition Isabella Commemorative Quarter. Image used by permission from Heritage Auctions (

With the conquest of Granada in 1492, Isabella was ready to embark on an even more ambitious project. Further imperial expansion having been stymied by the Portuguese presence closer to home, she financed the expedition of Christoforo Colombo, better known in English as Christopher Columbus. His goal was to establish a new trading route to the East Indies for Spain, though it’s possible that the Spanish had become aware of the New World already through its extended war with Portugal and needed to maintain a cover story in order to evade Portuguese intervention.

Once Columbus claimed the New World for Spain, a new day would soon arise for the Spanish Empire, born of the gold and especially the silver of the Americas–not to mention the heinous acts it took to extract this treasure from the land and from the people who already lived here.

As it is, Queen Isabella was the first foreign ruler, let alone queen, to appear on a coin issued by the United States – the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition quarter dollar.

6.) Catherine II of Russia (“The Great”)

Empress Catherine II of Russia (lived 1729 – 1796) was not the first, or the only, female ruler of Russia, but she was the most famous, and for her achievements is commonly granted the epithet “The Great”.

Catherine was born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, a German princess from an old noble family. She was wed to her cousin, who became tsar Peter III of Russia since he was the grandson of Peter the Great. Catherine’s Peter was also German, but unfortunately he had no interest whatsoever in Russia, the culture or its people, and he pursued a pro-Prussian policy once on the throne.

His rule lasted all of six months. A coup led by his wife deposed him, and he died under mysterious circumstances.

But the key to this episode takes place a couple of decades earlier, when princess Sophie first visited Russia under empress Elizabeth in 1744. Sophie’s mother had schemed long and hard to perhaps one day make Sophie the empress of Russia, and Sophie, to her credit, decided to embrace this possible future role for herself and do whatever it took to be a worthy ruler. She became a favorite of the empress, going to great lengths to learn the Russian language and get to know the Russian people.

She even converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity, which very much endeared her to the Russians. This is where she received the name Catherine (Yekaterina).

So, after overthrowing her husband and possibly killing him in 1762, Princess Yekaterina became empress of Russia.

Catherine then proceeded to transform Russia into a European power. The most territorial expansion in the empire’s history occurred during her reign, with about 200,000 square miles added to its domains. Much of this land came under Russian control as a result of the military defeat of old enemies – such as the Turks, from whom the Crimean Peninsula was wrested in 1783. New colonies were also established, such as Alaska.

Catherine embarked on her own modernization campaign, like her grandfather-by-marriage tsar Peter the Great had begun. She, too, admire the ideas of the Enlightenment, but turned away from the intellectual movement once the French Revolution began. Other reforms were designed to better control or integrate the Empire’s various religious and ethnic groups, such as Muslims and Jews. Some were successful; others produced mixed results.

For many Russians, however, the reign of Catherine the Great represents the Golden Age of the Russian Empire.

Interestingly, the Assignation ruble–the first paper money issued in Russia–came out during her rule. Used between 1769 and 1849, it was originally valued on par with the silver one-ruble coin, but as time went on it became considerably undervalued in comparison.
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