This, believe it or not, is a coin. It’s a coin of the polis of Olbia on the black sea coast, and it is a cast in the shape of a dolphin. In one of the most remarkable currencies of the ancient world, Olbia, literally the wealthy city, according to its name, chose to mint coins in a non-circular form for the first time since the invention of coins. The distinct form is generally attributed to the fact that the city of Olbia, located on the Black Sea, was at the fringes of the Greek world, therefore adapted Greek forms to fit their own needs. The large quantities of finds and the later appearance of dolphins on circular coins have convinced scholars that these were used in exchange.
The symbolism of the dolphin is believed to be religious, since the city held a large temple to Apollo Delphinios, Apollo of the Dolphins, which is also connected to the Apollo at Delphi. The image shown here, taken from a Greek vase, shows Apollo atop a tripod with his lyre, accompanied by dolphins.
The coins are undated through any kind of marking but are generally thought to be the product of the 5th or 4th centuries BCE. They are bronze and are generally a little more than an inch long.
This is a picture of the relative sizes of the moon and the Andromeda Galaxy as seen from earth, and it shows what the Andromeda Galaxy would look like if it were brighter.
The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy and it is 2.5 million light years distant. Galaxies are mostly empty space and the stars in them stretch out over a great distance. We can only see Andromeda’s galactic centre as a small fuzzy patch in the sky, the rest is far too faint to see with the naked eye. The Moon is about the width of your thumb at arms length, and if the Andromeda Galaxy were brighter it would appear about six times as long as the moon.
BY ALLISON MEIER /08 MAR 2013After being closed for a decade for renovations, the Kunstkammer Wien reopened early March with its glorious displays of curiosities alongside wonders of art. The objects, which include carved rhinoceros horns, automatons, tapestries, scientific instruments, and ivory sculptures, were collected by the Habsburgs, back when royal families were as intent on having the best of the weird from around the world as they were on acquiring work from the most talented artists. The Kunst and Wunderkammer (rooms of art and natural wonders) of the Habsburgs are now held inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum as a sort of museum within a museum.