“One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute who is enthroned beside abundant waters, with whom all the kings of the earth have prostituted themselves, and who has made all the population of the world drunk with the wine of her adultery.’ He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it.” -Revelation 17:1-3
In ancient Greek mythology, Zeus — the god of sky and thunder and “Father of Gods and men” who rules the gods on Mount Olympus — was enamored with the Phoenician princess Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. [Wikipedia]
Nikolaj Nielsen reports from Brussels for the EUobserver, Sept. 11, 2012, that in place of the present pictures of windows and doors, Euro banknotes will sport a new image next year, of the mythological Phoenician princess Europa.
Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), said, “Portraits have long been used in banknotes around the world and research has shown that people tend to remember faces. Is there any better figure than Europa to serve as the new face of the euro?”
Europa’s face will be shown as a watermark and as a hologram. Until now, euro notes carried pictures of windows and doors in various architectural styles in a symbol of openness designed not to offend national sensibilities.
Europa will first appear on the €5 note in May, with other notes introduced in ascending order in the next few years. The new notes will also carry an emerald-colored number.
I found these images of Europa for the new 2013 Euro banknotes, from the European Central Bank website:
When you tilt the banknote, the silvery stripe reveals a portrait of Europa, the same as in the watermark. The stripe also shows a window and the value of the banknote.
When you tilt the banknote, the shiny number displays an effect of the light that moves up and down. The number also changes color from emerald green to deep blue.