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Home > Catalog > |Greek Coins| > |Geographic - All Periods| > |Italy| > GS85148
Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 302 - 281 B.C.
Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted during the bloody Messenian wars to increase the prospective number of future soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers). Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively voided and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The Romans called it Tarentum and connected the city to Rome with an extension of the Appian Way. Because modern Taranto is built over the ancient city, few ruins remain; they include part of the city wall, two temple columns dating to the 6th century B.C., and tombs.
GS85148. Silver drachm, Vlasto 1049; SNG ANS 1303; HN Italy 975; BMC Italy p. 201, 309; SGCV I 367, Choice VF, attractive style, well centered and struck, toned, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, weight 3.233g, maximum diameter 16.9mm, die axis 180o, c. 302 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing helmet decorated with Skylla hurling stone; reverse owl standing right, head facing, TAP left, ZOP (magistrate, Zor...) over olive branch right; ex Art of Money (Portland, OR); SOLD

Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
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