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Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 390 - 385 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 to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nullified 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 reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
GS91333. Silver nomos, Fischer-Bossert group 28, 408 (V179/R314); Vlasto 370 (same dies); SNG ANS 892 (same); SNG Cop 806 (same); HN Italy 870, HGC 1 768 (R1), aF, toned, tight flan, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, weight 7.564g, maximum diameter 20.0mm, c. 390 - 385 B.C.; obverse ephebe (Greek young man 18 - 20 years old in military training) on horseback galloping right, nude, holding reins with both hands, Λ below horse; reverse Taras astride dolphin left, akrostolion in extended right hand, Λ below dolphin between Taras' feet, TAPAΣ below; $135.00
Catalog current as of Saturday, August 17, 2019.
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