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Home > Catalog > |Greek Coins| > |Geographic - All Periods| > |Italy| > GI92390
Taras, Calabria, c. 390 - 380 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.
GI92390. Silver nomos, Fischer-Bossert 381 (V168/R269); Vlasto 362; SNG BnF 1712; SNG Cop 807; HN Italy 870, HGC 1 768 (R1), F, bold strike, toned, bumps and marks, die wear, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, weight 7.815g, maximum diameter 19.8mm, die axis 270o, c. 390 - 380 B.C.; obverse nude youth on horse galloping right, holding reins with both hands, radiating hair, linear border; reverse Taras astride dolphin left, akrostolion in extended right hand, left hand on dolphin, signature H on dolphin (below Taras' thigh), TAPAΣ below, linear border; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 47 (28 Jun 2018), lot 31; rare; SOLD











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Mythology