CALABRIA. Tarentum. c. 281-272 BC. AR Didrachm. Ex NAC and Sotheby's 1987

Ancient Coins - CALABRIA. Tarentum. c. 281-272 BC. AR Didrachm. Ex NAC and Sotheby's 1987
zoom view

CALABRIA. Tarentum. c. 281-272 BC. AR Didrachm, 6.52g (20mm, 6h). Dioscuri riding l. / Boy on dolphin holding spear and shield with Nike on his hand and crowning him with a laurel wreath.

Pedigree: Ex NAC and Sotheby's 1987

References: Vlasto 773 ff. Historia Numorum Italy 1011. SNG ANS 1121ff

Grade: Some old scratches on reverse under toning. Overall well struck with cabinet toning and nice relief. Some minor wear on faces. EF

Price: $3,750


The ancient city of Tarentum (Taras in ancient Greek) has the distinction of being the only city outside of Sparta founded and colonized by the Spartans. The colony was founded in 706 BC by Phalanthos, the leader of the Partheniae who were composed of non-traditional families. They were unmarried Spartan women and free men of non-Spartan origin. There is much speculation about the Parthenian population and their origin; specifically whether they were men opposed to fighting in the Messenian War (The war between the Messenians and the Spartans from 743-724 BC). Another theory is that Messenian War had lasted so long and the soldier population had so dwindled that they were allowed to return to Sparta to procreate with young Spartan women. The last theory was that the Parthenians were bastard children of Spartan women and their slaves forced to settle on Taras.

The coinage of Tarentum is an interesting departure from the supposed origin of its founding. Warriors and heroes are found on the coinage with scenes that glamorize the Greek city-state. Many of the coins of Tarentum feature a boy or man on a dolphin. This famous myth tells of Taras, the son of Poseidon, being saved by a dolphin from a shipwreck. The dolphin safely delivers Taras to land which was made the city of Taras (Tarentum). This depiction is found throughout the vast coinage of Tarentum. The reverse routinely shows variations of men on horses which symbolizes the equestrian events that often took place in Taras.

Price SKU: gk1384
US$ 3,750.00
  • € 3,187.88
  • £ 2,874.00
  • AUD 5,242.50
  • CHF 3,439.88
  • CAD 5,017.50

Rates for: 08/10/20

Ships from: United States