CALABRIA. Tarentum. c. 302-280 BC. AR Nomos. Ex CNG 87, 18 May 2011, lot 122

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CALABRIA. Tarentum. c. 302-280 BC. AR Nomos, 7.90g (22mm, 9h). Warrior, holding spear and shield, dismounting from horse prancing l.; above, EY and below, N / TAPAS Dolphin rider l., holding grain ear; in l. field, API and below, spearhead.

Pedigree: Ex CNG 87, 18 May 2011, lot 122

References: Vlasto 701-702. SNG ANS 1078. Historia Numorum Italy 969.

Grade: Finely sculpted obverse imagery with details on chest of warrior. Face has dig mark which is visible only with loupe. Reverse is o/c and the head of the boy on dolphin is off flan partially. Softly struck partially on upper half of boy. Some very minor marks in reverse field visible. EF/VF+

Price: $2,250


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: gk1527
US$ 2,250.00
  • € 2,087.10
  • £ 1,790.78
  • AUD 3,344.40
  • CHF 2,027.92
  • CAD 2,997.68

Rates for: 06/09/23

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