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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Greek, Calabria – 281 BC

Tarentum

From Ancient Galleries

Obverse: Ephebos crowning prancing horse with wreath, two amphorae below.
Reverse: Taras astride swimming dolphin holding Kantharos and trident in hand.

LEGEND SYMBOLS
Obv. Naked, youthful Ephebos crowning the horse’s head with wreath, while horse is prancing to right. EY above; below horse ΑΠΟΛΛΩ; two amphorae between legs. Rev. Taras astride dolphin swimming left with kantharos in extended right hand and Trident on left arm. ΘI to right; ΤΑΡΑΖ below dolphin.

The Magna Grecia ancient city of Tarentum is located along the southern coastal area of Italy in the province of Calabria and is situated on a peninsula flanked by two bays. The nearby pasture lands produced quality wool and offered superb land for the breeding horses. The sea offered abundant quantities of the shellfish Murex, which produced a valuable purple dye and source of wealth to the Greek colonists. Like most ancient Greek cities, creative myths arose to explain their origins. The ancient historians believe Tarentum was founded in the late 8th century BC by Greek Spartans. It is claimed the Oracle of Delphi instructed the Greeks at the Taras River delta to settle the sacred peninsula at the entrance of an inlet to the sea named Lapygia. The myth claims Taras, the founder of the first Lapygian settlement, was saved from a shipwreck by the intervention of his father Poseidon, who sent a dolphin to carry him safely to the shore. Many of the myth symbols are depicted on this exceptional stater. The coin is known as a stater and was struck during the time Tarentum was allied with Pyrrhos of Epiros against Rome. The image on the reverse of the coin represents Taras, the legendary founder of the city of Tarentum, said to be one of Poseidon’s son’s. The image of Taras on this coin shows him riding the dolphin, while holding a trident in his right hand and a drinking cup called the Kantharos in his left hand. The obverse side of the coin depicts a youthful, naked horseman likely referring to the city’s rich pasture lands known for horse breeding and racing. Inscribed below the horse is the magistrates name; ΑΠΟΛΛΩ, and below his signature are two representations of tall amphorae, upright and perfectly placed between the horse’s legs. The amphorae are thought to symbolize the vessels of wine used during ancient temple ceremonies.

DOCUMENTATION
Value: Stater. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 6.51 grams. Mint: Calabria, Tarentum. Date: 281-272 BC.
Attribution: Vlasto 763; SNG COP 891; SNG ANS 1119; Brunetti XXVII, 11; Hess-Leu, 1957, 22.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution

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