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Calabria, Tarentum AR Nomos. Circa 390-385 BC. Nude warrior on horseback left, holding reins in right hand, small round shield on left arm; A below / Taras astride dolphin left; P and ΤΑΡΑΣ below. Vlasto 379; SNG ANS 900 (but with A on obv. and P on rev. intact). 7.84g, 21mm, 10h.

Near Extremely Fine. A stunning and statuesque obverse from one of the briefest but most beautiful series in Tarentine coinage. Deep, attractive old cabinet tone. Extremely Rare.

Ex Ambrose Collection;
Ex Roma Numismatics III, 31 March 2012, lot 23;
Privately purchased from Numismatica Ars Classica, 2011 for £8,500;
Ex Comte Chandon De Briailles Collection; Bourgey, 17 June 1959, lot 15.

Tarentum, the only Spartan colony ever to be established, was founded in 706 BC by the Partheniae - Spartan children born to unmarried women as a product of Spartan desperation to ensure the survival and continuation of their demographic during the bloody Messenian wars, who were later disowned and expelled by the state - and Perioeci (subjects, but not citizens of Sparta), under the leadership of the Parthenian Phalanthos. According to legend, Phalanthos consulted the oracle at Delphi, and was told that he should found his new city 'where rain fell from a clear sky'. After much searching, and despairing of finding a suitable location for a city, Phalanthos was consoled by his wife Aethra who laid his head in her lap, and as her tears splashed upon his forehead he understood the oracle's words for his wife's name itself meant 'clear sky', and thus he determined to make the nearby harbour the site of their new home, which they named after Taras, the son of Poseidon and the nymph Satyrion.

Calabria, Tarentum AR Nomos. (rxvi111)

Price: £7,692.00

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  • (Rates for 17/10/2018)
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