CALABRIA, Tarentum. Circa 333-331/0 BC. Stater (Gold, 16mm, 8.52 g 3). ΤΑΡΑ Lightly veiled head of Hera to right, wearing stephane ornamented with palmettes, triple pendant earring and necklace; behind head, [Ε]; before chin, dolphin swimming downwards. Rev. ΤΑΡΑΤΙΝΩΝ The child Taras, nude, standing right, raising his hands in supplication towards Poseidon, nude to the waist, seated left on a diphros, resting his right hand on his right knee and holding a trident with his left; to right, star above Τ; below stool, Κ. Basel 89 (same dies). Fischer-Bossert G 5. HN III 901 (same dies). SNG Paris 1777 (same dies). Vlasto 1 (same dies). Extremely rare and of wonderful style. Very fine.
Ex Nomos 6, 8 May 2012, 3 and Numismatica Ars Classica 48, 21 October 2008, 3.
This is one of the most elegant of all Greek gold coins and bears an extraordinarily symbolic reverse. It shows the child Taras imploring Poseidon, presumably for help against the ever more aggressive Lucanians who were threatening the city. More concretely, this also refers to the help the city did receive from Alexander the Molossian who arrived in 334 BC (if this coin is actually earlier, as some scholars suggest, it would refer to the expedition of Archidamos of Sparta in 342).
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