Used to fund Pyrrhos' campaign
CALABRIA. Tarentum. Circa 276-272 BC. Hemistater (Gold, 15 mm, 4.28 g, 11 h). Head of youthful Herakles in lion's skin headdress to right. Rev. ΤΑΡΑΝΤΙΝΩΝ Ephebe driving galloping biga to right; above to right, monogram of AP; below, monogram of NK. De Nanteuil 116 (same dies). Fischer-Bossert G30 (V26/R30). HN III 985. Jameson I 160 (same dies). SNG ANS 1037 (same dies). Vlasto 30 (same dies). A few minor marks, otherwise, very fine.
From the Trausnitz Collection, ex Künker FPL 142, Summer 1998, 3.
The present coin is a rare gold issue struck by the Tarentines to fund the military campaigns of Pyrrhos of Epiros, from whom Tarentum had begged assistance in its war against Rome. While Pyrrhos was generally successful in battle against Rome, it was at such a cost that he is reported to have declared that "[if] we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." (Plutarch, Pyr. 21.9). Thus, the modern term Pyrrhic victory, which refers to a victory achieved at such excessive cost that it is really a defeat.