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“They say that Taras the hero was a son of Poseidon by a nymph of the country, and that after this hero were named both the city and the river. For the river, just like the city, is called Taras.”

Pausanias (AD 110-180), Description of Greece X.10.8
Tarentum silver didrachm
£10,700
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“They say that Taras the hero was a son of Poseidon by a nymph of the country, and that after this hero were named both the city and the river. For the river, just like the city, is called Taras.”

Pausanias (AD 110-180), Description of Greece X.10.8
Tarentum silver didrachm
£10,700
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Tarentum silver didrachm

Circa 425-415 BC

The obverse with the Greek hero Taras, nude and riding a dolphin, raising his right hand and clutching a struggling octopus in his left. The reverse with the hero seated on a low stool, swathed in thin drapery, a perfume flask dangling from a string around his left wrist. This is an exquisite example of Classical art, with the hero's long fingers mirroring the tentacles of the octopus on the obverse.

Tarentum was one of the largest and most prosperous Greek cities of Southern Italy. This Lacedaemonian colony had been named after Taras, the son of the god Poseidon and Satyria, a local nymph. According to legend, the young hero was shipwrecked and rescued by a dolphin sent to him by his father.

Weight: 8.10 g

Diameter: 22.15 mm

Provenance:

Bank Leu, "A Collection of Tarentine Gold & Silver Coins", December 1960, lot 49

Published:

W. Fischer-Bossert, Chronologie Der Didrachmenprägung von Tarent 510-280 v. Chr. Berlin, 1999. Group 18, 280j (V127/R213 - this coin).

£10,700

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