Taras, Capital of Ancient Calabria and Taras' Nomos

6th Century BCE Temple to Poseidon, located in Taranto, Southern Italy, near the Gulf of Taranto shore within an urban archeological zone.

This area was originally founded as a Spartan colony -- Taras -- in 708 BCE. In the 4th C. BCE, Plato was a visitor. [Hammond and Scullard, Classical Dictionary, 1970, pp.1037-38]

Today, this modern seaport showcases its ancient heritage in the small but inviting Museo Archelogico Nazionale of Citta Nuova Taranto. My favorite piece at Taranto's museum (not far, by the way, from the "Marco Aurelio Ristorante Pizzeria") is a 6th C. BCE Poseidon or Zeus Bronze. It is presented below in all its archaic charm.



Silver Nomos, 272-235 BCE. Reverse: Taras on dolphin left, holding kantharos and trident.

Obverse: The Dioskouroi on horseback right. [Vlasto 937]

Q: Was this silver coin minted at the site pictured above?

A: To my knowledge, the precise location of the mint of Taras or Tarentum is not known.

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