Obverse description : Cavalier nu et casqué galopant à droite, tenant une javeline de la main droite, un bouclier et deux autres lances de la gauche.
Obverse legend : SA.
Reverse description : Taras nu, chevauchant un dauphin à gauche, la main droite tendue, tenant une quenouille de la main gauche ; un globule sous la main ; au-dessous, une proue de navire.
Reverse legend : TARAS.
CALABRIA - Taranto
(IV - III century BC)
Taranto, founded around 706 before J. C-. by Parthénopéens was the only colony of Sparta. In fact, according to mythology, the city was founded by Phalanthos, by order of the oracle of Delphi, near the mouth of the river Taras. Another ancient tradition tells how the city was founded by Taras who was the son of Poseidon and the nymph Satyra. He was saved in a shipwreck by a dolphin who placed near the future city and its name refers to the city. It turned out that the two heroes were confounded. Taranto was the only important city in this region called Calabria by the Romans and districts Messapia and Iapygia by the Greeks. The new colony grew rapidly and became one of the most important ports of Western Mediterranean through the many benefits related to its geographical position, its rich hinterland with farmland, renowned farms, the processing of wool. Tarentines was breeders and trainers famous hair. But she was also known, through its extensive secure port which enabled him to establish fruitful relations with its neighbors and made one of the main ports of the Western Mediterranean. The city was also recognized for the quality of its purple, achieved through the collection of murex shell to obtain the peculiar coloration. The political system of Taranto was to be modeled on that of his mother and Sparta Herodotus (I, 36) indicates a king, a contemporary of Darius I (521-486 before J. C-. ). The cult of Apollo was celebrated there Hyakinthos and Spartan origin is undeniable. From 380 before J. C-. The destinies of Taranto found themselves in the hands of Archytas of Tarentum (460-360 before J. C-. ) Pythagorean philosopher, friend of Plato, mathematician, astronomer, politician and general who was placed seven times at the head of his city. It gives the inventor of the screw, pulley, rattle and kite. Horace dedicated an ode to him. The Panhellenic Foundation Thurium 443 before J. C-. gave rise to a conflict that was against Taranto in Athens for more than thirty years from 436 before J. C-. The two rival cities had finally found Heraclea in 432 before J. C-. Nevertheless influenced Tarentine. Tarentines eventually impose on cities Metaponto and Siris. Archytas in the first half of the fourth century before J. C-. Became the strategist italiote confederation whose capital was Heraclea and which included, in addition to Taranto, Metaponto and Thurii, Crotone, Velia and Naples. This period Tarentine hegemony ended with the death of Archytas and was the starting point for interventions general mercenaries as Archidamus of Sparta, Alexander the Molossian or Pyrrhus of Epirus. Taranto had to fight against the Lucanians and called in 345 before J. C-. to Archidamus, King of Sparta. The latter tried to contain the growth of tribes Lucan. Unfortunately, Archidamos was defeated and killed at the Battle of Mandurias in 338 before J. C-. The Archidamos death forced the Tarentines to find a new place to contain their unruly neighbors. They appealed to Alexander the Molossian king of Epirus and brother of Alexander III the Great of Macedonia. Arriving in Southern Italy, Alexander the Hound had to fight against the tribes of southern Italy Basilicata and Apulia, desiring to build a kingdom in Magna Grecia. After the death of Alexander of Epirus (330 before J. C-. ) Tarentines continued to confront the tribes of Lucania and Bruttium to which were added the Romans. This time, they turned to Kleonymos Sparta to deliver this double danger. Taranto and Rome had signed a naval treaty in 303 J. C-. the neutrality of Tarentum in exchange for respect for the territorial integrity of their city by the Roman armies. Between leaving Kléonymos Sparta 302 before J. C-. and the arrival of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus twenty years later, the history of Taranto and its territory remains unclear with many shadow on historical and monetary planning areas. The intervention of the king of Epirus was the beginning of the decline of the city Tarentine. Following the arrival of Pyrrhus in Italy, 281 before J. C-. The consul L. Aemilius Barbula devastated the territory of Tarentum after the destruction of a Roman fleet in the Gulf of Taranto. Pyrrhus, with his elephants and to everyone's surprise, won the indecisive Battle of Heraclea in 279 before J. C-. hence the term "Pyrrhic victory" which equates to a victory which leaves the winner so exhausted that a defeat would not weakened more. After the victory in Ascoli 279 before J. C-. Pyrrhus did not manage to get a decisive victory over the Romans, was angry with his Greek and Syracusan allies, and was finally defeated at Benevento in 275 before J. C-. He retired in Epirus, where he was later murdered. After the departure of Pyrrhus, Taranto submitted to Rome. In 272 before J. C-. She went, after a long siege, the consul Lucius Papirius Cursor. Under the leadership of Consul Spurius Carvilius Maximus, Taranto became an ally of Rome city, she knew a great period of prosperity that lasted until the Second Punic War (221-202 before J. C-. ). Taranto, an ally of Rome at first, eventually rallied to Hannibal in 213 before J. C-. Roman garrison fled on the acropolis of Taranto, resisted for five years. The city was finally submitted by Fabius Maximus in 209 before J. C-. which reduced most of the population into slavery, thirty thousand people according to Livy (XXVI, 39).