Calabria Tarentum

Coin Collecting Reviews – The Calabria Tarentum (276-272 BC)

The city of Tarentum was founded in 708 BC by Spartans who had been instructed to settle by the Taras River in Italy by the Oracle of Delphi.

Greek Calabria Tarentum Coin with Herakles

This coin is what is known as a didrachm. The drachm was the basic Greek silver monetary unit and the didrachm (stater) was worth two times its value.

Calabria, Tarentum. Circa 276-272 BC. AV Hemistater (4.24 g, 9h).

Obverse with head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin

Reverse with charioteer, holding kentron in right hand, reins in left, driving fast.

    Greek Calabria Tarentum coin with Charioteer

  • Fischer-Bossert G33q (V29/R33 ? this coin);
  • Vlasto 29; HN Italy 985;
  • SNG Lloyd 201;
  • SNG ANS 1036;
  • Jameson 2391 = Weber 551;
  • Dewing 182 (all from the same dies).

Condition Near VF, a few marks. Very rare.

Auction Estimate late 2009 for the Calabria Tarentum – between ?900 and ?1100 GBP.

  • Ex A.D. Moretti Collection (Classical Numismatic Group 40 [in conjunction with Numismatica Ars Classica], 4 December 1996), lot 594;
  • M?nzen und Medaillen AG 75 (4 December 1989), lot 44;
  • Sotheby`s (8 February 1978), lot 10.

About Calabria

Calabria was first settled by Italic Oscan-speaking tribes. Two of these tribes included the Oenotri (roughly translated into the "vine-cultivators") and the Itali.

Greek contact with the latter resulted in the entire peninsula (modern Italy) taking the name of the tribe.

Greeks settled heavily along the coast at an early date and several of their settlements, including the first Italian city called Rhegion (Reggio Calabria), and the next ones Sybaris, Kroton (Crotone), and Locri, were numbered among the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

It was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, but the region never regained its former prosperity.