A Funny, Rare & Unusual Ancient Greek Coin, Near Mint State!
This silver nomos was struck circa 240-228 BC at Tarentum, Calabria. It shows a young horseman with his head thrown playfully back while riding a leaping horse. ΖΩΠΥΡΙΩΝ is written below the horse along with a ΣΩ above a bukranion. The reverse shows Taras astride a dolphin, holding a hippocamp in his extended right hand and a trident in his left. There is a mask of Silenos behind him with a monogram and TAPAΣ is written below.
This coin is very rare and in a near mint state. It is unusual in that the rider’s head is thrown so far back and facing the viewer of the coin. It is a unique, ancient numismatic treasure.
The pasture lands in the vicinity of Tarentum produced a fine breed of
horses and the Tarentine were famous for their cavalry and horseback
skills which is why horses and riders appear on the coins of Tarentum.
Ancient legends says that Taras, the founder of the first Iapygian settlement on at Tarentum, was miraculously saved from shipwreck by the intervention of his father Poseidon, who sent a dolphin, on whose back he was carried to the shore. This mythology found its way onto Tarentine coinage as well.