Friday, 20 November 2015

The silver coins of Taras: part three

Obverse: Taras seated on dolphin holding cuttlefish (sepia)
Reverse: Hippocamp with scallop shell below
Following the incuse coinage of Taras are two issues of staters with their fractions. Besides the now familiar image of the dolphin rider, the scallop shell figures largely in these types. A symbol associated with Aphrodite as it was on a scallop shell that the goddess, like Taras, first came ashore. There was an imprtant cult of Aphrodite at Taras. "Her birth was the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite (hence her name, meaning "foam-arisen")"  Such myths indicate a syncretistic change from the religious beliefs of an earlier people to those of whom that have replaced them in some region. That change can then become a thing in of itself and be subjected to further syncretistic changes. A good example is Dionysos who is first a primordial animal deity and then, after being slain by the Titans, becomes the second-born (resurrected) god of the vine. Later, the myth is syncretized in the Christian resurrection. For more information see my posts Ancient Druids 1. and The La Tène religion of the Celtic elite, 7, The Dionysian.

Obverse: Taras seated on dolphin, beneath, scallop shell
Reverse: Wheel of four spokes

The fractions show the scallop shell,  wheel, dolphin, and hippocamp in isolation. There are also female heads, none of which (curiously) are currently identified as Aphrodite.

More on Monday, have a lovely weekend.

John's Coydog Community page


  1. Hi John:

    Oh blimey! Aphrodite....a fine Cyprus wine... will never taste the same again. Too painful!

    However, back in '59 in company with a past curator of Curium (Cyprus) I found my first Greco-Roman coin amid the fabulous ruins. It was that find which launched my treasure hunting career.

    John H

  2. Hi John, Buying lump of corrosion from the Le Catillon hoard at Seaby for ten shillings (with an extremely fine Coriosolite stater inside) had a profound effect on my directions in life.

    With Christmas coming, perhaps you should not read about the symbolism and mythology of mistletoe!: