The Star and Crescent on Tarentum Coin

25 May 2020  Mon

Living in a world without electric lights, most ancient people were much more familiar with the night sky than we are, and the stars and planets were very important to their view of the universe. Many believed that events in the sky were closely linked to events on earth; a belief that developed into the pseudo-science of astrology. The star and crescent appear as a powerful symbol with many meanings, and it is often found on ancient coins. Tarentum, a prosperous Greek city was located on the heel of the Italian “boot”. Taras (or Tarentum) was among the most prominent city-states. Each of the polities struck their own coinage... A common theme in the Italiote coinage was to include portraits of gods or other mythological figures. Some featured animals and other symbols. Around 450 – 380 BCE Tarentum issued a tiny silver trihemiobol weighing 0.78 g. The coin features a distaff (a tool used in spinning thread, symbolic of the local wool industry) between two stars and a crescent on one side whereas a stool-like object on the other side. n a 2005 Swiss auction, this rare piece realized 705 USD. Image Courtesy:

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