Genuine Greek Bronze Coin 3rd Cent. BC Silver Pendant depicting Athena's Owl
The silver pendant features a bronze coin that showcases a depiction of an owl with its wings closed, positioned atop an olive branch. On the left side of the coin, the initials "T A P" are inscribed, representing a shortened version of the city's name: TARAS. Taras was a significant Greek city located in southern Italy, thriving during the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.
The city of Taras, also known as Tarentum in Latin, held great importance as a Greek colony in southern Italy during the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. Situated in the region of Apulia, Taras flourished as a maritime city-state, owing much of its prosperity to its strategic location on the coast of the Ionian Sea.
Taras was founded by Greek settlers from Sparta, who established a thriving city known for its maritime trade, agricultural wealth, and military prowess. The city boasted a formidable navy and played a significant role in the conflicts and power struggles of the time. Taras engaged in both trade and warfare with neighboring Italic tribes, as well as other Greek colonies and the rising power of Rome.
Flipping the coin to its reverse side reveals the visage of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, adorned with a helmet.
Athena, the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, held a special place in the pantheon of deities worshipped in Taras. Known as Athena Tarentina, she was regarded as the city's patron goddess and protector. The presence of Athena's helmeted head on the reverse side of the coin symbolizes Taras' close association with this revered goddess.
Athena was highly regarded for her wisdom, strategic thinking, and skills in crafts and the arts. She represented the embodiment of intellect, reason, and courage. As a protector of cities and their inhabitants, Athena's inclusion on the coin reflects the city's desire for divine guidance and protection in times of war and peace.
The owl depicted on the obverse side of the coin further reinforces the connection between Taras and Athena. The owl was closely associated with Athena and was considered a sacred symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and watchfulness. Its appearance atop an olive branch, a symbol of peace and prosperity, suggests Taras' desire for wisdom and harmony within the city.