This name, or title, appears to be based on the Indo-European word for silver and money *arģ-, found in Celtiberian arka(n)ta, Old Irish airget, Old Welsh argant, Latin argentum, Sanskrit rajatám. Tartessia and all of Iberia was rich in silver. Similar names (e.g. Argantoni) appear in inscriptions of the Roman period in or near former Tartessian territory. A similar name or title Argantoda(nos) is found on silver coinage in Northern Gaul and may have had a meaning akin to "treasurer". Some have identified Arganthonios with the "Tharsis Mask" at the Archeological Museum of Seville.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, King Arganthonios ruled Tartessia for 80 years (from about 625 BC to 545 BC) and lived to be 120 years old. This idea of great age and length of reign may result from a succession of kings using the same name or title. Herodotus says that Arganthonios warmly welcomed the first Greeks to reach Iberia, a ship carrying Phocaeans, and urged them fruitlessly to settle in Iberia. Hearing that the Medes were becoming a dominant force in the neighbourhood of the Phocaeans, he gave the latter money to build a defensive wall about their town. Herodotus comments that "he must have given with a bountiful hand, for the town is many furlongs in circuit".
- Les peuples gaulois, IIIe-Ier siecles av. J.-C. Stephan Fichtl, Errance (2004) (French)
- Herodotus, The Histories, 1.163.
- Aubet, Maria Eugenia (2007). Sidnie White, ed. "Up to the Gates of Ekron": Essays on the Archaeology and History of the Eastern Mediterranean. Jerusalem: W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and the Israel Exploration Society. p. 449.