Taras (mythology)

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A silver coin of Taranto representing Taras.

Taras (Τάρας) was, according to Greek mythology, the son of Poseidon and of the nymph Satyrion.

Taras is the eponymous founder of the Greek colony of Taras (Tarentum, modern Taranto), in Magna Graecia (today South Italy). Note that a harbour close by Taranto is still called Torre Saturo (derived from Satyrion). It was in Torre Saturo, almost 15 km south of Taranto, that Spartan colonists settled their first colony in Taranto zone. Later, around 706 BC, they conquered the Iapygian city of Taranto. On the coinage of the ancient city of Taras, the son of Poseidon is depicted on a dolphin, sometimes with his father's trident in one hand; the same image is depicted on the modern city emblem.

Story: Taras was rescued from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent by his father. The city, located on the site where he was brought ashore, was named in his honor. The horsemen, who range from boys to youths, nude to armed, are engaged in a wide variety of activities, possibly alluding to the many equestrian athletic events held at Taras.

Said to have traversed the sea from the promontory of Taenarum to the south of Italy, riding on a dolphin, and to have founded Tarentum in Italy where he was worshipped as a hero.


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