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Tarentum coin with Taras

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

Taras is the toponym founder of the Greek colony of Taras (Tarentum, modern Taranto), in Magna Graecia. Note that a harbour close by Taranto is still nowadays called Torre Saturo (derived from Satyrion). It was in Torre Saturo, almost 15 km south of Taranto, that Spartan colons setteled their first colony in Taranto zone. Later, around 706 BC, they conquered the Iapigian city of Taranto.

Sources

Paus. x. 10. 4, 13. 5
Strab. vi.

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.

Seal of Taranto since 1935

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In modern times, Taras is an Eastern European name, used particularly in Ukraine. While some say the name derives from the ancient Greek for rebel, it is more likely to be derived from the Greek name Tarasios, meaning "of Tarentum".


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