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Taranto , Italy

Taranto, Greek Τάρας, Latin Tarentum,  city, Puglia (Apulia) regione, southeastern Italy.
The city lies at the base of the Salentine Peninsula on the northern inlet (Mare Grande) of the Gulf of Taranto.
The old part of the city occupies a small island that lies between the Mare Grande and the inner harbour (Mare Piccolo). Newer city sections are situated on the adjacent mainland.
Marble figured stele with deceased naked as a hero, depicted while offering a pomegranate to a snake, funerary symbol of the underworld gods.


Italiano
Taranto (Tàrde o Tàrende[3] in dialetto tarantino, parlato in città, Tàruntu in dialetto salentino, parlato in alcune isole amministrative ) è un comune italiano di 204.731 abitanti[1], capoluogo dell'omonima provincia in Puglia.

Antica colonia della Magna Grecia, è il secondo[4] comune della regione per popolazione, terzo dell'Italia meridionale peninsulare dopo Napoli e Bari, nonché sesto del Mezzogiorno.

Per la sua posizione geografica a cavallo tra Mar Grande e Mar Piccolo, Taranto è conosciuta come "città dei due mari"; da taluni viene definita "città spartana" con riferimento alla sua fondazione nell'VIII secolo a.C

La cronologia tradizionale, assegna la data della fondazione di Taranto al 706 a.C.[12]. Le fonti tramandate dallo storico Eusebio di Cesarea, parlano del trasferimento dello spartano Falanto e altri compatrioti, poiché figlio illegittimo di famiglie spartane, in questa zona per necessità di espansione o per questioni commerciali. Questi, distruggendo l'abitato indigeno, portarono una nuova linfa di civiltà e di tradizioni. La tradizione vuole che Taranto venne fondata da Partheniai ("figli delle vergini"), quei bambini nati dalle donne spartane durante l'assenza dei mariti impegnati nella guerra messenica. I Partheniai vennero esclusi dalla spartizione delle terre della Messenia e dovettero emigrare per fondare quella che rimane l'unica colonia spartana[13].

La struttura sociale della colonia sviluppò nel tempo una vera e propria cultura aristocratica, la cui ricchezza proveniva, probabilmente, dallo sfruttamento delle risorse del fertile territorio circostante, che venne popolato e difeso da una serie di phrouria tra le quali Pezza Petrosa, piccoli centri fortificati in posizione strategica[14]. Taranto ha quindi origini antichissime. Durante il periodo ellenistico della colonizzazione greca sulle coste dell'Italia meridionale, la città fu tra le più importanti della Magna Grecia. In quel periodo, infatti, divenne una potenza economica militare e culturale, che diede i natali a filosofi, strateghi, scrittori e atleti, diventando anche sede della scuola pitagorica tarantina, la seconda più importante dopo quella di Metaponto. A partire dal 367 a.C., fu la città più potente tra quelle che costituirono la lega italiota. Nel 281 a.C. entrò in conflitto con Roma (guerra tarentina) insieme al suo alleato Pirro, Re dell'Epiro, ma capitolò definitivamente nel 272 a.C. Durante la seconda guerra punica, Taranto aprì le porte ad Annibale nel 212 a.C., ma fu punita tre anni dopo con la strage dei suoi cittadini e col saccheggio quando Fabio Massimo la riconquistò.
History 
Taranto was founded in 706 BC by Dorian Greek immigrants as the only Spartan colony, and its origin is peculiar: the founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta); these out-of-wedlock unions were permitted extraordinarily by the Spartans to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens of Sparta could become soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars.


But later they were retroactively nullified, and the sons were then obliged to leave Greece forever.
 Ancient Greek silver coin DOLPHIN rider

Phalanthus, the Parthenian leader, went to Delphi to consult the oracle: the puzzling answer designated the harbour of Taranto as the new home of the exiles.
 Detail of an Apulian red-figure vase showing the funerary monument consisting of a low pedestal carrying a Ionic column on top and the statue of the deceased.

The Partheniae arrived in Apulia, and founded the city, naming it Taras after the son of the Greek sea god, Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion.
According to other sources, Heracles founded the city. Another tradition indicates Taras as the founder of the city; the symbol of the Greek city (as well as of the modern city) depicts the legend of Taras being saved from a shipwreck by riding a dolphin that was sent to him by Poseidon.
 Silver bottle, decorated with gold leaf, from a late 4th century BC tomb group found in Taranto.

Taranto increased its power, becoming a commercial power and a sovereign city of Magna Graecia, ruling over the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Its independence and power came to an end as the Romans expanded throughout Italy.
 Figured panel from a limestone funerary stele with deceased nude as a hero, depicted fighting.

Taranto won the first of two wars against Rome for the control of Southern Italy: it was helped by Pyrrhus, king of Epirus  who surprised Rome with the use of elephants in battle, a thing never seen before by the Romans. Rome won the second war in 272 B.C.
 Lead pyxis, with the interior divided in sections, for holding cosmetics.

This subsequently cut off Taranto from the centre of Mediterranean trade, by connecting the Via Appia directly to the port of Brundisium (Brindisi). 

Marble crowning of an anthemion (palmette) stele.
In 122 BC a Roman colony was founded next to Taranto, Neptunia, and populated by Roman colonists, but it was later unified to the main centre when Taranto become a municipium in 89 BC. During the late Republic and all the Roman Empire, Taranto was a simple provincial city. Taranto followed the story of Italy during the late Empire, becoming part of the Byzantine Empire in 540, and was ruled by them until 662 whem it was conquered by the Lombards of the Duchy of Benevento. In the 8th century AD Saracens began their raids against Southern Italy, occupying Taranto for forty years, until it was reconquered by the Byzantines in 880. The city suffered from other Saracen raids, as in 922 and again on 15 August 927, when the Saracens, led by the Slavic Sabir, conquered and destroyed the city, enslaving and deporting to Africa all the survivors. In 967 the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus II Phoca realizing the startegic importance of the area rebuilt Taranto. In the 11th century was characterized by a bloody struggle between Normans and Byzantines for the rule over the Tarentine and Barensis lands. Taranto was finally conquered by the Normans and became the capital of a Norman principality for almost 4 centuries.
 Sarcophagus Of Athlete Of Taranto

In 1465 Ferdinand I of Naples unitied Taranto to the Kingdom of Naples. In March 1502, the Spanish fleet of Ferdinand II of Aragon, allied to Louis XII of France, seized the port of Taranto, and conquered the city. In the 1746 census Taranto had 11,526 inhabitants, all of them living on the Small Island. From 1799 to 1815 Taranto joined the Parthenopaean Republic, and among the French officers in the city there was also novelist Chordelos de Laclos. With the fall of Napoleon Southern Italy and Tarant, returned under Bourbons rule, forming the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Then in 1861 the whole Southern Italy was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia, which became the Kingdom of Italy. In November 1940, during World War II, the Italian ships at anchor in Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo were severely damaged by British naval forces in the so-called Battle of Taranto and on September 9, 1943 British forces landed near the port on as part of the Allied invasion (Operation Slapstick).

Description
Considering the size of the Greek city-state of Taras, relatively few structural remains have been found. Numerous Greek tombs have yielded a rich collection of imported Greek and local vases, and a deposit of hundreds of statuettes of Apollo, presumably from the temple of that god, was found. There are also numerous ancient reliefs by local craftsmen. Most of these relics are housed in Taranto’s National Museum. Taranto’s better known Roman remains include ruins of large public baths and of an amphitheatre, mosaic floors, a house, and many cremation and burial tombs.
Like many Greek city states, Taras issued its own coins in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. The denomination was a Nomos, a die-cast silver coin whose weight, size and purity were controlled by the state. The highly artistic coins presented the symbol of the city, Taras being saved by a dolphin, with the reverse side showing the likeness of a hippocamp, a horse-fish amalgam which is depicted in mythology as the beast that drew Poseidon's chariot.
Taras was also the center of a thriving decorated Greek pottery industry during the 4th century BC. Most of the South Italian Greek vessels known as Basilican ware were made in different workshops in the city.
Unfortunately, none of the names of the artists have survived, so modern scholars have been obliged to give the recognizable artistic hands and workshops nicknames based on the subject matter of their works, museums which possess the works, or individuals who have distinguished the works from others. Some of the most famous of the Apulian vase painters at Taras are now called: the Iliupersis Painter, the Lycurgus Painter, the Gioia del Colle Painter, the Darius Painter, the Underworld Painter, and the White Sakkos Painter, among others.
The wares produced by these workshops were usually large elaborate vessels intended for mortuary use. The forms produced included volute kraters, loutrophoroi, paterai, oinochoai, lekythoi, fish plates, etc. The decoration of these vessels was red figure (with figures reserved in red clay fabric, while the background was covered in a black gloss), with overpainting (sovradipinto) in white, pink, yellow, and maroon slips.
Often the style of the drawings is florid and frilly, as was already the fashion in fourth-century Athens. Distinctive South Italian features also begin to appear. Many figures are shown seated on rocks. Floral motifs become very ornate, including spiraling vines and leaves, roses, lilies, poppies, sprays of laurel, acanthus leaves, etc. Often the subject matter consists of naiskos scenes (scenes showing the statue of a deceased person in a naos, a miniature temple or shrine). Most often the naiskos scene occupies one side of the vase, while a mythological scene occupies the other. Images depicting many of the Greek myths are only known from South Italian vases, since Athenian ones seem to have had more limited repertoires of depiction.
The old city (Città Vecchia), on the site of the Acropolis of Taras on the island between the inner and outer harbours, contains the Aragonese castle (1480; later enlarged), the 11th-century Romanesque cathedral of S. Cataldo (with a Baroque facade), and the church of S. Domenico Maggiore (1302), with an imposing portal and a rose window. The Città Nuova (southeast) contains the Arsenal (1803), the government offices, the Meteorological and Geophysical Observatory (1905), the National Museum, and the State Institute of Marine Biology (1931). Borgo (northwest) is the industrial section. 

Site Monuments 
The Greek town
The use of funerary monuments seems to become common in Taranto especially from the 4th  century BC. At an earlier stage there was the stele (slab), sometimes made of marble, imitating the Attic patterns.
Later on the semata (tomb markers) develop an independent typology, that we can also know through the rich repertory of images depicted on Apulian vases.

Colonne Doriche
Since the last three decades of the 4th century the use of chamber tombs becomes very common again. Together with this the use of the naiskos is also introduced. This consists of a small aedicule raised up on a base, on which the statue of the deceased stands.

Boat-shaped with movable pendants.
The crafts of the funerary monuments show well how the architecture and the sculpture were rich in Taranto during the Hellenistic period. Slabs, pillars and columns, standing isolated and covered by Ionic, Corinthian and Tarantine-Corinthian capitals (this is a shape typical of this town) were used as tomb markers. Large vases, either figured wares or stone vases, are attested with the same function. The stone vases could be in the round or in high-relief inside an aedicule. Other kinds of semata are the cists shaped as sarcophagi, trapezai (tables), louteria (high stemmed basins), altars or isolated statues on stepped bases.

The naiskos as well imitates Athenian models. It was destined to become the most common type of marker.

Atherma Taras - Taranto: Ancient Greek Board Games
There is not a single being on this Earth that has not played with some game at various stages of his/her life (from infancy right up to old age). There are very simple games and complicated games which train the body, the emotions, the brain or the intellect.
This research analytically presents the whole structure of games and common archetypal elements that games contain in every population all over the world, which originated from the ancient Greek and European culture.

 The naiskos
The naiskos (aedicule on a base) became more and more successful among the funerary markers mostly during the 3rd century BC. Many architectural figured elements – metopes, friezes, acroteria – were found pertinent to the base or to the entablature of such buildings. The depicted images usually recall funerary themes as well as kidnapping, ambush or fighting scenes from the myth. Dionysiac corteges and sea gods thiasoi are also often de picted.


The naiskos from via Umbria
The reconstruction of this complex is problematic because many structural elements of the monument are missing. Some are preserved: six metopes of the Doric frieze of the base depicting a battle, represented according to the typical scheme adopted for the battle between Greeks and barbarians, a usual topic of the ‘soft stone’ work repertory. Only few fragments are preserved from the face of the upper aedicule with Tarentine-Corinthian columns: a base of a column, the ajouré panel of the pediment representing a marine thiasos and fragments of the acroteria depicting monster Skylla, which recalls the Underworld.  

In the pediment, the marine thiasos (cortege) with Nereides riding sea monsters converging toward the centre depicts the delivery of Achilles’ weapons, a subject from the myth linked to the death of this hero. The Skyllas from the central and side acroteria have smooth or scaly coils and dog heads projecting from their abdomen.

The hypogeum, for which the monumental aedicule had been designed, 
is preserved at the ground floor of a building now accessible by ‘via 
Calabria’. Inside there are two moulded and painted klinai (funerary beds).

Taranto Necropolis, athlete tomb

Sources / Bibliography / Photos
Archytas of Tarentum, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, strategist and commander-in-chief of the army of Taranto
Philolaus, mathematician and philosopher
Aristoxenus, peripatetic philosopher, and writer on music and rhythm
Leonidas of Tarentum, poet
Lysis of Tarentum, philosopher
Cleinias of Tarentum, Pythagorean philosopher
Rhinthon (c. 323–285 BC), dramatist
Livius Andronicus, poet
Titus Quinctius Flamininus, propraetor of Tarentum
Pacuvius, tragic poet, died in Tarentum in 130 BC
Cataldus, archbishop and patron saint of Taranto
http://www.wikipedia.org/
Bohemond of Taranto, (born in Calabria) key military leader on the First Crusade
Gil Albornoz, archbishop of Taranto in 1644
Giovanni Paisiello, composer
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Napoleonic army general and novelist, died in Taranto
www.giovannicarrieri.com
Etienne-Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre MacDonald (1765–1840), duke of Taranto and marshal of France
Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, rumoured to have been born here and not Rome as was first assumed
Riccardo Tisci, fashion designer, creative director of Givenchy
Roberta Vinci, professional tennis player
http://www.britannica.com/
Cosimo Damiano Lanza, pianist, harpsichordist and composer
Pino De Vittorio, singer, actor
http://www.italyworldclub.com
Quentin Tarantino, whose family derives its surname from its origins in the city
Michele Riondino, actor, director, singer
Laura Albanese, Italian-Canadian newscaster a



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