Small hoard of gold coins
Taranto, Via Nitti corner Via Cugini (current Via Pitagora) | 5th century A.D.
Small hoard consisting of 8 solid gold coins, traceable to the emperors Leo I (457-474 AD), Zeno Isauricus (474-491 AD) and Anastasius I (491-518 AD).
On the obverse, the coins present the frontal representation of the emperor’s bust and the legend D (ominus) N (oster), the name of the emperor under whose rule the coins were produced and the following wording PERP (etuus) AUG (ustus) (otherwise abbreviated as PP AUG in the coins produced at the time of Anastasius I); on the reverse we find victory bearing a cross, the legend VICTORIA AUG (ustorum) and the identification marks of the mint – CON (stantinopolis) – and of the purity of the metal – OB (ryzum), which is pure gold.
The solidus, solid gold weighing about 4.5 g, was the basis of the economic system of the time and, thanks to the uniform weight and purity of the metal, it was a strong basis for economic transactions, thus also encouraging forms of hoarding.
The hoard was found on a plot of land owned by Count Pietro d’Ayala Valva and originally included 32 coins, 10 of which were ascribable to Emperor Leo I, 3 to Emperor Zeno Isaurian and 19 to Emperor Anastasius I. Superintendent Quintino Quagliati, in application of art. 18 of law 364/1909, which provided that half of the items discovered by chance be given to the owner of the land (or that the equivalent price be paid as an alternative), withheld only half of the coins for the Museum, selecting the most significant specimens. However, 8 coins of this set have been lost.