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(also Tarentum), an ancient Greek colony in Italy located on the Gulf of Taranto, on the site of what is now the city of Taranto. Taras was founded by the Spartans in about 700 B.C. and was initially ruled by kings. A tyranny was established there in the second half of the sixth century B.C., and a slaveholding democracy was formed in the early fifth century. Taras flourished in the first half of the fourth century B.C., during the rule of the Pythagorean philosopher Archytas. At that time, it became an important trade and artisan center. In 272 B.C, after it was defeated by Rome in the war of 282–272, Taras became a dependent ally of Rome. During the Second Punic War, Taras supported Hannibal, but it was reconquered by the Romans in 209 B.C. Circa 125 B.C, the Roman colony of Neptunia was established on the site of Taras.