Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 5 sub titles with search on: Information about the place for destination: "TEGEA Ancient city ARCADIA".

Information about the place (5)

Educational institutions WebPages

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  Old and important city in SW part of the region, some 12 km to the S of Tripolis. Mention is made of it as early as the Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.607). In the archaic period (before 600), nine demes whose names are given by Pausanias (8.45.1) came together to form the city, which is situated in the Tegeatis, which on the E borders Kynuria and Argolis (though separated from them by Mt. Parthenion), in the S on Lakonia, in the W on Mainalia, and in the N on Mantineia. The city district lies between the villages of Piali (now Tegea), Haghios Sostis, Omertsaousi, and Achouria. In the absence of recent excavations, the location of the city walls remains uncertain.
  Tegea had a role to play in the saga of the Dorian migrations: Echemos, king of Tegea, killed Hyllos, son of Herakles (cf. Hdt. 9.26). In its early period, Tegea fought with Sparta, which sought in vain to conquer it (Hdt. 1.66-68) but from 550 B.C. incorporated it in its Peloponnesian League. Tegea remained in the alliance with Sparta, and furnished the second strongest Peloponnesian army in the Persian War. At the battle of Marathon, the Athenians adopted the Arkadian goat-god Pan from the Tegean mountains (Hdt. 6.105-6). The Tegeans fought with 1,500 hoplites at Plataiai (Hdt. 9.28) and are mentioned on the snake-column at Delphi. Between 470 and 465 a rivalry grew up between the Arkadians and the Spartans, and the Tegeans suffered defeats (Hdt. 9.35). An oligarchic party bound Tegea closer to Sparta, and thus brought the city into conflict with Mantineia. In the Peloponnesian War, Tegea fought on the Spartan side. Around 430-420 Tegea began to strike its own coins. It was given a city wall ca. 370 B.C. at the instigation of the pro-Sparta party (Xen. Hell. 6.4.18, 6.5.6-15, 7.5-8). In 362 at the battle of Mantineia Tegea fought on the Theban side, and in 316 successfully withstood a siege by Kassandros, but was taken in 222 by Antogonos Doson, in 218 by Lykourgos, and 210 by Machanidas. Directly afterwards Philopoimen made it a base for his struggle with Sparta. In 174 B.C. King Antiochos IV Epiphanes of Syria gave money for the rebuilding in marble of the cavea and the analemma-wall of the theater which had been standing since the end of the 4th c. B.C. Remains of it are incorporated in the Christian basilica of Palaio Episkopi.
  Although it lost in importance during the Hellenistic period, in comparison to other Arkadian cities Tegea maintained its position well (Strab. and is described extensively by Pausanias ca. A.D. 170 (8.45-54). In 124 the emperor Hadrian visited Tegea, and had the baths rebuilt. This led to the adoption of a new chronological reckoning-point (IG v.2 no. 51-52). About 395 Tegea was destroyed by Alaric and his Goths (Zosimos 5.6.4-5, Claudian, Bell. Goth. 57Sf). But the presence of Christian basilicas show that Tegea continued to be inhabited in the 5th and 6th c.
  The holiest sanctuary in Tegea and the old cultic center of the region was the Temple of Athena Alea, in the neighborhood of which Late Mycenaean sherds have been found. The votive gifts show that the cult of the goddess dates back to the Geometric period. According to tradition the shrine was founded by Aleos, and from the distant past it possessed the right of asylum, and was famous as a place of refuge not merely for fugitives and exiles, but also for various kings of Sparta. On the N side of the temple was the brook where Herakles is supposed to have ravished Aleos' daughter Auge. Her exposed son Telephos later became king of Mysia and Pergamon.
  In the area of the sanctuary have been found the remains of an archaic temple whose cult-statue was carved by the Attic sculptor Endoios and transported by Augustus to Rome, where it was placed in the Forum Augustum. The archaic temple burned down in 395-394 and was replaced in the middle of the 4th c. Skopas designed the new temple and its sculptures. The remains of this temple were discovered in 1879-80 and excavated from 1900 to 1902. A complete reconstruction of the architecture is now possible, but our knowledge of the accompanying sculptures (metopes and pediments) is still unsatisfactory, despite the fact that outstanding fragments are to be found in the museums at Tegea and Athens (nos. 178-180). The surviving sculptures should be dated around 340 B.C.
  The temple foundations are of rubble-work. The krepis and the other parts of the building are of marble from Doliana. On the stylobate, which measures 47.52 x 19.16 m, was the peristalsis, 14 Doric columgs long and 6 wide. The columns were 19.16 m high. Two ramps to the N and E lead to the stylobate. The cella also had a door to the N. The pronaos and opisthodomos also had Doric columns. Above them were carved metopes which have almost completely vanished but inscriptions for which remain on the architrave (IG v.2 no. 78-79). Inside the cella were Corinthian half-columns arranged in such a way that the Ionic bases are an extension of the wall base. The Corinthian capitals show the henceforth canonical acanthus leaves between the volutes, instead of the palmette seen at Bassai-Phigalia.
  On the E the metopes showed the fight of Herakles with Kepheus and his sons; on the W, the Telephos myth. The E pediment showed the Calydonian boar hunt with Meleager and Atalanta, the W pediment again depicting the Telephos myth. Counting the splendid plant-acroteria of the pediment, the temple was 15.7 m high. In the E of the temple the substructure of the altar measured some 11 x 23 m.
  In the 5th c. an Early Christian basilica was installed in the cella, use being made of a salvaged door.
  The market, which was rectangular according to Pausanias, has been identified as having been W of the theater and the Church of Palaio Episkopi. The agora had colonnades. An inscription and various finds show the existence of a common table and a weights and measures office of the agoranomon, as well as a macellum.
  In the park to the W of the Palaio Episkopi are the remains of an Early Christian basilica of the 5th c., with one nave and mosaic paving showing the twelve seasons and the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
  Tegea's acropolis was located on the hill of Haghios Sostis, which was inhabited from Mycenaean times. It is identical with a place named Phylaktris or Akra (Paus. 8.48.4, Polyb. 5.17.2). Here was situated the Temple of Athena Polias, which was not the same as that of Athena Alea. No remains of it have been found. On the NE side of Haghios Sostis excavations have uncovered a Sanctuary of Demeter-Kore which cannot be identified with that mentioned by Pausanias as belonging to the agora. Finds are in the National Museum at Athens and in the museum at Tegea. There are important questions concerning the city area that can be answered only after further excavations.
  For finds collected in the museum, see the Bibliography below.

W. Fuchs, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 58 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  (Ion. Tegee: Eth. Tegeates). One of the most ancient and powerful towns of Arcadia, situated in the SE. of the country. Its territory, called TEGEATIS (Tegeatis), was bounded by Cynuria and Argolis on the E., from which it was separated by Mt. Parthenium, by Laconia on the S., by the Arcadian district of Maenalia on the W., and by the territory of Mantineia on the N. The Tegeatae are said to have derived their name from Tegeates, a son of Lycaon, and to have dwelt originally in eight, afterwards nine, demi or townships, the inhabitants of which were incorporated, by Aleus in the city of Tegea, of which this hero was the reputed founder. The names of these nine townships, which are preserved by Pausanias, are: Gareatae (Gareatai), Phylaceis (Phulakeis), Caryatae (Karuatai), Corytheis (Korutheis), Potachidae (Potachidai), Oeaatae (Oiatai); Manthyreis (manthureis), Echeuetheis (Echeuethheis), to which Apheidantes (Apheidantes was added as the ninth in the reign of king Apheidas. (Paus. viii. 3. § 4, viii. 45. § 1; Strab. viii. p. 337.) The Tegeatae were early divided into 4 tribes (phulai), called respectively Clareotis (Klareotis, in inscriptions Krariotis), Hippothoitis (Hippothoitis), Apolloneatis (Apolloneatis), and Athoneatis (Athaneatis), to each of which belonged a certain number of metoeci (metoikoi) or resident aliens. (Paus. viii. 53. § 6; Bockh, Corp. lnscr. no. 1513.)
  Tegea is mentioned in the Iliad (ii. 607), and was probably the most celebrated of all the Arcadian towns in the earliest times. This appears from its heroic renown, since its king Echemus is said to have slain Hyllus, the son of Hercules, in single combat. (Herod. ix. 26; Paus. viii. 45. § 3.) The Tegeatae offered a long-continued and successful resistance to the Spartans, when the latter attempted to extend their dominion over Arcadia. In one of the wars between the two people, Charilaus or Charillus, king of Sparta, deceived by an oracle which appeared to promise victory to the Spartans, invaded Tegeatis, and was not only defeated, but was taken prisoner with all his men who had survived the battle. (Herod. i. 66; Paus. iii. 7. § 3, viii. 5. § 9, viii. 45. § 3, 47. § 2, 48. § 4.) More than two centuries afterwards, in the reign of Leon and Agesicles, the Spartans again fought unsuccessfully against the Tegeatae; but in the following generation, in the time of their king Anaxandrides, the Spartans, having obtained possession of the bones of Orestes in accordance with an oracle, defeated the Tegeatae and compelled them to acknowledge the supremacy of Sparta, about B.C. 560. (Herod. i. 65, 67, seq.; Paus. iii. 3. § 5, seq.) Tegea, however, still retained its independence, though its military force was at the disposal of Sparta; and in the Persian War it appears as the second military power in the Peloponnesus, having the place of honour on the left wing of the allied army. Five hundred of the Tegeatae fought at Thermopylae, and 3000 at the battle of Plataea, half of their force consisting of hoplites and half of light-armed troops. (herod. vii. 202, ix. 26, seq., 61.) As it was not usual to send the whole force of a state upon a distant march, we may probably estimate, with Clinton, the force of the Tegeatae on this occasion as not more than three-fourths of their whole number. This would give 4000 for the military population of Tegea, and about 17,400 for the whole free population. (Clinton, F. H. vol. ii. p. 417.)
  Soon after the battle of Plataea, the Tegeatae were again at war with the Spartans, of the causes of which, however, we have no information. We only know that the Tegeatae fought twice against the Spartans between B.C. 479 and 464, and were each time defeated; first in conjunction with the Argives, and a second time together with the other Arcadians, except the Mantineians at Dipaea, in the Maenalian district. (Herod. ix. 37; Paus. iii. 11. § 7.) About this time, and also at a subsequent period, Tegea, and especially the temple of Athena Alea in the city, was a frequent place of refuge for persons who had rendered themselves obnoxious to the Spartan government. Hither fled the seer Hegesistratus (Herod. ix. 37) and the kings Leotychides, and Pausanias, son of Pleistoanax. (Herod. vi. 72; Xen. Hell, iii. 5. 25; Paus. iii. 5. § 6.)
  In the Peloponnesian War the Tegeatae were the firm allies of the Spartans, to whom they remained faithful both on account of their possessing an aristocratical constitution, and from their jealousy of the neighbouring democratical city of Mantineia, with which they were frequently at war. Thus the Tegeatae not only refused to join the Argives in the alliance formed against Sparta in B.C. 421, but they accompanied the Lacedaemonians in their expedition against Argos in 418. (Thus. v. 32, 57.) They also fought on the side of the Spartans in the Corinthian War, 394. (Xen. Hell. iv. 2. 13) After the battle of Leuctra, however (371), the Spartan party in Tegea was expelled, and the city joined the other Arcadian towns in the foundation of Megalopolis and in the formation of the Arcadian confederacy. (Xen. hell. vi. 5. § 6, seq.) When Mantineia a few years afterwards quarrelled with the supreme Arcadian government, and formed an alliance with its old enemy Sparta, Tegea remained faithful to the new confederacy, and fought under Epaminondas against the Spartans at the great battle of Mantineia, 362. (Xen. Hell. vii. 4. 36, seq., vii. 5. § 5, seq.)
  Tegea at a later period joined the Aetolian League, but soon after the accession of Cleomenes III. to the Spartan throne it formed an alliance with Sparta, together with Mantineia and Orchomenus. It thus became involved in hostilities with the Achaeans, and in the war which followed, called the Cleomenic War, it was taken by Antigonus Doson, the ally of the Achaeans, and annexed to the Achaean League, B.C. 222. (Pol. ii. 46, 54, seq.) In 218 Tegea was attacked by Lycurgus, the tyrant of Sparta, who obtained possession of the whole city with the exception of the acropolis. It subsequently fell into the hands of Machanidas, but was recovered by the Achaeans after the defeat of the latter tyrant, who was slain in battle by Philopoemen. (Pol. v. 17, xi. 18.) In the time of Strabo Tegea was the only one of the Arcadian towns which continued to be inhabited (Strab. viii. p. 388), and it was still a place of importance in the time of Pausanias, who has given us a minute account of its public buildings. (Paus. viii. 45 - 48, 53.) Tegea was entirely destroyed by Alaric towards the end of the 4th century after Christ. (Claud. B. Get. 576; comp. Zosim. v. 6.)
  The territory of Tegea formed the southern part of the plain of Tripolitza...Tegea was about 10 miles S. of the latter city, in a direct line, and about 3 miles SE. of the modern town of Tripolitza. Being situated in the lowest part of the plain, it was exposed to inundations caused by the waters flowing down from the surrounding mountains; and in the course of ages the soil has been considerably raised by the depositions brought down by the waters. Hence there are scarcely any remains of the city visible, and its size can only be conjectured from the broken pieces of stone and other fragments scattered on the plain, and from the foundations of walls and buildings discovered by the peasants in working in the fields. It appears, however, that the ancient city extended from the hill of Aio Sostis (St. Saviour on the N., over the hamlets Ibrahim-Effendi and Paleo--Episkopi, at least as far as Akhuria and Piali. This would make the city at least 4 miles in circumference. The principal remains are at Piali. Near the principal church of this village Leake found the foundations of an ancient building, of fine squared stones, among which were two pieces of some large columns of marble; and there can be little doubt that these are the remains of the ancient temple of Athena Alea. This temple was said to have been originally built by Aleus, the founder of Tegea; it was burnt down in B.C. 394, and the new building, which was erected by Scopas, is said by Pausanias to have been the largest and most magnificent temple in the Peloponnesus (Paus. viii. 45. §4, seq.) Pausanias entered the city through the gate leading to Pallantium, consequently the south-western gate, which must have been near Piali. He begins his description with the temple of Athena Alea, and then goes across the great agora to the theatre, the remains of which Ross traces in the ancient foundations of the ruined church of Paleo--Episkopi. Perhaps this theatre was the splendid marble one built by Antiochus IV. Epiphanes in B.C. 175. (Liv. xli. 20.) Pausanias ends his description with the mention of a height (chorion hupselon, viii. 53. § 9), probably the hill Aio Sostis in the N. of the town, and apparently the same as that which Pausanias elsewhere calls the Watch-Hill (lophos Phulaktris, viii. 48. § 4), and Polybius the acropolis (akra, v. 17). None of the other public buildings of Tegea mentioned by Paulsanias can be identified with certainty; but there can be no doubt if excavations were made on its site many interesting remains would be discovered, since the deep alluvial soil is favourable to their preservation...
  There were five roads leading from Tegea. One led due N. across the Tegeatic plain to Mantineia. A second led due S. by the valley of the Alpheius to Sparta, following the same route as the present road from Tripolitza to Mistra. A third led west to Pallantium. It first passed by the small mountain Cresium (Kresion), and then ran across the Manthyric plain along the side of the Taki. Mount Cresium is probably the small isolated hill on which the modern village of Vuno stands, and not the high mountain at the end of the plain, according to the French map. Upon reaching the Choma (Choma), the road divided into two, one road leading direct to Pallantium, and the other SW. to Megalopolis through Asea. (Paus. viii. 44. § 1, seq.; Xen. Hell. vi. 5. 9, hai epi to Pallantion Pherousai pulai. This choma separated the territories of Pallantium and Tegea, and extended as far south as Mount Boreium (Krauori), where it touched the territory of Megalopolis. There are still remains of this choma running NE. to SW. by the side of the marsh of Taki. These remains consist of large blocks of stone, and must be regarded as the foundations of the choma, which cannot have been a chaussee or causeway, as the French geographers call it, since Choma always signifies in Greek writers an artificial heap of earth, a tumulus, mound, or dyke. (Ross, p. 59.) A fourth road led SE. from Tegea, by the sources of the Garates to Thyreatis. (Paus. viii. 54. § 4.) A fifth road led NE. to Hysiae and Argos, across the Corythic plain, and then across Mt. Parthenium, where was a temple of Pan, erected on the spot at which the god appeared to the courier Pheidippides. This road was practicable for carriages, and was much frequented. (Paus. viii. 54. § 5, seq.; Herod. vi. 105, 106)
  The Roman poets use the adjective Tegeeus or Tegeaeus as equivalent to Arcadian: thus it is given as an epithet to Pan (Virg. Georg. i. 18), Callisto, daughter of Lycaon (Ov. Ar. Am. ii. 55, Fast. ii. 167), Atalanta (Ov. Met. viii. 317, 380), Carmenta (Ov. Fast. i. 627), and Mercury (Stat. Silv. i. 54)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   Now Piali; an important city of Arcadia, the capital of the district Tegeatis, which was bounded on the east by Argolis and Laconica, on the south by Laconia, on the west by Maenalia, and on the north by the territory of Mantinea. It was one of the most ancient towns of Arcadia, and is said to have been founded by Tegeates, the son of Lycaon. The Tegeatae sent 3000 men to the battle of Plataea, in which they were distinguished for their bravery. They remained faithful to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War; but after the battle of Leuctra they joined the rest of the Arcadians in establishing their independence. During the wars of the Achaean League, Tegea was taken both by Cleomenes, king of Sparta, and Antigonus Doson, king of Macedonia, and the ally of the Achaeans.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Perseus Project

Tegea, Tegean, Tegeans

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

Ferry Departures

Copyright 1999-2019 International Publications Ltd.