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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  Tenea was a city in the S Corinthia where Oedipus was said to have spent his childhood. The city had a famous Sanctuary of Apollo. It supplied most of the colonists when Corinth founded Syracuse in the late 8th c. B.C. It became an independent city, probably in the Hellenistic period and, thanks to its good relations with the Romans, continued to exist after Lucius Mummius sacked Corinth in 146 B.C. (The chief ancient sources are Soph. Oed. Tyr. 774, 827, 936, 939; Xen. Hell. 4.4.19; Cic. Att. 6.2.3; Strab. 8.6.22; Paus. 2.5.4.)
  Ruins of the large ancient city extend from the S edge of the modern town of Chiliomodhion to the village of Klenia, a distance of about 2 km. A dramatic mountain pass (Haghionorion) opens to the S of Tenea and leads to Argolis. Chance finds have resulted in the excavation of several burials ranging in date from the Early Geometric period to late Roman times. There are Roman chamber tombs on a ridge projecting N from Klenia and a small cloth-dyeing establishment was excavated near its NW base in 1970. The so-called Tenean Apollo, an archaic kouros, was found not at Tenea but on a ridge about 20 minutes by foot to the SE of the modern town of Athikia.

J. R. Wiseman, 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 bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


  One of the most important passes leading S from the Corinthia (Polyb. 16.16.4-5). Ptolemy Euergetes recorded that he drank from a spring "colder than snow" at the top of the pass although his soldiers were afraid of being frozen if they drank from it (Ptol. apud Athenaeus: FGrH 234 F6). The road through the pass, which connected Argolis and the Corinthia, was evidently steep in parts since the Kontoporeia ("staff-road") implies that a walking staff would be useful.
  The Kontoporeia has been identified by most commentators as the pass of Haghionorion which leads S from ancient Tenea, but that route is in no part steep. The Kontoporeia is more likely the track that ascends a narrow gorge under the walls of the Frankish castle of Haghios Vasileios to the W of the pass of Hagionorion. At the top of the pass is the spring of Kephalari whose copious waters are cold even in midsummer. Near the spring is a polygonal tower and the ruined walls of what was probably a small military station or border post in the 5th-4th c. B.C. The route S descends from the spring to Mycenae and the Argive plain.

J. R. Wiseman, 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 bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Perseus Project index

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Eth. Teneates. The most important place in the Corinthia after the city of Corinth and her port towns, was situated south of the capital, and at the distance of 60 stadia from the latter, according to Pausanias. The southern gate of Corinth was called the Teneatic, from its leading to Tenea. Stephanus describes Tenea as lying between Corinth and Mycenae. The Teneatae claimed descent from the inhabitants of Tenedos, who were brought over from Troy as prisoners, and settled by Agamemnon in this part of the Corinthia; and they said that it was in consequence of their Trojan origin that they worshipped Apollo above all the other gods. (Pans. ii. 5. ยง 4.) Strabo also mentions here the temple of Apollo Teneates, and says that Tenea and Tenedos had a common origin in Tennis, the son of Cycnus. (Strab. viii. p. 380.) According to Dionysius, however, Tenea was of late foundation. (Cic. ad Att. vi. 2. 3) It was at Tenea that Oedipus was said to have passed his childhood. It was also from this place that Archias took the greater number of the colonists with whom he founded Syracuse. After the destruction of Corinth by Mummius, Tenea had the good fortune to continue undisturbed, because it is said to have assisted the Romans against Corinth. We cannot, however, suppose that an insignificant place like Tenea could have acted in opposition to Corinth and the Achaean League; and it is more probable that the Teneatae were spared by Mummius in consequence of their pretended Trojan descent and consequent affinity with the Romans themselves. However this may be, their good fortune gave rise to the line: eudaimon ho Korinthos, ego d eien Teneates.
  Tenea lay in the mountain valley through which flows the river that falls into the Corinthian gulf to the east of Corinth. In this valley are three places at which vases and other antiquities have been discovered, namely, at the two villages of Chilimodi and Klenia, both on the road to Nauplia, and the latter at the very foot of the ancient road Contoporia, and at the village of Athiki, an hour east of Chilimodi, on the road to Sophiko. In the fields of Athiki there was found an ancient statue of Apollo, a striking confirmation of the prevalence of the worship of this god in the district. The Teneatae would therefore appear to have dwelt in scattered abodes at these three spots and in the intervening country; but the village of Tenea, properly so called, was probably at Chilimodi, since the distance from this place to Corinth corresponds to the 60 stadia of Pausanias.
  Since one of the passes from the Argeia into the Corinthia runs by Klenia and Chilimodi, there can be little doubt that it was by this road that Agesilaus marched from the Argeia to Corinth in B.C. 391. (Xen. Hell. iv. 5. 19) In the text of Xenophon the words are ekeithen huperbalon es Korinthon, but Tnean ought to be substituted for Tegean, since it is impossible to believe that Agesilaus could have marched from the Argeia to Corinth by way of Tegea. Moreover, we learn from Strabo (viii. p. 380) that the well-known name of Tegea was in other cases substituted for that of Tenea. In the parallel passage of the Agesilaus of Xenophon (ii. 17), the pass by Tenea is called kata ta stena.

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

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