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TAINARON (Cape Matapan) Peloponnesos, Lakonia, Greece.

A promontory at the S tip of the center peninsula. The isthmus connecting with the mainland is flanked by two harbors, Psamathos (Amathous) on the E and Achilleus on the W. Pausanias saw there a temple resembling a cave with an image of Poseidon, and Plutarch mentions an oracle of the dead. The remains of the sanctuary, which served as a refuge for criminals, are near the Church of the Asomaton, which employed some of the blocks. The temple was partly cut from the rock and partly built with rough stones. A door on the N side opened into a passage that bisected the building, leaving large rooms on the E and W. Herakles was supposed to have dragged Kerberos from Hades through a cave nearby. On the W side of the peninsula at Kyparissos there was a settlement in the Roman Imperial period, nicknamed Caenopolis (New Town) but in official inscriptions called “the town of the Tainarians.” There are ancient remains in the vicinity which may indicate the sites of the Temple of Aphrodite and Megaron of Demeter mentioned by Pausanias.


Thuc. 1.128, 133; Plut. De sera numinis vindicta 17; Paus. 3.25.4; J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1898) III 395f; F. Bölte in RE 4A2 (1932) 2049.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.25.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.128
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