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TEGEA Arkadia, Greece.

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.


Paus. 8.45ff; Hiller v. Gärtringen in RE v A 1, 107-118, s.v. Tegea; id. in IG v.2 (1913) 1-259; C. Callmer, Studien zur Geschichte Arkadiens (1943) 22ff, 67ff, 109-35MP; L. Vlad Borrelli, EAA 7 (1966) 659ffPI; E. Kirsten & W. Kraiker, Griechenlandkunde (5th ed. 1967) 399-402MP.

On the Temple of Athena Alea: C. Dugas, u.a. Le Sanctuaire d'Aléa Athéna (1924)MPI; W. B. Dinsmoor, The Architecture of Ancient Greece (1950) 217-20PI; G. Gruben, Die Tempel der Griechen (1966) 124ffPI.

On the Sculpture for the Temple of Athena Alea: P. E. Arias, Scopas (1952) 16ff; G. Lippold, HdArch. III (Griech. Plastik) 250f; Neufunde: Christou, Deltion 20 (1965); Chronika 170, pl. 151, 152a, Deltion 21 (1966) 152ff, pls. 146-47, 149a (Relief with Artemis); A. Delivorrias, AAA 1 (1968) 117ff, ill. 1.

Reconstruction of the West Pediment: J. Boardman et al., Die Griech. Kunst (1966) 177, ill. 196; D. Delivorrias, BCH 97 (1973) 111-35.

On the Akroterion: H. Gropengiesser, Die pflanzlichen Akrotere klass. Tempel (1961) 29ff, pls. 23-29.

On the Theater: Vallois, BCH 50 (1926) 135-73; H. Bulle, Untersuchungen an griech. Theatern (1928) 259-60.

The Bronzes from Tegea: Dugas, BCH 45 (1921) 340-94I; W. Lamb, Greek and Roman Bronzes (1929) 91-96, 152f; W. Fuchs, Arch.Anz. (1956) 1ff.

On Archaic Sculpture from Tegea: V. Müller, Frühe Plastik in Griechenland und Kleinasien (1929) passim.

On the Christian Basilica: A. K. Orlandos, ArchByzMnem 1 (1935) 103f, 145ff (Palaio Episkopi); id., He xylostegos palaiochristianike Basilike (1954) passim; id., “Die einschiffige frühchristl. Basilika westl. von Palaio Episkopi,” Arch.Anz. (1934), 156; G. A. Soteriou, Atti del 4° Congresso Internazionale di Archeologia Christiana I (1940) 365f, ill. 12-13.

The Museum: In the museum at Tegea (also in Athens) are the finds from the Sanctuary of Athena Alea, along with the Late Mycenaean sherds (Inv. 942.946) and the Cyclades-idol (Dugas, BCH 45 [1921] 403 & 427 no. 362, fig. 65); Late Mycenaean containers from the cupola-grave near Serantapotamos (the Alpheios of Pausanias [Callmer 24f, unpublished]); the prehistoric ceramics from Agiorgitika (Blegen, MetrMusStud. 3 [1930-31] 55-70) and Asea (E. J. Holmberg, The Swedish Excavations at Asea [1944]), as well as the archaic discoveries from the Athena-Poseidon sanctuary in Asea (Rhomaios, Ephemeris [1957] 114ff); also the finds from the Sanctuary of Artemis Knakeatis S of Tegea (Paus. 8.53.11, Rhomaios, Ephemeris [1952: 1955] 1-31).


hide References (11 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (11):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.66
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.105
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.26
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.28
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.35
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.48.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.53.11
    • Strabo, Geography, 8.8.2
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.4.18
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