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HERAEA (Ἡραία: Eth.Ἡραιεύς, Eth. Ἡραεύς, in an ancient inscription Ἠρϝαοῖος: the territory Ἡραιᾶτις), the most important Arcadian town on the Lower Alpheius, was situated near the frontiers of Elis, and on the high road from Arcadia to Olympia. It is said to have been founded by Heraeeus, a son of Lycaon, and to have been called originally Sologorgus. (Paus. 8.26.1; Steph. B. sub voce Ἡραία) At an early period the Heraeans concluded a treaty with the Eleians for mutual protection and support for one hundred years; the original of which treaty, engraven on a bronze tablet in the old Peloponnesian dialect, was brought from Olympia by Gell, and is now in the Payne Knight collection in the British Museum. This treaty is placed about the 50th Olympiad, or B.C. 580, since it belongs to a time when the Eleians exercised an undisputed supremacy over the dependent districts of Pisatis and Triphylia; and the Heraeans consequently were anxious to avail themselves of their support. (For a copy of the inscription see Leake, Peloponnesiaca, p. 1; Böckh, Inscr. no. 11, vol. i. p. 26.) Heraea was, at that time, the chief village among eight others which lay scattered upon the banks of the Alpheius and its tributaries the Ladon and Erymanthus; but the inhabitants of these separate villages were transferred to Heraea, and a city there was founded by the Spartan king Cleombrotus or Cleonymus. (Strab. viii. p.337.) In consequence of their close connection with Sparta, the Heraeans incurred the hostility of the other Arcadians, who laid waste their territory in B.C. 370. (Xen. Hell. 6.5. 22) At a later time Heraea was a member of the Achaean League; and, as Elis was one of the chief places of the Aetolian League, it is frequently mentioned in the contests between these two powers. (Plb. 2.54, 4.77, seq.) It was afterwards in the hands of Philip, but it was restored to the Achaeans. (Liv. 28.8, 32.5, 33.34; Plb. 18.25, 30.) Heraea is mentioned by Strabo (viii. p.388) as one of the deserted cities of Arcadia; but when it was visited by Pausanias, it was still a place of some importance. The latter writer describes its temples, baths, plantations of myrtles and other trees along the banks of the Alpheius: among its temples he mentions two sacred to Dionysus, one to Pan, and another to Hera, of the latter of which only some ruins were left. (Paus. 8.26. § § 1, 2.)

The site of Heraea is fixed by its distance from the mouth of the Ladon, which, according to Pausanias, was 15 stadia. The same writer says that the greater part of the city lay upon a gently sloping hill, and the remainder upon the banks of the Alpheius. The remains of Heraea are visible on a hill west of the village of Aiánni (St. John), bounded on either side by a ravine, and sloping down towards the river. These ruins extend along the summit of the hill and the slope towards the river; but they are inconsiderable, and have for the most part been cleared away in consequence of the fertility of the land. A sweetish red wine is grown upon the spot, which Leake says has more flavour and body than almost any other he met with in the Morea. This wine was also celebrated in antiquity, and was said to make women fruitful. (Theophr. H. Pl. 9.20; Athen. 1.31; Plin. Nat. 14.18. s.22; Aelian, Ael. VH 13.6.)

Heraea was favourably situated in several respects. Its territory was fertile, and it was situated, as we have already said, on the high road from Olympia into the interior of Arcadia. From the north of Arcadia a road led into the valley of the Alpheius, near Heraea; and two roads led into the Hereatis, one from Megalopolis, and the other from Messene and Phigalia, which joined the former close to the town. There was a bridge over the Alpheius close to Heraea, which Philip restored in B.C. 219. (Plb. 4.77, 78.) The Heraeatis was separated from Pisatis by the river Erymanthus, and from the territory of Megalopolis by the river Buphagus. (Gell, Itiner. of the Morea, p. 113; Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 91; Boblaye, Recherches, &c. p. 159; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. i. p. 363, seq.)


hide References (14 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (14):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.26.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.26
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.22
    • Polybius, Histories, 18.25
    • Polybius, Histories, 18.30
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.77
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.54
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.78
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 34
    • Aelian, Varia Historia, 13.6
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 1.31
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