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TE´GEA (Τεγέα Ion. Τεγέη: Eth. Τεγεάτης,), one of the most ancient and powerful towns of Arcadia, situated in the SE. of the country. Its territory, called TEGEATIS (Τεγεᾶτις), 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 (Γαρεᾶται), Phylaceis (Φυλακεῖς), Caryātae (Καρυᾶται), Corytheis (Κορυθεῖς), Potachidae (Πωταχίδαι), Oeaātae (Οἰᾶται); Manthyreis (μανθυρεῖς), Echeuetheis (Εχευήθεἱς), to which Apheidantes (Ἀφείδαντες was added as the ninth in the reign of king Apheidas. (Paus. 8.3.4, 8.45.1; Strab. viii. p.337.) The Tegeatae were early divided into 4 tribes (φυλαί), called respectively Clareōtis (Κλαρεῶτις, in inscriptions Κραριῶτις), Hippothoītis (Ἱπποθοῖτις), Apolloneātis (Ἀπολλωνεᾶτις), and Athoneātis (Ἀθανεᾶτις), to each of which belonged a certain number of metoeci (μέτοικοι) or resident aliens. (Paus. 8.53.6; Böckh, Corp. lnscr. no. 1513.)

Tegea is mentioned in the Iliad (2.607), 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. (Hdt. 9.26; Paus. 8.45.3.) 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, Chariläus 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. (Hdt. 1.66; Paus. 3.7.3, 8.5.9, 8.45.3, 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. (Hdt. 1.65, 67, seq.; Paus. 3.3.5, 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. 7.202, 9.26, 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. (Hdt. 9.37; Paus. 3.11.7.) 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 (Hdt. 9.37) and the kings Leotychides, and Pausanias, son of Pleistoanax. (Hdt. 6.72; Xen. Hell, 3.5. 25; Paus. 3.5.6.)

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. [For details see MANTINEIA] 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. 5.32, 57.) They also fought on the side of the Spartans in the Corinthian War, 394. (Xen. Hell. 4.2. 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 [p. 2.1119]in the formation of the Arcadian confederacy. (Xen. hell. 6.5.6, 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. 7.4. 36, seq., 7.5.5, 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. 2.46, 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. 5.17, 11.18.) 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. 8.45-48, 53.) Tegea was entirely destroyed by Alaric towards the end of the 4th century after Christ. (Claud. B. Get. 576; comp. Zosim. 5.6.)

The territory of Tegea formed the southern part of the plain of Tripolitzá, of which a description and a map are given under MANTINEIA Tegea was about 10 miles S. of the latter city, in a direct line, and about 3 miles SE. of the modern town of Tripolitzá. 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 Paleó--Episkopí, at least as far as Akhúria and Pialí. This would make the city at least 4 miles in circumference. The principal remains are at Pialí. 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. 8.45.4, seq.; for details see Dict. of Biogr. art. SCOPAS) Pausanias entered the city through the gate leading to Pallantium, consequently the south-western gate, which must have been near Pialí. 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 Paleó--Episkopí. Perhaps this theatre was the splendid marble one built by Antiochus IV. Epiphanes in B.C. 175. (Liv. 41.20.) Pausanias ends his description with the mention of a height (χωρίον ὑψηλόν, 8.53.9), probably the hill Aio Sostis in the N. of the town, and apparently the same as that which Pausanias elsewhere calls the Watch-Hill (λόφος Φυλακτρίς, 8.48.4), and Polybius the acropolis (ἄκρα, 5.17). 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.

The territory of Tegea N. of the city, towards Mantineia, is a plain of considerable size, and is usually called the Tegeatic plain (Τεγεατικὸν πέδιον). There was a smaller plain, separated from the former by a low range of mountains S. of Tripolitzá, and lying between Tegea and Pallantium: it was called the Manthyric plain (Μανθυρικὸν πέδιον), from Manthyrea, one of the ancient demi of Tegea, the ruins of which are situated SW. of Tegea, on a slope of Mt. Boreium. (Paus. 8.44.7, comp. 8.45.1, 47.1; Steph. B. sub voce Μανθυρέα.) The remainder of the Tegeatis on the E. and S. is occupied by the mountains separating it from Argolis and Sparta respectively, with the exception of a small plain running eastward from the Tegeatic plain to the foot of Mt. Parthenium, and probably called the Corythic plain, from Corytheis, one of the ancient demi of Tegea, which was situated in this plain. (Paus. 8.45.1, 54.4.)

The plain of Tegea having no natural outlet for its waters is drained by natural chasms through the limestone mountains, called katavóthra. Of these the two most important are at the modern village of Persová and at the marsh of Takí. The former is situated in the Corythic plain above mentioned, at the foot of Mt. Parthenium, and the latter is the marsh in the Manthyric plain. SW. of Tegea. The chief river in the district is now called the Sarantapótamos, which is undoubtedly the Alpheius of Pausanias (8.54.1, seq.). The Alpheius rose on the frontiers of Tegea and Sparta, at a place called PHYLACE (Φυλάκη, near Krya Vrysis), one of the ancient demi of Tegea, and, as we may infer from its name, a fortified watch-tower for the protection of the pass. A little beyond Phylace the Alpheius receives a stream composed of several mountain torrents at a place named SYMBOLA (Σύμβολα); but upon entering the plain of Tegea its course was different in ancient times. It now flows in a north-easterly direction through the plain, receives the river of Dhulianá (the ancient Garates, Γαράτης, Paus. 8.54.4), flows through the Corythic plain, and enters the katavóthra at Persona/. Pausanias, on the other hand, says (8.54.2) that the Alpheius descends into the earth in the Tegeatic plain, reappears near Asea (SW. of Tegea), where, after joining the Eurotas, it sinks a second time into the earth, and again appears at Asea. Hence it would seem that the Alpheius anciently flowed in a north a north-westerly direction, and entered the katavóthra at the marsh of Takí, in the Manthyric plain. There is a tradition among the peasants that the course of the river was changed by a Turk, who acquired property in the neighbourhood, because the [p. 2.1120]katavóthra at the Takí did not absorb quickly enough the waters of the marsh. The Garates therefore anciently flowed into the katavóthra at Persová without having any connection with the Alpheius. It probably derived its name from Garea or Gareae, one of the ancient demi of Tegea, which may have been situated at the village of Dhulianá. (Ross, Peloponnes, p. 70, seq.; Leake, Peloponnesiaca, p. 112, seq.)

There were five roads leading from Tegea. One led due N. across the Tegeatic plain to Mantineia. [MANTINEIA] A second led due S. by the valley of the Alpheius to Sparta, following the same route as the present road from Tripolitzá to Mistrá. A third led west to Pallantium. It first passed by the small mountain Cresium (Κρήσιον), and then ran across the Manthyric plain along the side of the Takî. Mount Cresium is probably the small isolated hill on which the modern village of Vunò stands, and not the high mountain at the end of the plain, according to the French map. Upon reaching the Choma (Χῶμα), the road divided into two, one road leading direct to Pallantium, and the other SW. to Megalopolis through Asea. (Paus. 8.44.1, seq.; Xen. Hell. 6.5. 9, αἱ ἐπὶ τὸ Παλλάντιον Φέρουσαι πύλαι. This choma separated the territories of Pallantium and Tegea, and extended as far south as Mount Boreium (Κράυορι), 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 Takí. These remains consist of large blocks of stone, and must be regarded as the foundations of the choma, which cannot have been a chaussée or causeway, as the French geographers call it, since Χῶμα 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. 8.54.4.) 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. 8.54.5, seq.; Hdt. 6.105, 106; Dict. of Biogr. art. PHEIDIPPIDES.) (Leake, Morea, vol. i. p. 88, seq., vol. ii. p. 333, Peloponnesiaca, pp. 112, seq., 369; Ross, Peloponnes, p. 66, seq.; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. i. p. 247, seq.; Koner, Corn. de Rebus Tegeatarum, Berol. 1843.)

The Roman poets use the adjective Tegĕēus or Tegeaeus as equivalent to Arcadian: thus it is given as an epithet to Pan (Verg. G. 1.18), Callisto, daughter of Lycaon (Ov. Ar. Am. 2.55, Fast. 2.167), Atalanta (Ov. Met. 8.317, 380), Carmenta (Ov. Fast. 1.627), and Mercury (Stat. Silv. 1.54)


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  • Cross-references from this page (38):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.67
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.105
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.26
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.37
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.65
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.66
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.106
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.72
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.607
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.5.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.7.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.3.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.48
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.48.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.53
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.54.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.11.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.3.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.44.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.44.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.45.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.47.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.53.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.54.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.54.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.5.9
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.5.25
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.4.36
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.2.13
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.9
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8.380
    • Vergil, Georgics, 1.18
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8.317
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 20
    • Ovid, Fasti, 1
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