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The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea
The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea
Tegea is located in Greece
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Location within the regional unit
Dimos Tegeas.png
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Country Greece
Administrative region Peloponnese
Regional unit Arcadia
Municipality Tripoli
Elevation 650 m (2,130 ft)
Population (2001)[1]
 • Municipal unit 3,858
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 220 12
Area code(s) 2710
Vehicle registration TP

Tegea (Greek: Τεγέα) was a settlement in ancient Greece, and it is also a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tripoli, of which it is a municipal unit.[2] Its seat was the village Stadio.

The reputed prehistoric founder of Tegea was Tegeates, a son of Lycaon.[3]


Ancient Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greece,[4] containing the Temple of Athena Alea. The temenos was founded by Aleus, Pausanias was informed.[5] Votive bronzes at the site from the Geometric and Archaic periods take the forms of horses and deer; there are sealstones and fibulae. In the Archaic period the nine villages that underlie Tegea banded together in a synoecism to form one city.[6] Tegea was listed in Homer's Catalogue of Ships as one of the cities that contributed ships and men for the Achaean assault on Troy.

Tegea struggled against Spartan hegemony in Arcadia and was forced into some form of collaboration by 530 BC, during king Anaxandridas II’s reign, maybe as one of the earliest members of what would become the Sparta-centered Peloponnesian League. In the 4th century Tegea joined the Arcadian League and struggled to free itself from Sparta. The Temple of Athena Alea burned in 394 BC and was magnificently rebuilt, to designs by Scopas of Paros, with reliefs of the Calydonian boar hunt in the main pediment.[7]

Pausanias visited the city in the 2nd century AD. The "tombs" he saw there were shrines to the chthonic founding daemones: "There are also tombs of Tegeates, the son of Lycaon, and of Maira (or Maera), his wife." Maira was a daughter of Atlas, and Homer makes mention of her in the passage where Odysseus tells to Alkinous his journey to Hades, and of those whose ghosts he beheld there."[8]

The city retained civic life under the Roman Empire; Tegea survived being sacked by the Goths in AD 395–396.

In the Middle Ages, through some unclear process, Tegea received the name of Amyklion (later usually shortened to Amykli and Nikli) by the 10th century.[9] In 1082, it became the seat of the Diocese of Amyclae, a suffragan see of the Metropolis of Lacedaemon.[10][11] Nikli and the rest of Arcadia were captured by the Crusaders in ca. 1206–09, becoming part of the new Frankish Principality of Achaea, which soon came to encompass most of the Peloponnese.[12] The Chronicle of the Morea depicts Nikli as a site of some importance and fortified, which fell to the Crusaders only after a siege. It became the seat of a secular barony, while a Roman Catholic bishop was installed in the episcopal see.[13] Nikli was still in Frankish hands in 1280, but was lost to the resurgent Byzantines by 1302, who also restored the local see to the Orthodox clergy.[14]

The site of ancient Tegea is now located within the modern village of Alea (referred to as Piali before 1915). Alea is located about 10 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. The municipality of Tegea has its seat at Stadio.

Tegea and Crete

In ancient times, the people of Tegea said that Cydon, Archedius, and Gortys, the surviving sons of their king Tegeates, migrated voluntarily to Crete, and that the cities Kydonia, Gortyna, and Catreus, were named after them. Yet the Cretans denied this; instead they tried to portray these three characters as the offspring of the local heroes Minos and Rhadamantus.[15]


The municipal unit Tegea is subdivided into the following communities (constituent villages in brackets):

Historical population

Year Population
1991 4,539
2001 3,858


See also


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  2. Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  3. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8. 45. 1
  4. "This sanctuary had been respected from early days by all the Peloponnesians, and afforded peculiar safety to its suppliants" (Pausanias, Description of Greece iii.5.6)
  5. Description of Greece viii.4.8.
  6. Compare the origin of Sparta.
  7. The Calydonian boar and the head of Atalanta have been removed to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
  8. Pausanias, Guide to Greece 8.48.6
  9. Bon 1969, p. 522.
  10. Gritsopoulos 1939, p. 109.
  11. Konti 1985, pp. 94–95.
  12. Bon 1969, pp. 67–70.
  13. Bon 1969, pp. 522–523.
  14. Bon 1969, pp. 112, 146, 182, 523–524.
  15. William Ridgeway, The Early Age of Greece, Volume 1 Cambridge University Press, 2014 (originally 1901) ISBN 1107434580


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External links