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date: 28 November 2022



  • James Roy


  • Ancient Geography
  • Greek Material Culture: Bronze Age
  • Greek Material Culture

Tegea, a polis of SE Arcadia situated in a high upland basin crossed by important routes to Argos(1), Sparta, and SW and E. Arcadia. The polis was formed from nine local communities, but when an urban centre was created (before the later 5th cent. bce) is unknown. Few traces of the town survive. Outside it there was, however, an important cult of Athena Alea; its site has yielded finds from Mycenaean times onwards (see mycenaean civilization), and there was a cult centre at least from the 8th cent.; current excavation has found a Geometric temple; and the later Classical temple, burnt down in 395, was magnificently replaced by Scopas. Around 550 Tegea was compelled by its southern neighbour Sparta to become an ally, and remained so, despite occasional reaction against Sparta, till Leuctra. Tegea none the less provided asylum for several prominent Spartan exiles. It was also a bitter rival of its northern neighbour Mantinea. In 370–369 Tegea and Mantinea co-operated to produce the Arcadian League, but soon quarrelled. Thereafter Tegea played a lively part in the complex Peloponnesian politics of the 4th to 2nd cents. The community survived, though with reduced importance, into late antiquity.


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