Athena Alea

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The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea

Alea (Greek: Ἀλέα) was an epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, prominent in Arcadian mythology, under which she was worshiped at Alea, Mantineia and Tegea.[1][2] Alea was initially an independent goddess, but was eventually assimilated with Athena.[3]

The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea, which was the oldest, was said to have been built by Aleus the son of Apheidas, from whom the goddess probably derived this epithet.[4] This temple was burned down in 394 BC, and a new one built by the architect Scopas, a temple of the Doric order which in size and splendor surpassed all other temples in the Peloponnese, and was surrounded by a triple row of columns of different orders.[5] The statue of the goddess, which was made by Endoeus all of ivory, was subsequently carried to Rome by Augustus to adorn the Forum of Augustus.[6] The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea was an ancient and revered asylum, and the names of many persons are recorded who saved themselves by seeking refuge in it.[7]

The priestess of Athena Alea at Tegea was always a maiden, who held her office only until she reached the age of puberty.[8]

On the road from Sparta to Therapne there was likewise a statue of Athena Alea.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Alea". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 108–109. 
  2. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece viii. 23. § 1, 9. § 3, ii. 17. § 7
  3. ^ Jost, Madeleine (1996). "Arcadian cults and myths". In Hornblower, Simon. Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece viii. 4. § 5
  5. ^ Meyer, Gesch. der bildend. Künste ii. p. 99, &c.
  6. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece viii. 45. § 4, 4 § 1 and 2, 47. § 1
  7. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece iii. § 6, ii. 17. § 7, iii. 7. § 8
  8. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece viii. 47. § 2
  9. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece iii. 19. 3 7

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