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For another ancient Tegea near Kissamos in the island of Crete, see Tegea, Crete.
The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea
The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea
Tegea is located in Greece
Coordinates 37°27.3′N 22°25.2′E / 37.4550°N 22.4200°E / 37.4550; 22.4200Coordinates: 37°27.3′N 22°25.2′E / 37.4550°N 22.4200°E / 37.4550; 22.4200
Country: Greece
Administrative region: Peloponnese
Regional unit: Arcadia
Municipality: Tripoli
Population statistics (as of 2001)[1]
Municipal unit
 - Population: 3,858
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (center): 650 m (2,133 ft)
Postal code: 220 12
Telephone: 2710
Auto: 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 BCE, 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] The city retained civic life under the Roman Empire; Tegea survived being sacked by the Goths in ad 395–396 and flourished under Byzantine and Frankish rule.

Pausanias visited the city in the 2nd century CE. 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."

They say 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]

In the Middle Ages, the town was known as Nikli (Νίκλι) and the seat of a barony of the Principality of Achaea.

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[edit]

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 were denying this; instead they tried to portray these three characters as the offspring of the local heroes Minos and Rhadamantus.[9]


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

Historical population[edit]

Year Population
1991 4,539
2001 3,858


See also[edit]


  1. ^ De Facto Population of Greece Population and Housing Census of March 18th, 2001 (PDF 793 KB). National Statistical Service of Greece. 2003. 
  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. ^ William Ridgeway, The Early Age of Greece, Volume 1 Cambridge University Press, 2014 (originally 1901) ISBN 1107434580

External links[edit]