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 Partnership - Tegea


Tegea and “Arcadia”

Tegea, for centuries, was the most powerful city of Arcadia and played a leading part in all those events that legends suggest or history records. Consequently, a big part of the “materials” used by humanists and romantics for appearing their visions in a real geographic space – Arcadia- emanates from Tegea.

For example, the legends that are related with the participation of Arcadians in “Argonautic expedition”, in the “Epta epi Thebes” venture, in the hunting of “Kalydoniou wild boar”, in the expedition against “Troy”, in the “Irakleidon pre Isthmus” rebuttal, in the colonization of regions such as Cyprus, Mikrasia and Italy, indicate Tegeates (1) as protagonists. But also “God Pan” in Tegea’s earth made that agreement, before the battle of Marathon that was decisive for the hearing of his name in the ends of world.

 When, therefore, the later artists - in  West and anywhere else- cite or paint the “God Pan” and his escort, “Atalanti” or “Telefus”, “Augi” or “Agapinor”, “Arethoysa” and her insistent lover “Alfeios” - for reporting the most known names- refer obligatorily in parts of the mythological circle of Tegea.

What, however, impresses more, with regard to Tegea, consists to this: that is the unique city of Arcadia that her course through time - from the antiquity up to today-takes place in the same space and her stages are visible and tangible.

So, the today visitor crossing  the area where the walls of the ancient city were extended, will meet next to the famous temple of “Alea Athena”, a temple originated in the beginning of 19th century with incorporated sculptures of the classic or Byzantine period. A little further, in a palaiochristianic mosaic will see the annual circle, from January up to December, to be repeated perpetually by the 5th century A.C. up to our days. Right after, passing under a natural arch, will distinguish the conceitedness of the medieval wall to have been surrendered at discretion in the ascensions of the humble ivy and will hear mixed voices for the fights of new Hellenism, either in the fields of battles, or in the tracks of peace. Then, going up a few steps, the visitor will be ahead of a strange coexistence of centuries: A Byzantine temple of 10th century A.C. that has been established above a theatre of the 2nd century B.C., and that again leans on buildings of the Roman emperors’ era.

If we contemplate that in the same this space the Tegeates of today - of plain and of mountainous villages - are assembled so as to they participate in some of their most mass events and that the space of Ancient Tegea is a built-up space of also the new Tegeates, we easily lead to the conclusion that in this environment is easier for the “Arcadian” desire to find shelter for over winning the deterioration and oblivion that time brings about.

In this, they act reinforcing still certain data from the space of Tegea:

a) The maintenance of the region-name “Tegea” (besides from a relatively small period of time, when replaced by “Nikli”), which diachronically does not determine a limited space of installation, in the limits of village or city, but a total of scattered settlements.

b)  The ascertainment that the same duration is also observed in other elements of life of Tegeas’ citizens, like for example,  the cited organization of a fair, where the  ancient Tegeates named it “panagorsin”, later it became “panegyris (fair)of Beauty” and today is all over Greece knowed as “panegyri (fair) of Tegea”.

Such forms of survival are observed in the all breadth of Tegea’s popular culture. And while the time that is interfered is considerable, nevertheless, very small distance separates legend, for example “Arethoysas legend” from the newest “Aretoysas legend”.


Lots are those that determined the historical adventures of Tegea, but also and her dynamic presence in all the periods of Greek History, either Ancient or, centuries afterwards, the revolution of 1821. Those, however, that put distinct their seal in all them is her geographic stain and the nature of her ground. And while, from one side, the wealth of her fertile plain allowed her to ensure easier than other Arcadian cities, property for her residents, from the other side, it was natural to attract the looks of avid neighbors. The fights that carried out Tegea at the antiquity, but even the chance that was held for her at the Ottoman domination, were owed to a great extend in the wealth that was offered by her ground.
Her geographic place, afterwards, on the crossroad of the ancient and newer streets that crossed Peloponnese, many times distinguished her to a suitable space of fighting meeting - particularly at the period of Frankish domination- but simultaneously gave her access and communication ability  with other regions inside and outside Peloponnese, fact that is obvious in her cultural development.

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