Ancient Greece: The Most Famous City-States in Arcadia


In ancient Greece, city- states were autonomous and free to settle their own issues. Often for security reasons cities of the same area had created alliances.

During 370 B.C in the area of Arcadia, city- states were united in a federation, called League of the Arcadians. The most powerful and known cities of the alliance were Tegea, Mantineia and ancient Orchomenos.

Tegea was founded by Tegeas, son of Lycaona. It was an important city that had economic enhancement because of its fertile soil. They worshipped Goddess Athena and in order to honor her they organized sport games, called Alea.The place also operated as seeking refuge and the names of many persons are recorded.The epithet, according to the myth, Goddess took it because they believed that she participated in the battle that happened in the area. More probably she took it from the architect of the temple, Aleus, the son of Apheida.  The Temple of Athena was the biggest after the Temple of Zeus in Ancient Olympia. During the Roman domination, Endoeus took the statue of Athena and transferred it to Rome.The excavations that took place in the area revealed the old temple. Findings are exposed to archaeological museum of Tegea.

Homer mentions ancient Mantineia as one of the cities that took part in Troy war. The hero, Mantineus named the city. Their boundaries were in the south with Tegea and in north with Orchomenos. The archaeological researches unearthed the Ancient Theater, the remains of its walls, the ruins of the temple of Hera and the Agora. It should be noted that for the construction of the theater, they created artificial embankment because the city was on the flat. For its construction, they used limestone and white marble. The theater had four entrances and it used to host till six thousands spectators.

Few kilometers away from Mantineia is located ancient Orchomenos. Founded by the son of Lycaona, Orchomenos, the city had developed economically and culturally, as it was chosen as seat of the kings of Arcadia. The excavations revealed the ancient theater, the Agora, the parliament, a bridge from ancient times, a tomb, walls and the Temples of Poseidon and Artemis. The ancient theater was one of the biggest and besides theatrical presentations, they organized festivals in honor of Dionysus. Nowadays, the site is open and during the summer theatrical or musical performances go on.  


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