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Tegea  Athena  335  BC

C. Dugas, J. Berchmans and M. Clemmensen, Le Sanctuaire d'Aléa Athéna (1924 Paris)

W. Dörpfeld, AM 8 (1883)

M. Voyatzis, The Early Sanctuary of Athena Alea at Tegea and other archaic sanctuaries in Arcadia, Goteborg: P. Astroms, 1990.

Athanasios Themos from:


The temple of Athena at Tegea supported the worship of a female deity ever since the Mycenaean period. This seventh century BC Doric temple was located under the foundations of its Classical successor, and built with  wooden columns and entablature. The archaic temple burned down in 395/4 BC and the Classical period temple was erected in the fourth century BC. It was later destroyed by earthquake in the sixth century AD.  Considered one of the most important religious centers in Greece since ancient times, the new temple was built by the architect Scopas in the Doric style which in size and splendor surpassed all other temples in the Peloponnese, with perhaps the possible exception of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. The temple naos included columns of different orders (the cella was decorated with seven Corinthian half-columns along each of the sidewalls, and Ionic columns adorn the upper story). The statue of the goddess was ivory, which was subsequently carried to Rome by Augustus and placed in the Forum of his name. The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea was an ancient and revered asylum, and many individuals saved themselves by seeking refuge in it.

Pausanias mentions (8, 45, 4 - 47, 4) that the mythical founder of the sanctuary of Athena Alea was Aleos. He goes on to write about the beauty of the temple and of its sculpted decoration. 

G. Fougeres and V. Bérard excavated in 1888-1889 for the French School. The Temple of Alea Athena was investigated by A. Milchhöfer in 1879 and by W. Dörpfeld in 1882: it was excavated by G. Mendel and C. Dugas of the French School, who systematically unearthed the temple's foundations between 1900 and 1910. The French School at Athens expropriated the houses built over the sanctuary in order to excavate the site. Excavations continued under K. A. Romaios in 1909. K. Dimakopoulou excavated at the site in 1964-1965. The current excavations (1990-) are conducted by the Norwegian Institute at Athens, under the direction of E. Oestby.

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