TEGEA, an ancient Greek city of Arcadia, situated on a plateau which is enclosed by Mts. Parthenium and Maenalus on E. and W., and by two transverse ranges which separate it from the plateau of Orchomenus and the Eurotas valley respectively. The Tegean territory occupied the southern part of this space; the northern half, sundered by projecting spurs from the parallel ranges, belonged to Mantineia. The entire plain was well adapted for pasturage and corn-growing, but was liable to floods owing to the lack of free outlets for its water-courses. Hence the regulation of the zerethra or subterranean conduits which drained away the overflow southward was a matter of vital importance both to Tegea and to Mantineia, and a cause of frequent quarrels. By its vicinity to the watersheds of the Eurotas and Alpheus, and its command over the main roads from Laconia to Argos and the Isthmus, Tegea likewise was brought into conflict with Sparta.

Tegea was one of the most ancient cities of Peloponnesus; tradition ascribed its concentration (synoecism) out of eight or nine primitive cantons to a mythical king Aleus, From the fact that several Cretan townships passed for colonies of Tegea, it may be inferred that this city had oversea connexions in prehistoric days. The prominence which legend assigns to its king Echemus in opposing the Heraclid invasion shows that it was one of the chief Peloponnesian communities in the pre-Dorian epoch. For several centuries Tegea served as a bulwark of Arcadia against the expanding power of Sparta; though ultimately subdued about 550 B.C. it was allowed to retain its independence and its Arcadian nationality. During the Persian invasion the Tegeans displayed a readiness unusual among Peloponnesian cities; in the battle of Plataea they were the first to enter the enemy's camp. A few years later they headed an Arcadian and Argive league against Sparta, but by the loss of two pitched battles (Tegea and Dipaea) were induced to resume their former loyalty (about 468–467). In 423 they broke out into open war with the Mantineians, and when the latter rebelled against Sparta and allied themselves with Argos and Athens, the Tegeans stood firmly by Sparta's side: in the decisive battle of Mantineia (418) their troops hadalarge share in the overthrow of the coalition. During the early 4th century before Christ Tegea continued to support Sparta against the Mantineians and other malcontents. After the battle of Leuctra the philo-Laconian party was expelled with Mantineian help. Tegea henceforth took an active part in the revival of the Arcadian League and the prosecution of the war in alliance with Thebes against Sparta (371-362), and the ultimate defection of Mantineia confirmed it in its federalist tendencies. The foundation of the new federal capital Megalopolis threw Tegea somewhat into the shade. It showed itself hostile to the Macedonians, and in 266 joined the Chremonidean League against Antigonus Gonatas. To the incorporation of Mantineia into the Achaean League (233) Tegea replied by allying itself with the Aetolians, who in turn made it over to Cleomenes III. of Sparta (228). From the latter it was transferred by Antigonus Doson to the Achaean League (222); in 218 it was again occupied by the Spartans but reconquered in 207 by the Achaean general Philopoemen. In Augustus' time Tegea was the only important town of Arcadia, but its history throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods is obscure; it ceased to exist as a Greek city after the Gothic invasion of 395. During the Frankish occupation its place was taken by the fortress of Nikli. At the time of the Turkish conquest (1458) Nikli had been superseded by a. fair-sized town called Mouchli, which in turn disappeared when the new city of Tripolitsa was founded about 3 m. N.W. The site is now occupied by the small village of Piali.

Authorities.—Strabo pp. 337, 388; Pausanias viii. 44–49, 53–54; Herodotus i. 65 ff., ix. 35, 70; Thucydides v. 32–73; Xenophon, Hellenica, vi., vii.; Polybius ii. 46, 54 ff., v. 17, xi. 18; W. M. Leake, Travels in the Morea (London, 1830), i. pp. 88–100, ii. 328–334; E. Curtius, Peloponnesos (Gotha, 1851), i. pp. 247–264; W. Loring in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xix. (1899) pp. 25-89; Schwedler, De Rebus Tegeaticis (Leipzig, 1886); Ἱστορία τῆς Τεγέας. Ἐκδ. ὑπὸ τοῦ Τεγεατικοῦ Συνδέομον (Athens, 1896); for coins: B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1887), pp. 350–351; and art. Numismatics, section Greek, § “ Arcadia.”  (M. O. B. C.) 

Archaeology.—The temple of Athena Alea at Tegea is described by Pausanias as excelling all others in the Pelopennese both in size and in beauty of construction. The original temple was said to have been built by Aleus, the founder of the city; it was superseded by a larger one which was destroyed by fire in 395 B.C. The rebuilding was entrusted to Scopas, the great sculptor; and it is probable that he not only acted as architect, but also provided the sculptural groups which ornamented the pediments. Like the temple at Phigalia, it combined the forms of all three orders—Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Pausanias asserts that the outer order was Ionic; but excavations have proved that it was Doric. The pedimental groups of the temple represented at the front, the hunt of the Calydonian boar, and, at the back, the battle of Achilles and Telephus. Both subjects were intimately associated with the temple, for Atalanta had dedicated in it the face and tusks of the boar, which had been awarded to her as the first to wound it; and Telephus was the son of Heracles and the priestess Auge. Two heads of heroes and that of the boar were found before 1880; later excavation, in 1883, showed the plan of the temple, which had six columns at front and back, and thirteen at the sides. In 1900 the French school at Athens recovered more fragments of sculpture, including a head of Heracles and the torso and possibly the head of Atalanta, these last two of Parian marble. The other heads are badly damaged owing to the fact that the white marble from Doliana, of which they are made, does not resist damp. But they still show in the intensity of their expression the power of expressing passion for which Scopas was famous beyond all other ancient sculptors. See Greek Art, fig. 63.

See G. Treu, Mittheil. d. deutsch. Inst. Athen., vi. 1881; W. Dörpfeld, ibid., viii. 1883; G. Mendel, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, xxv. 1901; Pausanias viii. 45–47.  (E. Gr.)