Temple of Athena Alea

Arcadia, Greece

The Temple of Athena Alea in Tegea served as a crucial symbol for Tegeans from the tenth century BCE, showing links to nearby regions. Legend credits local hero Aleus with its construction, although this may be a later addition.

The original temple likely dates to the early Archaic period, with a renowned replacement built by Scopas after a fire in 394 BCE. Notable figures sought asylum there, including Chryseis, Leotychides, and Pausanias.

The temple's interior featured a stunning Doric structure with Corinthian and Ionic columns. Its centerpiece was an ivory statue of Athena by Endoeus, later taken to Rome by Augustus.

Exterior decorations depicted myths like the Calydonian Boar Hunt and Telephos fighting Achilles, linking Tegea's local heroes to broader Greek mythology. Inside, the temple housed statues of Asclepius and Hygieia by Skopas, alongside representations of local figures and deities like Rhea and the Muses.

The temple hosted two festivals, Aleaia and Halotia, and was served by a young priest until puberty, according to Pausanias.

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Founded: 4th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Afroditi Vrag. (4 months ago)
This magnificent temple of antiquity, the 2nd largest in the Peloponnese after Zeus at Olympia, is sad because of how neglected it is. According to mythology, the skin and teeth of the Erymanthian Boar were kept in his sanctuary. The museum closes at 3.30 pm (I didn't make it), however the outer enclosure puts you in the spirit and size of its time. Too bad our ancient history is neglected like this.
Mt2nd Ytacc (5 months ago)
This must have been a huge temple! However, there is not much more to see. Still impressive to see what is still there. It is a pity that little has been restored, but there must have been no money for such an extensive undertaking. According to tradition, the temple was built under the supervision of Skopas, who also worked on the Artemis temple of Ephesus. Unfortunately, the site could not be entered, the village dogs were clearly awake... Those who want to know more about Tegea and the temple can visit the museum located a little further in the village.
jeremy kalous (2 years ago)
An interesting site with huge pillars. Closed up though
John McC (4 years ago)
Visited here with the Australian Archeological Institute in Athens. A rarely visited site and a fabulously interesting museum. Had a very nice lunch at the local restaurant near the church.
Rock Cyprus (5 years ago)
One of the most important Temples of the Greek Classical period. It is an all-marble, Doric-style Temple, designed by the very famous sculptor Skopas from Paros. It was built in the 4th century BC, and it was considered to be the most sacred place of the Arcadians and the Peloponnesians in general. The Temple was destroyed by an earthquake in 6th century AD. Only its impressive foundations are visible today, after extensive excavations were carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. Entrance fee is payable at the must-visit Tegea archaelogical museum, just round the corner.
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