I also visited Tegea- but I didn’t make it to the museum, mostly due to bad planning. I arrived quite early but the Episkopi area was so refreshing that I postponed going back to the village for the museum until it was too late.

The Byzantine Church of Episkopi, devoted to the Dormition of the Virgin, is actually built on the ancient theater of Tegea. Tegea was a large city in a flat plain with no neighboring hills, so the theater was actually built from scratch. When I arrived it was the last day of a yearly fair that has been officially going on since 1893. The fair is held during the panhellenic celebration of the 15th of August, a day that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Apparently in the antiquity during the same annual period, another Virgin goddess was celebrated across Greece, the goddess Athena. Athena was also worshipped in Tegea during the antiquity. A massive temple, now at the village near the museum, dedicated to her can be visited.

Tegea was also the home of the 3rd century B.C poetess Anyte.

Now a small, even obscure village in Arcadia, Tegea still amazes with its contemporary history. It was here that the torch flame relay from Olympia to any city that hosts the Olympic Games was first conceived. Apparently in 1934 the International Olympic Committee was brought to the site. Inspired by the ancient monuments and the beauty of nature they decided to attempt the first relay for the Olympic Games of Berlin, in 1936. 

A Promise of Relaxation

Anthologia Palatina 9.313 = Anyte of Tegea (fl. 3rd cent. BCE)

Sit, everyone, beneath the leaves-
Lovely and flourishing- of the laurel tree,
And draw a sweet draft from the charming spring,
So that you may give your dear body a rest
From panting with toils in the summer-time,
As it’s brushed by the gusts of the West Wind.

 Ἵζευ ἅπας ὑπὸ καλὰ δάφνας εὐθαλέα φύλλα
    ὡραίου τ’ ἄρυσαι νάματος ἁδὺ πόμα,
ὄφρα τοι ἀσθμαίνοντα πόνοις θέρεος φίλα γυῖα
    ἀμπαύσῃς πνοιᾷ τυπτόμενα Ζεφύρου.

In the Shade of the Old Oak Tree, Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886)

Head of Achilles

Copy after Skopas (Greek, active about 370 - 330 B.C.), 20th century, Doliana marble.

When this head, broken from a larger sculpture, appeared on the market in the late 1970s, scholars thought it was an original work by Skopas, the great Greek sculptor of the 300s B.C. Although he was one of the most famous sculptors in antiquity, the only sculpture securely attributed to him was the fragmentary sculptural decoration of the Temple of Athena at Tegea in southern Greece, now in the National Museum in Athens. Scholars believed this newly discovered head probably came from the same temple and represented the hero Achilles.

Yet, from the moment of its appearance, there were doubts about the head’s authenticity. While the sculpture fragments from the temple were worn and battered, the Getty Museum’s head was remarkably well preserved. The Museum’s head also closely resembled a head in Athens from the temple. Ancient sculptors often carved replicas of other sculptures, but when the two heads were measured, the Museum’s head and the head in Athens were shown to have exactly the same dimensions, a degree of exactitude not expected from an ancient sculptor. Moreover, the forger was fooled by restorations on the Athens head. Although, the Museum’s head precisely replicates the helmet worn by the Athens head, part of the helmet on the Athens head is itself a modern restoration.

Source: The Paul J. Getty Museum

brooklynboos  asked:

hey! astynomi told me to drop this question at your door [runs away]: any fave underrated women in greek mythology / history? as in, women that may not be all that well known / understood by a mainstream audience?

so many!

one who has been on my mind lately is anyte of tegea. in the greek anthology,  antipater of thessalonica lists her among the nine earthly muses, and calls her “the female homer” (θῆλυν Ὅμηρον)–the highest compliment a poet can get, really! she has the most surviving complete poems of any ancient greek woman, including sappho (most of whose extant poetry is fragmentary). she lived in arcadia in the 3rd century bce, and was a master of the epigram, a poetic form traditionally used for inscriptions. for example (epigrams 17 & 18):

Ἑρμᾶς τᾶιδ᾽ ἕστακα παρ᾽ ὄρχατον ἠνεμόεντα
   ἐν τριόδοις πολιᾶς ἐγγύθεν ἀιόνος,
ἀνράσι κεκμηῶσιν ἔχων ἄμπαυσιν ὁδοῖο·
   ψυχρὸν δ᾽ ἀχραὲς κράνα ὑποπροχέει.

I, Hermes, stand here, beside the wind-stirred lane of trees
 in the crossroads close to the gray shore,
with rest for those weary from the road;
 and the spring wells up cold and pure.

ξεῖν, ὑπὸ τὰν πτελέαν τετρυμένα γυῖ᾽ ἀνάπαυσον·
    ἁδύ τοι ἐν χλωροῖς πνεῦμα θροεῖ πετάλοις·
πίδακά τ᾽ ἐκ παγᾶς ψυχρὰν πίε· δὴ γὰρ ὁδίταις
    ἄμπαυμ᾽ ἐν θερμῶι καύματι τοῦτο φίλον.

O stranger, rest your weary limbs beneath the elm;
   a sweet wind whispers in fresh green leaves;
drink the cold stream from the fountain; for to wayfarers
   this resting-place in the burning sunlight is dear.

anyte’s work is beautiful and should not be overlooked by most classicists (as it currently is).

(see this post for more information about ancient women authors, and you may also be interested in my “feminist literary necromancy” and “women in antiquity” tags. also, i would recommend checking out the blog @feminismandclassics​!)

For a cricket, nightingale of the fields, and a cicada, sleepless singing on the oak, Myro scratches the ground with her hands, opening their tomb, all the while shedding a virgin’s tears. For Hades cannot be bartered with and these two playmates of hers he now has.

- Ανύτη Τεγεάτις / Anyte of Tegea

This sweet epitaph, commemorating the passing of a cricket and a cicada, a little girl’s pets, is argued that may belong to Leonidas of Tarantas- who was however Anyte’s student. However, its thematology is Anyte at her best. Anyte loves writing about the small details that make up this world and this scene of a little girl mourning a couple of insects is a perfect bittersweet reminder of the brevity of life.

Marble head of a warrior, by the sculptor Scopas of Paros.  From the West Pediment of the Temple of Athena Alea at Tegea (which depicted the Trojan War).  Ca. 350-330 BCE.  Now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.  Photo credit: Marsyas/Wikimedia Commons.

Tetradrachm of Antigonus III (r. 229-221) from Amphipolis, Macedon, struck c. 228-227 BC

Obverse: The head of Poseidon wearing a seaweed wreath; dotted border. Reverse: Apollo holding a bow while seated on a ship’s prow; the inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΓΟΝΟΥ on the prow and a monogram below.

Antigonus III Doson was the king of Macedon from 229 BC to 221 BC. He was a member of the Antigonid dynasty and the son of Demetrius the Fair. As king, Antigonus III proved to be as much a master of tactical diplomacy as of military strategy. In less than a decade of rule he not only secured the borders of his nation, he also reestablished Macedon as the dominant power in the region. Unlike previous Macedonian rulers who attempted direct dominion over their fiercely independent neighbors to the West and South, he formed alliances with Epirus and the Achaean League. When Sparta, under Cleomenes III, attempted to establish hegemony over the whole Peloponnese, Aratus of Sicyon - long the leader of Greek opposition to Macedonian domination - invited Antigonus to intervene (226 BC). Establishing his base on the heights above Corinth, Antigonus reconstituted a broad-based Hellenic league (224 BC) under his leadership before launching his attack on Sparta. The Spartan forces, outmatched by the larger, better equipped Macedonian army, were so overwhelmed in the battle of Sellasia (222 BC) that Cleomenes only managed to escape with a few horsemen, and ultimately had to seek refuge in Egypt. However, in a magnanimous gesture, Antigonus restrained his soldiers from plundering Sparta, saying it was Cleomenes, not Sparta, that was his enemy.

Antigonus did not long survive this victory. For, while his forces were campaigning in the southern Peloponnese, Illyrians invaded Macedonia from the north. Antigonus had to rush north to repel this new threat. On his way, Antigonus passed through Tegea and Argos, his arrival at the latter coinciding with the beginning of the Nemean Games, where he was honoured by the Achaean League and various other cities. His death occurred soon after, when he returned to Macedon and engaged the Illyian army; for though Macedonian forces were once again victorious, the commander became sick during the battle (possibly though not necessarily as a result of a ruptured blood vessel) and died.

Votive relief:

Depiction of Pluto enthroned, holding a sceptre and cornucopia. Persephone stands in front of him with a sceptre and Demeter with a bowl and torch. Two women worshipers are shown at the right. Found at Tegea*, in Arkadia. (ca later 4th- early 3rd B.C)

*Tegea was the home city of one of the “nine earthly muses” of the antiquity; the poetess and author of 22 surviving epigrams, Anyte of Tegea.


Coming up: The Nekromanteion of Acheron:

According to literary tradition the river Acheron was the river Hermes lead the souls of the deceased through to board on Charon’s boat that would take them to the underworld. The nekromanteion of Acheron- in the contemporay village of Mesopotamos- was an important sanctuary to which people travelled to get in touch with the spirits of their deceased friends and relatives.

So many times Kleino’s mother, on her daughter’s grave has fallen apart crying and moaning for the beloved child that died so young; Philaenida’s soul embracing with her mourning, who never having experienced the joys of marriage, sailed up Acheron’s leafy stream”

an epigram by Anyte of Tegea.

“Leafy stream” actually describes Acheron the best. I can’t really put it to more words, but the river Acheron, pleasant as it is, definitely has an eerie quality about it. It certainly is very cold even in the hot greek summer. 

A Cauldron for Athena

Anthologia Palatina 6.153 = Anyte of Tegea (3rd cent. BCE)

The cauldron is big enough for an ox.
He who dedicated it is Cleobotus, son of Eriaspidas.
His fatherland is Tegea of the broad dancing-ground.
The gift is for Athena.  Aristoteles made it,
A man of Kleitor, with the same name as his father.

 Βουχανδὴς ὁ λέβης· ὁ δὲ θεὶς Ἐριασπίδα υἱός,
    Κλεύβοτος· ἁ πάτρα δ’ εὐρύχορος Τεγέα·
τἀθάνᾳ δὲ τὸ δῶρον· Ἀριστοτέλης δ’ ἐπόησεν
    Κλειτόριος, γενέτᾳ ταὐτὸ λαχὼν ὄνομα.

Urartian cauldron.  Now in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.  Photo credit: Evgeny Genkin/Wikimedia Commons.