The Peloponnesus

The mountainous and broken landmass in southern Greece, defined by the Gulf of Corinth to the north, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Aegean Sea to the east. Here is to be found Corinth, Achaea, Arcadia, Mycenae, and Sparta, among other important locales of history and legend.

Includes: Achaea, Aegion, Ahhiyawa, Akova, Arcadia, Argos, Avia, Chalandritsa, Corinth, Dimi, Eliki, Elea, Geraki, Hermoine, Kalavryta, Kaphies, Karytaena, Kleones, Klitor, Koroni, Kyparissia, Maina, Mandinea, Medea, Megalopolis, Messina, Messini, Monemvassia, Morea, Mycenae, Nauplia, Nemea, Nivelet, Nykli, Oeneoi, Passavas, Patras, Pellini, Phares, Pheneos, Phlious, Pisa, Pylos, Sicyon, Sparta, Stymphalos, Tegea, Tiryns, Troezina, Veligosti.

ACHAEAAn ancient state in the northern Peloponnesus, just above Morea.

ÆGION A town on the north coast of the Peloponnessus, east of Patra, and overlooking the western end of the Gulf of Corinth proper. Now spelled Aiyion, in the Middle Ages it was Vostitsa, the seat of a Frankish Barony.

AHHIYAWA A Bronze Age kingdom located somewhere in the Aegean region. The Hittite rulers called the rulers of Ahhiyawa "Great King", suggesting that they were equals rather than vassals. The location of Ahhiyawa is unknown; however, most scholars believe that Ahhiyawa is the Hittite word for Achaeans, pre-Doric Greeks, and that Ahhiyawa can be regarded as the loose confederation of Mycenean-age Greek cities (see Arcadia, Athens, Argos, Corinth, Delphi, Elea, Eleusina, Laconia, Mandinea, Megara, Messinia, Medea, Mycenae, Orchomenos, Thebes, Tiryns, Troezina).

AKOVA A town in the Gortynia region of Arcadia, a Barony during the Frankish era.

ARCADIA In the middle of the Peloponnesus. The list records for the most part the ancient semi-legendary kings. From Cypselos they become reliably historical.

ARGOSAn ancient district in northeastern Peloponessus, adjacent to Mycenae. The kingdom is partitioned into thirds:

AVIA A town in Messinia.

CHALANDRITSAA mediaeval city (today a village) in Achaea. A Barony during the Frankish centuries.

CORINTHIn the northeast corner of the Peloponnessus, astride the Corinthian Isthmus that connects southern Greece to Attica and the north, and about 55 miles (90 km.) from its ancient rival, Athens.

DIMI (or Stratos) A town in Achaea

ELIKI A town in Achaea

ELEA A region in the northwest corner of the Peloponnesus, between Achaea and Messinia. The city of Pisa, within this district, controlled the site of the original Olympic Games.

GERAKI A city in Laconia, about 16 miles (27 km.) east-southeast of Sparta. In ancient times it was the city of Geronthrae.

HERMIONE Ancient city in Argolis.

KALAVRYTA An historical town in central Achaea, 24 miles (40 km.) southeast of Patras. the place where the Greek revolution started in 1821. In ancient times it was known as Kynaetha.

KAPHIES A town in Arcadia.

KARYTAENAIn the central Peloponessus, about 40 miles (65 km.) northwest of Mistra and ancient Sparta. A Frankish Barony during the Middle Ages.

KLEONES Town near Argos-Place of the Nemean games

KLITOR A town in Arcadia

KORONI A town in Messenia (older neme Aepeia)

KYPARISSIA (Arcadia)Ancient town of Messinia in southwestern Peloponnesus, a strong port overlooking the Ionian Sea, and one of the few locales to resist the Frankish invasion of 1204. From 1261 it was constituted the Barony of Arcadia (note as well the overall region of Arcadia).

MAINA The central of the three peninsulae jutting out of southern Greece, due south of Sparta. The inhabitants, called Maniotes, are thought to be descended from Laconian refugees of the 2nd century BCE, and have been noted for a very long while for their pugnacity and fierce independence. In the 18th century the region was granted considerable autonomy under a series of Ottoman Beys appointed from the populace; a vain effort by the Turks, since the Maniot insurrection of 1821 was one of the chief sparks leading to the War of Independence for Greece.

MANDINEA City of ancient Greece, in east-central Arcadia. In the Peloponnesian War a coalition led by Mantinea and Argos and urged on by Athens was defeated (418 BCE) by Sparta at Mantinea. It was also the scene of the victory of Thebes over Sparta in which Epaminondas was killed (362 BCE).

MEDEA A town in Argolis

MEGALOPOLIS A city located in Arcadia, the central Peloponessus. Its name ("Great, or Huge, City") derives from its vast (by 4th century BCE standards) scale; it was founded as the capital of the Arcadian League. The term was applied by a 19th century French archeologist to describe the belt of contiguous urbanization from Boston to Washington DC, USA, and has since come to mean any vast urban agglomeration. The town is also notable as the birthplace of the historian Polybius.

MESSINA (Ithómi)A town and fortress in Messenia, about 12 miles (19 km.) north of the town of Messini, mentioned just following.

MESSINI A city in southwestern Peloponnesus.

MONEMVASSIA An important fortress and city located on a tiny islet off the southeastern coast of the Peloponessus, in Laconia, and connected to the mainland by a narrow strand. Virtually impregnable, it has long been an isolated outpost of one power or another facing a mainland in the hands of an opponent.

MYCENAE The citadel of Mycenae, located in the northeastern Peloponnesus, is the largest and best known of the archaic Hellenic sites of the Bronze Age, its legendary rulers immortalized in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. This list provides a rough framework of that time, and continues with a record of the city of Argos, only a few miles distant.

NAUPLIA (mod. Navplion) A port city near Argos, in the Peloponnessus, the first capital of modern Greece (1829-1834). It has been an important port for all its history (the name means, in fact, "Naval Base").

NEMEA A city on the northern edge of Argolis (northeastern Peloponnesus), southwest of Corinth and about 8 miles (13 km.) northwest of ancient Mycenae. In ancient times the city was the site of the Nemean Games, the fourth most important panhellenic sporting competitions (held the second and fourth year of each Olympiad in honor of Zeus). Nemea was the site of an extremely ancient cultic center devoted to Zeus, and settlement in the area predates recorded history. The area of Nemea was also home of the legendary Nemean Lion, slain by Herakles as one of his 12 labors.

NIVELET A barony near Vostitsa. See also Geraki for earlier holdings of this family.

NYKLI A medieval barony in south Arcadia, near ancient Tegea

ORNEOI A town in Argolos

PASSAVAS A medieval barony, a coastal village at the base of the Maina Peninsula, in Laconia south of the modern city of Gytheion.

PATRAS The current capital of Achaea nomos, located along the north shore of the Pelopenessus, at the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. A Barony under the Princes of Achaea in the 13th century, William II sold the town to the pope and he gave it to the latin archbishop of Patras.

PELLINI A town in Achaea

PHARES A town in Messinia.

PHENEOSAncient town of Arcadia

PHLIOUS An ancient city of Argolis, about 14 miles (22 km.) southwest of Corinth, homeland of the playwright Pratinas. It is in this city that Pythagoras is said to have coined the word "philosophos" and that Plato stages Phædo - retelling the story of the last day of Socrates in the dialogue that bears his name, in which Socrates describes the life of the philosopher.

PISAA town in Elea which controlled Olympia, the temple complex in which being the site of the ancient sequence of Olympic Games, 776 BCE-393 CE.

PYLOS In extreme southwestern Greece, known in the Middle Ages as Navarino (A Venetian transcription of Ton Avarinon, the name of the Avar citadel built there during the Dark Ages). This is the site of the decisive naval battle of Navarino (1827, Great Britain-France-Russia vs. Ottoman Empire), the last significant engagement between all-sail, wooden ships-of-the-line, and a complete defeat for Turkey, thus securing modern Greece's independence.

SICYON An ancient town, once of some importance, located in the northeastern Peloponessus, 12 miles (20 km.) west of Corinth.

SPARTA When the subject of Classical Greece comes up, the ideas normally present include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Perikles, particular architectural styles, Delphi, Olympus, and the rest. This is to a large extent the legacy of Athens. Sparta represents the other Hellas. A harshly governed society of ferocious militarists who spurned art, literature and philosophy as pointless and decadent, the Spartans are today proverbial for the, well... the Spartan virtues. The city ruled the bulk of the Peloponnesian Peninsula during much of the Classical Age, and its apex of power was in 404 BCE , with the defeat of Athens and the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War. Success was ultimately ephemeral, though, and by the time of the Romans, the town was a half-forgotten backwater. Destroyed in 395 by marauding Goths, several newer communities have been established on or near the site. During the Middle Ages, the Citadel of Mistra was located just southwest or the site, and acted as the capital of the Despotate of Morea. The latest community, Nea Sparti, was founded in 1834. The early portion of the list is in an odd form, since the Spartans used a dual kingship arrangement

STYMPHALOS A town in Arcadia.

TEGEA A town in Arcadia.

TIRYNS Ancient city in Argolis-Older name: Alieis

TROEZINAAn ancient city near Argos, in the northeastern Peloponnesus.

VELIGOSTIA Mediaeval barony located in Arcadia, within the orbit of Achaea.