part of the theaterHarry's Peloponnese Guide: Ancient Mantineia Page 1

One of the cities that medieval Tripolitza (modern Tripoli) replaced was Mantineia (still the name of the eparchy in which Tripoli is located), which was situated 15km/9.3 miles north of Tripoli.

Relatively intact 4th century BC walls are one of the attractions of this ancient town, along with some remains of the theater.

The area was once covered by oak forest, and was called 'Pelagos' (open sea) because an oracle had warned the Greek Epaminondas to beware of the sea, but the battle in which he died happened here instead. The 'marella' cherries used in 'vyssinada' (a sour cherry soft drink) are grown in the plain below Mantineia.

theaterThis town was one of the most important Arcadian city-states and rival of Tegea, with its history dominated by tensions with it, most likely over the issue of water supply.

The town existed during the Geometric and Classical periods, and during the Peloponnesian War the Mantineians were allies of Athens, the Tegeans allies of Sparta.

After the Peace of Nikias in 421BC, Mantineia joined Athens, Argos and Elis in the quadruple alliance that led to the First Battle of the Mantineia (418BC), described by Thucydides.

The head of the Lakedaimonian (Spartan) army destroyed the town in 385 BC, but the populace returned to their city with the help of Thebes and built the fortifications that have lasted till present times. They altered the course of the Ophis river so that it was not a threat to them, (the Lakedaimonian leader having used its dammed up waters to help him destroy the city). A native of Mantineia, Lykomedes, founded the Arcadian League in 370BC, but six years later the Maniteans seceded from it and allied themselves with the Spartans, and were defeated along with them by the Thebans in the Second Battle of Mantineia in 362BC.

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