Teuthis (Ancient Greek: Τεῦθις or Τευθίς) was a city of ancient Arcadia. It is mentioned in Pausanias, who visited and described its temples, and who narrated the elaborate story of King Teuthis' dispute with Agamemnon and goddess Athena in Aulis, prior to the Greek fleet's departure for the Trojan War.
According to Pausanias, Teuthis together with Theisoa and Methydrium, were three cities who originally "belonged" to Orchomenus but whose inhabitants decided to relocate and join many others in forming the Great City (Megalopolis), in 371 BCE in order to better protect themselves from the Spartans.
Although labeled by some as a "Homeric" city, Teuthis is not explicitly mentioned in Homer. Thus, the oldest and practically the only "original" information we have about its location can be found in Pausanias. Unfortunately, his description of the whereabouts of Teuthis is open to interpretation and, therefore, has caused a great deal of disagreement among the 19th century knowledgeable western travelers of Arcadia.
The following tabulation lists the names of the most important of such "περιηγηταί", almost all of which used Pausanias' book as a guide in their Arcadian travels. With regard to Teuthis, their (independent) educated guesses involve two locations: the Akova/Galatas area in the north (the medieval castle of which is situated in a place inhabited in antiquity and whose habitation has had to be continuous),) and the town of Dimitsana in the south (which is also built on older fortified ruins, clearly visible today):
1. Location of Teuthis in the Akova/Galatas area (8)
Pouqueville(Historian), Gell(Archaeologist), Boblaye(Mil. Geographer), Ross(Archaeologist), Curtius(Archaeologist), Aldenhoven(Mil. Surveyor), Peytier(Mil. Surveyor), Kiessling(Cartographer)
2. Location of Teuthis in the Dimitsana area (5)
3. Location NOT in Dimitsana (1)
4. Either location probable (2)
In addition to the above, there are a few "περιηγηταί" who did not express their own opinion as to the Teuthis location but, instead, quoted names of the above listing. For example, J. Conder referenced Gell, W. Smith quoted Ross, C. Bursian "thanked" Leake, and W. Hughes' map also reflects Leake's ideas on the subject.
Having practiced - at best - "surface archaeology", most of the distinguished travelers listed above were (understandably) careful when they wrote about the location of the city. They used words like "probably", "perhaps", "may", or the question mark next to its name (Teuthis?). Only Ross, Leake, and Levi took a definite stand on the issue (along with the "cartographers" Peytier, Kiessling, and Kiepert). Finally, Latterman was also firm about his choice, but he erroneously used Leake's name in the process.
A closer look at Pausanias' visit to TeuthisEdit
Travelling on the road which joins Heraia with Megalopolis, Pausanias reached the village of Gortys, which used to be a city, and described the temple of Asclepius [Bk VIII, 28 (1)]. He then wrote about the river of the city, which has very cold water, especially in the summer. He explained that the southern part of it - which flows into the Alpheios - was called Gortynios, while the northern part was called Lousios (i.e. Wash, because new-born Zeus was bathed in it) [Bk VIII, 28 (2)].
The end of the next paragraph in Pausanias's "Arcadika" [Bk VIII, 28 (3)], contains the first significant information about the location problem:
" Ἔχει μὲν δὴ τὰς πηγὰς ἐν Θεισόᾳ τῆ Μεθυδριεῦσιν ὁμόρῳ"
"But its springs are in Theisoa, which borders on the Methydrienses"
In other words, the Theisoa greater area, which borders the west part of Methydrio, extends all the way north-east of modern Langadia, where the actual springs of Gortynios/Lusios are found.
Any map of the area shows that Theisoa - which is near the modern village of Karkalou - is located quite north of Gortys. Thus, it can be safely assumed that Pausanias was moving in a south-to-north direction, having started from Gortys and going toward Teuthis, since [Bk VIII, 28 (4)]:
"τῇ χώρᾳ δὲ τῇ Θεισόᾳ προσεχὴς κώμη Τεῦθίς ἐστι: πάλαι δὲ ἦν πόλισμα ἡ Τεῦθις."
"Bordering town to Theisoa is Teuthis, which was formerly a city."
That is, Teuthis, which is bordering Theisoa, was located somewhere north of Gortys.
Pausanias, however, mentions Theisoa first, but does not indicate whether he visited there. And this, gets things complicated. Given the terrain of the greater area and the fact that Methydrium is the eastern neighbor of Theisoa, then Teuthis itself could be either the southern or the north-western neighbor.
Thus, (keeping in mind that Pausanias is coming from the south) one must decide for which one of the two situations the phrase "Teuthis borders Theisoa" makes more sense. [Normally we are interested in what lies ahead of our destination, and not beyond it. Therefore, the preceding "bordering" statement could suggest that Teuthis lies beyond Theisoa, i.e. in its north-northwest.]
It is obvious that only systematic excavations can put an end to the doubts raised by the fact that no inscription naming Teuthis has been found in Dimitsana, the modern town which has "claimed" the name of the ancient city for its own ruins. As for contemporary arguments in support of such a claim, one can judge for himself reading the following opinions of esteemed personnel of the British and French "archaeology" schools in Athens, respectively:
· "Dhimitsana. (...). The site is generally identified with ancient Teuthis."
· "Si l'on admet que Teuthis était au Sud de Thisoa, près du Gortynios, l'attribution àcette bourgade des vestiges antiques visibles dans le village de Dimitsana, au Sud-Ouest de Karkalou"
(If we assume that Teuthis was to the south of Thisoa, near the Gortynios, there can be little doubt as to the attribution of the ancient vestiges visible in the village of Dimitsana to the south-west of Karkalou)
Just for the record: In the 1834 attempt to reorganize the local administration of the Greek nation, which had recently been liberated from the Ottoman occupation, Vyziki, the village closest to Akova, was declared "Δῆμος Τεύθιδος" (Municipality of Teuthis).
- Pausanias. Description of Greece. Vol. 8.28.6.
- The story goes as follows[Pausanias, Book VIII, 28 (4-6)] : During the Trojan war, the local Arcadians sent troops to Avlida to join the rest of the Greeks. Their leader, named Teuthis (or Ornytus, according to others), frustrated by the long waiting for favorable winds that would enable departure from Avlis, quarrelled with the commander- in-chief Agamemnon and was about to return his detachment of "Teuthides" back home. At this point, they say, Athene disguised as Melas, son of Ops, tried to block his return, but the furious Teuthis struck the thigh of the goddess with his spear and actually lead his men back to Arcadia. Upon his return to the homeland, they say Athene herself appeared to him in a vision having a wound in her thigh, and from then on a disease befell the city making it the only Arcadian district to produce no crops! Some time later, the people received instructions from the Dodona oracle on ceremonies meant to pacify the goddess, and they made s statue of Athene with a wound in her thigh. (Pausanias writes that he saw this statue, which had a purple bandage wrapped around the thigh.)
- Theisoa must not be confused with a city with the same name, located in the southwest, west of the river Alpheios in the Andritsaina area.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece. Vol. 8.27.4.
- Antoine Bon, "La Morée franque. Recherches historiques, topographiques et archéologiques sur la principauté d’Achaïe", Paris, De Boccard 1969, p. 394
- F.C.H.L. Pouqueville, "Voyage de la Grece", deux. edn., tome IV, Paris, Didot 1827, p. 517
- Sir William Gell, "Itinerary of the Morea", London, Rodwell & Martin 1817, pp. 118–119
- M.E. Puillon Boblaye, "Expédition Scientifique de Morée. Recherches Géographiques sur les Ruines de la Morée", Paris, Levrault 1835, pp. 151–152
- Ludwig Ross, "Reisen und Reiserouten durch Griechenland", erster Theil: "Reisen im Peloponnes", Berlin, Reimer 1841, p. 114
- Ernst Curtius, "Peloponnesos - Eine Historisch-Geographische Beschreibung der Halbinsel", erst. Band, Gotha, J. Perthes 1851, p. 354
- Ferdinand Aldenhoven, "Itineraire Descriptif de l'Attique et du Péloponèse", Athènes 1841, p. 244
- Jean Pierre Eugène F. Peytier, "Carte de la Morée - Atlas de l' Expédition Scientifique de Morée", Paris, 1832
- Max Hermann Kiessling, in Sieglin & Kiessling "Atlas Antiquus", Gotha, J. Perthes 1893, Tab. 15
- William Martin Leake, "Travels in the Morea", London, J. Murray 1830, vol. II, p. 63
- Rev. J.A. Cramer, "A Geographical and Historical Description of Ancient Greece", Oxford, Clarendon Press 1828, vol. III, p. 328
- Alfred Philippson, "Der Peloponnes - Landeskunde auf geologischer Grundlage", Berlin, Friedländer 1892, p. 114
- Heinrich Lattermann, in F.F.H. von Gaertringen & H. Lattermann "Arkadische Forschungen", Berlin, Verlag der Königl 1911, pp. 25–26
- Heinrich Kiepert, "Neuer Atlas von Hellas", Berlin 1872, IV
- Peter Levi, transl. "Pausanias Guide to Greece", Penguin Books, London 1971, vol. 2, p. 444
- James George Frazer, "Pausanias's Description of Greece", London, Macmillan 1898, vol. IV, pp. 311–312
- Hugo Blűmner, "Karte von Griechenland zur Zeit des Pausanias", Zűrich 1911
- Josiah Conder, "The Modern Traveller", London, J. Duncan 1830, vol. 16, Greece II, p. 235
- William Smith, Edit.,"Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography", London 1854; on-line at https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0064%3Aalphabetic+letter%3DT%3Aentry+group%3D6%3Aentry%3Dteuthis-geo
- Conrad Bursian, "Geographie von Griechenland", zweiter Band: Peloponnesos und Inseln, Leipzig, Teubner 1868, p. 232
- William Hughes, Map of the Peloponnese Peninsula, eng. G.E. Sherman, print. J. Bien, New York N.Y. 1867
- R. Howell, "A Survey of Eastern Arcadia in Prehistory", The Annual of the British School at Athens, Vol. 65 (1970) p. 100
- M. Jost, "Sanctuaires et Cultes d' Arcadie", Paris, J. Vrin 1985, p. 212
- Chr. Chrysanthopoulos, "The Nature and Administrative Evolution of Gortynia's Mountainous Settlements (1832-1862)", in NHRF-Institute of Historic Research project "History of the Hellenic Settlements (15th-20th c.) http://www.eie.gr/nhrf/institutes/inr/structure/section_b2-gr.html ; also pres. at the Elati symp. (Sept. 2012) . See also the relenant law (ΦΕΚ 16Α/1835) at http://www.et.gr/
- Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 58, and directory notes accompanying.
- Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.