The Greek Peloponnese seems to be a stepchild when it comes to archaeological discoveries and makes the headlines only occasionally.
All Images Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports
This time the news comes from Thouria, which is to be found about ten kilometers northwest of Kalamata at the southern end of the peninsula where a theater from the 4th century BC has been discovered. The remains do not look spectacular as only the orchestra and the first tiers of seats have survived. What is surprising are the three parallel groves running around the orchestra (with a perimeter of
16.3 meters) which
suggest that the stage was movable.
The theatre faced the west, offering a great view over the plain of Messenia with in the distance the shimmering waters of the
The site of Thouria was discovered about ten years ago and has been identified thanks to inscriptions found among the shards and architectural remains revealing the size of Thouria. Based on the descriptions left by Pausanias and Strabo, we know that Thouria possessed many sanctuaries like a
, a goddess who
was specially honored since her image appears on Roman coins. More famous was
the Temple of Atagartis, a Syrian goddess not unlike Venus located next to the fish
tanks - it is not surprising that she
was represented as a fish. Temple
A citadel with parts of the antique wall including rectangular towers from the 4th century BC is still commanding the city.
From the classical era all the way down to the Roman occupation, Thouria sided alternatively with the Messinians and with the Spartans although their coins bear the initials of the Spartans.
It will be interesting to follow further excavations in and around Thouria.
[For this picture and more, see Realm of History]