Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


(pĕl'əpənē`səs) or


(pâ'lôpô`nyēsôs), formerly


(mōrē`ə), peninsula (1991 pop. 1,086,935), c.8,300 sq mi (21,500 sq km), S Greece. It is linked with central Greece by the Isthmus of Corinth, and it is washed by the Aegean Sea on the east and southeast, by the Ionian Sea on the southwest and west, and by the gulfs of Pátrai and Corinth on the north. Its deeply indented south coast terminates in Cape Matapan. Mainly mountainous, the region includes the Taygetus, Kyllene, and Erímanthos mts. The Evrótas and Alfiós are the chief rivers. Near Pátrai in the north, the Charilaos Trikoupis, or Rio–Antirrio, Bridge (2004) connects the peninusula with mainland Greece.


Predominately agricultural and pastoral, the Peloponnesus produces currants, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, olives, tobacco, and wheat. The most fertile parts of the peninsula are the coastal strips in the north and west. Sheep and goat raising, textile manufacturing, fishing, and sericulture are major sources of income. There are deposits of pyrite, manganese, lignite, and chromium. The peninsula attracts many tourists; the port cities of Pátrai, Corinth, Kalamata, and Návplion are the main modern centers of the Peloponnesus.


Originally populated by Leleges and Pelasgians (said to have been the builders of MycenaeMycenae
, ancient city of Greece, in Argolis. In historical times it had little importance and was usually dependent on Argos. Its significance is in its remote past as a center of Mycenaean civilization.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and TirynsTiryns
, ancient city of Greece, in the NE Peloponnesus, 2.5 mi (4 km) N of Nauplia (now Návplion) and near Argos. The site seems to have been inhabited since the 3d millennium B.C. It was a city of splendor from c.1600 to c.1100 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
), the peninsula was later occupied by the AchaeansAchaeans,
people of ancient Greece, of unknown origin. In Homer, the Achaeans are specifically a Greek-speaking people of S Thessaly. Historically, they seem to have appeared in the Peloponnesus during the 14th and 13th cent. B.C., and c.1250 B.C. they became the ruling class.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and then by the DoriansDorians,
people of ancient Greece. Their name was mythologically derived from Dorus, son of Hellen. Originating in the northwestern mountainous region of Epirus and SW Macedonia, they migrated through central Greece and into the Peloponnesus probably between 1100 and 950 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who dominated the Peloponnesus in historic times. The chief ancient divisions of the Peloponnesus were Elis, Achaea, Argolis, and the city-state of CorinthCorinth
or Kórinthos
, city (1991 pop. 27,412), capital of Corinth prefecture, S Greece, in the NE Peloponnesus, on the Gulf of Corinth. It is a port and major transportation center trading in olives, tobacco, raisins, and wine.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in the north; Arcadia in the center; and Lacedaemonia (comprising MesseniaMessenia
, ancient region of SW Greece, in the Peloponnesus and corresponding to the modern nome of Messinías. Excavation has revealed an important center of Mycenaean culture at Pylos dating from the 13th cent. B.C. From the 8th cent. B.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Laconia) in the south. SpartaSparta
, city of ancient Greece, capital of Laconia, on the Eurotas (Evrótas) River in the Peloponnesus. Spartan Society

Sparta's government was headed by two hereditary kings furnished by two families; they were titular leaders in battle and in religion.
..... Click the link for more information.
, Corinth, ArgosArgos
, city of ancient Greece, in NE Peloponnesus, 3 mi (4.8 km) inland from the Gulf of Argos, near the modern Nauplia. It was occupied from the early Bronze Age and is mentioned in Homer's Iliad as the kingdom of Diomed.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and megalopolismegalopolis
[Gr.,=great city], a group of densely populated metropolitan areas that combine to form an urban complex. It was first used in its modern sense by Jean Gottman (1957) to describe the huge urban area along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Boston to
..... Click the link for more information.
 were among its chief cities in ancient times.

With the exception of Achaea and Argos, the whole peninsula participated in the Persian WarsPersian Wars,
500 B.C.–449 B.C., series of conflicts fought between Greek states and the Persian Empire. The writings of Herodotus, who was born c.484 B.C., are the great source of knowledge of the history of the wars.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (500–449 B.C.). At the time of the Peloponnesian WarPeloponnesian War
, 431–404 B.C., decisive struggle in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta. It ruined Athens, at least for a time. The rivalry between Athens' maritime domain and Sparta's land empire was of long standing. Athens under Pericles (from 445 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (5th cent. B.C.) almost the entire peninsula was dominated by Sparta. Spartan hegemony, which after the defeat of Athens extended over all Greece, was broken in the 4th cent. B.C. by Epaminondas of Thebes, who thus prepared the way for the establishment of Macedonian supremacy over the Peloponnesus by Philip II of Macedon. The Second Achaean LeagueAchaean League
, confederation of cities on the Gulf of Corinth. The First Achaean League, about which little is known, was formed presumably before the 5th cent. B.C. and lasted through the 4th cent. B.C. Its purpose was mutual protection against pirates.
..... Click the link for more information.
, unable to shake off the Macedonian yoke, was ended in 146 B.C. by the Roman conquest of the Peloponnesus. Under Roman and Byzantine rule the Peloponnesus was reduced to provincial status and in the centuries that followed was repeatedly raided and invaded by Slavs, Bulgars, and Pechenegs.

When, in 1204, the leaders of the Fourth Crusade established the Latin Empire of Constantinople (see Constantinople, Latin Empire ofConstantinople, Latin Empire of,
1204–61, feudal empire established in the S Balkan Peninsula and the Greek archipelago by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) after they had sacked (1204) Constantinople; also known as the empire of Romania
..... Click the link for more information.
), the French Villehardouin family received the principality of Achaia or Achaea (i.e., the Peloponnesus) as fief, except for several ports, which passed to Venice. A French feudal state was created and enjoyed a period of great prosperity and chivalrous culture under the Villehardouin princes. Many castles remain to show the unique mixture of French feudal culture and Hellenistic civilization that flourished in the Peloponnesus in the 13th cent. After the death (1278) of William of Villehardouin, the last prince, the principality passed first to the Angevin dynasty of Naples (by marriage), later to various nobles, and in 1383 to a body of Navarrese soldier-adventurers.

The Byzantine Greeks meanwhile had gradually recovered a good part of the peninsula, and in 1432 they achieved complete control. Their triumph, however, was short-lived, for by 1460 Sultan Muhammad II had conquered the peninsula and annexed it to the Ottoman Empire. In the Turko-Venetian Wars from the 15th cent. until the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), Venice held parts of the Peloponnesus at various times and the entire peninsula from 1687 to 1715. As a result of the Greek War of Independence (1821–29) the peninsula passed to independent Greece.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a peninsula in Greece, the southern part of the Balkan peninsula. It is connected with the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth, which is cut by the Corinth Canal. Area, 21,500 sq km.

The Peloponnesus is washed by the waters of the Ionian and Aegean seas and their gulfs. Its shoreline is deeply indented, with many gulfs, bays, and peninsulas. Mountains predominate, composed primarily of Mesozoic and Paleogenic limestones, marbles, sandstones, conglomerates, and marls and schists. The chief mountain ranges, which have rocky limestone crests, are the Taiyetos, with elevations to 2,404 m (at Mount Ayios Ilias), and Parnon. In the central part is the Arcadian karst plateau, with karren, conical depressions, and poljes.

The Peloponnesus has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Annual precipitation ranges from 400 mm in the east to 1,000 mm in the west; in summer there is drought. The peninsula’s vegetation is primarily scrub and evergreen (maquis) in the west and evergreen deciduous (xerophytic) in the east. On the western windward slopes are remnants of oak, fir, and pine forests. Much of the area is rocky wasteland. Olives, citrus and other fruits, tobacco, wheat, and corn are cultivated in the basins and valleys, and there are orchards. Livestock is raised, primarily sheep and goats. The cities of Sparta, Corinth, and Patras are located on the Peloponnesus, as are the ruins of Mycenae and Olympia.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Rahe points out, Leonidas and the 300 would go down to defeat in 480 BCE at Thermopylae because the main Spartan army was detained at home celebrating a religious festival in the Peloponnesus.
(19) And in the Apollodorus Epitome 2.5 the race Hippodameia's suitors had to run against Oenomaus is from Olympia to Corinth (a distance of over 180 kilometers) from west to east along a line that would separate the whole of Achaea, most of Elis and parts of Arcadia and Corinth from the rest of the Peloponnesus. Failure to beat Oenomaus was punished by death; and as many as twelve had died by the time Pelops made his challenge.
When we reached the base of the Peloponnesus, we were in the province of Messinia, where my father was born in 1896.
[31] Rozos D., Bathrellos D.G., Skillodimou D.H., 2011, "Comparison of the implementation of rock engineering system and analytic hierarchy process methods, upon landslide susceptibility mapping, using GIS: a case study from the Eastern Achaia County of Peloponnesus, Greece," Environ.
The one is located in Trikala city, in central Greece, and the second one is placed in Sparta city, in south part of Peloponnesus and in the lower part of continental Greece.
There ate no spirits of dead Greeks here, and the action is far from the cursed Peloponnesus of La citta morta.
candidate at the University of Peloponnesus, Greece.
Codrus, the laser of the Kings of Athens, sacrificed himself during the Dorian invasion of Peloponnesus (ca.
We're in Monemvasia, the Gibraltar like rock off" the East Coast of the Peloponnesus. Many narrow passages wind through its residential quarter, up and down the small town of churches, forts, and private dwellings.
It is as if some large creature had emerged from the water and spread its arms at Boka, making a circle with them so that the fingers interlace at Belgrade, at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, encircling Hercegovina and part of Croatia, mountainous Bosnia and, to the south, across the plains of Macedonia to the Peloponnesus and Athens, including Crete.
(2008) analysed Late Holocene tsunami traces on the Western and Southern coastlines of the Peloponnesus (Greece).