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Ancient Mantineia Page 2

map of the areaThis battle marked the fourth and last Theban invasion of the Morea. During the following century, the Mantineians joned the Achaean League and enjoyed victory against Kleomenes, but Mantineia was later captured by Antigonos Doson during a revolt by the city against Macedonian dominance of the League. There was yet another Batlle of Mantineia in 208 BC in which the Acheaeans defeated the Lakedaimonians.

The walls, built during the 4th centuryBC,may have been built by the same Theban architects that built contemporary Messene. The circuit is elliptical and amost complete to this day, with a perimeter of amost 4km. Encircled by the diverted Ophis river, they were constructed of large square of polygonal blocks, with four courses still standing. The wall was 4meters/13.12feet thick and there were over 120 square towers placed about 26meters apart, with ten gates. Inside the walls are remains of the theater (dating from Roman times), the Agora (marketplace) and Council House. In 1979, a cemetery dating from late Classical to Roman times) was excavated at Milia, to the west. The site of Mantineia is open Tues-Sun, *:30am-3pm;free). Visitors to the site will notice a nearby rather bizarre modern church built in a mad combination of period styles: Minoan-Classical-Egyptian-Byzantine-- said to be dedicated to 'The Virgin, the Muses, and Beethoven'. Its creator was a Greek-American architect, whose fanciful creation was erected during the 1970s.

The Mantineia area is replete with grapevines. A local white grape variety known as 'Moskhofiliro'is grown here, which resembles the Muscat (as does its name). From it is produced some very good white wine in both dry and sparkling varieties. The Tselepos family has revived these wines (and the grapes) during the last three decades, with new model wineries with wine tasting shops on the same road as the site. Before the site is also a late 19th century winery built by Greek wine-making pioneer Alexandhros Kambas, which may or may not be open to the public.

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