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Peloponnese Guide: Ancient and Modern Argos in Argolida Prefecture Page 3

The city was later under the control of Perseus and his descendants. Dominating the northeast Peloponnese and rivaled by Sparta, it began its decline in the late 6th century BC, but during the Classical period boasted a remarkable school of bronze sculptors, the most famous of whom was Polykleitos (452-412BC), who was considered unsurpassed in his statues of male figures. Though prosperous once more under the Romans, it was supplanted in importance by Nauplio and was destroyed by the Turks in 1397). During the Greek War of Independence, it held out against the Ottoman Turks in its fortress, and the Greek National Assembly held meetings in its ancient theater in 1822 and 1829.

The very extensive site of Argos is open Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm; X euros admission. In the Agora (1km from the modern town on the Tripolis road, and is divided into two sections by the road), there are remains of a large building (perhaps a place for official council meetings during the Roman era). The bath complex with its mosaic floors are of interest, as are the starting blocks for horse-races. There are also foundations of a Roman temple, remains of a nymphaeum, and huge drainage channels vaulted with brick (Roman era). Pre-Roman history of the site is scant. On the other side of the road is found Hellenistic paving covering that of earlier periods. There is a Roman bath building from the 2nd-1st century with some marble-faced baths , sarcophagi in a crypt, and remnants of the old hypocaust heating system (with hollow spaces under the floor where heat from a furnace is channeled). Fragments of mosaic floor attest to the beauty of the building in its day.

the theaterThe Theater, (left) hewn into the side of a hill, was built by Greeks during the Classical era (around 4th century BC) and twice remodeled by the Romans.

It is estimated to have held an audience of 20,000 (six thousand more than the theater of Epidauros) and is rivaled on the Greek mainland only by the theaters at Dodona and Megalopolis.

The orchestra was paved in blue and white marble during the 4th century AD when it was turned into a waterproof basin where naval contests were held.

81 rows of seats remain in the rock-cut central section.

the OdeonPortions remain of the old Aqueduct as well as a Roman Odeon (right) from the 1st century AD which was built on top of an older second theater.

Halfway up the ancient road to the acropolis is the church Our Lady of the Rock built on the site of the Temple of Hera Arabia. Hera (in Greek Ira-pronounced 'Ear-ah') was an earth goddess transformed by the Greeks into the legal wife of Zeus, who presided over marriage and transcendent love in the union of marriage.

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