Ancient History Geographically, ancient Arcadia occupied the highlands at the centre of the Peloponnese. To the north, it bordered Achaea along the ridge of high ground running from Mount Erymanthos to Mount Cyllene; most of Mount Aroania lay within Arcadia. To the east, it had borders with Argolis and Corinthia along the ridge of high groud running from Mount Cyllene round to Mount Oligyrtus and then south Mount Parthenius. To the south, the border Laconia and Messenia ran through the foothills of the Parnon and Taygetos mountain ranges, such that Arcadia contained all the headwaters of the Alpheios river, but none of the Eurotas river. To the south-west, the border with Messania ran along the tops of Mount Nomia, and Mount Elaeum, and from there the border with Elis ran along the valleys of the Erymanthos and Diagon rivers. Most of the region of Arcardia was mountainous, apart from the plains around Tegea and Megalopolis, and the valleys of the Alpheios and Ladon rivers. Due to its remote, mountainous character, Arcadia seems to have been a cultural refuge. When, during the Greek Dark AgeDoric Greek dialects were introduced to the Peloponnese, the older language apparently survived in Arcadia, and formed part of the Arcado-Cypriot group of Greek languages. Herodotus says that the inhabitants of Arcadia were Pelasgians, the Greek name for the supposed ‘indigenous’ inhabitants of Greece, who dwelt there before the arrival of the ‘Hellenic’ tribes.[5] Whilst Herodotus seems to have found the idea that the Pelasgians were not ‘Greek’ far-fetched, it is clear that the Arcadians were considered as the original inhabitants of the region.[6] Arcadia is one of the regions described in the “catalogue of ships” in the Iliad.[7] There is a modern prefecture of Greece of the same name, which is more extensive than the ancient region.

Medieval History

After the collapse of the Roman power in the west, Arcadia became part of the Byzantine Empire. Arcadia remained a rustic, secluded area, and its inhabitants became proverbial as primitive herdsmen leading simple pastoral unsophisticated yet happy lives, to the point that Arcadia may refer to some imaginary idyllic paradise, immortalized by Virgil‘s Eclogues, and later by Jacopo Sannazaro in his pastoral masterpiece, Arcadia (1504); see also Arcadia (utopia). After the fourth crusade, the area became a part of the Principality of Achaea. In the mid-15th century, the region fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turkswith some exceptions in the 16th century for a couple of years. The Latin phrase Et in Arcadia ego which is usually interpreted to mean “I am also in Arcadia” or “I am even in Arcadia” is an example of memento mori, a cautionary reminder of the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death. The phrase is most often associated with a 1647 painting by Nicolas Poussin, also known as “The Arcadian Shepherds”. In the painting the phrase appears as an inscription on a tomb discovered by youthful figures in classical garb.

Modern history

After 400 years of occupation by the Ottomans, Arcadia was the centre of the Greek War of Independence which saw victories in their battles including one in Tripoli. After a victorious revolutionary war, Arcadia was finally incorporated into a newly-created Greek state. Arcadia saw economic growth and small emigration. In the 20th century, Arcadia experienced extensive population loss through emigration, mostly to the Americas. Many Arcadian villages lost almost half their inhabitants, and fears arose that they would turn into ghost towns. Arcadia now has a smaller population than Corinthia. Demographers expected that its population would halve between 1951 and the early 21st century. The prefectural population is in a range to a point that could fall below the 100,000 mark which could make it the next prefecture in Greece to have fewer than 100,000 people. After World War II and the Greek Civil War, many villages and towns were rebuilt. An enormous earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale range shook Megalopoli and the surrounding area in 1965. Many buildings were destroyed, leaving people homeless. Within a couple of years, the buildings were rebuilt anti-seismically. In 1967, construction began on the Megalopoli Power Plant. It began operating in 1970, producing electricity for southern Greece. A mining area south of the plant is the largest mining area in the peninsula and continues to the present day with one settlement moved. Water problems troubled local residents protesting over the rights of water usage with the Argolida and its new reservoir near Saga, on July 3, 2007. On July 27, a wildfire broke out in Gortynia in the western portion, threatening several nearby villages and burning a small portion of the forested area. Less than a month later, another minor forest fire occurred near Tropaia, on Thursday August 23. A day later, the minor fire became a major blaze beginning in the southwest of Arcadia Soulos. Arson-related fires spread and burned villages including ChrousaLeontariVastaTourkolekaDirahi, near Megalopoli, Makryssi and Anavryto, and burned around 5% of the prefecture and the southwestern portion. The fire raging in the southern Ilia prefecture spread into Arcadia, and began to burn Atsicholos and the area around Karytaina. Residents prevented the fire from entering Megalopoli, Karytaina, and its surrounding area by chopping down trees, preventing it from entering the village; helicopters received water from Lake Taka and the sea. The fires continued from Friday August 24, with high winds and hot temperatures reported at 42°C; the outbreaks slowed three days later but progressed on Tuesday August 27. The blazes finally died down when temperatures dropped and a low pressure system from southern Europe brought rain into the area; roads had been closed and electricity cut off for several days. At the extinguishing of the fire, hundreds of mobile homes were sent to inhabitants who had lost houses. Trees and a number of groves are to be planted, but it is expected to take a few years to restore part of the area’s natural beauty and forest. Less seriously for the area, Kynouria experienced weather problems in the winter, with a snowstorm affecting Leonidi and the village of Agios Petros on February 10, 2008. In 2008, a theory proposed by Classicist, Hellenic historian and researcher Christos A. Mergoupis, states that the mummified remains of Alexander the Great (not his actual tomb), may in fact be located in Gortynia-Arkadia, in the Peloponnesus of Greece. Since 2008, the new research is an ongoing work in progress and is still being currently conducted in Greece. The research was first mentioned on CNN International in May 2008. Alexander the Great New Research: Are His Mummified Remains In Gortynia-Arkadia, Greece? Alexander the Great Discovery-New Important Research Conducted in Greece

source Wikipaedia

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