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Therapnes (Greek: Θεράπνες), in ancient times Therapne (Ancient Greek: Θεράπνη), is a Municipal Unit (Demotikē Enotēta) of the municipality (Demos) of Sparti within the Regional Unit (Perifereiskē Enotēta) of Lakonia in the Region (Periferaia) of Peloponnēsos, one of 7 Regions into which the Hellenic Republic has been divided by the Kallikratis plan, authorized by Law 3852, Issue 1 of 7 June 2010 and Issue 2 of 11 August 2010 and implemented 1 January 2011 after elections of officers in November 2010.[1] Before 2011 Therapnes was a Demos of Lakonia according to Law 2539 of 1997, the Kapodistria Plan. Its seat was Gkoritsa, which now has no such status.

Both before the Kallikratis law and after it, Therapnes was composed of the same eight Local Communities (Topikē Koinotēta), the lowest level of the hierarchy: Agioi Anargyroi (formerly Zouraina), Agrianoi, Gkoritsa, Kallonē, Kefalas, Platana, Skoura and Chrysafoi. The population for the 2001 census can therefore be transferred from the old to the new system without loss of accuracy, but that of Sparti, which has different Municipal Units under the new system, cannot be. The population of Therapnes in the 2001 census, conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, was 3,062.


Therapnes covers the hill country on the left bank of the Eurotas River northeast to the slopes of Mt. Parnon. The Local Communities are each centered around a village. Each village has a history of its own, but the basis making Therapnes a distinct unit is the presence of the ruins of ancient Therapne, a Bronze Age city that stood on a ridge on the left bank of the Eurotas River, overlooking the Eurotas Valley and the site of Dorian Sparta, today's city of Sparti. The villages of Therapnes are in essence on or near the old road that led from Therapne or Dorian Sparta over Platanaki Pass just south of the main peak of Parnon to what is now South Kynouria in the eastern foreland of Parnonas and the Argolic and Myrtoan Gulfs. The pass connected Bronze Age Mycenae with its sister kingdom, Lacedaemon.

The ridge has an elevation of about 500 metres (1,600 feet). Its eminence over the river is about 230 metres (750 feet). From the top of the ridge the valley below appears as a sunken bowl between Mount Taygetus and Therapne, hence the Homeric epithet "Hollow Lacedaemon." There is no standard modern name of the ridge. Some refer to it as Mount Menelaus after the Menelaion, a temple that stood on the ridge, or the Menelaus Ridge, and others Mount Therapne.

Bronze Age Therapne

Mycenaean town

Therapne was among the most ancient communities of Greece. During the Bronze Age there was a large settlement at Therapne, with shrines to Menelaus and Helen.[2]

Therapne in legend

In mythological terms, it was said to derive its name from a nymph Therapne, daughter of Lelex, and Castor and Pollux were thought to have been born there.[3] While Pausanias writes that Therapne has "a temple of Menelaos" (3.19.9), Herodotus (6.61) calls the same building the temple of Helen.[4]


^ η Βουλή (11 August 2010), "ΤΕΥΧΟΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟ" (in Greek), NOMOΣ ΥΠ’ΑΡΙΘ. 3852: Νέα Αρχιτεκτονική της Αυτοδιοίκησης και της Αποκεντρωμένης Διοίκησης − Πρόγραμμα Καλλικράτης, ΕΦΗΜΕΡΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑΣ, p. 17434. Part 2 of the Kallicratis Plan law, No. 3852, publishing a table of all the official communities of Greece arranged in hierarchical order. The lowest-level populations are from the Census of 2001. All higher-level populations are the sums of the appropriate lower-level populations.
^ Sarah Pomeroy et al. (ed.), Ancient Greece, 2nd ed. (Oxford UP, 2008), p. 154.
^ John Lemprière, A Classical Dictionary (T. Cadell, 1831), p. 768.
^ Jennifer Lynn Larson, Greek Heroine Cults (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1995: ISBN 0299143708), p. 81.

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