AskDefine | Define Arcadia

Dictionary Definition

Arcadia n : a department of Greece in the central Peloponnese

User Contributed Dictionary



Proper noun

  1. A district or a prefecture in the central and mid SE Peloponnese that has a population of more than 110,000. Tripoli is the capital and a main city with a population over 22,000.
  2. A mountainous region of ancient Greece.
  3. A city in California, USA.
  4. A city in Louisiana, USA.
  5. Used as a name for an ideal region of rural and idyllic contentment.

Derived terms


A district or a prefecture in the central and mid SE Peloponnese

Extensive Definition

Arcadia or Arkadía (Greek Αρκαδία) is a region of Greece in the Peloponnesus. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas.

Modern Arcadia

Arcadia has its present-day capital at Tripoli. It forms the largest prefecture on the Peloponnesian peninsula. It currently covers about 18% of the entire peninsula, although it once extended to about 20 to 25% of the peninsula.
The prefecture has a skiing resort on Mount Maenalus, the Mainalon, located about 20 km NW of Tripoli. The other mountains include the Parnon in the southeast, the Artemisio, the Saita, the Skiathio, the Lykaia and Tsiberou.
The Greek National Road 7 (E65) highway, which was extended after 1997 and in 2003, runs through Arcadia on a north-west to south-east axis and nearly forms in the southwest the end of the highway. A thermoelectric power station which produces electricity for most of southern Greece, operates to the south of Megalopolis, along with a coal mine.
Arcadia has two tunnels. The Artemisio Tunnel opened first, followed by the tunnel east of Megalopolis; both serve traffic flowing between Messenia and Athens.
In agriculture, potato farms (dominant in central and northcentral Arcadia), mixed farming, olive groves, and pasture dominate the plains of Arcadia, especially in the area around Megalopolis and between Tripoli and Levidi. One of these cuisines were featured on Mega Channel's cooking show hosted by Mamalakis that was shown on prime time.
Theodoros Kolokotronis (1770 - 1843), a general in the Greek War of Independence (1821 - 1832), lived in Arcadia.
Dimitris Plapoutas (1786-1864), a general in the Greek War of Independence, also lived in Arcadia.
The chief cities and communities in the prefecture include Tripoli, Astros, Vytina, Dimitsana, Lagkadia, Leonidio, Leontari, Levidi, Megalopolis Paloumba and Stemnitsa.
Ancient cities include Asea, Astros, Athinaio, Daseae, Falaisia (Phalesia), Gortys, Hypsus (Stemnitsa, Irea, Lusi, Lykaio, Megalopoli, Tegea, Thoknia,. Trapezus, Tropaia, Tripoli and more.

Municipalities and communities

See also: List of settlements in the Arcadia prefecture


The climate consists of hot summers and mild winters in the eastern part, the southern part, the low lying areas and the central area at altitudes lower than 1,000 m. The area primarily receives rain during fall and winter months in the rest of Arcadia. Winter snow occurs commonly in the mountainous areas for much of the west and the northern part, the Taygetus area, the Mainalon.


Due to its remote, mountainous character, Arcadia has always been a classical refuge. So during the Dorian invasion, when Mycenaean Greek was replaced with Doric Greek along the coast of the Peloponnes, it survived in Arcadia, developing into the Arcadocypriot dialect of Classical Antiquity. Arcadocypriot never became a literary dialect, but it is known from inscriptions. Tsan is a letter of the Greek alphabet occurring only in Arcadia, shaped like Cyrillic И; it represents an affricate that developed from labiovelars in context where they became t in other dialects. Tsakonian Greek , still spoken on the coast of the modern prefecture of Arcadia, in the Classical period considered the southern Argolid coast immediately adjoining Arcadia, is a descendant of Doric Greek, and as such is an extraordinary example of a surviving regional dialect of archaic Greek. The capital of Tsakonia is the Arcadian coastal town of Leonidio.
One of the birthplaces reported for Zeus is Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia. Lycaon, a cannibalistic Pelasgian king, was transformed into a werewolf by Zeus. Lycaon's daughter was Callisto. It was also said to have been the birthplace of Zeus' son, Hermes.
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).
Arcadia later joined the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire. In the early-1st millennium, the area became a part of the Frankish Empire. In the mid-15th century, the region fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turks with some exceptions in the 16th century for a couple of years. During these periods, many towns and villages were founded.
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. It has been suggested that the phrase is an anagram for the Latin phrase "I! Tego arcana Dei", which translates to "Begone! I keep God's secrets."
After 400 years of occupation by the Ottomans, Arcadia was the epicentre of the Greek War of Independence which saw victories in their battles including one in Tripoli which saw the Greek revolutionaries slaughter around 30,000 Turks. 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 less than 100,000 people.
After World War II and the Greek Civil War, many villages and towns were rebuilt.
An enormous earthquake with a 5 Richter scale range shook Megalopoli and the surrounding area. 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 Chrousa, Leontari, Vasta, Tourkoleka, Dirahi, 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 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.

Sports teams

  • Arcadia Shepherds is the South African football (soccer) club from the city of Pretoria. The club was formed in 1903 and has been a source of players from its youth system that have gone on to higher profile careers overseas. The club's glory year was 1974, when it won every competition entered.
  • Asteras Tripolis is the Greek soccer club from the city of Tripoli.
  • Leonidio FC is the Greek soccer club from the town of Leonidio.


  • Atalanta, a Greek mythic woman said to have been the daughter of the King of Arcadia

References in popular culture

  • The area of the prefecture were featured in several ERT programs including documentaries on the Megalopoli Mine and Ladon Lake
  • In the 2006 Doctor Who episode 'Doomsday', the Doctor mentions being 'there at the fall of Arcadia', where Arcadia is insinuated to be an unspecified area of possible strategic importance in the Time War, unlikely to be the Arcadia of Greece.
  • In the video game BioShock, "Arcadia" is the name of an area in one of the levels, with an artificial forest and touted as a vacation paradise.
  • In the Stardust Classics children's fantasy novels, Arcadia is the name of a kingdom ruled by the young Princess Alissa.
  • In the film 300 Leonidas is joined by a group of Arcadians to help him fight against the Persians.
  • In Space Pirate Captain Harlock, the show's main ship is called Arcadia, perhaps hinting that the ship itself is a sort of refuge to pirates.
  • In the text MUD Achaea, Arcadia is the home of a race of winged humans (Atavians).
  • In the film The Scorpion King, the three assassins are Akkadians.
  • In the serie of games Megaman Zero, (Neo) Arcadia is the utopian city where humans live in apparent peace with reploids."
  • The word Arcadia has become a poetic idylism meaning "Utopia. Pete Doherty is among many who has used this symbol in their work."
  • The name of the planet in the game Skies of Arcadia is Arcadia. It is a planet with a completely barren wasteland floor level, but is mainly populated in it's sky, which has a large system of floating islands, each flourishing under six different colored moons that orbit the planet.
  • In the Playstation 2 Game Final Fantasy XII there is a militaristic city known as Archadia
  • In The TV series The Legend of Zelda the White Knight Character Appearing in Episode 3 comes from a city called Arcadia
  • The mythic world that adorns the album covers of the rock band Asia. Specifically the albums Alpha (1983) and Astra (1985)
Arcadia is the name of the number 1 ranked AC in Armored Core 3
Arcadia in Arabic: أركاديا
Arcadia in Bulgarian: Аркадия (ном)
Arcadia in Catalan: Arcàdia
Arcadia in Czech: Arkádie
Arcadia in Welsh: Arcadia
Arcadia in Danish: Arkadien
Arcadia in German: Arkadien
Arcadia in Estonian: Arkaadia
Arcadia in Modern Greek (1453-): Νομός Αρκαδίας
Arcadia in Spanish: Arcadia
Arcadia in Esperanto: Arkadio
Arcadia in French: Arcadie
Arcadia in Croatian: Arkadija
Arcadia in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Arcadia
Arcadia in Italian: Arcadia
Arcadia in Hebrew: ארקאדיה
Arcadia in Latin: Arcadia (nomus Graeciae)
Arcadia in Luxembourgish: Arkadien
Arcadia in Lithuanian: Arkadija
Arcadia in Dutch: Arcadië
Arcadia in Japanese: アルカディア
Arcadia in Norwegian: Arkadia (Hellas)
Arcadia in Norwegian Nynorsk: Arkadía
Arcadia in Polish: Arkadia (kraina historyczna)
Arcadia in Portuguese: Arcádia
Arcadia in Romanian: Arcadia
Arcadia in Russian: Аркадия
Arcadia in Simple English: Arcadia
Arcadia in Slovak: Arkádia
Arcadia in Serbian: Аркадија
Arcadia in Finnish: Arkadia
Arcadia in Swedish: Arkadien
Arcadia in Turkish: Arkadya
Arcadia in Chinese: 阿卡迪亚 (希腊)
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