Vale of Tempe


Vale of Tempe

The Vale of Tempe (modern Greek: Témpi), celebrated by the Greek poets as a favorite haunt of Apollo and the Muses, is the ancient name of a gorge in northern Thessaly, Greece, located between Olympus to the north and Ossa to the south. The valley is 10 kilometers long and as narrow as 25 meters in places, with cliffs nearly 500 meters high, and through it flows the Pineios River on its way to the Aegean Sea. On the right bank of the Pineios sat a temple to Apollo, near which the laurels used to crown the victorious in the Pythian Games were gathered. The Vale of Tempe also was home for a time to Aristaeus, son of Apollo and Cyrene, and it was here that he chased Eurydice, wife of Orpheus, who, in her flight, was bitten by a serpent and died. In the thirteenth century AD a church dedicated to Aghia (Saint) Paraskevi was erected in the valley.

The Tempe Pass is a strategic pass in Greece since it is the main route from Larisa through the mountains to the coast. Because of this it has been the scene of numerous battles throughout history. However, it can be bypassed from the Sarantoporo Pass with which does take longer. In 480 BC 10,000 Athenians and Spartans tried to stop Xerxes's invasion, but the Persians bypassed the Greek force by marching through Sarantoporo. During the Third Macedonian War in 164 BC the Romans broke through Perseus of Macedon's defence's and later defeated him in the battle of Pydna. During the revolution of Andriskos in 148 BC the valley was the site of another conflict. There were other battles fought there during the barbarian raids that mark the end of the Roman era in Greece and in Byzantine and Ottoman times. Today to most Greeks, Tempe is also notorious for the very bad condition of the road that passes through the area and the horrible accidents that have happened there, such as the one in 2003 in which an entire 11th grade class of 21 students from the village of Makrochori (Prefecture of Imathia) perished when their coach collided with a truck carrying timber. Although the driver was able to reduce the truck's velocity in just a few seconds, forward momentum was conserved by the timber which detached from the back of the vehicle and smashed into the left side of the coach, instantly killing many of the victims. The cities of Tempe, Arizona, USA and Tempe, New South Wales, Australia are named for it, as is a farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, with nearby farms named Olympus and Ossa.

External links

* [http://www.livius.org/a/greece/tempe/tempe.html Livius.org: Tempe (Témbi)]


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