Peninsula, forming the southern part of mainland Greece.A large, mountainous body of land jutting south into the Mediterranean Sea, the peninsula has an area of 8,278 sq mi (21,439 sq km) and is joined to the rest of mainland Greece by the Isthmus of Corinth. The Mycenaean civilization flourished there in the 2nd millennium BC at Mycenae and Pylos. Its chief cities during the classical period were Corinth and Sparta. Under the Romans it was part of the province of Achaea from 146 BC to с 4th century AD. It was part of the Byzantine Empire until it was taken by the Franks; they held it in the 13th–15th centuries, when it was often known as Morea. The modern city of Patras (pop., 2001: 163,446), in the north, is a commercial centre.
* * *also called Peloponnesus , Modern Greek Pelopónnisospeninsula of 8,278 square miles (21,439 square km), a large, mountainous body of land jutting southward into the Mediterranean that since antiquity has been a major region of Greece, joined to the rest of mainland Greece by the Isthmus of Corinth. The name, which is derived from Pelopos Nisos (Island of Pelops, a legendary hero), does not appear in Homer, who preferred to apply the name of Argos, a Mycenaean city-state, to the whole peninsula. The Mycenaean civilization flourished in the 2nd millennium BC at such centres as Mycenae, Tiryns, and Pylos. The city-state of Sparta was long the major rival of Athens for political and economic dominion over Greece during the classical period, from about the 5th century BC until the Roman conquest in the 2nd century. Under the Byzantine Empire the Peloponnese suffered repeated incursions by warrior tribes from the north. In the 13th century AD it was taken by the Franks, who held it for two centuries until it reverted to the last Byzantine emperors. It was conquered by the Turks in 1460. By the 14th century the Peloponnese was known as the Morea (Mulberry), first applied to Elis, a northwestern mulberry-growing district, and it was the site of the Despotate of Morea. Patras ( Pátrai), the major city in modern times, located in the northern Peloponnese, has continued to gain commercial importance since the War of Greek Independence (1821–29). Highways link all the major regions of the Peloponnese, and there is an independent railway network that serves all the districts except Laconia.
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