1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Achaea

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ACHAEA, a district on the northern coast of the Peloponnese, stretching from the mountain ranges of Erymanthus and Cyllene on the S. to a narrow strip of fertile land on the N., bordering the Corinthian Gulf, into which the mountain Panachaicus projects. Achaea is bounded on the W. by the territory of Elis, on the E. by that of Sicyon, which, however, was sometimes included in it. The origin of the name has given rise to much speculation; the current theory is that the Achaeans (q.v.) were driven back into this region by the Dorian invaders of the Peloponnese. Another Achaea, in the south of Thessaly, called sometimes Achaea Phthiotis, has been supposed to be the cradle of the race. In Roman times the name of the province of Achaea was given to the whole of Greece, except Thessaly, Epirus, and Acarnania. Herodotus (i. 145) mentions the twelve cities Of Achaea; three met as a religious confederacy in the temple of Poseidon Heliconius at Helice; for their later history see Achaean League. During the middle ages, after the Latin conquest of the Eastern Empire, Achaea was a Latin principality, the first prince being William de Champlitte (d. 1209). It survived, with various dismemberments, until 1430, when the last prince, Centurione Zaccaria, ceded the remnant of it to his son-in-law, Theodorus II., despot of Mistra. In 1460 it was conquered, with the rest of the Morea, by the Turks. In modern times the coast of Achaea is mainly given up to the currant industry; the currants are shipped from Patras, the second town of Greece, and from Aegion (Vostitza).