What Does Peloponnesus Mean in Ancient Greece?

Peloponnesus is a region located in southern Greece, which is separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. It is a peninsula that has played an essential role in ancient Greek history and mythology. The name Peloponnesus is derived from two Greek words, “Pelops” and “nesos,” meaning the “island of Pelops.”

The Mythical Origin of Peloponnesus

According to Greek mythology, Peloponnesus was named after Pelops, the son of Tantalus and the grandson of Zeus. Tantalus invited the gods to a banquet and served them his own son’s flesh as a test of their divinity.

Zeus was disgusted and punished Tantalus by sending him to Tartarus, while he brought Pelops back to life with an ivory shoulder. Pelops later became king of Olympia and gave his name to the region.

The Historical Significance of Peloponnesus

Peloponnesus was home to some of the most powerful city-states in ancient Greece, including Sparta, Corinth, Argos, and Mycenae. These city-states were known for their military prowess, political influence, and cultural achievements.


Sparta was famous for its military system and its strict social hierarchy. The Spartan army was one of the most feared in ancient Greece, and Spartan warriors were trained from a young age to become skilled soldiers.


Corinth was a major center for trade and commerce in ancient Greece. Its strategic location allowed it to control both land and sea routes between northern Greece and southern Greece.


Argos was one of the oldest city-states in ancient Greece and played an important role in Greek mythology. It was believed that Hera, the queen of the gods, was born in Argos.


Mycenae was the center of the Mycenaean civilization, which flourished in Greece from around 1600 BC to 1100 BC. The Mycenaeans were known for their impressive fortifications, such as the famous Lion Gate.


Peloponnesus is a region with a rich history and mythology. Its city-states were famous for their military prowess, political influence, and cultural achievements. From Sparta’s feared army to Corinth’s strategic location, Peloponnesus played an essential role in ancient Greek history.