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Lycosura was a city of Arcadia said by Pausanias to be the oldest city in the world, though there is no evidence for its existence before the fourth century BCE. Its current significance is chiefly associated with the sanctuary of the goddess Despoina, which contained a colossal sculptural group perhaps made by Damophon of Messene; this group comprises acrolithic-technique statues of Despoina and Demeter seated on a throne, with statues of Artemis and the Titan Anytos standing on either side of them – all in Pentelic marble. The dates of both the temple and the sculptural group have occasioned some dispute. Remains of a stoa, altars and other structures have also been found. The Sanctuary of Despoina at Lycosoura is located 9 km WSW of Megalopolis, 6.9 km SSE of Mount Lykaion, and 160 km SW of Athens.

There is a small museum at the archaeological site housing small finds as well as part of the cult group, while the remains of the cult statues of Despoina and Demeter are displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. In the 2nd century CE, the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias, relying on personal observations, available texts and consultation with local persons, wrote the only extant account of the city and its sanctuary. He relates that Lycosura was founded by Lycaon the son of Pelasgus and that it was the oldest city in the world (



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