The Taygetus, Taugetus, Taygetos or Taÿgetus (Greek: Ταΰγετος) is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. The highest mountain of the range is Mount Taygetus, also known as the "Profitis Ilias", or "Prophet Elias". The name is one of the oldest recorded in Europe, appearing in the Odyssey. In classical mythology, it was associated with the nymph Taygete. During Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was also known as Pentadaktylos (Πενταδάκτυλος; Greek for five-fingered, a common name during that period).
The Taygetus Massif is about 100 km (62 mi) long, extending from the center of the Peloponnese to Cape Matapan, its southernmost extremity. It contains the tallest mountain in the Peloponnese, the Profitis Ilias summit, reaching 2,404 m (7,887 ft); this is probably the classical Mount Taléton mentioned by Pausanias. The summit is an ultra-prominent peak. It is prominent above the Isthmus of Corinth, which separating the Peloponnese from mainland Greece, rises only to approximately 60 m (200 ft). Numerous creeks wash down from the mountains and the Eurotas has some of its headwaters in the northern part of the range. The western side of the massif houses the headwaters of the Vyros Gorge, which carries winter snowmelt down the mountain, emptying into the Messenian Gulf in the town of Kardamyli.
The slopes of Taygetus are heavily forested, primarily with Greek fir (Abies cephalonica) and black pine (Pinus nigra).
The slopes of Taygetus have been inhabited since at least Mycenean times. The site of Arkina, near the village of Arna, contains three beehive tombs and is still unexplored. Taygetus was important as one of Sparta's natural defenses. The Spartans threw criminals and "unfit" (weak, sickly, deformed, or mentally challenged ) infants into a chasm of Taygetus known as Ceadas or Caeadas (Greek: Καιάδας). In antiquity, Spartan newborns were abandoned there if deemed unfit after examination for vitality. Recent evidence, found by the University of Athens, discovered remains of adult individuals which appeared to confirm that Ceadas was mainly a place of punishment for criminals, traitors and captives. During the era of barbarian invasions, Taygetus served as a shelter for the native population. Many of the villages in its slopes date from this period. In Medieval times, the citadel and monastery of Mystras was built on the steep slopes, and became a center of Byzantine civilization and served as the capital of the Despotate of the Morea. Mystras remains occupied by a tiny religious community.