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Megara

Megara

Overview
Megara is an ancient city (pop. 23,032 in 2001) in Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

 opposite the island of Salamis
Salamis Island
Salamis , is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 km west of Athens. The chief city, Salamina , lies in the west-facing core of the crescent on Salamis Bay, which opens into the Saronic Gulf...

, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King Pandion II
Pandion II
In Greek mythology, Pandion II was son and heir of Cecrops II, King of Athens. and his wife Metiadusa. He was exiled from Athens by the sons of his uncle Metion who sought to put Metion on the throne. Pandion fled to Megara where he married Pylia, daughter of King Pylas. Later, Pylas went into...

, of whom Nisos
Nisos
In Greek mythology, Nisos was the King of Megara, and one of the four sons of Pandion II, King of Athens.He was married to Abrota, sister of Megareus, and when she died, Nisos commanded that the Megarian women wear clothes like she had. His daughter Eurynome, with Poseidon, had the famous son...

 was the ruler of Megara. Megara was also a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis.
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Encyclopedia
Megara is an ancient city (pop. 23,032 in 2001) in Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

 opposite the island of Salamis
Salamis Island
Salamis , is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 km west of Athens. The chief city, Salamina , lies in the west-facing core of the crescent on Salamis Bay, which opens into the Saronic Gulf...

, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King Pandion II
Pandion II
In Greek mythology, Pandion II was son and heir of Cecrops II, King of Athens. and his wife Metiadusa. He was exiled from Athens by the sons of his uncle Metion who sought to put Metion on the throne. Pandion fled to Megara where he married Pylia, daughter of King Pylas. Later, Pylas went into...

, of whom Nisos
Nisos
In Greek mythology, Nisos was the King of Megara, and one of the four sons of Pandion II, King of Athens.He was married to Abrota, sister of Megareus, and when she died, Nisos commanded that the Megarian women wear clothes like she had. His daughter Eurynome, with Poseidon, had the famous son...

 was the ruler of Megara. Megara was also a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in the exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea
Nisaea
Nisaea was the main port of ancient Megara.According to Thucydides , the distance of the port from Megara itself was about eight Greek furlongs; Fraser says it is a mile and a half from the modern town. When Megara joined the Athenian alliance c...

, to the east on the Saronic Gulf
Saronic Gulf
The Saronic Gulf or Gulf of Aegina in Greece forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus.-Geography:The gulf includes the islands of; Aegina, Salamis, and Poros along with...

 of the Aegean Sea.

Early history


In historical times, Megara was an early dependency of Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, in which capacity colonists from Megara founded Megara Hyblaea
Megara Hyblaea
Megara Hyblaea – perhaps identical with Hybla Major – is the name of an ancient Greek colony in Sicily, situated near Augusta on the east coast, north-northwest of Syracuse, Italy, on the deep bay formed by the Xiphonian promontory...

, a small polis north of Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

 in Sicily. Megara then fought a war of independence with Corinth, and afterwards founded (c. 667 BC) Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

, as well as Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

 (685 BC). Megara was known for its money in historical times.

In the late seventh century BC Theagenes established himself as tyrant of Megara reportedly by slaughtering the cattle of the rich to win over the poor. During the second Persian invasion of Greece (480-479 BC) Megara fought alongside the Spartans and Athenians at crucial battles such as Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 and Plataea
Battle of Plataea
The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes...

.

Megara's defection from the Spartan dominated Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

 (c.460 BC) was one of the causes of the First Peloponnesian War
First Peloponnesian War
The First Peloponnesian War was fought between Sparta as the leaders of the Peloponnesian League and Sparta's other allies, most notably Thebes, and the Delian League led by Athens with support from Argos. This war consisted of a series of conflicts and minor wars, such as the Second Sacred War...

. By the terms of the Thirty Years' Peace
Thirty Years' Peace
The Thirty Years' Peace was a treaty, signed between the ancient Greek city-states Athens and Sparta, in the year 446/445 BC. The treaty brought an end to the conflict commonly known as the First Peloponnesian War, which had been raging since c.460 BC....

 of 446-445 BC Megara was returned to the Peloponnesian League.

In the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 (c. 431 BC
431 BC
Year 431 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cincinnatus and Mento...

-404 BC
404 BC
Year 404 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Volusus, Cossus, Fidenas, Ambustus, Maluginensis and Rutilus...

), Megara was an ally of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

. The Megarian decree
Megarian decree
The Megarian Decree was a set of economic sanctions levied upon Megara circa 432 BC by the Athenian Empire shortly before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. The ostensible reason for the Decree was the Megarians' supposed trespass on land sacred to Demeter and the killing of the Athenian herald...

 is considered to be one of several contributing "causes" of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. The Megarian decree was issued by Athens with the purpose of choking out the Megarian economy. The decree stated that Megarian merchants were not allowed in territory controlled by Athens.

The most famous citizen of Megara in antiquity was Byzas
Byzas
In Greek legend, Byzas was the eponymous founder of Byzantium , the city later known as Constantinople and Istanbul.-Founding of Byzantium:...

, the legendary founder of Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 in the 7th century BC. The 6th century BC poet Theognis
Theognis of Megara
Theognis of Megara was an ancient Greek poet active sometime in the sixth century BC. The work attributed to him consists of gnomic poetry quite typical of the time, featuring ethical maxims and practical advice about life...

 also came from Megara. In the early 4th century BC, Euclid of Megara
Euclid of Megara
Euclid of Megara was a Greek Socratic philosopher who founded the Megarian school of philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BCE, and was present at his death. He held the supreme good to be one, eternal and unchangeable, and denied the existence of anything contrary to the...

 founded the Megarian school of philosophy
Megarian school of philosophy
The Megarian school of philosophy , which flourished in the 4th century BC, was founded by Euclid of Megara, one of the pupils of Socrates. Its ethical teachings were derived from Socrates, recognizing a single good, which was apparently combined with the Eleatic doctrine of Unity...

 which flourished for about a century, and became famous for the use of logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

.

The Megarans were proverbial for their generosity in building and endowing temples. Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 reports "There is a common saying about the Megarians […:] 'They build as if they are to live forever; they live as if they are to die tomorrow.'"

Geography


A population of 28,195 live within the municipality. It is located 42 km (WNW) of Athens in the southwestern part of West Attica
West Attica
West Attica is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Attica. The capital of the regional unit is the town of Elefsina. The regional unit covers the western part of the agglomeration of Athens, and the area to its west....

 Prefecture, and is linked by a highway connecting the Peloponnese, Western Greece, and Athens. It is now linked by a high-speed rail line suburban railway
Proastiakos
Proastiakós , is the name used for the suburban services of TrainOSE, servicing Greece's three largest cities: Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras; providing them with modern commuter rail links, towards their suburbs and also towards other cities and towns located around them.The service, operated by...

. Megara lies in the Megaris
Megaris
This is also the ancient Greek name of a small island off Naples, site of the Castel dell'Ovo.Megaris or the Megarid was a small but populous state of ancient Greece, west of Attica and north of Corinthia, whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful propensities...

 plain. It has the largest land area of any municipality in the Attica region, and the largest population in West Attica. Agriculture used to dominate before housing began to expand in Megara in the 1960s and the 1970s.

3 km south of Megara is a small community called Pachi, which is famous for its fish tavernas and is visited by people from all over ancient Greece. Nea Peramos
Nea Peramos
Nea Peramos -Geography:Nea Peramos is situated in the eastern portion of the Megaris plain, in the northwestern part of the agglomeration of Athens. Mountains are situated to the north, and the Saronic Gulf to the south. Nea Peramos offers a panorama of the island of Salamis...

 is the neighboring city to the east of Megara and Kakia Skala to the west of Megara. There is a military airport to the south. South of Megara is the Gulf of Megara. The largest other towns in the municipality are Kinéta (pop. 1,972), Spárta (712), Vlycháda (694), and Aigeiroúses (479). The municipality is unusual for one its geographical size, in that it has only one municipal district, the third-largest in Greece (after the Sílis district in Paranesti
Paranesti
Paranesti is a municipality in the Rhodope Mountains of northeastern Drama peripheral unit, Greece. It consists of two municipal units: Paranesti and Nikoforos. The largest villages of the municipal unit Paranesti are Paranésti Paranesti is a municipality in the Rhodope Mountains of northeastern...

 and the Mikró Déreio district in Orfeas
Orfeas
Orfeas , named after the mythical musician Orpheus, is a former municipality in the Evros peripheral unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Soufli, of which it is a municipal unit. Its land area is 643.266 km² and its...

) if Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

 is not counted. There are, however, 14 towns or villages in the municipality.

Municipality


The municipality Megara was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 2 former municipalities, that became municipal units (constituent communities in brackets):
  • Megara
  • Nea Peramos
    Nea Peramos
    Nea Peramos -Geography:Nea Peramos is situated in the eastern portion of the Megaris plain, in the northwestern part of the agglomeration of Athens. Mountains are situated to the north, and the Saronic Gulf to the south. Nea Peramos offers a panorama of the island of Salamis...


Historical population

Year Town population Municipality population
1971 17,584 -
1981 20,814 21,245
1991 20,403 25,061
2001 23,032 28,195

Notable people



  • Orsippus
    Orsippus
    Orsippus was an ancient Greek runner from Megara who was famed as the first to run the footrace naked at the Olympic Games and "first of all Greeks to be crowned victor naked." Others argue that it was Acanthus instead who first introduced Greek athletic nudity. Orsippus won the stadion-race of the...

     (8th century BC), runner
  • Byzas
    Byzas
    In Greek legend, Byzas was the eponymous founder of Byzantium , the city later known as Constantinople and Istanbul.-Founding of Byzantium:...

     (7th century BC), founder of Byzantium
    Byzantium
    Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

  • Theognis
    Theognis of Megara
    Theognis of Megara was an ancient Greek poet active sometime in the sixth century BC. The work attributed to him consists of gnomic poetry quite typical of the time, featuring ethical maxims and practical advice about life...

     (6th century BC), elegiac
    Elegiac
    Elegiac refers either to those compositions that are like elegies or to a specific poetic meter used in Classical elegies. The Classical elegiac meter has two lines, making it a couplet: a line of dactylic hexameter, followed by a line of dactylic pentameter...

     poet
  • Eupalinos
    Eupalinos
    Eupalinos or Eupalinus of Megara was an ancient Greek engineer who built the Tunnel of Eupalinos on Samos Island in the 6th century BC....

     (6th century BC), engineer
    Engineer
    An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

     who built the Tunnel of Eupalinos on Samos
    Samos Island
    Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

  • Theagenes (c. 600 BC), Tyrant of Megara
  • Euclid
    Euclid of Megara
    Euclid of Megara was a Greek Socratic philosopher who founded the Megarian school of philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BCE, and was present at his death. He held the supreme good to be one, eternal and unchangeable, and denied the existence of anything contrary to the...

     (c. 400 BC
    400 BC
    Year 400 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Esquilinus, Capitolinus, Vulso, Medullinus, Saccus and Vulscus...

    ), founder of the Megarian school of philosophy
  • Stilpo
    Stilpo
    Stilpo was a Greek philosopher of the Megarian school. He was a contemporary of Theophrastus, Diodorus Cronus, and Crates of Thebes. None of his writings survive, he was interested in logic and dialectic, and he argued that the universal is fundamentally separated from the individual and concrete...

     (c. 325 BC
    325 BC
    Year 325 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Camillus and Scaeva...

    ), philosopher of the Megarian school
  • Teles
    Teles the Cynic
    Teles of Megara, was a Cynic philosopher and teacher. He wrote various discourses , seven fragments of which were preserved by Stobaeus.-Life:Nothing is known about Teles except for the limited information he reveals in his writings...

     (3rd century BC), cynic philosopher