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MEGARA Greece.

Located W of Eleusis on the Saronic Gulf, forming a buffer between Attica and the Corinthia. The city may have been of some importance in the Bronze Age. It emerges from the Dark Ages as a Dorian state. During the period of colonization, it was in the forefront, founding important colonies including Megara Hyblaea, Selinus, Chalcedon and Byzantium. The city experienced a tyranny under Theagenes in the 7th c. B.C. and later came into direct collision with Athens over Salamis. She did, however, for a short time in the 5th c. ally herself with her formidable neighbor to the E, and built long walls to connect the city with the port. The rapprochement with Athens was only temporary and Megara went back to her Dorian compatriots, only to suffer Pericles' Megarian Decree of 432 B.C. Comparatively little is known of Megara after the 5th c. B.C.; with a few exceptions her later history is uneventful.

The ancient city lies on two hills and the saddle between them. Unfortunately the modern town overlies the ancient remains and no systematic clearing has been undertaken. The only major monument even partially brought to light is a large fountain-house, apparently mentioned by Pausanias and assigned by him to the tyrant Theagenes. The building, as cleared, is a rectangle (13.69 x ca. 21 m) consisting of two parallel water reservoirs and draw basins. The front, or S, of the structure is still under modern houses, but it probably carried a Doric porch from which a fragmentary triglyph has been identified. The roof over the water reservoirs, which was probably flat, was carried on five rows of seven eight-sided Doric piers. The two reservoirs are separated by a thin orthostat wall which runs down the center of the building on the middle line of piers. Each reservoir has a separate inlet and outlet into two separate dip basins, and the parapet wall of the latter is worn by the friction of countless amphoras. Recent studies indicate that the building in its present form was constructed at the end of the archaic period and thus cannot be associated with Theagenes. There is evidence for some damage in the 3d c. A.D., perhaps associated with the Herulian invasion of 267, and a final destruction in the late 4th c. A.D.

To the W of the fountain-house lies another building, only the corner of which has been cleared. Its orientation is thought to suggest that it may be contemporary with the fountain-house. Recent archaeological work at Megara has been confined to chance finds and rescue operations, and some studies have been undertaken on the city's fortifications.


E. L. Highbarger, The History and Civilization of Ancient Megara (1927)MPI; RE 15 (1932) 152-205 (E. Meyer); K. Hanell, Megarische Studien (1934); G. Gruben, “Das Quellhaus von Megara,” Deltion 19 (1964) A, 37-41; Der kleine Pauly (1969) 1143-47; O. Alexandre, Τὸ Αρχαῖον Τειχος τῶν Μεγάρων, AAA 3 (1970) 21-29PIM; G. Nikopoulou, Deltion 25 (1970) Chron. 2. 99-120PI.


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