), a festival
celebrated in the beginning of spring, by the Megarians, in honour of an
ancient Athenian hero, Diocles, around whose grave young men assembled on
the occasion, and amused themselves with gymnastic and other contests. We
read that he who gave the sweetest kiss obtained the prize, consisting of a
garland of flowers. (Theocrit. Idyll.
12.27, &c.) The
Scholiast on Theocritus (l.c.
) relates the origin of
this festival as follows:--Diocles, an Athenian exile, fled to Megara, where
he found a youth with whom he fell in love. In some battle, while protecting
the object of his love with his shield, he was slain. The Megarians honoured
the gallant lover with a tomb, raised him to the rank of a hero, and, in
commemoration of his faithful attachment, instituted the festival of the
Diocleia. See Böckh, ad
Pind. O. 7.157
, p. 176, and the Scholiast
Aristoph. Ach. 730
, where a Megarian
swears by Diocles, from which we may infer that he was held in great honour
by the Megarians. (Compare Welcker's Sappho,
39, and ad Theogn.