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DIOCLEIA (διόκλεια), 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 ad 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, p. 39, and ad Theogn. p. 79.)


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