Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Megara

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search


A titular see, suffragan to Corinth, in Achaia. The city, which was built on an arid strip of land between two rocks, had two ports, on the Savonic Gulf and the Gulf of Corinth respectively. In the eighth and seventh centuries, B.C., Megara became the metropolis of flourishing colonies, the chief of which were Megara Hyblaea, and Selinus, in Sicily, Selymbria, Chalcedon, Astakos, Byzantium, and the Pontic Heraclea. The exclusion of Megara from the Attic market by Pericles, in 432, was one cause of the Peloponnesian War. The Megarian territory, already very poor, was then ravaged year after year, and in 427 Nicias even established a permanent post in the island of Minoa over against Nisea. Shortly before this Megara had become the birthplace of the Sophist, Eucleides, a disciple of Socrates, who, about the year 400 B.C., founded the philosophic school of Megara, chiefly famous for the cultivation of dialectic. It subsequently shared the political vicissitudes of the other Greek cities. About the end of the fifth century after Christ, under the Emperor Anastasius I, its fortifications were restored. The names of some early Greek bishops of Megara are given in Le Quien, "Oriens Christianus", II, 205. In the "Notitia episcopatuum" of Leo the Wise (c. 900), the earliest authority of the kind for this region, the name of Megara does not appear. Numerous Latin bishops in the Middle Ages are mentioned in Eubel, "Hierarchia catholica medii aevi", I, 348; II, 208. Megara is now a town of 6500 inhabitants, the capital of a deme of the same name. On Easter Sunday the women there perform an antique dance which people come from Athens to see. Not a vestige remains of the temples which Pausanias described. Efforts are made to locate the acropoles of Minoa and Nisea on various little eminences along the coast.

REINGANUM, Dasalte Megaris (Berlin, 1825); LEAKE, Northern Greece, II, 388; SMITH, Dict. Greek and Roman Geog., II, 310-17.

S. VAILHÉ