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Megaris

1024px-Map_of_Attica_and_Megaris.jpg

Megaris, a small but populous state of ancient Greece, west of Attica and north of Corinthia, whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful propensities. The capital, Megara, famous for white marble and fine clay, was the birthplace of Euclid. Mount Geraneia dominates the center of the region. The island of Salamis was originally under the control of Megara, before it was lost to Athens in the late 7th century BCE. 

Aegosthena, at the head of the Corinthian gulf and at the foot of Mt. Cithaeron, possessed a temple of the prophet Melampus (Paus. i. 44. 5), who first established the worship of Dionysos in Greece, and in whose honor an annual festival was held. Imperial coins only. Sept. Severus and Geta, Inscr. ΑΙΓΟCΘΕΝΙ[ΩΝ]. Infant (Melampus?) suckled


393
 
by a goat. Round building (Melampodeion?), from which springs a tree.

Megara, in ancient times the flourishing capital of the territory between Attica and the isthmus of Corinth, commanded the trade routes between Peloponnesus and Central Greece. Svoronos, in Journ. Int. d'arch. num., i. p. 373, has suggested that during the sixth century B.C. Megara may have been the place of mintage of the series of archaic didrachms, etc., of the Wheel type and of Euboic weight, described above under Euboea (p. 358); see also Babelon, Traitť, p. 778. This attribution is, however, conjectural, though by no means improbable.

The earliest inscribed coins of Megara belong to the first half of the fourth century B.C. For illustrations see BMC Attica, etc., Pl. XXI. 1-4.

Head of Apollo. ΜΕΓ ΑΡΕ Lyre.
AR 122 grs.
Id. Μ Ε Γ Α and Η between five crescents.
AR 50 grs.
Id. Μ Ε Γ between three crescents.
AR 23 grs.
Id. Lyre.
AR 18.2 grs.

It is uncertain to what standard the above coins belong. From the battle of Chaeroneia until the time of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who conferred freedom on Megara in B.C. 307, it would appear that no money was struck there.

After circ. B.C. 307.
Head of Apollo, resembling in style some of the finest tetradrachms of Demetrius. [BMC Attica, Pl. XXI. 5, 6.] ΜΕΓΑ ΡΕΩΝ Lyre, sometimes with fillet attached.
AR Attic Drachm.
Id. ΜΕΓΑ ΡΕΩΝ Id.
AR Ĺ Drachm.
Id. ΜΕΓΑ Prow, with magistrateís name.
AR Tetrobol.
Head of Apollo (Ibid., Figs. 7, 8). ΜΕΓΑΡΕΩΝ Lyre.
∆ .85
Id.   Ą  Tripod.
∆ .7
Id. Μ Ε Γ in wreath.
∆ .55
Prow on which tripod (Ibid., Fig. 10). ΜΕΓ Two dolphins.
∆ .7-.55
ΜΕΓΑ Prow (Ibid., Fig. 12). Tripod between dolphins.
∆ .6
Id. Obelisk of Apollo Karinos between dolphins.
∆ .55
Μ Ε Tripod. Dolphin.
∆ .35

Shortly after this the town fell again into the power of the Macedonian kings, in whose hands it remained until B.C. 243, when Aratus united it to the Achaean League. Some of the above described bronze coins may be as late as B.C. 243, but the silver pieces can hardly be placed after circ. B.C. 300.

The Megarean coin-types refer to the worship of Apollo, who was said to have assisted Alkathoos to build the walls of the town. In honor of this god the lesser Pythian games were held at Megara. The obelisk is probably the stone at Megara which was called Apollo Καρινος (Paus. i.


394
44. 2); cf. the similar obelisk at Ambracia, called Apollo Αγυιευς (p. 320). The prow is doubtless that of the trireme which was preserved in the Olympieion at Megara (Paus. i. 40. 4).

For coins struck at Megara between B.C. 243 and 146 see Achaean League.

Imperial Times (?).

ΜΕΓΑΡΕΩΝ Bearded head of the philosopher Eucleides of Megara, veiled and wearing ear-ring. [BMC Attica, Pl. XXI. 14.] Artemis (Soteira (?), Paus. i. 40. 2) running with torch in each hand; probably a copy of the statue made by Strongylion for the Megarians.
∆ 1.0

This remarkable type refers to the story that Eucleides attended the lectures of Socrates in the disguise of a woman, the Athenians having passed a decree that no citizens of Megara should be admitted within their walls (Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att., vi. 10).

On their Imperial coins with Emperorsí heads, Antoninus PiusóGeta, on the following types may be mentioned (BMC Attica, Pl. XXII. 1-10) :ó

Demeter standing holding two torches before a third tall torch fixed in the ground (Paus. i. 40. 6). Asklepios and Hygieia (Paus. i. 40. 6). Tyche sacrificing at altar (Paus. i. 43. 6, statue by Praxiteles). Artemis running with two torches. Artemis Agrotera holding bow and drawing arrow from quiver at her shoulder (Paus. i. 41. 3). Pythian Apollo with lyre, beside altar (Paus. i. 42. 2, 5). Apollo, Artemis, and Leto (Paus. i. 44. 2). Statue of Athena, probably that of gold and ivory on the Acropolis, mentioned by Pausanias (i. 42. 4). Dionysos standing (Paus. i. 43. 5). Herakles at rest. Term in temple. Zeus Olympios (?) seated (Paus. i. 40. 4). Zeus advancing.

Pagae, the port or harbor of Megara on the Corinthian gulf. After B.C. 243 it became a member of the Achaean League, and independent of Megara (see Achaean League, p. 417). Imperial coins are also known; inscr. ΠΑΓΑΙWΝ, M. AureliusóSept. Severus; typesóTemple containing statue of Artemis running with torches (Paus. i. 44. 4). Temple between Palm and Olive-tree with an owl seated amid the branches (N. C. 1900, 11). Kybele seated; at her feet, lion. Dionysos seated. Isis in temple. Bust of Tyche. Tyche standing before statue of Artemis. Horseman. Gate with three entrances, on which figures, etc. Herakles on basis in building.