Out of the five top ancient Greek city-states, Megara and Corinth share the closest history with one another. Both were established in coastal regions and shared neighboring land. In some circles, the schooling of Megarians and Athenians were often compared to one another, but there was really no competition. While they did focus on the arts and sciences, the Athenians truly led the way in education. More about Megara is found in this article.
The city-state of Megara was located in the northern part of the Isthmus of Corinth, which was opposite the island of Salamis, which at one time, belonged to Megara during ancient times (before Athens took over the land). Megara served as one of the four districts of Attica and soon evolved into a respected trade port. This allowed the people of the city to use their ships and wealth as a method of persuading the armies of neighboring regions to work in their favor.
Young boys started their education as kids, where their mother or a male slave provided them with their first bursts of knowledge. The real training for the arts and sciences began at the age of seven for a young Megarian boy, who spent their days at a school situated close to home, where they learned a great deal of subjects. In between memorizing poetry and studying drama, the boys also learned writing, science, poetry, public speaking, and math. They also become well versed in the ways of the flute and lyre. After this round of studies was complete (around the age of 14), the boys attended a school for higher education, and then received training for at least two years at a military school.
The ancient city of Megara also produced an assortment of lovely temples, breathtaking statues, and intriguing open-air theatres. They also created quite a name for themselves in the textile world, as their works of art were well renowned throughout ancient Greece. Since the city-state was positioned on the coast, the Megarians also excelled in trading. Taking a hint from Corinth, they ‘borrowed’ the idea of establishing their own coinage, which further aided their trading success.
Megarians also enjoyed exploring and establishing new towns. They are responsible for founding the city of Byzantium, (better known as Constantinople in some circles). Today, this city is called Istanbul and possesses a history that can be traced back to 630 BCE.
3 Facts About Megara
1. During the Peloponnesian War (which took place roughly between 431 BC and 404 BC), Megara was an alley of Sparta. Interestingly, many believe that the Megarian degree (a set of economic sanctions that the Athenian Empire imposed on Megara around 432 BC) played an important role in sparking the war in the first place.
2. One of the most famous residents to dwell in ancient Megara was Byzas , the man who is credited for founding Byzantium during the 7th century BC.
3. Megara was also home to Theognis , a 6th century poet responsible for penning many poetic verses.