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Megara (Greek: Μέγαρα) is an ancient city (pop. 23,032 in 2001) in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King Pandion II, of whom Nisos was the ruler of Megara. Megara was also a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in the exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.


Early history

In historical times, Megara was an early dependency of Corinth, in which capacity colonists from Megara founded Megara Hyblaea, a small polis north of Syracuse in Sicily. Megara then fought a war of independence with Corinth, and afterwards founded (c. 667 BC) Byzantium, as well as Chalcedon (685 BC). Megara was known for its money in historical times.

Megara's defection from the Spartan dominated Peloponnesian League (c.460 BC) was one of the causes of the First Peloponnesian War. By the terms of the peace treaty of 445 BC Megara was returned to the Peloponnesian League.

In the Peloponnesian War (c. 431 BC-404 BC), Megara was an ally of Sparta. The Megarian decree is considered to be one of several contributing "causes" of the Peloponnesian War.[2] The Megarian decree was issued by Athens with the purpose of chocking out the Megarian economy. The decree stated that Megarian merchants were not allowed in territory controlled by Athens.

The most famous citizen of Megara in antiquity was Byzas, the legendary founder of Byzantium in the 7th century BC. The 6th century BC poet Theognis also came from Megara. In the early 4th century BC, Euclid of Megara founded the Megarian school of philosophy which flourished for about a century, and became famous for the use of logic and dialectic.

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