Nisaea

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Nisaea or Nisaia (Ancient Greek: Νίσαια or Νισαία) was the main port of ancient Megara; the port was sheltered by a natural island called Minoa. According to Thucydides, the distance of the port from Megara itself was about eight Greek stadia.[1] On the road between Megara and Nisaea was a temple of Demeter Malophorus.

In one of the foundation myths of Megara, which was preserved by the Boeotians and adopted by the rest of Greece, Nisaea's prior name was Nisa, which name was also applied to Megara itself. In the reign of Pylas, Pandion II being expelled from Athens by the Metionidae, fled to Megara, married the daughter of Pylas, and succeeded his father-in-law in the kingdom.[2][3] The Metionidae were in their turn driven out of Athens; and when the dominions of Pandion were divided among his four sons, Nisus, the youngest, obtained Megaris. The city was called after him Nisa, and the same name was given to the port-town which he built. When Minos attacked Nisus, Megareus, son of Poseidon, came from Onchestus in Boeotia to assist the latter, and was buried in the city, which was called after him Megara. The name of Nisa, subsequently Nisaea, was henceforth confined to the port-town.[4] But even the inhabitants of Megara were sometimes called Nisaei, to distinguish them from the Megarians of Sicily, their colonists.[5]

The Athenians were allies of Megara beginning c. 459 BCE, and built two long walls connecting Megara with Nisaea.[6] But ten years afterwards the Megarians revolted from Athens, and having obtained the assistance of some Peloponnesian troops, they slew the Athenian garrison, with the exception of those who escaped into Nisaea. The Athenians continued to hold Nisaea, but also surrendered it in the thirty years' truce made in the same year (445 BCE) with Sparta and her allies.[7] In the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE), the Athenians invaded Megaris with a very large force, and laid waste the whole territory up to the city walls. At the same time the Athenian fleet blockaded the harbour of Nisaea. In the fifth year of the war (427 BCE), the Athenians under Nicias took possession of the island of Minoa thereby more effectively blockading Nisaea.[8] In the eighth year of the war (424 BCE), the long walls were breached and Nisaea fell to the Athenians after a siege of two days.[9] The walls were rebuilt in the fourth century BCE by Phocion and were still extant in Strabo's time.

The site of Nisaea is located near modern Pachi.[10][11]

References

  1. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 4.66.
  2. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 1.39.4.
  3. ^ Apollod. 3.15.
  4. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 1.39.4. , 6.
  5. ^ Theocritus 12.27.
  6. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 1.103.
  7. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 1.114, 115.
  8. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 2.31, 3.51.
  9. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 4.66-74.
  10. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 55, and directory notes accompanying.
  11. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Megara". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

Sources

  • Fraser, J.G. Commentary, Pausanias's Description of Greece: Book 1: Attica (Macmillan, 1913).
  • Smith, Philip J. The archaeology and epigraphy of Hellenistic and Roman Megaris, Greece. Oxford: John and Erica Hedges Ltd, 2008.


Coordinates: 37°58′32″N 23°21′55″E / 37.9755°N 23.3654°E / 37.9755; 23.3654

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