Pottery and Burial Customs in Hellenistic Megara, Greece

Authors

  • Yannis Chairetakis

Keywords:

Hellenistic Megara, burial customs, pottery

Abstract

The city of Megara is located on a particularly strategic site with the advantages of being in close proximity to the Saronic Gulf and having fertile farming land (fig. 1). During the 7th and 6th centuries BCE the town was situated on the two low fortified hills of Alkathos and Karia, which were surrounded by the cemeteries. The erection of the fortification wall in the period between 479 to 460 BCE resulted in the relocation of the cemeteries outside the boundaries of the fortified town, and also at a distance from the banks of the two streams, Mauratza and Exobrisis, which functioned as ditches for the wall (fig. 2). Tombs of classical and Hellenistic times were located near the main roads, leading to Megaris and the neighbouring cities (Corinth, Athens, Thebes). Besides, Pausanias (1, 43, 3–5; 1, 44, 3; 1, 44, 6) describes special burials of mythical persons and heroes inside and outside the city. The habit of the Megarians to build public buildings around the tombs of heroes is also interesting, because they thought that these graves could protect public life and political assemblies. The Megarians, after all, had distinctive beliefs about death, and Cynic Diogenes observes that they »feast as if to die tomorrow, and build as if they were never to die at all«.

References

S. Ager, Mythic Highways of the Megarid, in: Beck – Smith 2018, 47–75

O. Alexandri, Το ἀρχαῖον τεῖχος τῶν Μεγάρων, AAA 3, 1970, 21–29

V. R. Anderson-Stojanović, The Chronology and Function of Ceramic Unguentaria, AJA 91, 1987, 105–122

D. Andrianou, Eternal Comfort: Funerary Textiles in Late Classical and Hellenistic Greece, in: M. Carroll – J. P. Wild (eds.), Dressing the Dead in Classical Antiquity (Stroud 2012) 42–61

A. A. Avagiannou, Ερμήι χθονίωι: θρησκεία και άνθρωπος στη Θεσσαλία, in: A. A. Avagiannou (ed.), Λατρείες στην περιφέρεια του αρχαίου ελληνικού κόσμου (Athens 2002) 65–111

H. Beck – Ph. J. Smith (eds.), Megarian Moments. The Local World of an Ancient Greek City-State, TSO 1 (Montreal 2018)

T. Bogdanova, Metal Instruments, Associated with Woman’s Beauty Care (Based on Data from the Necropolis of Apollonia Pontica), in: B. Dimitrov (ed.), Studia in Honorem Bozhidari Dimitrov, Proceedings of the National Museum of History 28 (Sofia 2016) 59–80

W. Burkert, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual (Berkeley 1979)

A. A. Carpino, Reflections from the Tomb: Mirrors as Grave Goods in Late Classical and Hellenistic Tarquinia, Etruscan Studies 11, 2008, 1–33

Y. Chairetakis, Burial Customs of Megara During the 7th and 6th Centuries B.C.: The Case of the North-East Cemetery, in: A. Robu – I. Bîrzescu (eds.), Mégarika. Nouvelles recherches sur Mégare et les cités de la Propontide et du Pont-Euxin, Archéologie, épigraphie, histoire (Paris 2016) 219–237

Y. Chairetakis, Το ὕδωρ ἑτέρωσε τρέψας. Η εκτροπή ενός ρέματος στα Μέγαρα, in: The International Conference ›The Archaeological Work in Peloponnese‹ (1st AEPEL), Tripolis, Apostolopouleion Cultural Center, 7–11 November 2012 (Kalamata 2018) 879–888

A. P. Charami, Από τα Ελληνιστικά Νεκροταφεία των Θηβών. Συμβολή στην τοπογραφία και την ιστορία της Μετααλεξάνδρειας πόλεως (unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 2012)

N. Dimakis, Social Identity and Status in the Classical and Hellenistic Northern Peloponnese: The Evidence from Burials – An Overview, in: K. Savvopoulos (ed.), Proceedings of the 2nd Hellenistic Studies International Workshop (Alexandria 2011) 114–123

N. Dimakis, Lamps, Symbolism and Ritual in Hellenistic Greece, in: Z. Theodoropoulou-Polychroniadis – D. Evely (eds.), AEGIS. Essays in Mediterranean Archaeology Presented to Matti Egon by the Scholars of the Greek Archaeological Committee UK (Oxford 2015) 165–172

J. Doyle, All of a Heap. Hermes and the Stone Cairn in Greek Antiquity, in: G. Cooney – B. Gilhooly – N. Kelly – S. Mallía-Guest (eds.), Cultures of Stone. An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Materiality of Stone (Leiden 2020) 261–272

S. Drougou – G. Touratsoglou, Ελληνιστικοί Λαξευτοί Τάφοι Βέροιας (Athens 1980)

G. Ekroth, The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-cults in the Archaic to the Early Hellenistic Periods, Kernos Suppl. 12 (Liège 2002)

P. F. Filippou-Aggelou, Επιτύμβιες στήλες από τα Μέγαρα, Horos 8/9, 1990–1991, 107–111

R. Garland, The Greek Way of Death (London 1985)

E. Georgoulaki, Religious and Socio-Political Implications of Mortuary Evidence. Case Studies in Ancient Greece, Kernos 9, 1996, 95–120

Μ. Giannopoulou, Αρχαία Τροιζήν: Τα νεκροταφεία. Συμβολή στην μελέτη της τοπογραφίας της αρχαίας πόλεως (unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 2014)

D. Frère – N. Garnier, Dairy Product and Wine in Funerary Rituals: The Case of a Hellenistic Etruscan Tomb, Journal of Historical Archaeology & Anthropological Sciences 1.6, 2017, 222–227

M. Haake, Megara and ›the Megarians‹: A City and its Philosophical School, in: Beck – Smith 2018, 237–256

A. Herda, Burying a Sage: The Heroon of Thales in the Agora of Miletos, in: O. Henry (ed.), Le mort dans la ville. Pratiques, contextes et impacts des inhumations intra-muros en Anatolie du début de l’Âge du Bronze à l’époque romaine (Istanbul 2013) 67–122

E. L. Highbarger, The History and Civilization of Ancient Megara (Baltimore 1927)

S. Iliopoulou, Αρχαία Ζώνη ΙΙΙα. Το Νεκροταφείο. Ταφικά έθιμα και πρακτικές (Komotini 2015)

A. Kalogeropoulou, Νέα Αττική επιτύμβια στήλη, ADelt A 29, 1974, 194–225

G. Karamitrou-Mentessidi, The Royal Necropolis of Aiani: Research on ›Mycenaean‹, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Burials, The Archaeological Work in Upper Macedonia, AEAM 2, 2011 (Aiani 2013) 140–153

Chr. Kazazaki, Το Βορειοδυτικό νεκροταφείο των Μεγάρων, Archaiologia kai Τechnes 132, 2020, 98–107

V. D. Korosis, Transport and Storage Vessels and Coarse Wares from Megara, Attica (Greece). The Testimony of the Pottery Concerning the City During the Early Byzantine Period, in: N. Poulou-Papadimitriou – E. Nodarou – V. Kilikoglou (eds.), The Mediterranean: a Market Without Frontiers, LRCW 4, BARIntSer 2616.2 (Oxford 2014) 305–312

Z. Kotitsa, Τυπολογία, χρονολόγηση και χρήση μυροδοχείων: Ενδείξεις από τη βόρεια Πιερία, EllKer 8, 407–424

D. C. Kurtz – J. Boardman, Greek Burial Customs (New York 1971)

R. P. Legon, Megara. The Political History of a Greek City-State to 336 B.C. (Ithaca 1981)

Μ. Lilimpaki-Akamati, Ανατολικό νεκροταφείο Πέλλας, Ανασκαφή 1989, ADelt A 44–46, 1989–1991, 73–152

M. Mertens-Horn, Das Manteion der Nyx in Megara und ihre Statue in Megara Hyblaea, RM 116, 2010, 105–117

M. Michalakis-Kollia, Dédicaces à Artemis Lochia et a Eileithyia à atypalée. Rapport avec les 2750 enchytrismes des nouveau-nés?, in: A. Inglese (ed.), Epigrammata. Iscrizioni Greche e Comunicazione Letteraria in Ricordo di Giancarlo Susini, Atti Del Convegno Di Roma, 1–2 Ottobre 2009 (Tored 2010) 279–298

O. Palagia, Commemorating the Dead: Grave Markers, Tombs, and Tomb Paintings, 400–30 BCE, in: M. M. Miles (ed.), A Companion to Greek Architecture (Oxford 2016) 374–389

N. D. Papachatzis, Η θρησκεία στην αρχαία Ελλάδα (Athens 1987)

J. K. Papadopoulos, ΛAΣANA, Tuyères, and Kiln Firing Supports, Hesperia 61.2, 1992, 203–221

M. Parker Pearson, The Archaeology of Death and Burial (Texas 1999)

L. Parlama – N. C. Stampolidis (eds.), The City Beneath the City: Antiquities from the Metropolitan Railway Excavations (Athens 2000)

G. Proietti, La stele dei Megaresi caduti durante la seconda guerra persiana, Axon 3, 2019, 31–48

J. Reeves, οὐ κακὸς ἐῶν: MegarianValour and its Place in the Local Discourse at Megara, in: Beck – Smith 2018, 167–182

A. Robu, Contribution à l’épigraphie mégarienne: les tablettes funéraires inscrites, in: A. Robu – I. Bîrzescu (eds.), Mégarika. Nouvelles recherches sur Mégare et les cités de la Propontide et du Pont-Euxin, Archéologie, épigraphie, histoire (Paris 2016) 333–375

J. Salmon, The Heraeum at Perachora and the Early History of Corinth and Megara, BSA 67, 1972, 159–204

G. M. Sanidas, La production artisanale en Grèce. Une approche spatiale et topographique à partir des exemples de l’Attique et du Péloponnèse du VIIe au Ier siècles avant J.-C., Collection Archéologie et histoire de l’art 33 (Paris 2013)

H. Schörner, Revival of the Intraurban Burial in Greek Poleis During the Roman Imperium as a Creation of Identity, in: B. Alroth – C. Scheffer (eds.), Attitudes Towards the Past in Antiquity Creating Identities. Proceedings of an International Conference Held at Stockholm University, 15–17 May 2009 (Stockholm 2014) 151–162

M. Şöföroğlu – L. Summerer, Light for the Dead. Some Thoughts on Funerary Lamps in Light of the Hellenistic/Roman Tomb in Kormakiti/Korucam, in: L. Summerer – H. Kaba (eds.), The Northern Face of Cyprus, New Studies in Cypriot Archaeology and Art History (Istanbul 2016) 259–275

M. Stamatopoulou, The Pasikrata Sanctuary at Demetrias and the Alleged Funerary Sanctuaries of Thessaly. A Re-appraisal, Kernos 27, 2014, 1-40

J. Stroszeck, Unterweltsvorstellungen und die Fundorte von Fluchtafeln im Kerameikos, in: H. Frielinghaus – J. Stroszeck – P. Valavanis (eds.), Griechische Nekropolen. Neue Forschungen und Funde, Beiträge zur Archäologie Griechenlands 5 (Möhnesee 2019) 337–376

D. Tober, Megarians’ Tears: Localism and Dislocation in the ›Megarika‹, in: Beck – Smith 2018, 183–207

E. Tsalkou, A ›Peridiavasis‹ in the City of Megara, in: A. Robu – I. Bîrzescu (eds.), Mégarika. Nouvelles recherches sur Mégare et les cités de la Propontide et du Pont-Euxin, Archéologie, épigraphie, histoire (Paris 2016) 253–269

Α. Tsaravopoulos – E. Kroustalis, Embracement of the Dead in the Liveliest City of Classical Greece. The Evidence from the Late Classical Cemetery of Ayios Dionysios in Piraeus, Mousaios 14, 2009, 207–220

Chr. Tsouli, Ταφικά και Επιτάφια Μνημεία της Κω. Συμβολή στη μελέτη της τυπολογίας και της εικονογραφίας των επιτάφιων μνημείων των ελληνιστικών και ρωμαϊκών χρόνων (unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens 2013)

A. Zografou, The ›Founding Pots‹: The Pot in New Beginnings in Ancient Greece, in: Ph. Giannisi – Z. Kotionis (eds.), The Ark. Old Seeds for New Cultures (University of Thessaly 2010) 304–313

P. Zoridis, Τα αρχαία τείχη των Μεγάρων, AEph 124, 1985, 217–236

P. Zoridis, Μέγαρα, in: A. G. Vlachopoulos (ed.), Αρχαιολογία Εύβοια και Στερεά Ελλάδα (Athens 2008) 200–205

Downloads

Published

27/10/2021

How to Cite

Chairetakis, Y. (2021). Pottery and Burial Customs in Hellenistic Megara, Greece. Journal of Hellenistic Pottery and Material Culture, 5, 3–21. Retrieved from http://archaeopresspublishing.com/ojs/index.php/jhp/article/view/779