Megarians’ Tears: Localism and Dislocation in the Megarika


  • Daniel Tober, Fordham University, New York Fordham University, New York City, New York


Daniel Tober’s “Megarians’ Tears: Localism and Dislocation in the Megarika” explores the interaction between the local and nonlocal in Megarian cultural memory and historiography in the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods. Fragments from Megarian local histories (the Megarika), along with other sources preserving Megarian tradition (from proverbs to Pausanias’s Periegesis), suggest that the Megarian community conceived of its mythic territory differently from other poleis. The Megarians, occupying the isthmus between the Peloponnese on the one hand and Attica and Boiotia on the other, generated a collective memory that was itself isthmian: constricted by traditions emanating from the communities on either side and at the same time availing itself of Megara’s intermedial position. While many Greek local histories extended the reach of the focal community outward into the greater Greek world, the Megarika and the traditions on which they drew took the opposite approach, dragging renowned figures from the cultural memory of neighboring communities inward and binding them permanently to Megarian land through remembered burial and monumentalized tombs. By filling the Megarid with the graves of celebrated nonlocals (e.g. Adrastos, Alkmene, Ino, and Iphigeneia), Megarians constructed a collective past that advertised their territory’s important role as a facilitator of movement between the Peloponnese and the rest of peninsular Greece.