Messenia


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Messenia

(mĕsē`nēə), ancient region of SW Greece, in the Peloponnesus and corresponding to the modern nome of Messinías. Excavation has revealed an important center of Mycenaean culture at PylosPylos
, ancient harbor, Messenia, SW Greece, on a bay of the Ionian Sea. Excavations have revealed a great Mycenaean palace of the 13th cent. B.C., perhaps the dwelling of King Nestor.
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 dating from the 13th cent. B.C. From the 8th cent. B.C. the Messenians were engaged in a series of revolts against expanding Sparta. After the First Messenian War the Spartans annexed (c.700 B.C.) the eastern part of Messenia. With the Second Messenian War the remaining inhabitants were reduced (7th cent. B.C.) to helots. The Third Messenian War (464–459 B.C.) was a failure for Messenia, but very costly to Sparta. The battle of LeuctraLeuctra
, village of ancient Greece, in Boeotia, 7 mi (11.3 km) SW of Thebes. There the Spartans were defeated (371 B.C.) by the Thebans under Epaminondas. A brilliant tactical success, the battle also dealt a severe blow to Spartan hegemony.
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 (371 B.C.) freed Messenia, and Messene was founded (c.369 B.C.) as the capital. The region gave its name to Messina, Sicily, because of an influx of Messenian colonists (c.490 B.C.).

Bibliography

See C. A. Roebuck, A History of Messenia from 369 to 146 B.C. (1941); The Minnesota Messenia Expedition, ed. by W. A. McDonald and G. R. Rapp (1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Messenia

 

(Messinia), the name of a region in ancient Greece, in the southwestern Peloponnesus, and of a modern nomos. According to legend, it was inhabited by the Leleges. Homer describes it as the kingdom of the legendary Nestor, with its capital at Pilos, where many remains of the Aegean culture have been preserved. As a result of the Messenian Wars, Messenia came under Spartan rule. It regained its independence in 369 B.C., after Epaminondas’ victory over Sparta. That year Messene was founded as the capital of the region. In the first century B.C., Messenia was incorporated into the Roman province of Achaea.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Messenia

the southwestern area of the Peloponnese in S Greece
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
This was not a random, deserted headland, as Thucydides has the two Athenian generals sneeringly say; it was territory in the heart of Messenia, among the helot population that was such a constant worry to Sparta.
(28) Regardless of the obvious differences in terminology, one may be correct in claiming that the passage from ritual blindness to ritual sight, the transformation from being a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (being sightless and blind to true knowledge) into being an [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; (that is, an insightful and sensitive viewer), was the basic conceptual framework for a number of other cults of the Greco-Roman world, such as the mysteries of Dionysus (e.g., at Athens), the Andanian Mysteries of Messenia, the Mysteries of Hagna at Lycosura, and the Mysteries of Demeter Eleusinia in Pheneus in Arcadia.
Messenia, the westernmost finger of the Peloponnese peninsula, has long been overlooked by travelers who traditionally prefer the Greek islands.
(15) The non-Spartan inhabitants of Laconia and Messenia can be divided into two groups: helots and perioikoi.
Pausanias (second century CE), in his Description of Greece, at 4.5.9, lines 3 and 7, describes Ampheia as lying on the border between Laconia and Messenia. Consequently, a derivation of the name from amphi "around / on both sides" and a corresponding meaning on the order of "Border Town" seems plausible.
I am told in the mountains of the Mani and Messenia 30 years ago their night time howls calling from one territorial pack to another would echo across the valleys, but the hunters have left those valleys silent.
In July, police destroyed 39 cannabis plants in Messenia, in southern Greece.
Pausanias 4, 17, 1 tells the story of Aristomenes of Messenia who saw the Thesmophoria and its women overpowered him with sacrificial knives, roasting skewers, and torches.
Gradually, those Spartans took over most of the peninsula--including Messenia, from which most of Sparta's helots (slaves) came.