Praying for crops and civilization: The Demeter cult at Megara

Landscape and Memory in the Ancient World

2754552_249px Remains of a temple in Megara

Walking from ancient Corinth to Megara, a person would have to cross the rough terrains and the wild nature of the Isthmus, the narrow strip of land connecting the Peloponnesos with northern Greece. Any traveler would have to venture across steep, barren hill slopes, after which one would cautiously pass through thick underbrush, hoping he would not be unpleasantly surprised by vicious bandits. Leaving the treacherous woods behind, one would pass through febrile marshes, after which the terrain would get higher, until the traveler would reach the extremely dangerous pass, called the Kaka Skala, which translates as Evil Staircase. Shuffling over the narrow paths, a traveler would probably try not to look over the edge of the cliffs while trying to drag his petrified oxen along, one hand clamping the reins and the other sliding along the mountainside. When the terrain would lower and…

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