Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Megalopolis the City that should have worked

#megalopolis in #arcadia is an example of urban planning gone and why building a capital from bare ground often doesn't work.

#Megalopolis actually called the great city in Greek was founded to be the capital of the Pan Arcadian league in what seemed like a great location and built 371 - 368 BCE on a tributary of the Alpheios called the Hellison.

High montane valley with permanent river and other streams.

Timber nearby. No wetlands. Not more than minimally dependent on food imports since farmlands nearby.

On a major road junction too!

Here's the location of #arcadia within #Greece in Ancient times.





Some more detail.

Great location but what went wrong?

Possibly they put too much effort into megastructure or rather the Hellenistic equivalent thereof.

Below are the plans and a photo of the Theatre and the adjacent Thersilion Assembly Hall.



Gotta love that angle shot cos while it does show the remains of the Theatre once the largest in Greece and the adjacent #Thersilion though  it also carefully avoids showing the whopping open cut coal mine a short distance away.

I have never come across any references to Megalopolis actually having WALLS or fortifications ... even allowing for the tendency of Byzantine Greeks to treat older buildings as quarries ... in fact apart from these and a couple of other building foundations practically nothing of the city survives.

Modern Megalopolis is a nearby  medium sized town that was a minor village until coal was discovered.

Basically the city lasted only a couple of centuries before people migrated to other parts of Arcadia and by the time Pausanias wrote a description it was well and truly in a decline. 

The descendants of the first settlers and late migrants just seem to have been uncomfortable in a city with too much open space and so few defences?
As early as 362 BCE many of the migrants tried to return home.
Sparta attacked again in 353 331 234 and 223 BCE. 

Nowadays Megalopolis has other problems.

How anyone could allow an open cut mine to be so close to one of the few permanent rivers in Greece...

Mantinea on the other hand ...


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