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Messene (mĕsēˈnē) [key], ancient city, central Messenia (now Messinías prov.), Greece. It was founded (c.369 B.C.) under Theban auspices to be a capital and fort for the Messenians, whom the battle of Leuctra had just freed from the Spartans. The ruins, notably of the city walls dating from the 4th cent. B.C., are well preserved. Modern Messíni is at some distance.

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