Coordinates: 37°54′19″N 22°52′49″E / 37.9053455°N
22.8801924°E / 37.9053455; 22.8801924
700 BC–338 BC
Greek Dark Ages
Corinth (/ˈkɔːrɪnθ/; Greek: Κόρινθος Kórinthos) was a
city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of
land that joins the
Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly
Athens and Sparta. The modern city of
located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the
ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of
Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at
Athens have revealed large parts of the ancient city, and recent
excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought to
light important new facets of antiquity.
Corinth is well-known from the two letters of Saint
Paul in the New Testament, First Corinthians and Second Corinthians.
Corinth is also mentioned in the
Book of Acts
Book of Acts as part of the Apostle
Paul's missionary travels. In addition, the second book of Pausanias'
Greece is devoted to Corinth.
Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of
Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC. The Romans
Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC,
and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.
1.1 Prehistory and founding myths
Corinth under the Bacchiadae
Corinth under the tyrants
Corinth after the tyrants
1.5 Classical Corinth
1.5.1 Peloponnesian War
1.5.2 Corinthian War
1.5.3 379–323 BC
1.6 Hellenistic period
1.7 Roman era
1.7.1 Biblical Corinth
1.8 Byzantine era
1.9 Principality of Achaea
1.10 Ottoman rule
2 Modern Corinth
3 Ancient city and its environs
3.1 Acrocorinth, the acropolis
3.2 Two ports:
Lechaeum and Cenchreae
4 Important monuments
5 Notable people
5.1 Ancient Greece
Corinth in literature
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Prehistory and founding myths
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Neolithic pottery suggests that the site of
Corinth was occupied from
at least as early as 6500 BC, and continually occupied into the Early
Bronze Age, when, it has been suggested, the settlement acted as a
centre of trade. However, there is a dramatic drop in ceramic
remains during the Early Helladic II phase and only sparse ceramic
remains in the EHIII and MH phases; thus, it appears that the area was
very sparsely inhabited in the period immediately before the Mycenaean
period. There was a settlement on the coast near
Lechaion which traded
across the Corinthian Gulf; the site of
Corinth itself was likely not
heavily occupied again until around 900 BC, when it is believed that
Dorians settled there.
According to Hellenic myth, the city was founded by Corinthos, a
descendant of the god
Helios (the Sun). However, other myths suggest
that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, a daughter of the Titan
Oceanus, thus the ancient name of the city (also Ephyra). There is
evidence that the city was destroyed around 2000 BC.
Some ancient names for the place are derived from a pre-Greek
"Pelasgian" language, such as Korinthos. It seems likely that Corinth
was also the site of a
Bronze Age Mycenaean palace-city, like Mycenae,
Tiryns, or Pylos. According to myth,
Sisyphus was the founder of a
race of ancient kings at Corinth. It was also in
Corinth that Jason,
the leader of the Argonauts, abandoned Medea. During the Trojan War,
as portrayed in the Iliad, the Corinthians participated under the
leadership of Agamemnon.
In a Corinthian myth recounted to Pausanias in the 2nd century AD,
Briareus, one of the Hecatonchires, was the arbitrator in a dispute
Poseidon and Helios, between the sea and the sun. His verdict
was that the Isthmus of
Corinth belonged to
Poseidon and the acropolis
Corinth (Acrocorinth) belonged to Helios. Thus, Greeks of the
Classical age accounted for the archaic cult of the sun-titan in the
highest part of the site.
The Upper Peirene spring is located within the walls of the acropolis.
"The spring, which is behind the temple, they say was the gift of
Asopus to Sisyphus. The latter knew, so runs the legend, that
ravished Aegina, the daughter of Asopus, but refused to give
information to the seeker before he had a spring given him on the
Acrocorinthus." (Pausanias, 2.5.1).
Corinth under the Bacchiadae
Main article: Bacchiadae
Corinth had been a backwater in 8th-century Greece. The Bacchiadae
(Ancient Greek: Βακχιάδαι Bakkhiadai) were a tightly-knit
Doric clan and the ruling kinship group of archaic
Corinth in the 8th
and 7th centuries BC, a period of expanding Corinthian cultural power.
In 747 BC (a traditional date), an aristocratic revolution ousted the
Bacchiad kings, when the royal clan of Bacchiadae, numbering perhaps a
couple of hundred adult males, took power from the last king
Telestes. They dispensed with kingship and ruled as a group,
governing the city by annually electing a prytanis (who held the
kingly position for his brief term), probably a council (though
none is specifically documented in the scant literary materials), and
a polemarchos to head the army.
During Bacchiad rule from 747 to 650 BC,
Corinth became a unified
state. Large scale public buildings and monuments were constructed at
this time. In 733 BC,
Corinth established colonies at
Syracuse. By 730 BC,
Corinth emerged as a highly advanced Greek city
with at least 5,000 people.
Aristotle tells the story of Philolaus of Corinth, a Bacchiad who was
a lawgiver at Thebes. He became the lover of Diocles, the winner of
the Olympic games. They both lived for the rest of their lives in
Thebes. Their tombs were built near one another and Philolaus' tomb
points toward the Corinthian country, while Diocles' faces away.
In 657 BC, polemarch
Cypselus obtained an oracle from
Delphi which he
interpreted to mean that he should rule the city. He seized power
and exiled the Bacchiadae.
Corinth under the tyrants
Main article: Cypselus
Cypselus or Kypselos (Greek: Κύψελος) was the first tyrant of
Corinth in the 7th century BC. From 658–628 BC, he removed the
Bacchiad aristocracy from power and ruled for three decades. He built
Poseidon in 650 BC.
Temple has been built in Doric style on the ruins of earlier
temple, being a good example of peripteral temple, supported by 38
columns, only 7 of which are still in place.
Archeological site located close to
Temple of Apollo.
Archeological site of Ancient Theater first built in
Corinth in 5th c.
BC. The Theater could seat around 15000 spectators.
Aristotle reports that "
Corinth had made a vow that if he
became master of the city, he would offer to
Zeus the entire property
of the Corinthians. Accordingly, he commanded them to make a return of
The city sent forth colonists to found new settlements in the 7th
century BC, under the rule of
Cypselus (r. 657–627 BC) and his son
Periander (r. 627–587 BC). Those settlements were
day Durrës, Albania), Syracuse,
Ambracia (modern day town of Lefkas),
Corcyra (modern day town of Corfu), and Anactorium.
founded Apollonia in Illyria (modern day Fier, Albania) and Potidaea
Corinth was also one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities
to found the colony of
Naukratis in Ancient Egypt, founded to
accommodate the increasing trade volume between the Greek world and
pharaonic Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh
Psammetichus I of the 26th
Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary
priest-kings, with increased wealth and more complicated trade
relations and social structures.
Corinth led the way as the richest
archaic polis. The tyrants usually seized power at the head of
some popular support, like the signori of late medieval and
Renaissance Italy. Often the tyrants calmed the populace by upholding
existing laws and customs and strict conservatism in cult practices. A
cult of personality naturally substituted for the divine right of the
former legitimate royal house, as it did in Renaissance Italy.
Temple of Apollo, Ancient Corinth.
Periander (Περίανδρος) (r. 627–587 BC).
Cypselus was the son of
Eëtion and a disfigured woman named Labda. He
was a member of the Bacchiad kin and usurped the power in archaic
matriarchal right of his mother.
According to Herodotus, the
Bacchiadae heard two prophecies from the
Delphic oracle that the son of
Eëtion would overthrow their dynasty,
and they planned to kill the baby once he was born. However, the
newborn smiled at each of the men sent to kill him, and none of them
could bear to strike the blow.
Labda then hid the baby in a chest, and the men could not find him
once they had composed themselves and returned to kill him. (Compare
the infancy of Perseus.) The ivory chest of
Cypselus was richly worked
and adorned with gold. It was a votive offering at Olympia, where
Pausanias gave it a minute description in his 2nd century AD travel
Cypselus grew up and fulfilled the prophecy.
Corinth had been involved
in wars with
Argos and Corcyra, and the Corinthians were unhappy with
Cypselus was polemarch at the time (around 657 BC), the
archon in charge of the military, and he used his influence with the
soldiers to expel the king. He also expelled his other enemies, but
allowed them to set up colonies in northwestern Greece. He also
increased trade with the colonies in
Italy and Sicily. He was a
popular ruler and, unlike many later tyrants, he did not need a
bodyguard and died a natural death.
He ruled for thirty years and was succeeded as tyrant by his son
Periander in 627 BC. The treasury that
Cypselus built at Delphi
was apparently still standing in the time of Herodotus, and the chest
Cypselus was seen by Pausanias at Olympia in the 2nd century AD.
Corcyra to order in 600 BC.
Periander was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece.
During his reign, the first Corinthian coins were struck. He was the
first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway between
the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs. He abandoned the venture due to
the extreme technical difficulties that he met, but he created the
Diolkos instead (a stone-built overland ramp). The era of the
Cypselids was Corinth's golden age, and ended with Periander's nephew
Psammetichus, named after the hellenophile Egyptian Pharaoh
Psammetichus I (see above).
Periander killed his wife Melissa. His son Lycopron found out and
shunned him, and
Periander exiled the son to Corcyra. Periander
later wanted Lycopron to replace him as ruler of Corinth, and
convinced him to come home to
Corinth on the condition that Periander
go to Corcyra. The Corcyreans heard about this and killed Lycophron to
keep away Periander.
Corinth after the tyrants
581 BC: Periander's nephew and successor was assassinated, ending the
581 BC: the
Isthmian Games were established by leading families.
570 BC: the inhabitants started to use silver coins called 'colts' or
550 BC: Construction of the
Corinth (early third
quarter of the 6th century BC).
Corinth allied with Sparta.
Corinth formed a conciliatory alliance with
Corinth mediated between
Athens and Thebes.
Around 500 BC: Athenians and Corinthians entreated Spartans not to
Athens by restoring the tyrant.
Just before the classical period, according to Thucydides, the
Corinthians developed the trireme which became the standard warship of
Mediterranean until the late Roman period.
Corinth fought the
first naval battle on record against the Hellenic city of Corcyra.
The Corinthians were also known for their wealth due to their
strategic location on the isthmus, through which all land traffic had
to pass en route to the Peloponnese, including messengers and
Pegasus with Koppa () (or Qoppa) beneath.
Athena wearing Corinthian helmet. Koppa symbolised the archaic
spelling of the city name (Ϙόρινθος).
Statues in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth.
Corinthian order columns in ancient Corinth.
In classical times,
Athens and Thebes in wealth, based
on the Isthmian traffic and trade. Until the mid-6th century, Corinth
was a major exporter of black-figure pottery to city-states around the
Greek world, later losing their market to Athenian artisans.
In classical times and earlier,
Corinth had a temple of Aphrodite, the
goddess of love, employing some thousand hetairas (temple prostitutes)
Temple prostitution in Corinth). The city was renowned for
these temple prostitutes, who served the wealthy merchants and the
powerful officials who frequented the city. Lais, the most famous
hetaira, was said to charge tremendous fees for her extraordinary
favours. Referring to the city's exorbitant luxuries, Horace is quoted
as saying: "non licet omnibus adire Corinthum" ("Not everyone is able
to go to Corinth").
Corinth was also the host of the Isthmian Games. During this era,
Corinthians developed the Corinthian order, the third main style of
classical architecture after the Doric and the Ionic. The Corinthian
order was the most complicated of the three, showing the city's wealth
and the luxurious lifestyle, while the
Doric order evoked the rigorous
simplicity of the Spartans, and the Ionic was a harmonious balance
between these two following the cosmopolitan philosophy of Ionians
like the Athenians.
The city had two main ports: to the west on the
Corinthian Gulf lay
Lechaion, which connected the city to its western colonies (Greek:
apoikiai) and Magna Graecia, while to the east on the
Saronic Gulf the
port of Kenchreai served the ships coming from Athens, Ionia, Cyprus
and the Levant. Both ports had docks for the city's large navy.
Street in ancient Corinth.
In 491 BC,
Corinth mediated between Syracuse and
Gela in Sicily.
During the years 481–480 BC, the Conference at the Isthmus of
Corinth (following conferences at Sparta) established the Hellenic
League, which allied under the Spartans to fight the war against
Persia. The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, sending
400 soldiers to defend Thermopylae and supplying forty warships
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis under Adeimantos and 5,000 hoplites with
their characteristic Corinthian helmets) in the
following Battle of Plataea. The Greeks obtained the surrender of
Theban collaborators with the Persians. Pausanias took them to Corinth
where they were put to death.
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae and the subsequent Battle of
Artemisium, which resulted in the captures of Euboea, Boeotia, and
Greco-Persian Wars were at a point where now most of
Greece to the north of the Isthmus of
Corinth had been
Herodotus, who was believed to dislike the Corinthians, mentions that
they were considered the second best fighters after the Athenians.
In 458 BC,
Corinth was defeated by
Athens at Megara.
In 435 BC,
Corinth and its colony
Corcyra went to war over
Epidamnus. In 433 BC,
Athens allied with
Corinth. The Corinthian war against the Corcyrans was the largest
naval battle between Greek city states until that time. In 431 BC,
one of the factors leading to the
Peloponnesian War was the dispute
Athens over Corcyra, which probably stemmed from
the traditional trade rivalry between the two cities.
Three Syracusan generals went to
Corinth seeking allies against
Athenian invasion. The Corinthians "voted at once to aid [the
Syracusans] heart and soul". They also sent a group to Lacedaemon to
rouse Spartan assistance. After a convincing speech from the Athenian
renegade Alcibiades, the Spartans agreed to send troops to aid the
In 404 BC,
Sparta refused to destroy Athens, angering the Corinthians.
Corinth joined Argos, Boeotia, and
Sparta in the
Corinthian War.[clarification needed]
Demosthenes later used this history in a plea for magnanimous
statecraft, noting that the Athenians of yesteryear had had good
reason to hate the Corinthians and Thebans for their conduct during
the Peloponnesian War, yet they bore no malice whatever.
In 395 BC, after the end of the Peloponnesian War,
Corinth and Thebes,
dissatisfied with the hegemony of their Spartan allies, moved to
Sparta in the Corinthian War.
As an example of facing danger with knowledge,
Aristotle used the
example of the Argives who were forced to confront the Spartans in the
battle at the
Long Walls of
Corinth in 392 BC.
In 379 BC, Corinth, switching back to the Peloponnesian League, joined
Sparta in an attempt to defeat Thebes and eventually take over
Athens.[clarification needed]
In 366 BC, the
Athenian Assembly ordered Chares to occupy the Athenian
ally and install a democratic government. This failed when Corinth,
Phlius and Epidaurus allied with Boeotia.
Demosthenes recounts how
Athens had fought the Spartans in a great
battle near Corinth. The city decided not to harbor the defeated
Athenian troops, but instead sent heralds to the Spartans. But the
Corinthian heralds opened their gates to the defeated Athenians and
Demosthenes notes that they “chose along with you, who
had been engaged in battle, to suffer whatever might betide, rather
than without you to enjoy a safety that involved no danger.”
These conflicts further weakened the city-states of the Peloponnese
and set the stage for the conquests of Philip II of Macedon.
Demosthenes warned that Philip’s military force exceeded that of
Athens and thus they must develop a tactical advantage. He noted the
importance of a citizen army as opposed to a mercenary force, citing
the mercenaries of
Corinth who fought alongside citizens and defeated
In 338 BC, after having defeated
Athens and its allies, Philip II
created the League of
Corinth to unite the Greeks, including Corinth,
in a war against Persia. Philip was named hegemon of the League.
In the spring of 337 BC, the Second congress of
the Common Peace.
By 332 BC,
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was in control of Greece, as hegemon.
During the Hellenistic period, Corinth, like many other
never quite had autonomy. Under the successors of Alexander the Great,
Greece was contested ground, and
Corinth was occasionally the
battleground for contests between the Antigonids, based in Macedonia,
and other Hellenistic powers. In 308 BC, the city was captured from
the Antigonids by
Ptolemy I, who claimed to come as a liberator of
Greece from the Antigonids. However, the city was recaptured by
Demetrius in 304 BC.
Corinth remained under Antigonid control for half a century. After 280
BC, it was ruled by the faithful governor Craterus; but, in 253/2 BC,
his son Alexander of Corinth, moved by Ptolemaic subsidies, resolved
to challenge the Macedonian supremacy and seek independence as a
tyrant. He was probably poisoned in 247 BC; after his death, the
Antigonus II Gonatas
Antigonus II Gonatas retook the city in the winter of
The Macedonian rule was short-lived. In 243 BC, Aratus of Sicyon,
using a surprise attack, captured the fortress of
convinced the citizenship to join the Achaean League.
Thanks to an alliance agreement with Aratus, the Macedonians recovered
Corinth once again in 224 BC; but, after the Roman intervention in 197
BC, the city was permanently brought into the Achaean League. Under
the leadership of Philopoemen, the Achaeans went on to take control of
the entire Peloponnesus and made
Corinth the capital of their
Further information: Roman Greece
Ancient Roman statue in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth.
In 146 BC, Rome declared war on the
Achaean League and, after
victories over league forces in the summer of that year, the Romans
Lucius Mummius besieged and captured Corinth. When he entered
the city, Mummius killed all the men and sold the women and children
into slavery before burning the city, for which he was given the
cognomen Achaicus as the conqueror of the Achaean League. There is
archeological evidence of some minimal habitation in the years
Corinth remained largely deserted until Julius Caesar
refounded the city as Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis (‘colony of
Corinth in honour of Julius’) in 44 BC, shortly before his
assassination. At this time, an amphitheatre was built.
(37°54′35″N 22°53′31″E / 37.909824°N 22.892078°E
/ 37.909824; 22.892078 (
Corinth (Corinth)) )
Under the Romans,
Corinth was rebuilt as a major city in Southern
Greece or Achaia. It had a large mixed population of Romans,
Greeks, and Jews. The city was an important locus for activities of
the imperial cult, and both
Temple E and the Julian Basilica
have been suggested as locations of imperial cult activity.
See also: Early centers of
Christianity § Greece
Corinth is mentioned many times in the New Testament, largely in
connection with Paul the Apostle's mission there, testifying to the
success of Caesar's refounding of the city. Traditionally, the Church
Corinth is believed to have been founded by Paul, making it an
The apostle Paul first visited the city in AD 49 or 50, when Gallio,
the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Achaia. Paul resided here
for eighteen months (see Acts 18:1–18). Here he first became
Priscilla and Aquila
Priscilla and Aquila with whom he later traveled. They
worked here together as tentmakers (from which is derived the modern
Christian concept of tentmaking), and regularly attended the
synagogue. In AD 51/52,
Gallio presided over the trial of the Apostle
Paul in Corinth. This event provides a secure date for the book of the
Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles within the Bible.
Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul
here, having last seen him in Berea (Acts 18:5). Acts 18:6 suggests
that Jewish refusal to accept his preaching here led Paul to resolve
no longer to speak in the synagogues where he travelled: 'From now on
I will go to the Gentiles'. However, on his arrival in Ephesus
(Acts 18:19), the narrative records that Paul went to the synagogue to
Paul wrote at least two epistles to the Christian church, the First
Epistle to the Corinthians (written from Ephesus) and the Second
Epistle to the Corinthians (written from Macedonia). The first Epistle
occasionally reflects the conflict between the thriving Christian
church and the surrounding community.
Some scholars believe that Paul visited
Corinth for an intermediate
"painful visit" (see 2 Corinthians 2:1) between the first and second
epistles. After writing the second epistle, he stayed in
about three months[Acts 20:3] in the late winter, and there wrote his
Epistle to the Romans.
Based on clues within the Corinthian epistles themselves, some
scholars have concluded that Paul wrote possibly as many as four
epistles to the church at Corinth. Only two are contained within
the Christian canon (First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians);
the other two letters are lost. (The lost letters would probably
represent the very first letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians and
the third one, and so the First and Second Letters of the canon would
be the second and the fourth if four were written.) Many scholars
think that the third one (known as the "letter of the tears"; see 2
Cor 2:4) is included inside the canonical Second Epistle to the
Corinthians (it would be chapters 10–13). This letter is not to be
confused with the so-called "Third Epistle to the Corinthians", which
is a pseudepigraphical letter written many years after the death of
There are speculations from Bruce Winter that the Jewish access to
their own food in
Corinth was disallowed after Paul's departure. By
this theory, Paul had instructed Christian Gentiles to maintain Jewish
access to food according to their dietary laws. This speculation is
contested by Rudolph who argues that there is no evidence to support
this theory. He instead argues that Paul had desired the Gentile
Christians to remain assimilated within their Gentile communities and
not adopt Jewish dietary procedures.
Further information: Byzantine
The walled gates of Acrocorinth.
The city was largely destroyed in the earthquakes of 365 A.D. and 375
A.D., followed by Alaric's invasion in 396. The city was rebuilt after
these disasters on a monumental scale, but covered a much smaller area
than previously. Four churches were located in the city proper,
another on the citadel of the Acrocorinth, and a monumental basilica
at the port of Lechaion.
During the reign of Emperor
Justinian I (527–565), a large stone
wall was erected from the Saronic to the Corinthian gulfs, protecting
the city and the
Peloponnese peninsula from the barbarian invasions
from the north. The stone wall was about six miles (10 km) long
and was named Hexamilion ("six-miles").
Corinth declined from the 6th century on, and may even have fallen to
barbarian invaders in the early 7th century. The main settlement moved
from the lower city to the Acrocorinth. Despite its becoming the
capital of the theme of Hellas and, after ca. 800, of the theme of the
Peloponnese, it was not until the 9th century that the city began to
recover, reaching its apogee in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it
was the site of a flourishing silk industry.
In November 856, an earthquake in
Corinth killed an estimated
The wealth of the city attracted the attention of the Sicilian Normans
under Roger of Sicily, who plundered it in 1147, carrying off many
captives, most notably silk weavers. The city never fully recovered
from the Norman sack.
Principality of Achaea
Following the sack of
Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, a group of
Crusaders under the French knights
William of Champlitte
William of Champlitte and Geoffrey
of Villehardouin carried out the conquest of the Peloponnese. The
Corinthians resisted the Frankish conquest from their stronghold in
Acrocorinth, under the command of Leo Sgouros, from 1205 until 1210.
Leo Sgouros killed himself by riding off the top of
Acrocorinth, but resistance continued for two more years. Finally, in
1210 the fortress fell to the Crusaders, and
Corinth became a full
part of the Principality of Achaea, governed by the Villehardouins
from their capital in
Andravida in Elis.
Corinth was the last
significant town of Achaea on its northern borders with another
crusader state, the Duchy of Athens. The Ottomans captured the city in
1395. The Byzantines of the
Despotate of the Morea
Despotate of the Morea recaptured it in
1403, and the Despot Theodore II Palaiologos, restored the Hexamilion
wall across the Isthmus of
Corinth in 1415.
In 1458, five years after the final Fall of Constantinople, the Turks
Ottoman Empire conquered the city and its mighty castle. The
Ottomans renamed it Gördes and made it a sanjak (district) centre
within the Rumelia Eyalet. The Venetians captured the city in 1687
during the Morean War, and it remained under Venetian control until
the Ottomans retook the city in 1715.
Corinth was the capital of the
Mora Eyalet in 1715–1731 and then again a sanjak capital until 1821.
Corinth with Acrocorinth" by Carl Anton Joseph Rottmann, 1847
During the Greek War of Independence, 1821–1830 the city was
destroyed by the Ottoman forces. The city was
officially liberated in 1832 after the Treaty of London. In 1833, the
site was considered among the candidates for the new capital city of
the recently founded Kingdom of Greece, due to its historical
significance and strategic position.
Nafplio was chosen initially then
Main article: Corinth
In 1858, the village surrounding the ruins of Ancient
destroyed by an earthquake, leading to the establishment of New
Corinth 3 km (1.9 mi) NE of the ancient city.
Ancient city and its environs
Acrocorinth, the acropolis
Main article: Acrocorinth
Acrocorinthis, the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock
that was continuously occupied from archaic times to the early 19th
century. The city's archaic acropolis, already an easily defensible
position due to its geomorphology, was further heavily fortified
Byzantine Empire as it became the seat of the strategos of
the Thema of Hellas. Later it was a fortress of the Franks after the
Fourth Crusade, the Venetians and the Ottoman Turks. With its secure
water supply, Acrocorinth's fortress was used as the last line of
defense in southern
Greece because it commanded the isthmus of
Corinth, repelling foes from entry into the Peloponnesian peninsula.
Three circuit walls formed the man-made defense of the hill. The
highest peak on the site was home to a temple to
Aphrodite which was
Christianized as a church, and then became a mosque. The American
School began excavations on it in 1929. Currently,
Acrocorinth is one
of the most important medieval castle sites of Greece.
Lechaeum and Cenchreae
Corinth had two harbours:
Lechaeum on the
Corinthian Gulf and
Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf.
Lechaeum was the principal port,
connected to the city with a set of long walls of about 3 kilometres
(1.9 mi) length, and was the main trading station for
Sicily, where there were many Corinthian colonies, while Cenchreae
served the commerce with the Eastern Mediterranean. Ships could be
transported between the two harbours by means of the diolkos
constructed by the tyrant Periander.
Temple of Apollo
Fountain of Glauke
Bema (later Church of Apostle Paul)
Acrocorinth Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore
Castle of Acrocorinth
Achaicus (1st century AD), Christian
Corinth (3rd century AD), Christian saint and martyr
Archias (8th century BC), founder of Syracuse
Desmon (8th century BC), athlete
Dinarchus (4th century BC), orator and logographer
Diocles (8th century BC), athlete
Diogenes of Sinope, 4th century BC, one of the world's best known
Eumelus (8th century BC), poet
Euphranor (4th century BC), sculptor and painter
Paul, the Apostle
Paul, the Apostle 1st century AD, Christian evangelist
Periander (7th century BC), listed as one of the Seven Sages of Greece
Quadratus (4th century AD), Christian saint and martyr
Timoleon (4th century BC), statesman and general
Xeniades (5th century BC), philosopher
Xenophon (5th century BC), athlete
Cyriacus the Anchorite
Cyriacus the Anchorite (5th century), Christian saint
William of Moerbeke (13th century), first translator of Aristotle's
works into Latin.
Corinth in literature
Alcmaeon in Corinth, a play by Greek dramatist Euripides, premiered in
The Queen of Corinth, a play by English dramatist John Fletcher,
published in 1647
Temple of Isthmia
^ Dillon, Matthew; Garland, Lynda (2000). Ancient Greece: Social and
Historical Documents from Archaic Times to the Death of Socrates
(c.800-399 B.C.). Psychology Press. p. 352.
^ Lavezzi, J. C. (2003). "
Corinth before the Myceneans". Corinth. 20:
^ Blegen, C. W. (1920). "
Corinth in Prehistoric Times". American
Journal of Archaeology. 24 (1): 1–13. JSTOR 497547.
^ Dunbabin, T. J. (1948). "The Early History of Corinth". Journal of
Hellenic Studies. 68: 59–69. doi:10.2307/626300.
^ Pausanias, Description of
Greece ii. 1.6 and 4.7.
^ Édouard Will, Korinthiaka: recherches sur l'histoire et la
Corinth des origines aux guerres médiques (Paris:
^ Telestes was murdered by Arieus and Perantas, who were themselves
Bacchiads. (Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and
Mythology, vol. I p. 450). It has been debated what extent this early
history is a genealogical myth.
^ Perhaps the designation "king" was retained for cultic reasons, as a
king was normally an essential intercessor with the gods. (Stewart
Irvin Oost, "
Cypselus the Bacchiad" Classical Philology 67.1 (January
1972, pp. 10–30) p. 10f.) See: rex sacrorum.
^ Diodorus Siculus, 7.9.6; Pausanias 2.4.4.
^ Storey, Glenn (2006). Urbanism in the Preindustrial World:
Cross-Cultural Approaches. University of Alabama Press. p. 37.
^ Politics, 1274a
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 5.92 E
^ His mother had been of the Bacchiadae, but she was lame and married
outside the clan.
^ Economics, Book 2. 1346a, Aristotle
^ Salmon, J. B. (1984). Wealthy Corinth. A History of the City to 338
B.C. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-814833-X.
^ An etiological myth-element to account for the name Cypselus
^ Pausanias, 5.18.7.
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 5.92F
^ Diogenes Laertius, i. 13.
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 3.52
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 3.53
Herodotus relates that
Arion the harpist was sailing home on a
Corinthian vessel when the crew decided to rob and kill him. He begged
them to let him sing a last song before killing him. He threw himself
overboard and escaped to Taernarus on the back of a dolphin. He
presented himself to Periander, who then condemned the sailors
Herodotus Histories Book 1.24).
^ Bookidis N., "Corinthian Terracotta Sculpture and the
Apollo," Hesperia 69, 4, 2000, p. 386
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 5.93
^ Thucydides, Book 1:13
^ Stone, Jon R. (2004). The Routledge Dictionary of
p. 76. ISBN 0-415-96909-3.
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 7:202
^ Histories, Book 9:88, Herodotus
^ Lazenby, John Francis (1993). The Defence of Greece, 490-479 B.C.
Aris & Phillips. pp. 248–253.
^ Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua; Cairns, John (2006). Warfare in
the Ancient World. Pen and Sword. p. 32.
^ Histories, Herodotus, Book 9:105
^ The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides, Book 1:29
^ The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides, Book 1:45
^ Thucycdides, Book 1, "The dispute over Corcyra", 50
^ Thucydides, Book 6:73
^ Thucydides, Book 6:88
^ especially the latter part, the Decelan War
^ On The Crown Book 18.96
^ On the Peace, Isocrates, Speech 68, section 68
^ Hellenica, Books 3–7, Xenophon
^ Nicomachean Ethics, Book 3.8
Against Leptines 20.52–20.53
^ Philippic I, Book 4.24
^ Shipley, G. 2000. The Greek World After Alexander 323–30 BC.
London: Routledge (pp. 121–122).
^ Shipley, G. 2000. The Greek World After Alexander 323-30BC. London:
Routledge (pp. 137–138).
^ Shipley, G. 2000. The Greek World After Alexander 323–30 BC.
London: Routledge (pp. 384–385).
^ Josiah Russell, in "Late Ancient and Medieval Population", estimates
50,000 people in Roman Corinth.
^ Walbank, Mary (1989). "Pausanias, Octavia and
Temple E at Corinth".
The Annual of the British School at Athens. 84: 385–386.
^ Scotton, Paul; Vanderpool, Catherine; Roncaglia, Carolynn (2014).
Actas VIII Congreso Internacional Arqueología Clásica. p. 1629.
^ Acts 18:12
^ Paul and Barnabas had said the same thing to the Jews of
^ Bryant, T. A. (1982). Today's Dictionary of the Bible. Bethany House
^ Orr, William F. and James Arthur Walther (1976). 1 Corinthians: A
New Translation (Anchor Bible). Doubleday, p. 120.
^ David J. Rudolph (21 October 2016). A Jew to the Jews: Jewish
Contours of Pauline Flexibility in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23. Second
Edition. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 100–.
^ a b c Gregory, Timothy E. (1991). "Corinth". In Kazhdan, Alexander.
Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. London and New York: Oxford University
Press. pp. 531–533. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
^ Gunn, Angus Macleod (2007). Encyclopedia of Disasters: Environmental
Catastrophes and Human Tragedies. p. 32.
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins. Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece.
New York: Facts on File. 1997.
Alcock, Susan E. and Robin Osborne (ed.s). Classical Archaeology
Malden: Blackwell Publishing. 2007.
Del Chiaro, Mario A (ed). Corinthiaca: Studies in Honor of Darrell A.
Amyx. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. 1986.
Dixon, M. Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth: 338–196 BC.
London: Routledge. 2014.
Friesen, Steven J., Daniel N. Schowalter, James C. Walters (ed.),
Corinth in Context: Comparative Studies on Religion and Society.
Supplements to Novum Testamentum, 134. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2010.
Gebhard, Elizabeth R. and Timothy E. Gregory (ed.), Bridge of the
Untiring Sea: The Corinthian Isthmus from Prehistory to Late
Antiquity. Hesperia Supplement, 48. Princeton, NJ: American School of
Classical Studies at Athens, 2015.
Grant, Michael. The Rise of the Greeks. New York: Macmillan Publishing
Hammond, A History of Greece. Oxford University Press. 1967. History
of Greece, including
Corinth from the early civilizations (6000–850)
to the splitting of the empire and Antipater's occupation of Greece
Kagan, Donald. The Fall of the Athenian Empire. New York: Cornell
University Press. 1987.
Romano, David Gilman. Athletics and Mathematics in Archaic Corinth:
the Origins of the Greek Stadion. Memoirs of the American
Philosophical Society, vol. 206. 1993.
Salmon, J. B. Wealthy Corinth: A History of the City to 338 BC.
Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1984.
Scahill, David. The Origins of the Corinthian Capital. In Structure,
Image, Ornament: Architectural Sculpture in the Greek World. Edited by
Peter Schultz and Ralf von den Hoff, 40–53. Oxford: Oxbow. 2009.
Tartaron, Thomas F., Daniel J. Pullen, Timothy E. Gregory, Jay S.
Noller, Richard M. Rothaus, William R. Caraher, Joseph L. Rife, David
K. Pettegrew, Lisa Tzortzopoulou-Gregory, Dimitri Nakassis, and Robert
Schon. "The Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey: Integrated
Methods for a Dynamic Landscape." Hesperia 75:453–523, 2006.
Will, E. Korinthiaka. Recherches sur l'histoire et la civilisation de
Corinthe des origines aux guerres médiques. Paris : de Boccard,
British Admiralty charts: BA1085, BA1093, BA1600
Results of the American School of Classical Studies Corinth
Excavations published in
Corinth Volumes I to XX, Princeton.
Excavation reports and articles in Hesperia, Princeton.
Partial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ancient Corinth.
Wikisource has the text of the 1879
American Cyclopædia article
Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Video Lecture on the Archaeological Findings at Corinth
The Significance of the Geography of Ancient Corinth
Corinth – The Complete Guide
Hellenic Ministry of Culture:
Fortress of Acrocorinth
Excavations at Ancient
Corinth (American School of Classical Studies
Online database of the
Corinth Excavations (American School of
Classical Studies at Athens)
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Municipal unit of Assos-Lechaio
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