Ancient Corinth
Overview
 
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 (polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

) on the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

. The modern town of Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations
Corinth Excavations
The Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens began in 1896 and have continued with little interruption until today. Restricted by the modern village of Ancient Corinth, which directly overlies the ancient city, the main focus of School investigations has been on the...

 by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens
American School of Classical Studies at Athens
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is one of 17 foreign archaeological institutes in Athens, Greece.-General information:...

 have revealed a large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought important new facets of antiquity to light.
Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 artifacts show that the site of Corinth had been occupied as early as the fifth millennium BC.
Encyclopedia
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 (polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

) on the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

. The modern town of Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations
Corinth Excavations
The Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens began in 1896 and have continued with little interruption until today. Restricted by the modern village of Ancient Corinth, which directly overlies the ancient city, the main focus of School investigations has been on the...

 by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens
American School of Classical Studies at Athens
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is one of 17 foreign archaeological institutes in Athens, Greece.-General information:...

 have revealed a large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought important new facets of antiquity to light.

Prehistory and founding myths

Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 artifacts show that the site of Corinth had been occupied as early as the fifth millennium BC. According to Hellenic myth, the city was founded by Corinthos, a descendant of the god Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

 (the Sun), while other myths suggest that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

, a daughter of the Titan
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

 Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

, thus the ancient name of the city (also Ephyra
Ephyra
Ephyra may refer to:* The city of Kichyro, later known as Ephyra.* Ephyra, one of the Oceanids* Ephyra, one of the Nereids* Ephyra, a stage of the life cycle of jellyfish* Efyra, a village and an archeological site in Elis, Greece...

). There is evidence that the city was destroyed around 2000 BC.

Before the end of the Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

an period (1100 BC), the Dorians attempted to settle in Corinth. While at first they did not succeed, their second attempt was successful when their leader, Aletes
Aletes, son of Hippotes
Aletes was a son of Hippotes and a fifth-generation descendant of Heracles. He is said to have taken possession of Corinth, and to have expelled the Sisyphids thirty years after the first invasion of the Peloponnesus by the Heraclids. His family, sometimes called the Aletidae, maintained...

, followed a different path around the Corinthian Gulf from Antirio.

Some ancient names for the place, such as Korinthos, derive from a pre-Greek, "Pelasgian" language; it seems likely that Corinth was also the site of a Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 Mycenaean palace-city, like Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, Tiryns
Tiryns
Tiryns is a Mycenaean archaeological site in the prefecture of Argolis in the Peloponnese, some kilometres north of Nauplion.-General information:...

 or Pylos
Pylos
Pylos , historically known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It was the capital of the former...

. According to myth, Sisyphus
Sisyphus
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity...

 was the founder of a race of ancient kings at Corinth. It was also in Corinth that Jason
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

, the leader of the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

, abandoned Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

. During the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, the Corinthians participated under the leadership of Agamemnon
Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

.

In a Corinthian myth related in the 2nd century AD to Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

, Briareus, one of the Hecatonchires, was the arbitrator in a dispute between Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 and Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, between the sea and the sun: his verdict was that the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

 belonged to Poseidon and the acropolis of Corinth, Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth , "Upper Corinth", the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock overseeing the ancient city of Corinth, Greece. "It is the most impressive of the acropoleis of mainland Greece," in the estimation of George Forrest. Acrocorinth was continuously occupied from archaic times to...

, to Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

. Thus Greeks of the Classical age accounted for 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
Sisyphus
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity...

. The latter knew, so runs the legend, that Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 had 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

Corinth had been a backwater in 8th-century Greece. The Bacchiadae (Ancient Greek: Βακχιάδαι Bakkhiadai), a tightly-knit Doric clan, were 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 electing annually a prytanis who held the kingly position for his brief term, no doubt a council (though none is specifically documented in the scant literary materials) and a polemarch
Polemarch
A polemarch was a senior military title in various ancient Greek city states . The title is composed out of the polemos and archon and translates as "warleader" or "warlord", one of the nine archontes appointed annually in Athens...

os
to head the army.

During Bacchiad rule, from 747 to 650 BC, Corinth became a unified state. Large scale public buildings/monuments were constructed at this time. In 733 BC, Corinth established colonies at Corcyra and Syracuse. By 730 BC, Corinth emerged as a highly advanced Greek city.

Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 tells the story of Philolaus of Corinth, a Bacchiad who was a lawgiver at Thebes. He became the lover of Diocles
Diocles of Corinth
Diocles of Corinth was an ancient Greek athlete from Corinth who won the stadion race of the 13th Ancient Olympic Games in 728 BC. The stadion race was the only competition in the first 13 Olympiads....

, 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.

Cypselus obtained an oracle from Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

. He interpreted it to mean that he should take over Corinth.

In 657 BC the Bacchiadae were expelled in turn by the tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

 Cypselus
Cypselus
Cypselus was the first tyrant of Corinth in the 7th century BC.With increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures, Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings; Corinth, the richest archaic polis, led the way...

, who had been polemarch. The exiled Bacchiadae fled.

Corinth under the tyrants

Cypselus or Kypselos was the first tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

 of Corinth, Greece, in the 7th century BC. From 658–628 BC, Cypselus
Cypselus
Cypselus was the first tyrant of Corinth in the 7th century BC.With increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures, Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings; Corinth, the richest archaic polis, led the way...

 removed the Bacchiad aristocracy from power and ruled for three decades. He built temples to Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 and Poseidon in 650 BC.

Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 reports that "Cypselus of Corinth had made a vow that if he became master of the city, he would offer to Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 the entire property of the Corinthians. Accordingly, he commanded them to make a return of their possessions."

In the 7th century BC, when Corinth was ruled by the tyrants Cypselus
Cypselus
Cypselus was the first tyrant of Corinth in the 7th century BC.With increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures, Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings; Corinth, the richest archaic polis, led the way...

 (r. 657–627 BC) and his son Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 (r. 627–585 BC), the city sent forth colonists to found new settlements: Epidamnus (modern day Durrës
Durrës
Durrës is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania. Durres is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari...

, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

), Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

, Ambracia
Ambracia
Ambracia, occasionally Ampracia , was an ancient Corinthian colony, situated about 7 miles from the Ambracian Gulf in Greece, on a bend of the navigable river Arachthos , in the midst of a fertile wooded plain.-History:...

 (modern day town of Lefkas
Lefkada
Lefkada, or Leucas or Leucadia , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Lefkada . It is situated on the northern part of the island,...

), Corcyra
Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

 (modern day town of Corfu
Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

) and Anactorium
Actium
Actium was the ancient name of a promontory of western Greece in northwestern Acarnania, at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius opposite Nicopolis, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait....

. Periander also founded Apollonia
Apollonia, Illyria
Apollonia was an ancient Greek city in Illyria, located on the right bank of the Aous river . Its ruins are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojani, in modern-day Albania...

 in Illyria (modern day Fier
Fier
Fieri is a city in southwest Albania, in the district and county of the same name. It is located at , and has a population of 82,297 . Fier is from the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Apollonia.-History :...

, Albania) and Potidaea
Potidaea
Potidaea was a colony founded by the Corinthians around 600 BC in the narrowest point of the peninsula of Pallene, the westernmost of three peninsulas at the southern end of Chalcidice in northern Greece....

 (in Chalcidice
Chalcidice
Chalkidiki, also Halkidiki, Chalcidice or Chalkidike , is a peninsula in northern Greece, and one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Macedonia. The autonomous Mount Athos region is part of the peninsula, but not of the regional unit...

). Corinth was also one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities to found the colony of Naukratis in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Naucratis was founded to accommodate the increasing trade volume between the Greek world and the pharaohnic Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 Psammetichus I
Psammetichus I
Psamtik I , was the first of three kings of that name of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen, Wah-Ib-Re, means "Constant [is the] Heart [of] Re." The story in Herodotus of the Dodecarchy and the rise of Psamtik is fanciful...

 of the 26th dynasty.

With increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures, Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings; Corinth, the richest archaic polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

,
led the way. Like the signori
Lord
Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior . The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'...

of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, the tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

s usually seized power at the head of some popular support. Often the tyrants upheld existing laws and customs and were highly conservative as to cult practices, thus maintaining stability with little risk to their own personal security. As in Renaissance Italy
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, a cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

 naturally substituted for the divine right
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

 of the former legitimate royal house.

Cypselus, the son of Eëtion
Eetion
In Greek mythology, Eëtion was the king of the Cilician Thebe. He is the father of Andromache, wife of Hector , and of seven sons, including Podes....

 and a disfigured woman named Labda
Labda (mythology)
According to Herodotus, Labda was a daughter of the Bacchiad Amphion, and mother of Cypselus, by Eetion. Her name was derived from the fact of her feet being turned outward, and thus resembling the letter lambda , which, by the accounts of the most ancient Greek grammarians, was originally...

, who was a member of the Bacchiad kin usurped the power in archaic matriarchal right of his mother, became tyrant and expelled the Bacchiadae.

According to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 the Bacchiadae heard two prophecies from the Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

c oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 that the son of Eëtion
Eetion
In Greek mythology, Eëtion was the king of the Cilician Thebe. He is the father of Andromache, wife of Hector , and of seven sons, including Podes....

 would overthrow their dynasty, and they planned to kill the baby once it was born. However, Herodotus says that the newborn smiled at each of the men sent to kill it, and none of them could go through with the plan. An etiological
Etiology
Etiology is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek , aitiologia, "giving a reason for" ....

 myth-element, to account for the name Cypselus (cypsele, "chest") accounted how Labda then hid the baby in a chest, and when the men had composed themselves and returned to kill it, they could not find it. (Compare the infancy of Perseus.) The ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 chest of Cypselus, richly worked with mythological narratives and adorned with gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, was a votive offering at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

, where Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 gave it a minute description in his 2nd century AD travel guide.

When Cypselus had grown up, he fulfilled the prophecy. Corinth had been involved in wars with Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and Corcyra, and the Corinthians were unhappy with their rulers. At the time, around 657 BC, Cypselus was polemarch
Polemarch
A polemarch was a senior military title in various ancient Greek city states . The title is composed out of the polemos and archon and translates as "warleader" or "warlord", one of the nine archontes appointed annually in Athens...

, the archon
Archon
Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.- Ancient Greece :In ancient Greece the...

 in charge of the military, and he used his influence with the soldiery to expel the king. He also expelled his other enemies, but allowed them to set up colonies
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 in northwestern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. He also increased trade with the colonies in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. 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
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 in 627 BC. The treasury Cypselus built at Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

 was apparently still standing in the time of Herodotus, and the chest of Cypselus was seen by the traveler Pausanias at Olympia in the 2nd century AD. Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 brought Corcyra to order in 600 BC.

During the 7th century BC, when Corinth was ruled by the tyrants, the city sent forth colonists to found new settlements: Epidamnus (modern day Durrës
Durrës
Durrës is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania. Durres is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari...

, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

), Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

, Ambracia
Ambracia
Ambracia, occasionally Ampracia , was an ancient Corinthian colony, situated about 7 miles from the Ambracian Gulf in Greece, on a bend of the navigable river Arachthos , in the midst of a fertile wooded plain.-History:...

 (modern day town of Lefkas
Lefkada
Lefkada, or Leucas or Leucadia , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Lefkada . It is situated on the northern part of the island,...

), Corcyra (modern day town of Corfu
Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

) and Anactorium
Actium
Actium was the ancient name of a promontory of western Greece in northwestern Acarnania, at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius opposite Nicopolis, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait....

. Periander also founded Apollonia
Apollonia, Illyria
Apollonia was an ancient Greek city in Illyria, located on the right bank of the Aous river . Its ruins are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojani, in modern-day Albania...

 in Illyria (modern day Fier
Fier
Fieri is a city in southwest Albania, in the district and county of the same name. It is located at , and has a population of 82,297 . Fier is from the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Apollonia.-History :...

, Albania) and Potidaea
Potidaea
Potidaea was a colony founded by the Corinthians around 600 BC in the narrowest point of the peninsula of Pallene, the westernmost of three peninsulas at the southern end of Chalcidice in northern Greece....

 (in Chalcidice
Chalcidice
Chalkidiki, also Halkidiki, Chalcidice or Chalkidike , is a peninsula in northern Greece, and one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Macedonia. The autonomous Mount Athos region is part of the peninsula, but not of the regional unit...

). Corinth was also one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities to found the colony of Naukratis in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Naucratis was founded to accommodate the increasing trade volume between the Greek world and the pharaohnic Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 Psammetichus I
Psammetichus I
Psamtik I , was the first of three kings of that name of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen, Wah-Ib-Re, means "Constant [is the] Heart [of] Re." The story in Herodotus of the Dodecarchy and the rise of Psamtik is fanciful...

 of the 26th dynasty.

Just before the beginning of the classical period, the trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

 was developed here. This ship design would become widespread in the navies of the Mediterranean area until the late Roman period. Corinth took part in the first naval battle on record, against the Hellenic city of Corcyra.

Herodotus relates that the harpist Arion
Arion
Arion was a kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth," The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth...

 was sailing home on a Corinthian vessel when the Corinthians decide to kill him and steal his money. Arion
Arion
Arion was a kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth," The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth...

 begs them to let him sing a last song and then he will kill himself. He threw himself overboard and escaped to Taernarus
Cape Matapan
Cape Tainaron , also known as Cape Matapan , is situated at the end of the Mani, Laconia, Greece. Cape Matapan is the southernmost point of mainland Greece. It separates the Messenian Gulf in the west from the Laconian Gulf in the east.-History:...

 on the back of a dolphin. He presents himself to Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 and the sailors are found to be guilty.

Classical Corinth

In classical times
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

, Corinth rivaled Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 and Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

 in wealth, based on the Isthmian traffic and trade. Until the mid-6th century Corinth was a major exporter of black-figure pottery
Black-figure pottery
Black-figure pottery painting, also known as the black-figure style or black-figure ceramic is one of the most modern styles for adorning antique Greek vases. It was especially common between the 7th and 5th centuries BC, although there are specimens dating as late as the 2nd century BC...

 to city-states around the Greek world. Athenian potters later came to dominate the market. It was once believed that Corinth housed a great temple on its ancient acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

 dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

; yet excavations of the temples of Aphrodite in Corinth reveal them to be small in stature. Despite the mythical story from Strabo of there being more than one thousand temple prostitutes employed at the Temple of Aphrodite, this was likely not accurate as the story rests on a misunderstanding. Corinth was also the host of the Isthmian Games
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

.

Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. During his reign the first Corinthian coins
Ancient Greek coinage
The history of Ancient Greek coinage can be divided into three periods, the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic. The Archaic period extends from the introduction of coinage to the Greek world in about 600 BCE until the Persian Wars in about 480 BCE...

 were struck. He was the first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway to allow ship traffic between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulf. He abandoned the venture due to the extreme technical difficulties he met, but he created the Diolkos
Diolkos
The Diolkos was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula...

 (a stone-build overland ramp) instead. The era of the Cypselids, ending with Periander's nephew Psammetichus, named after the hellenophile Egyptian Pharaoh Psammetichus I (see above), was the golden age of the city of Corinth.

Periander killed his wife Melissa. His son found out and refused to talk to him. Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 sent his son away to Corcyra.
Periander later wanted his son Lycopron to replace him as sovereign of Corinth. His son was finally convinced to come home on the condition that Periander go to Corcyra while he goes back to Corinth. The Corcyreans heard about this and killed Lycophron in order to keep Periander out of their country.

During this era Corinthians developed the Corinthian order
Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...

, the third order of the classical architecture after the Ionic
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

 and the Doric
Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...

. The Corinthian order was the most complicated of the three, showing the accumulation of wealth and the luxurious lifestyle in the ancient city-state, while the Doric order was analogous to the strict and simplistic lifestyle of the older Dorians like the Spartans, and the Ionic was a balance between those two following the philosophy of harmony of Ionians like the Athenians.

Horace is quoted as saying: "non licet omnibus adire Corinthum", which translates as "Not everyone is able to go to Corinth", due to the expensive living standards that prevailed in the city. The city was renowned for the temple prostitutes of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, the goddess of love, who served the wealthy merchants and the powerful officials living in or traveling in and out of the city. The most famous of them, Lais, was said to have extraordinary abilities and charged tremendous fees for her favours.

The city had two main ports, one in the Corinthian Gulf and one in the Saronic Gulf, serving the trade routes of the western and eastern Mediterranean, respectively. In the Corinthian Gulf lay Lechaio
Lechaio
Lechaio is a village in the municipality of Assos-Lechaio in Corinthia. Distances are about 4 to 5 km W of Corinth, SE of Kiato...

n, which connected the city to its western colonies (Greek: apoikoiai
Colonies in antiquity
Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city—its "metropolis"—, not from a territory-at-large. Bonds between a colony and its metropolis remained often close, and took specific forms...

) and Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

, while in the Saronic Gulf the port of Kenchreai
Kechries
Kechries is a village in the municipality of Corinth in Corinthia in Greece. It is part of the community of Xylokeriza...

 served the ships coming from Athens, Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and the rest of the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

. Both ports had docks for the large war fleet of the city-state.
In 581 BC, Periander's nephew, who succeeded Periander, was assassinated. This brought Corinth's dictatorship to come to an end.

In 581 BC the Isthmian Games
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

 established by leading families.

In 570 BC, the inhabitants started to use silver coins called 'colts' or 'foals.'

In 550 BC, Corinth became the ally of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

.

In 525 BC, Corinth formed a conciliatory alliance with Sparta against Argos.

In 519 BC, Corinth mediated between Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

.

Around 500 BC, Athenians and Corinthians entreat Spartans not to harm Athens by restoring the tyrant.

Just before the beginning of the classical period, the Corinthians developed the trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

. This ship design would become widespread in the navies of the Mediterranean area until the late Roman period. Corinth took part in the first naval battle on record, against the Hellenic city of Corcyra. According to Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

, Corinth was the first place in Hellas to build triremes. The Corinthians were also known for their wealth because of its location on the isthmus. All information to and from the Peloponnese traveled through Corinth, because many travelers came through delivering messages and goods.

In 491 BC, Corinth mediated between Syracuse and Gala
Gala
-Events and festivities:*A gala, a festivity *A swimming gala is a British/South African term for an amateur swimming competition, often known as a swimming carnival in Australia....

.

During the years 481–480 BC, the Conference at Isthmus of Corinth (previous conference had been at Sparta) established the Hellenic League, which allied under the Spartans in the Greco-Persian Wars
Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus...

 against Persia. The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, sending 400 soldiers to try to defend the Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August...

 and offering forty war ships in the sea Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 under the admiral Adeimantos
Adeimantus of Corinth
Adeimantus of Corinth , son of Ocytus, was the Corinthian commander during the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. Before the Battle of Artemisium he threatened to sail away. He opposed Themistocles with great insolence in the council which the commanders held before the Battle of Salamis...

 and 5,000 hoplites (wearing their characteristic Corinthian helmet
Corinthian helmet
The Corinthian helmet originated in ancient Greece and took its name from the city-state of Corinth. It was a helmet made of bronze which in its later styles covered the entire head and neck, with slits for the eyes and mouth. A large curved projection protected the nape of the neck...

s) in the following Battle of Plataea
Battle of Plataea
The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes...

 but afterwards was frequently an enemy of Athens and an ally of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 in the Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

. The Greeks demanded the surrender of Thebans who had aided the Persians. Pausanias took them to Corinth where they were put to death.

Herodotus, who was believed to dislike the Corinthians, mentions that Corinthians were considered the second best fighters to the Athenians.

In 458 BC, Corinth was defeated by Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 at Megara
Megara
Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

.

In 435 BC, Corinth and Corcyra
Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

 went to war over Epidamnus. In 433 BC, Athens allied with Corcyra against Corinth. The Corinthian war against the Corcycraeans was the first naval war in history.
In 431 BC
431 BC
Year 431 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cincinnatus and Mento...

, one of the factors leading to the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 was the dispute between Corinth and Athens over the Corinthian colony of Corcyra (Corfu), which probably stemmed from the traditional trade rivalry between the two cities.

Three Syracusan generals went to Corinth and Lacedaemon to acquire allies for the Sicilian War
Sicilian Expedition
The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. The expedition was hampered from the outset by uncertainty in its purpose and command structure—political maneuvering in Athens swelled a lightweight force of twenty ships into a...

.

With the Syracusan troops in Athens, Ariston, a Corinithinan helmsman had the idea to move the market down to the sea which would allow the commanders to have a full meal, and then attack the Athenians while they were least expecting it. A messenger was sent to the market and the plan was carried through. The Athenians, expecting the Syracusan troops to be busy at the market, went upon their daily tasks, unprepared for battle. Suddenly the Athenians realized the Syracrusan troops were waging battle upon them so they scrambled to meet the Syracusans at the sea for battle. In the end, the Syracusan troops claimed victory and the Athenians retreated.

After the end of the Peloponnesian War, Corinth and Thebes, which were former allies with Sparta in the Peloponnesian League, had grown dissatisfied with the hegemony of Sparta and started the Corinthian War
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

 against it, which further weakened the city-states
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

 of the Peloponnese. This weakness allowed for the subsequent invasion of the Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ians of the north and the forging of the Corinthian League by Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 against the Persian Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

.

The Corinthians "voted at once to aid them [the Syracusans] heart and soul themselves". They also sent a group to Lacedaemon where they found Alcibiades
Alcibiades
Alcibiades, son of Clinias, from the deme of Scambonidae , was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War...

. From there the Syracusans, Corinthians and Alcibiades convinced the Lacedaemonians to join their forces. After a convincing speech from Alcibiades, the Lacedaemonians agreed to send troops to aid the Sicilians.

In 404 BC, Sparta refused to destroy Athens. This refusal caused bad relations with Corinth. Corinth joined Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, Boetia, and Athens against Sparta in the Corinthian War
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

.

To convince his countrymen to behave objectively, Demosthenes noted that the Athenians of yesteryear had had good reason to bear malice against the Corinthians and the Thebans for their conduct during the last part of the Peloponnesian War; but they bore no malice whatever.

Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 wrote of the formation of the anti-Spartan alliance made in 395 BC in Corinth.

Xenophon chronicled a detailed description of the events of the Corinthian war
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

 which started in 395 BC.

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 and as part of the Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

 joins Sparta
History of Sparta
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its forced incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, its conquerors, in 146 BCE, a period of roughly 1000 years...

 in an attempt to defeat Thebes and eventually take over Athens.

In 366 BC, the Athenian Assembly ordered Chares
Chares of Athens
Chares and was an Athenian general, who for a number of years was a key commander of Athenian forces.-First campaigns:Chares, an Athenian general, is first mentioned in historical records in 367 BC, when he was sent to the aid of the city of Phlius. The city was hard pressed by the Arcadians and...

 to occupy the Athenian ally and install a democratic government. This failed when Corinth, Phlius and Epidaurus allied with Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

 backing Corinth up in the swar.

Regarding Corinthian exiles, Demosthenes recounted information he heard from elders who we can assume had been alive during the event in question. Athens had fought the Lacedaemonians in a great battle near Corinth. The city decided not to harbor the defeated Athenian troops, but instead sent heralds to the Lacedaemonians.

The Corinthian heralds opened their gates to the defeated Athenian army and refused to betray them to the victorious Lacedaemonian army. 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 actions saved the Athenian troops and their allies.

Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 acknowledged that Philip’s military force exceeded that of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and thus they must develop a tactical advantage. He notes the importance of a citizen, army as opposed to one made up of mercenary soldiers, citing a previous mercenary force in Corinth. In this particular force, citizens fought alongside mercenaries and beat the Lacedaemonians.

In 338 BC, after having defeated AThens and its allies, Philip II
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 created the League of Corinth
League of Corinth
The League of Corinth, also sometimes referred to as Hellenic League was a federation of Greek states created by Philip II of Macedon during the winter of 338 BC/337 BC after the Battle of Chaeronea, to facilitate his use of military forces in his war against Persia...

 to unite the Greeks, including Corinth, in a war with Persia. Philip was named hegemon of the League.

In 337 BC, in the spring, the Second congress of Corinth established Common Peace
Common Peace
Common Peace was the term used in ancient Greece for a peace treaty that simultaneously declared peace between all the combatants in a war. The concept was invented with the Peace of Antalcidas in 387 BC...

.

Hellenistic period

By 332 BC, Alexander the Great was in control of Greece, as hegemon.

In 249 BC, Alexander, nephew of Antigonus II Gonatas
Antigonus II Gonatas
Antigonus II Gonatas was a powerful ruler who firmly established the Antigonid dynasty in Macedonia and acquired fame for his victory over the Gauls who had invaded the Balkans.-Birth and family:...

 led the city in a revolt against his uncle. Antigonus took by the city to Alexander's widow Nicaea
Nicaea of Corinth
Nicaea was wife of Alexander, tyrant of Corinth during the reign of Antigonus Gonatas. After the death of her husband, who was thought to have been poisoned by the command of Gonatas, Nicaea retained possession of the important fortress of Corinth: but Antigonus lulled her into security by offering...

 a few years later.

In 243 BC, Corinth was taken from the Macedonians by Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

 and the Achaeans
Achaean League
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese, which existed between 280 BC and 146 BC...

.

In 146 BC, Corinth was destroyed in the Battle of Corinth
Battle of Corinth (146 BC)
The Battle of Corinth was a battle fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League in 146 BC, that resulted in the complete and total destruction of the state of Corinth which was previously so famous for its fabulous wealth...

 by the Roman general Lucius Mummius.

Roman era

The Romans
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 under Lucius Mummius
Lucius Mummius Achaicus
Lucius Mummius , was a Roman statesman and general, also known as Leucius Mommius. He later received the agnomen Achaicus after conquering Greece.-Praetor:...

 destroyed Corinth following a siege in 146 BC; when he entered the city Mummius put all the men to the sword and sold the women and children into slavery before he torched the city, for which he was given the cognomen
Cognomen
The cognomen nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of Ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name in order to identify a particular branch within...

 Achaicus as the conqueror of the Achaean League
Achaean League
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese, which existed between 280 BC and 146 BC...

 (see Battle of Corinth
Battle of Corinth (146 BC)
The Battle of Corinth was a battle fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League in 146 BC, that resulted in the complete and total destruction of the state of Corinth which was previously so famous for its fabulous wealth...

). While there is archeological evidence of some minimal habitation in the years afterwards, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 refounded the city as Colonia laus Iulia Corinthiensis in 44 BC shortly before his assassination.

Biblical Corinth

Corinth is mentioned many times in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, largely in connection with Paul the apostle's mission there.

Under the Romans, Corinth was rebuilt as a major city in Southern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 or Achaia
Achaea (ancient region)
Geographically, Achaea was the northernmost region of the Peloponnese, occupying the coastal strip north of Arcadia. Its approximate boundaries were to the south the mountain range of Erymanthus, to the south-east the range of Cyllene, to the east Sicyon, and to the west the Larissos river...

. It had a large mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

.

When the apostle Paul first visited the city (AD 51 or 52), Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

. Paul resided here for eighteen months (see ). Here he first became acquainted with Priscilla and Aquila, and soon after his departure Apollos
Apollos
Saint Apollos is an apostle who is also a 1st century Alexandrian Jewish Christian mentioned several times in the New Testament...

 came from Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

.

Paul wrote two of his epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 to the Christian community at Corinth, the First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 and the Second Epistle to the Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

. The first Epistle reflects the difficulties of maintaining a Christian community in such a cosmopolitan city.

Some scholars believe that Paul visited Corinth for a brief intermediate "painful visit" (see ), between the first and second epistles. After writing the second epistle he stayed in Corinth for about three months in the late winter, and there wrote his Epistle to the Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

.

Based on clues within the Corinthian epistles themselves some scholars have concluded that Paul wrote possibly as many as four epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 to the church at Corinth. Only two of them, the First
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 and Second Epistles to the Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

, are contained within the Canon of Holy Scripture
Development of the Christian Biblical canon
The Christian Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the Christian Bible. Books included in the Christian Biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament were decided at the Council of Trent , by the Thirty-Nine Articles , the Westminster...

. An apocryphal Third Epistle to the Corinthians
Third Epistle to the Corinthians
The Third Epistle to the Corinthians is believed to be a pseudepigraphical text under the name of Paul of Tarsus. It is also found in the Acts of Paul, and was framed as Paul's response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul. The earliest extant copy is Bodmer Papyrus X.In the West it was not...

 was rejected from the canon.

Byzantine era

The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 375 and again in 551. During Alaric
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

's invasion of Greece, in 395–396, Corinth was one of the cities he despoiled, selling many of its citizens into slavery.

During the reign of Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

, a large stone wall was erected from the Saronic to the Corinthian gulf, protecting the city and the Peloponnesean peninsula from the barbarian invasions of the north. The stone wall was about six miles (10 km) long and was named Examilion (exi=six in Greek). During this era Corinth was the seat of the Thema of Hellas (representing modern day Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

).

In November 856, an earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 in Corinth killed an estimated 45,000.

In the 12th century (during the reign of the Comnenus dynasty), the wealth of the city, generated from the silk trade to the Latin states of western Europe, attracted the attention of the Sicilian Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 under Roger of Sicily, who plundered it in 1147.

Principality of Achaea

In 1204, Geoffrey I de Villehardouin, nephew of the homonymous famous historian
Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey of Villehardouin was a knight and historian who participated in and chronicled the Fourth Crusade...

 of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, was granted Corinth after the sack of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, with the title of Prince of Achaea. From 1205–1208 the Corinthians resisted the Frankish domination from their stronghold in Acrocorinth, under the command of the Greek general Leo Sgouros
Leo Sgouros
Leo Sgouros was a Greek independent lord in the northeastern Peloponnese in the early 13th century. The scion of the magnate Sgouros family, he succeeded his father as hereditary lord in the region of Nauplia...

. The French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 knight William of Champlitte
William of Champlitte
William I of Champlitte was a French knight who joined the Fourth Crusade and became the first prince of Achaea .- Early years and the Fourth Crusade :...

 led the crusader forces. In 1208 Leo Sgouros killed himself by riding off the top of Acrocorinth, but from 1208 to 1210 the Corinthians continued to resist the enemy forces. After the collapse of the resistance and for the years to come, Corinth became a full part of the Principality of Achaea
Principality of Achaea
The Principality of Achaea or of the Morea was one of the three vassal states of the Latin Empire which replaced the Byzantine Empire after the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. It became a vassal of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, along with the Duchy of Athens, until Thessalonica...

, governed by the Villehardouin
Villehardouin
The name Villehardouin may refer to:* Villehardouin, a former commune of the Aube department, now part of Val-d'Auzon*Geoffrey of Villehardouin, knight, crusader , Marshal of Romania and author of the "Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople"*Geoffrey I of Villehardouin,...

s from their capital in Andravida
Andravida
Andravída is a town and a former municipality in Elis, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Andravida-Kyllini, of which it is a municipal unit. Its population is about 4,300. Distance from Patras is around 63 km SW and 33 km NW of...

 of Elis
Elis
Elis, or Eleia is an ancient district that corresponds with the modern Elis peripheral unit...

. Corinth was the last significant town of Achaea on its northern borders with another crusader state, the Duchy of Athens
Duchy of Athens
The Duchy of Athens was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century....

. The Byzantines reconquered the city and it became part of the despotate of Morea
Despotate of Morea
The Despotate of the Morea or Despotate of Mystras was a province of the Byzantine Empire which existed between the mid-14th and mid-15th centuries. Its territory varied in size during its 100 years of existence but eventually grew to take in almost all the southern Greek peninsula, the...

 in 1388. The Ottomans captured it in 1395. The Byzantines captured it again in 1403. Theodore II Palaiologos
Theodore II Palaiologos, Lord of Morea
Theodore II Palaiologos or Palaeologus was Despot in Morea from 1407 to 1443.-Life:...

, who was Despot of Morea, built the Hexamilion wall
Hexamilion wall
The Hexamilion wall is a defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth guarding the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula from mainland Greece.- Early fortifications :...

 across the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

.

Ottoman Rule

In 1458, five years after the final Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 conquered the city and its mighty castle. The Ottomans renamed it Gördes. It became the Sanjak centre of Morea in Rumelia Province. The Venetians captured it in 1687 and it fell under the control of the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 according to Treaty of Karlowitz
Treaty of Karlowitz
The Treaty of Karlowitz was signed on 26 January 1699 in Sremski Karlovci , concluding the Austro-Ottoman War of 1683–1697 in which the Ottoman side had been defeated at the Battle of Zenta...

 in 1699. Ottomans retook the city in 1715. It was the capital of Mora
Mora
-People:* Alberto J. Mora , General Counsel of the United States Navy * Alfonso Mora , Venezuelan former tennis player* Bruno Mora , Italian football player and coach* Cristian Mora , Ecuadorian football goalkeeper...

 Province between 1715–1731 and the Sanjak centre between 1731–1821.

Independence

During the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

, 1821–1830 the city was destroyed by the Turkish forces. The city was officially liberated in 1832 after the Treaty of London
London Conference of 1832
The London Conference of 1832 was an international conference convened to establish a stable government in Greece. Negotiations between the three Great Powers resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece under a Bavarian Prince. The decisions were ratified in the Treaty of Constantinople...

. In 1833, the site was considered among the candidates for the new capital city of the recently founded Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

, due to its historical significance and strategic position. Athens, then an insignificant town, was chosen instead.

Modern Corinth

In 1858, the village surrounding the ruins of Ancient Corinth was totally destroyed by an earthquake, leading to the establishment of New Corinth 3 km (1.9 mi) NE of the ancient city.

Acrocorinth, the acropolis


Acrocorinthis, the acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

 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 during the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 as it became the seat of the strategos
Strategos
Strategos, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean "general". In the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor...

 of the Thema of Hellas. Later it was a fortress of the Franks after the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, 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
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

, 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
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 to Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 which was Christianized
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 as a church, and then became a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

. The American School began excavations on it in 1929. Currently, Acrocorinth is one of the most important medieval castle sites of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

.

The two ports: Lechaeum and Cenchreae

Corinth had two harbours: Lechaeum on the Corinthian Gulf and Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf
Saronic Gulf
The Saronic Gulf or Gulf of Aegina in Greece forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus.-Geography:The gulf includes the islands of; Aegina, Salamis, and Poros along with...

. Lechaeum was the principal port, connected to the city with a set of long walls
Long Walls
The Long Walls , in Ancient Greece, were walls built from a city to its port, providing a secure connection to the sea even during times of siege. Although long walls were built at several locations in Greece—Corinth and Megara being two of the best known examples—the phrase "long...

 of about 2 miles (3.2 km) length, and was the main trading station for Italy and 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
Diolkos
The Diolkos was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula...

 constructed by the tyrant Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

.

Problems in the History

A problem faced by historians in the study of Corinth is the lack of written material regarding social life and economy. The writing that is available is either not interested in discussing the economy at all or is irritatingly vague. Historians have turned to archaeological evidence in order to answer questions about these institutions of Corinthian culture. While archaeological evidence is highly useful and informative, it is also speculative and subject to error in interpretation.

Furthermore, natural disasters such as earthquakes and destruction by the Romans under Lucius Mummius in 146 BC almost completely obliterated the Corinth of the Ancient Greeks. Subsequently, the entire city was rebuilt. The current remains of Corinth may reflect a city that was much different from what the Ancient Greeks – or even the Roman invaders – would have seen.

Much of the archaeological evidence can be interpreted using cross cultural comparison to sites with similar evidence and much more detailed histories. They can also compare evidence to cultural phenomena in the present in order to make more exact interpretations. Historians are able to use this evidence in combination with the primary sources they have such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, etc. in order to piece together the history of an ancient culture such as that found in Corinth.

Another problem historians face in the study of not only Corinth but the Ancient World in general, is establishing the border between myth and historical events. Many ancient historians were also entertainers and were concerned with their number of viewers and listeners. It is thought that they would pad out a story to make it more enjoyable if the true history was not interesting enough. As stories were transmitted, different parts of those stories were changed, possibly giving rise to a story that is totally different from the original account. Although such corrupted stories do not tell us exact history, they can provide insight into the culture and concerns of former times.

Ancient

  • Archias
    Archias of Corinth
    Archias was a quasi-mythological Corinthian citizen and founder of the colony of Syracuse in Sicily.-Legend:Archias fell in love with the son of Melissus, named Actaeon - the most handsome and modest youth of his age in the city - and proceeded to court him...

     (8th century BC), founder of Syracuse.
  • Dinarchus
    Dinarchus
    Dinarchus or Dinarch was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was the last of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.A son of Sostratus , Dinarchus settled at Athens early in life, and...

     (4th century BC), orator and logographer.
  • Diogenes of Sinope
    Diogenes of Sinope
    Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes of Sinope , he was born in Sinope , an Ionian colony on the Black Sea , in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial figure...

    , 4th century BC, one of the world's best known cynics.
  • Eumelus
    Eumelus of Corinth
    Eumelus of Corinth or Eumelos of Korinthos, of the clan of the Bacchiadae, is a semi-legendary early Greek poet, the Corinthian author of the Prosodion, the treasured processional anthem of Messenian independence that was performed on Delos. One small fragment of it survives in a quote by Pausanias...

     (8th century BC), poet.
  • Euphranor
    Euphranor
    Euphranor of Corinth was the only Greek artist who excelled both as a sculptor and as a painter.Pliny the Elder provides a list of his works including a cavalry battle, a Theseus, and the feigned madness of Odysseus among the paintings; and Paris, Leto with her children Apollo and Artemis, and...

     (4th century BC), sculptor and painter.
  • Periander
    Periander
    Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

     (7th century BC), listed as one of the Seven Sages of Greece
    Seven Sages of Greece
    The Seven Sages or Seven Wise Men was the title given by ancient Greek tradition to seven early 6th century BC philosophers, statesmen and law-givers who were renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom.-The Seven Sages:Traditionally, each of the seven sages represents an aspect of worldly...

    .
  • Xeniades
    Xeniades
    Xeniades was the name of two people from Corinth who lived in the time of Ancient Greece:#A Greek philosopher from Corinth who lived in the time of Democritus, c. 400 BC...

     (5th century BC), philosopher.

External links


Further reading

  • Results of the American School of Classical Studies Corinth Excavations published in Corinth Volumes I to XX, Princeton.
  • Excavation reports and articles in Hesperia (journal)
    Hesperia (journal)
    Hesperia is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. It was founded in 1932 for the publication of the work of the school. This is still the main aim of the journal today...

    , Princeton.
  • Partial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897
  • Salmon, J. B. Wealthy Corinth : a history of the city to 338 BC. Oxford: Clarendon press, 1997.
  • Will, E. Korinthiaka. Recherches sur l'histoire et la civilisation de Corinthe des origines aux guerres médiques. Paris : de Boccard, 1955.
  • "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."
  • "Grant, Michael. The Rise of the Greeks. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 1987."
  • "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" (323–321).
  • "Kagan, Donald. The Fall of the Athenian Empire. New York: Cornell University Press. 1987."
  • "Salmon, J.B. Wealthy Corinth: A History of the City to 338 BC. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1984."
  • British Admiralty charts:BA1085, BA1093, BA1600
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