Aug. 3rd, 2012

hawkwing_lb: (DA 2 scaring the piss)
I admit it, I am skipping bits of Delphi. I can't quite wrangle it well enough on my own to blog it, and in consequence I'm going to be working from someone else's really well prepared notes.

Corinth

So I'm moving on to Corinth. More specifically, to Old Corinth, Palaio-Korinthos, for the site of the modern town of Korinthos (Nea Korinthos) is located on the shoreline of the Corinthian Gulf as a result of an earthquake in 1858, which caused significant damage to the town then on the site of Old Corinth. The modern town is five miles away, on the shore, adjacent to Lechaion, the site that was Old Corinth's port in antiquity.

The town itself lies approximately 100m above sea level. The Akrokorinth, which you can see rising above us, is over 500m above sea level - 575m at its highest point, I believe. In antiquity it was the acropolis of ancient city, and through the medieval period and into the Ottoman it was built into one of the most impressive fortresses in the Morea (the Morea being was the Peleponnese was known as in the middle ages and under the Ottomans). The Franks began the fortification, during their short-lived medieval dominance in the Morea; the Turks maintained the walls after they took over the Corinthia in 1498, and the Hospitaller Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta briefly - in 1612 - controlled the area around. The Venetians came in in 1687, and the Turks kicked the Venetians out again in 1715. And that's the later history of Corinth, until the Greek war of independence, when the Akrokorinth was used as a fortress by the combatants.

Early occupation and potted history

- Occupied continuously since the 5th millennium.
- Colonies at Corcyra and Syracuse (ca.734).
- 8th century ruled by the tyrants the Baccidae, who were overthrown in the mid 7th by the tyrant Kypselos. An account in Herodotos details the mythological history here. Ruled by Kypselos, Periander and Psammeticus before being overthrown by a moderate oligarchy in 6th century.
- Proto-Corinthian pottery – evidence for trade in the Geometric and Archaic periods as far away as northern Italy (the Etruscans) before being over-taken by Attica as a pottery producer.
- During the Persian Wars the city served as a sort of Greek headquarters.
- 434 BC: war between Corinth and Corcyra, which was one of the causes of the Peloponnesian war: Corinth supported the Syracusans against Sicily.
- 338 BC: garrisoned by the Macedonians who were not expelled until 224 when Corinth became part of the Achaean League
- 146BC: the Achaean league was defeated by the Romans and the defences of Corinth were razed to the ground.
- The site of Old Corinth remained unoccupied until 44BC when Julius Caesar planted a colony of veterans on the site. It then became the capital of the Roman province of Achaia.
- It was enhanced by Hadrian with an aqueduct from Lake Stymphalos and by Herodes Atticus, whose benefactions are everywhere in Greece.

The epithet of Corinth in antiquity was "well-watered," "Corinth of the many springs." This is because it is abundantly provided with sources of fresh water, most of which rise on Akrokorinth and in Classical and Roman fed fountains in the heart of the polis.

Excavations were begun by the ASCSA in 1896 and have continued to the present day. The current director of the ASCSA excavations is Dr Guy Saunders. Most of the standing remains here are Roman in date, as the Greek city was sacked by Lucius Mummius at the end of the Achaean War. Corinth was until that time a major commercial power, which probably had much to do with how vengeful the Romans were willing to be. (Suffer no rivals.) Roman settlement and land apportionment has been identified as well in the plain below and on the slopes of the Akrokorinth.

Corinth is the site at which Euripides set his Medea.

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