KORINTHOS (Ancient city) PELOPONNISOS
Corinth was held by Antigonus, and there was a Macedonian garrison in the city, but Aratus threw them into a panic by the suddenness of his assault, winning a battle and killing among others Persaeus, the commander of the garrison.
Consul, commands Roman army against Achaeans, defeats Achaeans and captures Corinth, completes subjugation of Greece, dedicates shields at Olympia, dedicates images of Zeus at Olympia from Achaean spoils.
The favourable position of Corinth for commerce could not have escaped
the notice of the Phoenicians, who had settlements on other parts of the Grecian
coast. There can be little doubt that a Phoenician colony at an early period took
possession of the Acrocorinthus. If there were no other evidence for this fact,
it would have been sufficiently proved by the Oriental character of the worship
of Aphrodite in this city, of which a further account is given below. But in addition
to this, the recollection of the early Phoenician settlement was perpetuated by
the Corinthian mountain called Phoenicaeum (Phoinikaion, Ephor. ap. Steph. B.
s. v.), and by the worship of the Phoenician Athena (Phoinike he Athena en Korinthoi,
Tzetzes, ad Lycophr. 658.)
Thucydides mentions (iv. 42) Aeolians as the inhabitants of Corinth at the time of the Dorian invasion; but there can be no doubt that Ionians also formed a considerable part of the population in the earliest times, since Ionians were in possession of the coasts on either side of the Isthmus, and on the Isthmus itself was the most revered seat of Poseidon, the chief deity of the Ionic race. Still the earliest rulers of Corinth are uniformly represented as Aeolians. The founder of this dynasty was Sisyphus, whose cunning and love of gain may typify the commercial enterprise of the early maritime population, who overreached the simple inhabitants of the interior. Under the sway of Sisyphus and his descendants Corinth became one of the richest and most powerful cities in Greece. Sisyphus had two sons, Glaucus and Ornytion. From Glaucus sprang the celebrated hero Bellerophon, who was worshipped with heroic honours at Corinth, and whose exploits were a favoutite subject among the Corinthians down to the latest times. Hence we constantly find upon the coins of Corinth and her colonies the figure of the winged horse Pegasus, which Bellerophon caught at the fountain of Peirene on the Acrocorinthus. Bellerophon, as is well known, settled in Lycia; and the descendants of Ornytion continued to rule at Corinth till the overthrow of the Sisyphid dynasty by the conquering Dorians.
The most ancient name of the city was Ephyra (Ephure). At what time it exchanged this name for that of Corinth is unknown. Muller, relying upon a passage of Velleius Paterculus (i. 3) supposes that it received the name of Corinth upon occasion of the Dorian conquest; but Homer uses both names indiscriminately. (Ephure, Il. vi. 152, 210; Korinthos, ii. 570, xiii. 664.) According to the Corinthians themselves Corinthus, from whom the city derived its name, was a son of Zeus; but the epic poet Eumelus, one of the Corinthian Bacchiadae, gave a less exalted origin to the eponymous hero. This poet carried up the history of his native place to a still earlier period than the rule of the Sisyphids. According to the legend, related by him, the gods Poseidon and Helios (the Sun) contended for the possession of the Corinthian land. By the award of Briareus Poseidon obtained the Isthmus; and Helios the rock, afterwards called the Acrocorinthus, and then Ephyra, from Ephyra, a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, and the primitive inhabitant of the country. Helios had two sons Aeetes and Aloeus: to the; former he gave Ephyra, to the latter Asopia (Sicyon). Aeetes, going to Colchis, left his country under the government of Bunus, a son of Hermes; upon whose death Epopeus, the son of Aloeus, obtained Ephyra as well as Asopia. Marathon, the son of Epopeus, who had left the country during his lifetime, returned at his death, and divided his territory between his sons Corinthus and Sicyon, from whom the two towns obtained their names. Corinthus dying without children, the Corinthians invited Medea from Iolcos,as the daughter of Aeetes; and thus her husband Jason obtained the, sovereignty of Corinth. Medea afterwards returned to Iolcos, leaving the throne to Sisyphus, with whom she is said to have been in love. (Paus. i. 1. § 2, i. 3. § 10; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. xiii. 74.) Upon this legend Mr. Grote justly remarks, that the incidents in it are imagined and arranged with a view to the supremacy of Medea; the emigration of Aeetes, and the conditions under which he transferred his sceptre being so laid out as to confer upon Medea an hereditary title to the throne. . . We may consider the legend of Medea as having been originally quite independent of that of Sisyphus, but fitted on to it, in seeming chronological sequence, so as to satisfy the feelings of those Aeolids of Corinth who passed for his descendants. : (Hist. of Greece, vol. i. p. 165, seq.)
The first really historical fact in the history of Corinth is its conquest by the Dorians. It is said that this conquest was not effected till the generation after the return of the Heracleidae into Peloponnesus. When the Heracleidae were on the point of crossing over from Naupactus, Hippotes, also a descendant of Hercules, but not through Hyllus, slew the prophet Carnus, in consequence of which he was banished for ten years, and not allowed to, take part in the enterprise. His son Aletes, who derived his name from his long wanderings, was afterwards the leader of the Dorian conquerors of Corinth, and the first Dorian king of the city. (Paus. ii. 4. § 3.) It appears from the account of Thucydides (iv. 42) that the Dorian invaders took. possession of the hill called Solygeius, near the Saronic gulf, from which they carried on war against the Aeolian inhabitants of Corinth till they reduced; the city.
The Dorians, though the ruling class, appear, to have formed only a small proportion of the population of Corinth. The non. Dorian inhabitants, must have been admitted at an early period to the citizenship,; since we find mention of eight Corinthian tribes (panta okto, Phot., Suidas), whereas three was the standard number in all purely Doric states. It was impossible to preserve in a city like Corinth the regular Doric institutions; since the wealth acquired by commerce greatly exceeded the value of landed property, and necessarily conferred upon its possessors, even though not Dorians, great influence and power. Aletes and his descendants held the royal power for 12 generations. Their names and the length of their reign are thus given: Years. Aletes reigned 38, Ixion reigned 38, Agelas reigned 37, Prymnis reigned 35, Bacchis reigned 35, Agelas reigned 30, Eudemus reigned 25, Aristodemes reigned 35, Agemon reigned 16, Alexander reigned 25, Telestes reigned 12, Automenes reigned 1.
Pausanias speaks as if Prymnis was the last descendant of Aletes, and Bacchis, the founder of a new, though still an Heracleid dynasty; but Diodorus describes all these kings as descendants of Aletes, but in consequence of the celebrity of Bacchis, his successors took the name of Bacchidae in place of that of Aletiadae or Heracleidae. After Automenes had reigned one year, the Bacchiad family, amounting to about 200 persons, determined to abolish royalty, and to elect out of their own number an annual Prytanis. The Bacchiad oligarchy had possession of the government for 90 years, until it was overthrown by Cypselus, with the help of the lower classes, in B.C. 657. (Diod. vi. fragm. 6, p. 635, Wess.; Paus. ii. 4. § 4; Herod. v. 92.) Strabo says (viii. p. 378) that the Bacchiad oligarchy lasted nearly 200 years; but he probably included within this period a portion of the time that the Bacchiads possessed the royal power. The Bacchiads, after their deposition by Cypselus, were for the most part driven into exile, and are said to have taken refuge in different parts of Greece, and even in Italy. (Plut. Lysand. 1; Liv. i. 34.) According to the mythical chronology the return of the Heracleidae took place in B.C. 1104. As the Dorian conquest of Corinth was placed one generation (30 years) after this event, the reign of Aletes commenced B.C. 1074. His family therefore reigned from B.C. 1074 to 747; and the Bacchiad oligarchy lasted from B.C. 747 to 657.
Under the Bacchiadae the Corinthians were distinguished by great commercial enterprise. They traded chiefly with the western part of Greece; since the eastern sea was the domain of the Aeginetans. The sea, formerly called the Crissaean from the town of Crissa, was now named the Corinthian after them; and in order to secure the strait which led into the western waters, they founded Molycria opposite the promontory of Rhium (Thuc. iii. 102.) It was under the sway of the Bacchiadae that the important colonies of Syracuse and Corcyra were founded by the Corinthians (B.C. 734), and that a navy of ships of war was created for the first time in Greece; for we have the express testimony of Thucydides that triremes were first built at Corinth. (Thuc. i. 13.) The prosperity of Corinth suffered no diminution from the revolution, which made Cypselus despot or tyrant of Corinth. Both this prince and his son Periander, who succeeded him, were distinguished by the vigour of their administration and by their patronage of commerce and the fine arts. Following the plans of colonization, which had been commenced by the Bacchiadae, they planted numerous colonies upon the western shores of Greece, by means of which they exercised a sovereign power in these seas. Ambracia, Anactorium, Leucas, Apollonia and other important colonies, were founded by Cypselus or his son. Corcyra, which had thrown off the supremacy of Corinth, and whose navy had defeated that of the mother country in B.C. 665, was reduced to subjection again in the reign of Periander. It has been noticed by Miller that all these colonies were sent out from the harbour of Lechaeum on the Corinthian gulf; and that the only colony despatched from the harbour of Cenchreae on the Saronic gulf was the one which founded Potidaea, on the coast of Chalcidice in Macedonia. (Muller, Dor. i. 6. § 7.)
Cypselus reigned 30 years (B.C. 657-627), and Periander 44 years (B.C. 627-583). For the history of these tyrants the reader is referred to the Dict. of Biogr. s. vv. Periander was succeeded by his nephew Psammetichus, who reigned only three years. He was without doubt overthrown by the Spartans, who put down so many of the Grecian despots about this period. The government established at Corinth, under the auspices of Sparta, was again aristocratical, but apparently of a less exclusive character than that of the hereditary oligarchy of the Bacchiadae. The gerusia was probably composed of certain noble families, such as the Oligaethidae mentioned by Pindar, whom he describes as oikos hameros astois. (Pind. Ol. xiii. 2, 133.) From the time of the deposition of Psammetichus Corinth became an ally of Sparta, and one of the most powerful and influential members of the Peloponnesian confederacy. At an early period the Corinthians were on friendly terms with the Athenians. They refused to assist Cleomenes, king of Sparta, in restoring Hippias to Athens, and they lent the Athenians 20 ships to carry on the war against Aegina (Herod. v. 92; Thuc. i. 41); but the rapid growth of the Athenian power after the Persian war excited the jealousy of Corinth; and the accession of Megara to the Athenian alliance was speedily followed by open hostilities between the two states. The Corinthians marched into the territory of Megara, but were there defeated with great loss by the Athenian commander, Myronides, B.C. 457. (Thuc. i. 103-106.) Peace was shortly afterwards concluded; but the enmity which the Corinthians felt against the Athenians was still further increased by the assistance which the latter afforded to the Corcyraeans in their quarrel with Corinth. This step was the immediate cause of the Peloponnesian war; for the Corinthians now exerted all their influence to persuade Sparta and the other Peloponnesian states to declare war against Athens.
In the Peloponnesian war the Corinthians at first furnished the greater part of the Peloponnesian fleet. Throughout the whole war their enmity against the Athenians continued unabated; and when the Spartans concluded with the latter in B.C. 421 the peace, usually called the peace of Nicias, the Corinthians refused to be parties to it, and were so indignant with Sparta, that they endeavoured to form a new Peloponnesian league with Argos, Mantineia and Elis. (Thuc. v. 17, seq.) But their anger against Sparta soon cooled down (Thuc. v. 48); and shortly afterwards they returned to the Spartan alliance, to which they remained faithful till the close of the war. When Athens was obliged to surrender to the Spartans after the battle of Aegospotami, the Corinthians and Boeotians urged them to raze the city to the ground. (Xen. Hell. ii. 2. 19)
But after Athens had been effectually humbled, and Sparta began to exercise sovereignty over the rest of Greece, the Corinthians and other Grecian states came to be jealous of her increasing power. Tithraustes, the satrap of Lydia, determined to avail himself of this jealousy, in order to stir up a war in Greece against the Spartans, and thus compel them to recall Agesilaus from his victorious career in Asia. Accordingly he sent over Timocrates, the Rhodian, to Greece with the sum of 50 talents, which he was to distribute among the leading men in the Grecian states, and thus excite a war against Sparta, B.C. 395. (Xen. Hell. iii. 5. 2) Timocrates had no difficulty in executing his commission; and shortly afterwards the Corinthians united with their old enemies the Athenians as well as with the Boeotians and Argives in declaring war against Persia. Deputies from these states met at Corinth to take measures for the prosecution of the war, which was hence called the Corinthian war. In the following year, B.C. 394, a battle was fought near Corinth between the allied Greeks and the Lacedaemonians, in which the latter gained the victory (Xen. Hell. iv. 2. 9, seq.) Later in the same year the Corinthians fought a second battle along with the other allies at Coroneia in Boeotia, whither they had marched to oppose Agesilaus, who had been recalled from Asia by the Persians, and was now on his march homewards. The Spartans again gained the victory, but not without much loss on their own side. (Xen. Hell. 3 § 15, seq., Ages. ii. 9. seq.)
In B.C. 393 and 392 the war was carried on in the Corinthian territory, the Spartans being posted at Sicyon and the allies maintaining a line across the Isthmus from Lechaeum to Cenchreae, with Corinth as the centre. A great part of the fertile plain between Sicyon and Corinth belonged to the latter state; and the Corinthian proprietors suffered so much from the devastation of their lands, that many of them became anxious to renew their old alliance with Sparta. A large number of the other Corinthians participated in these feelings, and the leading men in the government, who were violently opposed to Sparta, became so alarmed at the wide-spread disaffection among the citizens, that they introduced a body of Argives into the city during the celebration of the festival of the Eucleia, and massacred numbers of the opposite party in the market-place and in the theatre. The government, being now dependent upon Argos, formed a close union with this state, and is said to have even incorporated their Corinthian territory with that of Argos, and to have given the name of Argos to their own city. But the opposition party at Corinth, which was still numerous, contrived to admit Praxitas, the Lacedaemonian commander at Sicyon, within the long walls which connected Corinth with Lechaeum. In the space between the walls, which was of considerable breadth, and about 1 1/2 mile in length, a battle took place between the Lacedaemonians and the Corinthians, who had marched out of the city to dislodge them. The Corinthians, however, were defeated, and this victory was followed by the demolition of a considerable part of the long walls by Praxitas. The Lacedaemonians now marched across the Isthmus, and captured Sidus and Crommyon. These events happened in B.C. 392. (Xen. Hell. iv. 4. 1, seq.)
The Athenians, feeling that their own city was no longer secure from an attack of the Lacedaemonians, marched to Corinth in the following year (B.C. 391), and repaired the long walls between Corinth and Lechaeum; but in the course of the same summer Agesilaus and Teleutias not only retook the long walls, but also captured Lechaeum, which was now garrisoned by Lacedaemonian troops. (Xen. Hell/ iv. 4. 18, 19; Diod. xiv. 86, who erroneously places the capture of Lechaeum in the preceding year; see Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. ix. p. 471, seq.) These successes, however, of the Lacedaemonians were checked by the destruction in the next year (B.C. 390) of one of their morae by Iphicrates, the Athenian general, with his peltasts or light-armed troops. Shortly afterwards Agesilaus marched back to Sparta; whereupon Iphicrates retook Crommyon, Sidus, Peiraeum and Oenoe, which had been garrisoned by Lacedaemonian troops. (Xen. Hell. iv. 5. 1, seq.) The Corinthians appear to have suffered little from this time to the end of the war, which was brought to a conclusion by the peace of Antalcidas in B.C. 387. The effect of this peace was the restoration of Corinth to the Lacedaemonian alliance: for as soon as it was concluded, Agesilaus compelled the Argives to withdraw their troops from the city, and the Corinthians to restore the exiles who had been in favour of the Lacedaemonians. Those Corinthians who had taken an active part in the massacre of their fellow-citizens at the festival of the Eucleia fled from Corinth, and took refuge, partly at Argos, and partly at Athens. (Xen. Hell. v. 1. 34; Dem. c. Lept. p. 473.)
In the war between Thebes and Sparta, which soon afterwards broke out the Corinthians remained faithful to the latter; but having suffered much from the war, they at length obtained permission from Sparta to conclude a separate peace with the Thebans. (Xen. Hell. vii. 4. 6, seq.) In the subsequent events of Grecian history down to the Macedonian period, Corinth took little part. The government continued to be oligarchical; and the attempt of Timophanes to make himself tyrant of Corinth was frustrated by his murder by his own brother Timoleon, B.C. 344. (Diod. xvi. 65; Plut. Tim. 4; Cornel. Nep. Tim. 1; Aristot. Polit. v. 5. § 9.) From the time of the battle of Chaeroneia, Corinth was held by the Macedonian kings, who always kept a strong garrison in the important fortress of the Acrocorinthus. In B.C. 243 it was surprised by Aratus, delivered from the garrison of Antigonus Gonatas, and annexed to the Achaean league. (Pol. ii. 43.) But in B.C. 223 Corinth was surrendered by the Achaeans to Antigonus Doson, in order to secure his support against the Aetolians and Cleomenes. (Pol. ii. 52, 54.) It continued in the hands of Philip, the successor of Antigonus Doson; but after the defeat of this monarch at the battle of Cynoscephalae, B.C. 196, Corinth was declared free by the Romans, and was again united to the Achaean league. The Acrocorinthus, however, as well as Chalcis and Demetrias, which were regarded as the three fortresses of Greece, were occupied by Roman garrisons. (Pol. xviii. 28, 29; Liv. xxxiii. 31.)
When the Achaeans were mad enough to enter into a contest with Rome, Corinth was the seat of government of the Achaean league, and it was here that the Roman ambassadors were maltreated, who had been sent to the League with the ultimatum of the senate. The Achaean troops were at once defeated, and L. Mummius entered Corinth unopposed. The vengeance which he took upon the unhappy city was fearful. All the males were put to the sword, and the women and children sold as slaves. Corinth was the richest city in Greece, and abounded in statues, paintings, and other works of art. The most valuable works of art were carried to Rome; and after it had been pillaged by the Roman soldiers, it was at a given signal set on fire; and thus was extinguished what Cicero calls the lumen totius Graeciae (B.C. 146). (Strab. viii. p. 381; Pol. xl. 7; Pans. ii. 1. § 2, vii. 16. § 7; Liv. Epit. 52; Flor. ii. 16; Oros. v. 3; Vell. Pat. i. 13: Cic. pro Leg. Man. 5)
Corinth remained in ruins for a century. The site on which it had stood was devoted to the gods, and was not allowed to be inhabited (Macrob. Sat. iii. 9); a portion of its territory was given to the Sicyonians, who undertook the superintendence of the Isthmian games (Strab. viii. p. 381); the remainder became part of the ager publicus, and was consequently included in the vectigalia of the Roman people. (Lex Thoria, c. 50; Cic. de Leg. Agr. i. 2, ii. 19.) The greater part of its commerce passed over to Delos. In B.C. 46 Julius Caesar determined to rebuild Corinth, and sent a numerous colony thither, consisting of his veterans and freedmen. (Strab. viii. p. 381; Paus. ii. 1. § 2; Plut. Caes. 57; Dion Cass. xliii. 50; Diod. Excerpt. p. 591, Wess.; Plin. iv. 4. s. 5.) Henceforth it was called on coins and inscriptions COLONIA IVLIA CORINTHVS, also LAYS IVLI CORINT., and C. I. C. A., i. e., Colonia Julia Corinthus Augusta. The colonists were called Corinthienses, and not Corinthii, as the ancient inhabitants had been named. (Festus, p. 60, ed. Muller.) It soon rose again to be a prosperous and populous city; and when St. Paul visited it about 100 years after it had been rebuilt by the colony of Julius Caesar, it was the residence of Junius Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. (Acta Apost. xviii. 12.) St. Paul founded here a flourishing Christian church, to which he addressed two of his epistles. When it was visited by Pausanias in the second century of the Christian era, it contained numerous public buildings, of which he has given us an account; and at a still later period it continued to be the capital of Achaia. (Hierocl. p. 646; Bockh, Inscr. Graec. no. 1086.)
This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
. . . Next to these in the line were five thousand Corinthians, at whose desire Pausanias permitted the three hundred Potidaeans from Pallene then present to stand by them.
The following took part in the war: from the Peloponnese, … the Corinthians the same number (of ships) as at Artemisium
The Corinthians furnished forty ships
The Hellenes who awaited the Persians in that place were these: three hundred Spartan armed men; one thousand from Tegea and Mantinea, half from each place; one hundred and twenty from Orchomenus in Arcadia and one thousand from the rest of Arcadia; that many Arcadians, four hundred from Corinth, two hundred from Phlius, and eighty Mycenaeans. These were the Peloponnesians present; from Boeotia there were seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans.
This extract is from: Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press
Cited Sept 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
(misthotoi, misthophoroi, xenoi, and collectively to xenikon). Mercenary troops. Apart from a few earlier examples of the employment of mercenaries, a regular organization of such troops was formed among the Greeks in the course of the Peloponnesian War. . . One of the chief recruiting places in the fourth century was Corinth, and afterwards for a time the district near the promontory of Taenarum in Lacedaemon.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
It was south of Epidamnos, in proximity to the river Aous. Strabo & Thucidides makes it simply a Korinthian foundation (cp. Plutarch Mor. 552 F, who puts the foundation in the reign of Periander, i.e. before 585 B.C.)
, 391 - 390
Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Homer to Alexander
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