Ancient Corinth

We were staying at a family friend’s house in Corinth for a couple of days. The modern city of Corinth is fairly unremarkable, however, it is very central and just a few kilometers away lies ancient Corinth.

We drove there in our ancient Fiat Panda and immediately got lost. What should have taken several minutes ended up taking approximately half an hour. After several headaches and a near-collision with a herd of sheep, we found a local who was willing to guide us out of our misery.

Upon our arrival, the first thing we noticed was the large size of the site. At its peak Ancient Corinth rivalled the power of Athens and Sparta. The ancient city-state participated in several wars such as the Greco-Persian war, the Peloponnesian war, and the Corinthian war (evidently). Furthermore, Ancient Corinth founded several colonies in Sicily and Corcyra, modern day Corfu. The city state experienced its ups and down but survived well into the Roman era. After it was mostly destroyed by earthquakes in 365 and 375 A.D., it dwindled in importance. However, its legacy and significance survive to this day, drawing tourists in droves from all over the world.

There were several large pillars which were the remnants of the temple of Apollo. The large pillars were the most striking and identifiable landmark in the area. It dates back to approximately 540 B.C. There were several remains of the ancient agora (marketplace). However, other than a few structures such as the temple pillars which were partly intact, most of the buildings have disappeared over time.

I thought it was remarkable to be in the presence of one of the most powerful ancient city-states of its time, overlooking a great mountain. Many people on-site seemed to share my enthusiasm.

One of the ancient world’s most famous books, “The Peloponnesian War,” was written by Thucydides. Another literary pillar is Herodotus’ “The Histories” which is an account of the Greco-Persian wars. Both of these authors laid the foundations for modern day historical interpretations of events. Also, Ancient Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and many others complex power-relationships are described in these works.

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