Ancient Corinth

AR20As the mists of history begin to dissolve, the first recorded king of Corinth was Aletes, leader of the Dorians, who occupied the area around 1000-900 BC. In the eighth century BC, the Bacchiad tyrants of Corinth founded colonies in Corcyra (Corfu) and Syracuse, making their home city the greatest Greek naval power. Fresh impetus to the development of the city was given by the Cypselid dynasty (Cypselus, Penander). Shipping, trade and the fine arts flourished, and many important buildings were erected. In 580 BC, Sparta overthrew the tyranny of Corinth and established an aristocratic system of government. Corinth now became associated with Sparta and its Peloponnesian allies, and challenged Athens for supremacy in Greece. However, during the sixth and fifth centuries BC, Athens increased its power and overshadowed Corinth. Not long time after the Peloponnesian war where Athens was defeated, Corinth turned on its former ally and, with other Greek cities, attacked Sparta in what is known as the Corinthian War (395-387 BC). In 338 BC the city was captured by Philip ΙΙ of Macedonia, and in 243 BC it joined the Achaean Confederacy. Leucius Mommius sacked Corinth in 146 BC, but Julius Caesar rebuilt it in 44 BC. During the first century AD, Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaea, and in the second century AD, its superb build helped to give back to Corinth a lot of the grandeur it had enjoyed in former times. In Byzantine times and later on, Corinth attracted the attention of wave after wave of invaders: Heruli, ­Goths, Normans, Crusaders, Franks, Venetians and last of α11, Turks. Liberation from the Turks came in 1822, but in 1858 α devastating earthquake laid Corinth waste and the surviving townspeople built the modem town (‘New Corinth’).

The archaeological site is not far from the town. Among the features are the ruins of the Roman forum, with magnificent buildings, temple Ε (the temple of Octavia), α row of small Roman temples, the superb Doric temple of Αροllο (540 BC), the temple of Hera Acraea and the Glauce Fountain, numerous shops and arcades basilicas dating from Roman times, administrative buildings, the elaborate Peirene fountain, the Odeion and the Asklepeion. In the site, there is a museum with fascinating exhibits, which in whole reflect the long and glorious history of Corinth.