Guide The Ship of State: Statecraft and Politics from Ancient Greece to Democratic America

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He was a popular ruler and, unlike many later tyrants, he did not need a bodyguard and died a natural death.

Norma Thompson

He ruled for thirty years and was succeeded as tyrant by his son Periander in BC. Periander brought Corcyra to order in BC. Periander was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He was the first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs.

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He abandoned the venture due to the extreme technical difficulties that he met, but he created the Diolkos instead a stone-built overland ramp. The era of the Cypselids was Corinth's golden age, and ended with Periander's nephew Psammetichus , named after the hellenophile Egyptian Pharaoh Psammetichus I see above. Periander killed his wife Melissa. His son Lycophron found out and shunned him, and Periander exiled the son to Corcyra.

The Corcyreans heard about this and killed Lycophron to keep away Periander. Just before the classical period, according to Thucydides , the Corinthians developed the trireme which became the standard warship of the Mediterranean until the late Roman period. Corinth fought the first naval battle on record against the Hellenic city of Corcyra. In classical times , Corinth rivaled Athens and Thebes in wealth, based on the Isthmian traffic and trade.

Until the mid-6th century, Corinth was a major exporter of black-figure pottery to city-states around the Greek world, later losing their market to Athenian artisans. In classical times and earlier, Corinth had a temple of Aphrodite , the goddess of love, employing some thousand hetairas temple prostitutes see also Temple prostitution in Corinth. The city was renowned for these temple prostitutes, who served the wealthy merchants and the powerful officials who frequented the city.

Alexander Clapp, The Twin Faces of Athens, NLR , November–December

Lais , the most famous hetaira, was said to charge tremendous fees for her extraordinary favours. Referring to the city's exorbitant luxuries, Horace is quoted as saying: " non licet omnibus adire Corinthum " "Not everyone is able to go to Corinth". Corinth was also the host of the Isthmian Games. During this era, Corinthians developed the Corinthian order , the third main style of classical architecture after the Doric and the Ionic.

The Corinthian order was the most complicated of the three, showing the city's wealth and the luxurious lifestyle, while the Doric order evoked the rigorous simplicity of the Spartans, and the Ionic was a harmonious balance between these two following the cosmopolitan philosophy of Ionians like the Athenians. The city had two main ports: to the west on the Corinthian Gulf lay Lechaion , which connected the city to its western colonies Greek: apoikiai and Magna Graecia , while to the east on the Saronic Gulf the port of Kenchreai served the ships coming from Athens, Ionia , Cyprus and the Levant.

Both ports had docks for the city's large navy. During the years — BC, the Conference at the Isthmus of Corinth following conferences at Sparta established the Hellenic League, which allied under the Spartans to fight the war against Persia. The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, sending soldiers to defend Thermopylae [31] and supplying forty warships for the Battle of Salamis under Adeimantos and 5, hoplites with their characteristic Corinthian helmets [ citation needed ] in the following Battle of Plataea.

The Greeks obtained the surrender of Theban collaborators with the Persians. Pausanias took them to Corinth where they were put to death. Following the Battle of Thermopylae and the subsequent Battle of Artemisium , which resulted in the captures of Euboea , Boeotia , and Attica , [33] the Greco-Persian Wars were at a point where now most of mainland Greece to the north of the Isthmus of Corinth had been overrun.

Herodotus, who was believed to dislike the Corinthians, mentions that they were considered the second best fighters after the Athenians. Three Syracusan generals went to Corinth seeking allies against Athenian invasion.

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They also sent a group to Lacedaemon to rouse Spartan assistance. After a convincing speech from the Athenian renegade Alcibiades , the Spartans agreed to send troops to aid the Sicilians. Demosthenes later used this history in a plea for magnanimous statecraft, noting that the Athenians of yesteryear had had good reason to hate the Corinthians and Thebans for their conduct during the Peloponnesian War, [41] yet they bore no malice whatever. 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 BC.

This failed when Corinth, Phlius and Epidaurus allied with Boeotia. Demosthenes recounts how Athens had fought the Spartans in a great battle near Corinth. The city decided not to harbor the defeated Athenian troops, but instead sent heralds to the Spartans.

But the Corinthian heralds opened their gates to the defeated Athenians and saved them. These conflicts further weakened the city-states of the Peloponnese and set the stage for the conquests of Philip II of Macedon. Demosthenes warned that Philip's military force exceeded that of Athens and thus they must develop a tactical advantage.

He noted the importance of a citizen army as opposed to a mercenary force, citing the mercenaries of Corinth who fought alongside citizens and defeated the Spartans. Philip was named hegemon of the League.

During the Hellenistic period , Corinth, like many other Greece cities, never quite had autonomy. Under the successors of Alexander the Great , Greece was contested ground, and Corinth was occasionally the battleground for contests between the Antigonids , based in Macedonia , and other Hellenistic powers.

However, the city was recaptured by Demetrius in BC. Corinth remained under Antigonid control for half a century. The Macedonian rule was short-lived. In BC, Aratus of Sicyon , using a surprise attack, captured the fortress of Acrocorinth and convinced the citizenship to join the Achaean League.

Thanks to an alliance agreement with Aratus, the Macedonians recovered Corinth once again in BC; but, after the Roman intervention in BC, the city was permanently brought into the Achaean League. Under the leadership of Philopoemen , the Achaeans went on to take control of the entire Peloponnesus and made Corinth the capital of their confederation.

In BC, Rome declared war on the Achaean League and, after victories over league forces in the summer of that year, the Romans under Lucius Mummius besieged and captured Corinth. When he entered the city, Mummius killed all the men and sold the women and children into slavery before burning the city, for which he was given the cognomen Achaicus as the conqueror of the Achaean League.

At this time, an amphitheatre was built. It had a large [51] mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews.


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The city was an important locus for activities of the imperial cult , and both Temple E [52] and the Julian Basilica [53] have been suggested as locations of imperial cult activity. Corinth is mentioned many times in the New Testament , largely in connection with Paul the Apostle's mission there , testifying to the success of Caesar's refounding of the city. Traditionally, the Church of Corinth is believed to have been founded by Paul, making it an Apostolic See. The apostle Paul first visited the city in AD 49 or 50, when Gallio , the brother of Seneca , was proconsul of Achaia.

Here he first became acquainted with Priscilla and Aquila with whom he later traveled. They worked here together as tentmakers from which is derived the modern Christian concept of tentmaking , and regularly attended the synagogue. This event provides a secure date for the book of the Acts of the Apostles within the Bible. Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul here, having last seen him in Berea Acts Acts suggests that Jewish refusal to accept his preaching here led Paul to resolve no longer to speak in the synagogues where he travelled: 'From now on I will go to the Gentiles'.

Paul wrote at least two epistles to the Christian church, the First Epistle to the Corinthians written from Ephesus and the Second Epistle to the Corinthians written from Macedonia. The first Epistle occasionally reflects the conflict between the thriving Christian church and the surrounding community.

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Some scholars believe that Paul visited Corinth for an intermediate "painful visit" see 2 Corinthians between the first and second epistles. After writing the second epistle, he stayed in Corinth for about three months [Acts ] in the late winter, and there wrote his Epistle to the Romans. Based on clues within the Corinthian epistles themselves, some scholars have concluded that Paul wrote possibly as many as four epistles to the church at Corinth. The lost letters would probably represent the very first letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians and the third one, and so the First and Second Letters of the canon would be the second and the fourth if four were written.

Many scholars think that the third one known as the "letter of the tears"; see 2 Cor is included inside the canonical Second Epistle to the Corinthians it would be chapters 10— This letter is not to be confused with the so-called " Third Epistle to the Corinthians ", which is a pseudepigraphical letter written many years after the death of Paul. There are speculations from Bruce Winter that the Jewish access to their own food in Corinth was disallowed after Paul's departure. By this theory, Paul had instructed Christian Gentiles to maintain Jewish access to food according to their dietary laws.

This speculation is contested by Rudolph who argues that there is no evidence to support this theory. He instead argues that Paul had desired the Gentile Christians to remain assimilated within their Gentile communities and not adopt Jewish dietary procedures. The city was largely destroyed in the earthquakes of AD and AD , followed by Alaric 's invasion in The city was rebuilt after these disasters on a monumental scale, but covered a much smaller area than previously.