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Corinth was one of the oldest and at the same time the most significant Greek city-states. With its strategic position in the strait in the north-east of the Peoloponnese, it controlled the trade routes between the dry land and the peninsula, which contributed significantly to its wealth. Its architecture and shipbuilding were especially developed.
According to a legend, the town was founded by Corinth, the won of the god Helios, while another legend has it that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, the daughter of the titan Oceanus (in anqituity Corinth was called Ephyra).
Concise history of Corinth
The territory of Corinth was populated already 6000 BC, with the town becoming important little by little. In the pre-classical period, triremes started to be constructed there, being used until the era of the Roman Empire.
During the classical era, Corinth was the main producer and exporter of black-figure pottery. It also controlled most of the trade and transport on the Peloponnese. It was in this era when the great Temple of Aphrodite was built, emplying more than one thousand prostitutes at the time of its heyday.
In the 7th century AD, the town sent campaign to colonize new settlements (Syracuse, Corfu, Lefkas, Epidamnus and Anactorium). Corinth was also one of the nine founding states of the Greek colony of Naucratis in Egypt, assuring trade connection with Africa. In this era, coins started to be minted as well.
The town of Corinth took part in the Persian Wars, sending 40 war shops to the Battle of Salamis. This was followed by a conflict with Athens. Corinth formed an alliance with Sparta, which led to the famous Peloponnesian War. (5th century BC). When the wars ended, Corinth was not satisfied with the leading role of Sparta and so, Corinthian War began.
In 146 BC, the town was destroyed by the Romand after a blockade, being refounded by Julius Caesar only in 44 BC. The apostle Paul arrived at the town in 51 or 52 AD, and stayed there for 18 months. During his second visit in 58, he wrote there his Epistle to the Romans, and the First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
In 375 and then again in 551, the town was damaged by an earthquake.
The Byzantine emperor Justinian I built the stone ramparts of Examilion protecting the town and the whole Peloponnese against Barbarian attacks. The fortification was almost 10 km long.
In 856, the town was hit by another devastating earthquake, killing 45 000 inhabitants.
The town also played a signicicant role during the Crusades. During the subsequent centuries (between 1458 and 1821), the Turkish and Venetian dominion took turns in the town.
The contemporary Corinth was hit by an earthquake in 1858 and then in 1928, followed by a huge fire in 1933. Therefore the current town has a modern appearance.
Corinth historical sites
About 3 km from today´s Corinth, you can still find some historical sites, including the preserved remains of the Temple of Artemis, the great Akrokorinth fortress, and remains of the fortification.