Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Ancient Corinth

Sunday, November 8th

Afrodite's Water Camperstop is somewhat eccentric - Snowhite and The Seven Dwarves greet you at the entrance

The Camperstop is only a few hundred metres from the remains of Ancient Corinth. The outer parts of the old city lie hidden beneath the houses of the modern village of Arhea Corinth, but the central agora, main temples and a long stoa have been excavated on a sprawling site to the south. As well as the archeological remains, the place has a small museum with a fine collection of ceramics from the pre-Hellenic through to the late classical era, as well as a lot of Roman statuary. It's wonderful.

Why? Well let's just take the museum....

a wide range of pottery from  Late Helladic to Classical.

These two pieces are over 3000 years old.

Black Figurer vases - 5th Century BC is my guess, sadly that's a guess these days - one time I probably could have dated them within a decade or two...I hate getting older!!!!

Roman mosaic - of Dionysis.

Roman Imperial statuary - good thing that the fashion for displaying your leaders nude has gone by the wayside... 

Then there is the site itself....

The site mixes some earlier Greek remains with the Roman 'rebuild in the 1st Century AD.

Romaan baths

6th Century Greek Doric temple - to Zeus.

The site is well provided with information boards that help to make sense of the ruins.
It surprises me that the place is not more famous. The fortress, high up on a rocky outcrop above the city - Acro-Corinth - is the site most visitors head for, but to me the old city below is the more satisfying monument. Admittedly, the remains are not so well preserved as at Pompeii or Herculaneum, but these were provincial towns, whereas Ancient Corinth was rebuilt by the Romans in the 1st Century AD. as a grand imperial city. As a visitor you sense the scale and magnificence of their endeavour.

Ancient Corinth with Acro-Corinth in the background.
The city is also a place of minor pilgrimage. The exact spot is marked where in AD52 St. Paul was brought before the Roman authorities by local Jewish leaders due to his evangelical activities. Inevitably, some redneck from Ohio referenced this event in the museum visitor book rather than the fantastic artefacts on show. Faith may bring reward in the afterlife, but it certainly makes its adherents blinkered to the here and now! Perhaps I am equally prejudiced, but I would much rather read Pausanias than St. Paul.

The modern village of Arhea Corinth is a bit of a tourist trap, but pleasant enough, nonetheless.

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