A New History of Hellenistic Corinth

There was buzz around Corinth this summer about Michael Dixon’s forthcoming book on Hellenistic Corinth. I wasn’t expecting the work to arrive so quickly, but friends have passed on good news of its publication. Here’s the bibliographic reference:

Dixon, Michael D. Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth, 338-196 BC. Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies. New York 2014.

The book description at Routledge as well as sections of the introduction made available at that site show that the book comprises a study of Corinth’s relationship with the Macedonian kings and the Achaian koinon between the late classical period and the settlement following the Second Macedonian War. Here’s the abstract from the publisher’s page.

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Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth, 338-196 B.C. challenges the perception that the Macedonians’ advent and continued presence in Corinth amounted to a loss of significance and autonomy. Immediately after Chaironeia, Philip II and his son Alexander III established close relations with Corinth and certain leading citizens on the basis of goodwill (eunoia). Mutual benefits and respect characterized their discourse throughout the remainder of the early Hellenistic period; this was neither a period of domination or decline, nor one in which the Macedonians deprived Corinthians of their autonomy. Instead, Corinth flourished while the Macedonians possessed the city. It was the site of a vast building program, much of which must be construed as the direct result of Macedonian patronage, evidence suggests strongly that those Corinthians who supported the Macedonians enjoyed great prosperity under them. Corinth’s strategic location made it an integral part of the Macedonians’ strategy to establish and maintain hegemony over the mainland Greek peninsula after Philip II’s victory at Chaironeia. The Macedonian dynasts and kings who later possessed Corinth also valued its strategic position, and they regarded it as an essential component in their efforts to claim legitimacy due to its association with the Argead kings, Philip II and Alexander III the Great, and the League of Corinth they established.

This study explicates the nature of the relationship between Corinthians and Macedonians that developed in the aftermath of Chaironeia, through the defeat at the battle of Kynoskephalai and the declaration of Greek Freedom at Isthmia in 196 B.C. Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth is not simply the history of a single polis; it draws upon the extant literary, epigraphic, prosopographic, topographic, numismatic, architectural, and archaeological evidence to place Corinth within broader Hellenistic world. This volume, the full first treatment of the city in this period, contributes significantly to the growing body of scholarly literature focusing on the Hellenistic world and is a crucial resource for specialists in late Classical and early Hellenistic history.”

And the table of contents:

1. Corinth, The “Gateway of Isthmian Poseidon”

2. Corinth in the Age of Philip II and Alexander III, 338-323 B.C.

3. The “Corinthian Troubles,” Corinth and the Diadochoi, 323-301 B.C.

4. Antigonos Gonatas and Corinth, “The Passion of his Life”

5. Monuments and Cult in Early Hellenistic Corinth

6. The Achaian Interlude, 243-224 B.C. From Liberation to Rebellion

7. The End of Macedonian Corinth

8.Conclusions and Reflections Bibliography

This looks like a book of major importance for understanding the late Classical, Hellenistic, and early Roman interactions in Corinth. I’ve just ordered a copy for my college’s library.

An Update on the Isthmus Project (and a promise to unleash some mid-summer Corinthiaka)

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I have slowly been making progress on a historical study of the Roman Isthmus. Every so often, I rehearse the background of the project and offer an update of how it has developed—mainly to apologize for the sporadic character of posts on this blog.

So, the rehearsal: The project began a little over a decade ago as a dissertation about the late antique landscape that centered on the survey data of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey. In completing that project in 2006, I recognized that understanding the Isthmus in late antiquity demanded a real understanding of the region in earlier Roman times. But pushing into earlier centuries naturally ushered in the complex patterns of continuity and change in earlier periods. Before I knew it, my focused study of a late antique landscape had morphed into a century by century treatment of contingency and connectivity from the archaic age to the end of antiquity. The heart of the study is a fine-grained presentation of the EKAS survey data contextualized in terms of the primary textual sources for the period and synthetic summaries of archaeological investigations. My aim has been to show how connectivity in the landscape related to the broader interactions of the local, regional, and global: Roman imperialism, colonization, the visit of an emperor, Greek elite education, and foreign invasions were some of the short-term contingencies that affected the development of the region in the long term.

The good news (the update) is that I’m in the final stages of finishing this thing. I have a contract, a publisher (Michigan), and a manuscript that is taking its final shape. It’s been reviewed. A couple of times. In fact, I thought I was finished in January, but some late reviews from anonymous reviewers and friends encouraged me to add two more chapters. As I wrap up those final chapters, I’m hopeful that this will be in finished state (again) by the end of the year at the latest. Indeed, I have a strong incentive to finish by summer’s end since LP3 (Little Pettegrew #3) is due to arrive in early September just in time for the new school year. Of course, I’m almost always unrealistic about the time needed to finish projects so we’ll just see how it goes.

The chapter divisions and content as it currently stands—last minute reorganization could shuffle the content of Ch. 2-4:

1. Introduction

2. The Isthmos: conceptions and definitions of the isthmus in the Classical and Hellenistic era

3. The Crossroads: the physical developments of the regional structures from the archaic to Hellenistic periods

4. The Fetter: the Isthmus as it relates to the Roman destruction of Greek Corinth

5. The Portage: the interim period

6. The Bridge: the first century of the Roman colony

7. The Canal: the third quarter of the first century AD

8. The Center: late first to early third century

9. The Countryside: mid-third to late fourth

10. The Fortification: late fourth to early seventh

11. Conclusions

With some optimism about an end in sight, I’ll start releasing some of the Corinthiaka that I’ve been hoarding in recent months. Some of this will be familiar stuff to the Corinthian Studies FB group, so apologies to readers who are seeing old news in these posts.