Corinthian Scholarship, August 2015

About three dozen new Corinthiaka articles and books came to my notice over the last month. The complete list is included below, or you may browse a 30 page report that includes full abstracts (download this PDF). You may also wish to visit the Corinthian Studies Zotero Page and search a growing Zotero Library of 2,549 articles and books. The new entries are tagged according to master categories CSM_2015_August, .ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY, .NEW TESTAMENT, and .RELIGION.

  • Amanze, James N., and Tino Shanduka. “Glossolalia: Divine Speech or Man-Made Language? A Psychological Analysis of the Gift of Speaking in Tongues in the Pentecostal Churches in Botswana.” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 41, no. 1 (2015): 3–19. 
  • Anastasakis, Panteleymon. The Church of Greece under Axis Occupation. Fordham University Press, 2014. 
  • Barfoed, Signe. “The Significant Few. Miniature Pottery from the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia.” World Archaeology 47, no. 1 (January 1, 2015): 170–88. doi:10.1080/00438243.2014.992077. 
  • Barnaby, Andrew. “‘The Botome of Goddes Secretes’: 1 Corinthians and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Renaissance Drama 43, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 1–26. doi:10.1086/680467. 
  • Brummett, Palmira. Mapping the Ottomans: Sovereignty, Territory, and Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 
  • Coutsoumpos, Panayotis. Paul, Corinth, and the Roman Empire. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015. 
  • Dimakis, Nikolas. “Ancient Greek Deathscapes.” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 3, no. 1 (2015): 27–41. 
  • Gambash, Gil. Rome and Provincial Resistance. Routledge, 2015. 
  • Glazebrook, Allison. “Prostitution, Archaeology Of, Classical World.” In The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015. 
  • Graybehl, Heather. “The Production and Distribution of Hellenistic Ceramics from the Northeast Peloponnese at the Panhellenic Sanctuary at Nemea: A Petrographic Study.” Phd, University of Sheffield, 2015. 
  • Hadler, Hanna, Andreas Vött, Benjamin Koster, Margret Mathes-Schmidt, Torsten Mattern, Andreas Konstantin Ntageretzis, Klaus Reicherter, and Timo Willershäuser. “Multiple Late-Holocene Tsunami Landfall in the Eastern Gulf of Corinth Recorded in the Palaeotsunami Geo-Archive at Lechaion, Harbour of Ancient Corinth (Peloponnese, Greece).” Zeitschrift Für Geomorphologie, Supplementary Issues 57, no. 4 (December 1, 2013): 139–80. doi:10.1127/0372-8854/2013/S-00138. 
  • Hinojosa-Prieto, H.R., and K. Hinzen. “Seismic Velocity Model and near-Surface Geology at Mycenaean Tiryns, Argive Basin, Peloponnese, Greece.” Near Surface Geophysics 13, no. 2061 (March 17, 2015). doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2015002. 
  • Hionidis, Pandeleimon. “Civilized Observers in a Backward Land: British Travellers in Greece, 1832–1862.” In Cultural Tourism in a Digital Era, edited by Vicky Katsoni, 297–312. Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 
  • Israelowich, Ido. Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire. JHU Press, 2015. 
  • Joubert, Stephan J. “‘Walking the Talk’: Paul’s Authority in Motion in 2 Corinthians 10–13.” In Die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi 49, no. 2 (2015). doi:10.4102/ids.v49i2.1899. 
  • Kaplan, Leslie G. “‘“Writing Down the Country”: Travelers and the Emergence of the Archaeological Gaze.’” In Archaeology in Situ: Sites, Archaeology and Communities in Greece, edited by Anna Stroulia and Susan B. Sutton, 75–108. Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2010. 
  • Kaplan, Leslie Glickman. “‘A Good Considerable Country Town’:  Visions of a Greek Village in European Travel Narratives.” PhD Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 2001. 
  • Kelly, Benjamin. “NOTICE. R. Waterfield Taken at the Flood. The Roman Conquest of Greece. Pp. Xxiv + 287, Ills, Maps. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Cased, £20, US$27.95. ISBN: 978-0-19-965646-2.” The Classical Review FirstView (April 2015): 1–1. doi:10.1017/S0009840X15000025. 
  • Kimble, Jeremy M. That His Spirit May Be Saved. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015. 
  • Lepinski, Sarah. “Antike Malerei zwischen Lokalstil und Zeitstil. Akten des XI. Internationalen Kolloquiums der AIPMA 13.-17. September 2010 in Ephesos.” In A diachronic perspective of Roman paintings from ancient Corinth, Greece: Period styles and regional traditions, edited by Norbert Zimmerman, 468:185–92. Denkschriften der phil.-hist. Klasse. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015. 
  • Mavragani, Eleni. “Greek Museums and Tourists’ Perceptions: An Empirical Research.” Journal of the Knowledge Economy, August 11, 2015, 1–14. doi:10.1007/s13132-015-0283-2. 
  • McGowan, Andrew. “The Myth of the ‘Lord’s Supper’: Paul’s Eucharistic Terminology and Its Ancient Reception.” The Catholic Bible Quarterly 87, no. 3 (2015): 503–21. 
  • Minos – Minopoulos, Despina, Kosmas Pavlopoulos, George Apostolopoulos, Efthymis Lekkas, and Dale Dominey – Howes. “Liquefaction Features at an Archaeological Site: Investigations of Past Earthquake Events at the Early Christian Basilica, Ancient Lechaion Harbour, Corinth, Greece.” Tectonophysics. Accessed August 6, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2015.07.010. 
  • Nicklas, Tobias, and Joseph Verheyden, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Apocrypha. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. 
  • Papafotiou, E., and K. L. Katsifarakis. “Ecological Rainwater Management in Urban Areas. Preliminary Considerations for the City of Corinth, Greece.” Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia, Efficient irrigation management and its effects in urban and rural landscapes, 4 (2015): 383–91. doi:10.1016/j.aaspro.2015.03.043. 
  • Parkes, Stuart. “Review. The Church of Greece Under Axis Occupation.” Journal of Contemporary European Studies 0, no. 0 (August 7, 2015): 1–2. doi:10.1080/14782804.2015.1067443. 
  • Peppiatt, Lucy. Women and Worship at Corinth: Paul’s Rhetorical Arguments in 1 Corinthians. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015. 
  • Puglisi, Giovanni, Filippo Stanco, Germana Barone, and Paolo Mazzoleni. “Automatic Extraction of Petrographic Features from Pottery of Archaeological Interest.” J. Comput. Cult. Herit. 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 13:1–13:13. doi:10.1145/2700422. 
  • Ritter, Bradley. Judeans in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire: Rights, Citizenship and Civil Discord. BRILL, 2015. 
  • Robbins, Vernon K., and Jonathan M. Potter. Jesus and Mary Reimagined in Early Christian Literature. SBL Press, 2015. 
  • Rogers, Trent Alan. “The Representation of God in First Corinthians 8-10: Understanding Paul in the Context of Wisdom, Philo, and Josephus.” PhD Thesis, Loyola University, 2015. 
  • Schellenberg, Ryan S. “The First Pauline Chronologist? Paul’s Itinerary in the Letters and in Acts.” Journal of Biblical Literature 134, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 193–213. 
  • Strijdom, Johan. “Conservative and Liberal, Hierarchical and Egalitarian: Social-Political Uses of the Concept of ‘Home’ in Greco-Roman Antiquity and Early Christianity.” Phronimon 16, no. 1 (January 2015): 1–10. 
  • Twelftree, Graham H. “Paul’s Experience of the Miraculous.” Evangelical Quarterly 87, no. 3 (n.d.): 195–206. 
  • White, Adam. “Not in Lofty Speech or Media: A Reflection on Pentecostal Preaching in Light of 1 Cor 2:1–5.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 24, no. 1 (March 28, 2015): 117–35. doi:10.1163/17455251-02401010. 
  • Wiseman, Emeritus Professor of Classics and Ancient History T. P., and T. P. Wiseman. The Roman Audience: Classical Literature As Social History. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2015.

Strabo’s Mediterranean

The historian and geographer Strabo visited the Corinthia in 29 BC and later drafted what would become one of the most influential and misunderstood accounts of a city made wealthy and corrupted from its position astride a connecting Isthmus. The passage (8.6.20-23) strongly colored the first European accounts of the region, and made its way into so many modern views of Greek and Roman Corinth. Strabo was the author of that dubious notion that a thousand temple prostitutes were available for services at a Temple of Aphrodite on Acrocorinth, as well as that misunderstood passage that traders refused to circumnavigate Cape Malea and preferred to land at the Isthmus. The author is in fact challenging to interpret since he deliberately mines past literary anecdotes collected in the Hellenistic age to characterize the potential and probable path of the new Roman colony he visits.

With Duane Roller’s new English translation of the Geography last year (Cambridge University Press 2014), the Ancient World Mapping Center announced the release of a new interactive digital map of Strabo’s geography to accompany the publication. One can now roam around the Mediterranean to visit the sites listed in Strabo’s geography:

The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa. In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization.

The dots on the map link to entries at Pelagios as well as Pleiades, the site we reviewed earlier this month. I notice that not all locatable geographical features are shown on the map as the dozens of isthmuses of the Mediterranean are conspicuously absent, and the isthmuses were certainly important for Strabo’s view of the connecting seascape. Even still, this is another great resource for seeing Strabo’s the location of the sites that were important to Strabo’s particular vision of the Mediterranean. Click on the map below to visit Strabo’s Greece at AWMC.


American Excavations at Kenchreai (in 3D)

The latest issue of The Amphora includes an article by Sebastian Heath outlining new low-cost techniques for making 3D models of artifacts at Kenchreai. Heath expands an earlier piece recently published in the popular ebook (ed. Caraher and Olson), Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology   by comparing two methods for making 3D models at Kenchreai, the photogrammetric software program called Agisoft and a structure scanner developed for the iPad. The screen shot below shows these 3D models of an invenstoried Roman statue base with feet from Kenchreai (clicking on the image will take you to the 3D model).

Kenchreai Statuse Base


I took away three things from the piece. First, 3D imaging is easier and cheaper than ever before. We have used the Agisoft software frequently in Cyprus to make 3D models of both excavation trenches and artifacts. Even the undergraduate students I took with me to Larnaca this summer learned the technique of photographing an artifact from every angle  in order to prepare 3D images in Agisoft. The structure scanner makes the process even easier. People who study archaeology from a distance can expect more interactive 3D models of artifacts to be available to them in the near future.

Second, the Kenchreai Excavations Project is developing its digital archive in a major way. This is good news since the project has been off the grid–at least the world wide web–for the last few years. Heath’s article links to a developing website for the project, a growing digital archive with metadata, and the interactive 3D model of the inventoried Roman statue base with associated notebook pages. The Kenchreai Archaeological Archive (KAA) will include artifacts recovered from excavations a half century ago, as well as the more recent excavations of the Greek-American Excavations at Kenchreai. The site is also developing a page dedicated to maps and plans.

Finally, the development of the Kenchreai archive adds yet another layer to a truly digital Corinthia. The expansive ASCSA excavations at Corinth, the Archaeological Resource Cataloging System at Isthmia, the Corinth Computer Project, the KAA, and the soon-to-be digitized Eastern Korinthia Survey data sets should make this region one of the most digitized archaeological environments of Greece. And that’s good news for those interested in Corinthian matters.

Coming Soon: The Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey Data

One of the projects I have been working on this summer is the publication and online presentation of the data sets of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, an intensive archaeological survey of Corinth’s eastern territory carried out between 1997 and 2003.  The EKAS project has been a frequent point of discussion here at Corinthian Matters, of course. Although the project covered a relatively small area (ca. 4 sq km), and focused primarily on the Isthmus, the research team affiliated with EKAS has produced a significant record of presentation and publication over the last decade, and moved on to start subsequent projects at Kenchreai, the Southern Corinthia, the western Argolid, and Pyla-Koutsopetria in southeast Cyprus. The EKAS data has been a major focus of my own scholarly attention over the last decade and will be a main feature of the forthcoming Isthmus book.

The directors of EKAS, Timothy Gregory and Daniel Pullen, generously agreed last spring to release the project survey data via Open Context, a site that reviews, refines, curates, publishes, and shares archaeological research data. Open Context already hosts about 40 project data sets at its site, and the EKAS data will soon join more than a dozen forthcoming data sets. I am working now with friend and collaborator Bill Caraher to refine the data sets for public presentation and to create links between a range of different data types, including survey database tables, the material from finds database, images, and illustrations.

More soon as we move the data into the queue for Open Context.

Target Corinth Canal

This new book by Platon Alexiades is the first of its kind to narrate the important role of the Corinth Canal in Allied and Axis operations during World War II. Target Corinth Canal: 1940-1944 (Pen and Sword, 2015) offers a narrative of the canal’s central place in the logistics of supply and control between 1940 and 1944. I tried unsuccessfully to obtain a copy via interlibrary loan, so have had to rely on the publisher page, Google and WorldCat to reconstruct the contents. Here is the book description from the publisher page:


Target Corinth Canal 1940–1944During the Second World War the Corinth Canal assumed an importance disproportionate to its size. It was the focus of numerous special Allied operations to prevent oil from the Black Sea reaching Italy, to delay the invasion of Crete and severing the vital German supply lines to Rommel’s Army in North Africa. German airborne forces occupied the Canal to cut off the ANZAC retreat and Hitler needed the Canal kept open to maintain control of the Aegean Sea. Were this lost, he feared Turkey entering the War on the Allied side. Target Corinth Canal unearths a treasure trove of facts on the little known operations by SOE and other special force units. Heroes such as Mike Cumberlege emerge from the pages of this splendid work of military history.”


The table of contents suggests a play-by-play political and military narrative:
Chapter 1: Greece and the Corinth Canal
Chapter 2: The navy and the Mediterranean 1940
Chapter 3: Soe in Greece
Chapter 4: The Corinth Canal and the dodecanese islands;
Chapter 5: The British intervention in Greece;
Chapter 6: First attempt;
Chapter 7: The Canal is Seized;
Chapter 8: Retreat and Recriminations;
Chapter 9: The Royal Air Force Attempts;
Chapter 10: Clandestine Work for Mi9;
Chapter 11: The Greek Resistance;
Chapter 12: The Corinth Canal and the Battle of el Alamein;
Chapter 13: new plans: Thurgoland and Locksmith
Chapter 14: operation LOCKSMITH
Chapter 15: Capture;
Chapter 16: double-Cross Attempt;
Chapter 17: Apollo and the don Stott episode;
Chapter 18: last Attempt: The Germans;
Chapter 19: Sachsenhausen;
Chapter 20: Fate and Justice;
Chapter 21: Conclusion; epilogue;
Appendix A: Abbreviations, pseudonyms and Codenames;
Appendix B: personalities;
Appendix C: Traffic in Corinth Canal from 16 May to 22 June 1941;
Appendix d: Traffic in Corinth Canal from June 1942 to 7 August 1942;
Appendix e: Use of the Corinth Canal by U-boats;
Appendix F: The Cairo questionnaire concerning the Corinth Canal
Appendix G: Schemes proposed by Major Tsigantes
Appendix h: limpets and naval Sabotage in the Second World War;
Appendix i: Ships sunk or damaged by Soe and Greek saboteurs;
Appendix J: The Kiel Canal


I will be interested to see how well the author has discussed the canal within a regional framework. Diana Wright, for example, published two posts presenting Australian and New Zealand accounts from April 1941 (here and here), which highlighting the Isthmus as a bridge for the Anzac retreat from Athens through the Peloponnese, and, then, later, a German prisoner of war camp. In the Eastern Korinthia Survey, we documented quite a few German gun emplacements and bunkers across the ridges and capes of the Corinthian Isthmus that give a sense of the German investments. The images below were taken at Akra Sophia not far from the canal.

The End of Greek Athletics in Late Antiquity (Remijsen)

This new book by Sofie Remijsen, scheduled for publication this month with Cambridge University Press, offers a fresh evaluation of how and why the tradition of athletic competitions came to an end in late antiquity. A work like this is long overdue in light of the long-standing and battered assumption that an imperial edict of Theodosius the Great simply shut the games down in the later fourth century. Judging from the book description, Remijsen will debunk that myth in a sweeping study of the entire circuit of Greek games.

As the book description puts it at the publisher page, “This book presents the first comprehensive study of how and why athletic contests, a characteristic aspect of Greek culture for over a millennium, disappeared in late antiquity. In contrast to previous discussions, which focus on the ancient Olympics, the end of the most famous games is analysed here in the context of the collapse of the entire international agonistic circuit, which encompassed several hundred contests. The first part of the book describes this collapse by means of a detailed analysis of the fourth- and fifth-century history of the athletic games in each region of the Mediterranean: Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Italy, Gaul and northern Africa. The second half continues by explaining these developments, challenging traditional theories (especially the ban by the Christian emperor Theodosius I) and discussing in detail both the late antique socio-economic context and the late antique perceptions of athletics.”


The Table of Contents itself suggests that this work will offer a new starting point in its comprehensive discussion:
Part I. An Overview of Athletics in Late Antiquity:
1. Greece
2. Asia Minor
3. Syria
4. Egypt
5. Italy
6. Gaul
7. North Africa
Conclusions to Part I
Part II. Agones in a Changing World:
8. A religious ban?
9. An imperial ban?
10. The athletic professionals
11. Athletics as elite activity
12. The practical organization of agones
13. The agon as spectacle
Conclusions to Part II.


Since our corporate friends at Google have already scanned sections and random pages of the book, I can see that there are frequent discussions of Corinth and Isthmia throughout, which will no doubt provoke fresh debate among Corinthian scholars, or at least a broader framework for consideration. Indeed, the work clearly advances the view that the ending of the athletic contests were much later than traditionally imagined (390s). Remijsen, for example, concludes (p. 167) that the Isthmian games ended in the period of AD 410-435, a date significantly later than either of the prevailing views which see athletic competition and religious cult ending in either the mid-third century date, or the late fourth. Moreover, pushing the end of athletic contests into the fifth century will also have broader implications for Corinthiaka. One passage I read, for example, reevaluates Antony Spawforth’s influential view (and that of Bruno Keil long before him) that the Emperor Julian’s Epistle 198 (“The Letter on behalf of the Argives”) was written not by Julian but some other author in the later first or early second century AD; Remijsen argues, rather, that the letter fits well within a mid-fourth century context.


That all of this comes from a snippet view suggests that the work has broad implications for the archaeology and history of the Roman and late antique Corinthia. Looking forward to reading the work and the critical reviews.

Earthquakes at Lechaion

Corinth’s northern harbor at Lechaion has seen something of a renaissance in scholarly study in recent years. Back in 2011, for example, a research group publicized new work (now published here and here) on the evidence for multiple tsunami landfalls at Lechaion, which Richard Rothaus reviewed in a thoughtul piece here at CM.  Last year, a group of Danish and Greek scholars launched the Lechaion Harbour Project to survey, excavate, and study submerged remains at the harbor—and this project, according to their Facebook page, has just been awarded a second major funding package. I also saw via the Corinthian Studies Facebook group a notice about a conference in Athens last April devoted to the study of the early Christian basilica at the site, with papers on the history of Pallas’ excavation, the baths, floors, ceramics, coins, and glass from those excavations. And we can all say “it’s about time.”AncientLechaion

And now, this new article (in press) at Tectonophysics  promises a real scientific study of the evidence for earthquakes at the site. Here’s the metadata:

Minos – Minopoulos, Despina, Kosmas Pavlopoulos, George Apostolopoulos, Efthymis Lekkas, and Dale Dominey – Howes. “Liquefaction Features at an Archaeological Site: Investigations of Past Earthquake Events at the Early Christian Basilica, Ancient Lechaion Harbour, Corinth, Greece.” Tectonophysics. Accessed August 6, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2015.07.010.

And the abstract:

A synthesis of investigations carried out at the archaeological site of the Early Christian Basilica, located in the ancient harbour of Lechaion, Corinth, Greece in order to study the origin and triggering mechanism of deformation structures observed on the temple floor, is presented. These surface structures are indicative of earthquake induced ground liquefaction and their relationship with the subsurface soil stratigraphy and structure is presented. Investigations of stratigraphic data from archaeological excavations conducted from 1956 to 1965 provide indications of artificial fill deposits overlying a sandy – gravelly substratum. Geophysical survey of EM, GPR and ERT provided further information regarding the substratum properties/stratigraphy of the site indicating subsurface fissures and lateral spreading trends that are in agreement with the surface deformation structures. Lithostratigraphic data obtained from four vibracores drilled in the southern aisle of the temple, suggest estuarine deposits of coarse sand to fine gravel with grain size properties indicative of layers with high liquefaction potential. The results of the study, suggest at least three seismic events that induced ground liquefaction at the site. The first event pre-dates the construction of the Basilica, when Lechaion harbour was in operation. The second event post-dates the construction of the Basilica potentially corresponding to the regionally damaging A.D. 524 earthquake, followed by the third event, that commensurate with the A.D. 551 earthquake and the destruction of the temple.

While the article is currently behind a pay wall, it looks like it should add an interesting new layer to our understanding of ancient Lechaion and the earthquakes that affected it in the sixth century CE (although we’ll need to see how securely the authors relate the geomorphological observations with both the archaeological evidence for dating and ambiguous data from geophysics). But this will certainly be a step toward addressing concerns (outlined a few years ago by Dr. Rothaus) that archaeologists should be much more critical in ascribing building destructions in the Corinthia to historical earthquakes.

Ancient Corinth in the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America boasts an expanding collection of 11,000,000 images, books, and video from public libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. If you’re unfamiliar with this new resource, the DPLA is a portal and platform launched in 2013 that enables a user anywhere to discover cultural materials once locked up in public libraries across the country. As the DPLA website describes the organization:

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used, through its three main elements:

This short YouTube video offers a compelling overview of the DLPLA’s vision, mission, and scope. The project is a brilliant one that promises to create a longer-lasting and higher-quality digitization of cultural material with solid metadata than commercial giants like Google have done with Google Books.

IndexPlentiful Corinthian material is already available and one can imagine the material will grow rapidly. A word search on “Corinth, Greece” at the time of this post returns about a hundred hits for historic and recent photographs, stereo photo-negatives, plans, postcards, illustrations, old maps, novels, and archaeology and historical monographs in PDF. A search on “Corinth” returns over 1,300 hits although much of that material returns content related to particular American churches (e.g., Corinth Baptist Church) or towns in Mississippi and Vermont. But the relevant material includes private collections of photographs of Corinth, made widely available for the first time, and pdf versions of  scholarship such asCorinth VII.1 and Carl Blegen’s dissertation, to name a couple of examples.

As with most digital resources that cover such extensive ground, the metadata is uneven and depends on the investments made during the digitization process. Some records for the Corinthia have a full description about the source while others, such as the imaginative illustration of Corinth pasted above, lack the cues that could help the reader understand the illustration. The digital record is simply titled “Ancient Corinth,” tagged with a creation date of 1884-1885, and ascribed to John Clark Ridpath’s Universal history : an account of the origin, primitive condition, and race development of the greater division of mankind. (New York : Merrill Baker, c1899). I tracked found the original image in volume 1 of Ridpath’s earlier work, Cyclopædia of Universal History, which was published a full decade before excavations began at ancient Corinth.

Moreover, in extensive data resources like the DPLA, there’s always the risk of the loss of original context.  The imaginative vision of ancient Corinth, in fact, comes from a passage about the end of the Greek polis and the rise of Macedon. It is encased in 19th century nostalgia for a lost antiquity. It is almost wholly the work of imagination.

“The voice of the Greek, so shrill in battle so musical in peace; his gay activities, his energy, so often reviving from humiliation and ruin; his brush, his chisel–alas, for all these! where are they? The beauty of Athens has sunk into the dust. The wolves of Mount Taygetus howl in the Grecian communities, their failure in public spirit…For the present, it is sufficient to take leave, not without regret, of that brilliant dark among the broken stones of Sparta. The splendor of Corinth is no more. Only by the imperishable Thought–the verse of Homer, the page of Herodotus, the infinite spirit of Plato, the clarion of Demosthenes–has the renown of Hellas survived, illumining the world that now is, and shedding a glory over her name, even to teh far-off shores of the setting sun.”

This is not to downplay the tremendous asset of the DPLA for research and teaching purposes, but the visitor should use thsi resource aware of the quality of the metadata.

Mapping the Ottomans: Sovereignty, Territory, and Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Brummett)

This new book on the Ottomans published by Cambridge University Press should inform our readings of the sizable corpus of 16th to early 19th century traveler accounts to the Corinthia. The work considers how European maps, travel itineraries, and accounts of the eastern Mediterranean served to appropriate territory and construct an image of the Ottoman against classical and biblical imagery:

Brummett, Palmira. Mapping the Ottomans: Sovereignty, Territory, and Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

The publisher page describes the book in the following way:

Mapping the Ottomans“Simple paradigms of Muslim-Christian confrontation and the rise of Europe in the seventeenth century do not suffice to explain the ways in which European mapping envisioned the “Turks” in image and narrative. Rather, maps, travel accounts, compendia of knowledge, and other texts created a picture of the Ottoman Empire through a complex layering of history, ethnography, and eyewitness testimony, which juxtaposed current events to classical and biblical history; counted space in terms of peoples, routes, and fortresses; and used the land and seascapes of the map to assert ownership, declare victory, and embody imperial power’s reach. Enriched throughout by examples of Ottoman self-mapping, this book examines how Ottomans and their empire were mapped in the narrative and visual imagination of early modern Europe’s Christian kingdoms. The maps serve as centerpieces for discussions of early modern space, time, borders, stages of travel, information flows, invocations of authority, and cross-cultural relations.”

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: mapping empire and ‘Turks’ on the map
2. Reading and placing the ‘Turk’
3. Borders: the edge of Europe, the ends of empire, and the redemption of Christendom
4. Sovereign space: the fortress as marker of possession
5. Heads and skins: mapping the fallen Turk
6. From Venice and Vienna to Istanbul: the travel space between Christendom and Islam
7. Authority, travel, and the map
8. Afterword: mapping the fault lines of empire and nation.

While there are only a half dozen references to the Corinthia in the book, this kind of book reinforces previous scholarship on European traveler accounts in the Corinthia. An important dissertation by Leslie Kaplan, especially, has surveyed the “visions” and “tourist gazes” of early European visitors to Corinth and its environs. As the abstract (or at least part of it) puts it, her study

“examines the way in which the ideas and perceptions of foreign visitors shape the identity of a place. It takes as its subject travel accounts written by European visitors to the Corinthia in Greece in the period between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. These travelers looked at places they visited with certain expectations and ways of valuing them based on the worldview of their home culture. Their expectations were closely tied to popular theories of cultural identity, including romantic nationalism, evolutionary understandings of culture and an incipient colonialism. This study explores the evidence for different perspectives, or “gazes”, used to interpret these experiences. Special attention is paid to the impact those gazes have had on the development of a particular village, Ancient Corinth. The evidence for the gazes is found through an exploration of over one hundred fifty travel accounts published by European travelers who visited Greece after the Ottoman conquest (1453), though most of the extant accounts date from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries”

The thrust of Kaplan’s dissertation was recently published as a separate article titled ‘“Writing Down the Country”: Travelers and the Emergence of the Archaeological Gaze.,” in Stroulia and Sutton’s Archaeology in Situ: Sites, Archaeology and Communities in Greece (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2010). That article, in my view, is a must read for students who converge every summer on ancient Corinth or archaeological work.

Pleiades: A Community-Built Gazetteer

I was pleased to see via a Twitter feed that the Pleiades project received another major round of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. According to the announcement from the NEH, the Digital Humanities Implementation Grant of $322,615 will support “substantive changes to the technical and editorial infrastructure for the Pleiades gazetteer project, a geographic dataset for the ancient Mediterranean world.”

Pleiades, if you’re not familiar with it, is a “community-built gazetteer and graph of ancient places.” PleiadesCurrently logging nearly 35,000 places, over 30,000 place names, and 39,000 specific locations, the gazetteer “gives scholars, students, and enthusiasts worldwide the ability to use, create, and share historical geographic information about the ancient world in digital form.” Most of the content currently falls within the parameters of the Greek world and the Roman Empire but coverage continues to expand chronologically (into the medieval era) and spatially into northern Europe, the British isles, and the Near East.

The gazetteer was developed from digitized records originally collected for the authoritative Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (Princeton 2000) but has been supplemented with information added by a growing user community. Pleiades provides an interactive map with clickable places and layers (modern terrain, ancient terrian, Roman Empire, modern streets), simple and complex search features, basic metadata (e.g., names, locations, place type, references), a blog, and downloadable data (for GIS users).  If Pleiades has excellent coverage, the gazetteer can be improved in resolution at the regional scale. PleiadesRomanEmpireA search for Corinth, for example, returns only 27 entries (that number increases to over 100 if one searches via “Corinth*”) that represent mostly items from the Barrington Atlas.


The metadata can also be developed significantly. The entry for Isthmia, for example, looks like this.

Pleiades_IsthmiaContent and resolution will undoubtedly improve as the user community continues to add data sets. Even now, Pleiades provides a useful way of viewing Corinthian places within the wider landscapes of the Greek and Roman Mediteranean.

The NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant marks another step forward for digital archaeology / humanities in the Greek and Roman world. And two years in a row for Mediterranean projects. Visitors may recall our announcement last year of the digital humanities implementation grant awarded to Professor Jon Frey for the digitization of excavation records at Isthmia (and Frey’s overview here).