Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (October 2012)

The latest round-up of digital scholarship and references over the last month. These references are now available with abstracts and tags at the Corinthian Studies Online (Zotero) Library.

Diachronic

Bronze Age

  • Kvapil, Lynne A. “The Agricultural Terraces of Korphos-Kalamianos: A Case Study of the Dynamic Relationship Between Land Use and Socio-Political Organization in Prehistoric Greece”. PhD Thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2012. http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ucin1342106516.

Archaic-Hellenistic

Roman

Late Antique / Early Medieval

  • Gelichi, S., and R. Hodges, eds. From One Sea to Another. Trading Places in the European and Mediterranean Early Middle Ages Proceedings of the International Conference, Comacchio 27th-29th March 2009. Vol. 3. Seminari Del Centro Interuniversitario Per La Storia e L’archeologia Dell’alto Medioevo, 2012. http://brepols.metapress.com/content/t20525/?sortorder=asc&p_o=20.

New Testament

Medieval-Modern

Corinthian Scholarship (monthly): June-August

The second installment of Corinth-related scholarship that went digital in June-August. Happy reading!

Geology

Archaic-Hellenistic

Roman-Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christianity

Medieval and Post-Medieval

More on Sicyonia, fortifications, and Late Antiquity

I’ve continued to work my way through Y. Lolos’s massive tome, Land of Sicyon. Hesperia Supplement 39 (Princeton: American School of Classical Studies, 2011) this weekend while waiting for the rain delayed Daytona 500.  I posted the first part of my review a couple of weeks ago and, so, I suppose this is part two.

There are three areas, in particular, which attracted my interest:

1. Rural Fortifications. As I noted two weeks ago, there remains significant work to be done on the rural fortifications of the Peloponnesus, and Lolos’s book does its part by documenting a significant number of undocumented or poorly documented fortified sites in the countryside. Of particular interest to me were the irregular fortifications at Kokkinovrachos (pp. 234-240)and the round towers at Profetes Elias hill (p. 231) and at Tsakouthi (pp.  240-244) which my colleagues and I reference in a 2010 Hesperia article. While the Kokkinovrachos fortification is much larger than our fortification overlooking Vayia in the southwestern Corinthia, they share the same irregular masonry and both combine a fortification with a free standing tower. Lolos argues that this fortification occupied a height with good views of the crucial intersection between Stymphalos, Phlious, Acrocorinth, and the Sikyonian sites of Titane and Thyamia. Maintaining a substantial stronghold on this hill allowed Sikyonian forces to command several significant routes into the city.

The round tower at Tsakouthi resembled closely the round tower at Lychnari in the Corinthia. Lolos suggested that the upper course of the tower at Tsakouthi were likely mud brick, and this construction, in fact, combined with the towers round shape would have made the tower less vulnerable to artillery blows from forces passing on the nearby road. Our tower at Lychnari may have also had a mud brick superstructure, although there is a sufficient stone in the area to allow for a stone tower of significant height. The smaller and poorly preserved round tower at Profetes Elias may be a good parallel for the smaller tower at the site of Ano Vayia.

The explanations for building a round tower as opposed to a square or orthogonal tower has never entirely satisfied me. It seems to me that a round tower would entail a significant increase in technical difficulty as each block had to be cut or at least trimmed to match either the interior or exterior diameter of the tower. (Blocks in square towers could fit in numerous different positions.)  While it seems likely the round towers were less susceptible to damage by artillery which would only ever inflict a glancing blow, the towers at Lychnari and Ano Vayia (and at Lolos’s Profetes Elias) do not seem close enough to major roads to make the additional work necessary. Moreover, there are numerous towers very close to major roads which are square or rectangular in plan.

Finally, Lolos contributes little the on going discussions of rural fortifications and land use. In fact, Lolos seems to be content suggesting that the fortification of Sikyonia primary served to allow the city to communicate with and deploy forces to across its hinterland. This may be the case, but for fortifications like the round tower at Tsakouthi, it seems like we should at least entertain the possibility that the tower was part of a agricultural complex serving the valley its overlooks.

2. The Late Roman Boom. Like most region in the Eastern Mediterranean, Lolos’s Sikyonia saw a boom in settlement and sits during the Late Roman times. The number of new sites is truly remarkable with over 60 site with Late Roman material and only 23 having material from immediately earlier periods.  While the extensive nature of Lolos’s survey which did not sample his study area in a systematic way, makes it difficult to determine whether this pattern he identified would survive a more rigorous sampling regimen, it is nevertheless consistent with findings published from the Eastern Corinthia, for example, which documented the Late Roman period as time of particular prosperity.

Of particular note is Lolos’s documenting of several previous overlooked or under documented Early Christian churches including a “Early Byzantine Church” at the site of Litharia you Rakka of Poulitsa. The rather small number of Early Byzantine churches in the Peloponnesus alone makes this structure worth additional consideration. The presence of rural church apparently situated apart from significant settlements appears increasingly to be a feature of Late Roman Greece. Lolos’s argument that the site of Klisi-Boukoura of Stylia might be a monastic foundation based on its size of over 3,000 sq. m. This would be rather unprecedented in the Peloponnesus in Late Antiquity, but does show how many significant interpretative gaps exist in our knowledge of the Early Christian landscape. Recent work in the Eastern Corinthia has shown that even in the hinterland of a major city, rural churches remain undocumented.

3. Diachronic Survey. Finally, one of the most interesting parts of Lolos’s book is his commitment to treating the history of Sikyonia in a diachronic fashion. He not only includes discussions of the Venetian period census record, but also of Medieval, Ottoman, and Early Modern period sites. This includes a brief comment on zevgolateio which are groups of kalyvia, or modest, seasonal dwellings, that form a small hamlet (p. 365). From his short remarks, it would seem that the settlement at Lakka Skoutara in the Corinthia which my colleagues and I are now bringing to publication, represents a zevgolateio. The illustrations that he provides of the interior of a season dwelling coincide closely with those found in Lakka Skoutara, which is unsurprising, of course, considering the geographic proximity and similar ethnic make up of the populations.

I have a bit more to read and process from this rich, closely edited, and significant work, and I expect that I’ll provide some final words on the book in the coming weeks.

Crossposted to The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.

Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society

Byzantinists were stunned last week by the announcement that the Christian Archaeological Society had launched a digital version of its journal Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society, with some open access materialThe announcement from the journal’s website:

The Christian Archaeological Society (ChAE) is pleased to announce the launch of the online edition of the Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society (Deltion). The developments in research and scholarly communication have led to the decision to publish an online edition of the Deltion alongside the print edition, which began in 1892. The online edition facilitates access to the content of the Deltion for scholars and the wider public. The electronic publication of the journal is carried out in collaboration with the National Documentation Centre (EKT)

The Deltion offers open access to content with a five year moving wall. In a significant digitization project, ChAE and EKT gradually digitize and will make available all the back issues of the Deltion online. A significant number of back issues is already accessible online, while in the spring of 2012 all back issues of the Deltion (1892- 2011) will be available. Institutional and private subscription to the current and the four preceding volumes of the Deltion will be soon enabled through the website of the journal by means of the PayPal service. Registration (without a fee) is required for access to the back issues of the journal that are available in open access (menu>register).

The Deltion invites original scientific articles on Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and archaeology written in the main European languages (Greek, English, French, German, Italian). The ChAE aims at preserving the tradition of high quality scholarship while employing new technologies in scholarly communication.

For those interested in scholarly articles on churches and wall paintings (among others) of Early Christian, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine date, this is a great new digital resource.

In browsing the titles of issues now online, I noticed a few issues containing articles related to the broad Corinthia region:

A Roman Road in the Panayia Field

For most people who visit the site of Ancient Corinth, the Roman forum is the principal (if not only) destination.  Many visitors are unaware of the ancient buildings and ancient spaces scattered about the modern village and enclosed in chain-linked fences.  Temples, tombs, villas, walls, churches, amphitheater all highlight the urban world buried beneath the village.

The Panayia Field is one of these areas recently excavated by teams from the American School of Classical Studies.  While it is located only about 200 meters southeast of the forum, it is not immediately visible to visitors and is enclosed behind a fence that makes it inaccessible.  Nonetheless, it is changing our picture of premodern Corinth.

Panayia Field-labeled

More than a decade of excavations at Panayia Field has revealed important remains from the Geometric to the Modern Period, some of which have been published in a series of reports or studied as part of recent dissertations (see list below).  The area of Panayia Field is important generally because it highlights a residential part of the city in contrast with the public character of the forum.

An article by Jennifer Palinkas and James Herbst in the most recent issue of the journal Hesperia adds to this bibliography by publishing a Roman road from an ‘ordinary neighborhood’.  Here’s the abstract:

“A wide, unpaved, north–south Roman road was established in the Panayia Field at Ancient Corinth in the last years of the 1st century b.c. Over the next six centuries, numerous civic and private construction activities altered its spatial organization, function as a transportation artery, and use for water and waste management. Changes included the installation and maintenance of sidewalks, curbs, drains, terracotta pipelines, and porches at doorways. The terracotta pipelines are presented here typologically in chronological sequence. The road elucidates early-colony land division at Corinth, urbanization into the 4th century a.d., and subsequent deurbanization in the 6th century, when maintenance of the road ended.”

While most people who visit Corinth may have in mind the monumental Lechaion Road (depicted in the photo below) clearly demarcated by limestone pavements, columns, and adjacent buildings, most roads in the ancient city and countryside were simple unpaved roads with earthen surfaces.

_MG_2924_m

The road from the Panayia field as shown in photos in the article is wholly unimpressive in appearance.  And yet, that is the primary importance of this article, for it provides a stratigraphic sequence of an ordinary road with a lifespan spanning some twelve centuries.

The article reports in incredible detail the phases of the 23 meters of road exposed by excavation:

  • The first surface established in the 1st century BC as a two-way street
  • It became better articulated in the later 1st century AD (over 7 m wide, with adjacent buildings constructed, and subsurface water systems)
  • Curbs divided the road from its sidewalks from the mid-2nd century (making it a one-way street)
  • An urban house dominated the streetscape from the mid-3rd to mid-4th century
  • Although the area was slowly changed from the 5th century, the road remained a defined usable path to the 12th century.  Far from indicating the demise of the city in late antiquity, excavation of the road shows that the drain was even functional into the 9th or 10th century.

Anyone who wants to become familiar with the complex nature of urban excavations in Corinth should read this article.  The visitor to Corinth today may imagine he/she is seeing the remains of a city frozen in time but is actually looking at palimpsests of buildings of different times.  This articles discusses the changing contexts of human activity in urban centers over centuries: manholes, cisterns, robbing and construction trenches, tortoise deposits, beddings, among many others.  Real excavation is fraught with interpretive uncertainties reflected in the naming of buildings: “Long Building,” “Building with Wall Painting,” “Early Colony Building,” “Late Augustan Building”, etc..

Second, the article is important for its detailed catalogue of the water systems underlying the road.  Excavations recorded some 31 lines of pipes of different phases from six centuries, all compressed to 1 meter below the road!   The authors are able to create a typology for water pipes and offer a catalogue of the ceramic pipes, which serve to illustrate the nature of water and waste management.

Finally, anyone who has followed the work of Doukellis, Romano, and Walbank on the urban plan and centuriation of the territory will find in this piece a technical overview of how the area of Panayia Field corresponds to the predicted urban grid, especially by the Corinth Computer Project.  The authors conclude that the “implementation of the Roman city grid was ultimately more complex than any of the proposed plans. Circumstantial factors such as topography and, in the case of the Panayia Field, the presence of large urban structures most certainly caused revisions and modifications to ideal geometries.” (324)

My favorite caption from the article: “Broneer type XVI lamp found under the remains of a tortoise, before (left) and after (right) removal of the tortoise.”

For another review of this article, check out my colleague Bill Caraher’s comments in The Rough Roads of Corinth at The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.

Recent Scholarship on the Panayia Field:

*This is not an exhaustive list but it does hit on some of the major studies.

  • Geometric
    • Pfaff, C. A. 2007. “Geometric Graves in the Panayia Field at Corinth,” Hesperia 76, pp. 443–537.
  • Hellenistic:
    • James, S. 2010. “The Hellenistic Pottery from the Panayia Field, Corinth: Studies in Chronology and Context” (diss. Univ. of Texas, Austin). Hellenistic pottery.
  • Roman-Late Roman
    • Lepinski, S. 2008. “Roman Wall Paintings from Panayia Field, Corinth, Greece: A Contextual Study” (diss. Bryn Mawr College).
    • Late Roman Pottery:
      • Slane, K. W., and G. D. R. Sanders. 2005. “Corinth: Late Roman Horizons,” Hesperia 74, pp. 243–297.
    • Late Roman House:
      • Sweetman, R., and G. D. R. Sanders. 2005. “A New Group of Mosaics from Corinth in Their Domestic Context and in the Context of the Colony,” in La mosaïque gréco-romaine IX. Actes du IXe Colloque international pour l’étude de la mosaïque antique et médiévale organisé à Rome, 5–10 novembre 2001 (CÉFR 352), ed. H. Morlier, Rome, pp. 359–369.
      • Stirling, L. M. 2008. “Pagan Statuettes in Late Antique Corinth: Sculpture from the Panayia Domus,” Hesperia 77, pp. 89–161.
      • Sanders, G.D.R., 2005. “Archaeological Evidence for Early Christianity and the End of the Hellenic Religion in Corinth,” in Urban Religion in Roman Corinth: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Harvard Theological Studies 53), ed. D. N. Schowalter and S. J. Friesen, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 419–442.
      • Sanders, G.D.R. 2004. “Problems in Interpreting Rural and Urban Settlement in Southern Greece, a.d. 365–700,” in Landscapes of Change: Rural Evolutions in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, ed. N. Christie, Aldershot, pp. 163–194.
    • Late Roman Bath
      • Sanders, G.D.R. 1999. “A Late Roman Bath at Corinth: Excavations in the Panayia Field, 1995–1996,” Hesperia 68, pp. 441–480.
  • Ottoman:
    • Rohn, A. H., E. Barnes, and G. D. R. Sanders. 2009. “An Ottoman-Period Cemetery at Ancient Corinth,” Hesperia 78, pp. 501–615.

Corinthian Scholarship (Winter 2011)

Google Scholar has a very useful alert feature for staying up on research although one has to filter to remove all the junk for words like Corinth.  Some recent and forthcoming papers and publications related to things Corinthian

Corinthiaka

Some interesting Corinthiaka (Corinthian Matters) for this Wednesday morning:

  • Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, authors of a new commentary on 1 Corinthians, talk about St. Paul and Roman sexual ethics in the Corinthian community in a two part video here and here.  Michael Bird’s brief review of their commentary can be found here.
  • A couple of summer conferences related to geology, archaeology, and Early Christianity in the Corinthia.  The theme of the latter is  “Archaeology and Identity in Roman Achaia.”  Looks fantastic.
  • A 17th century Spanish vessel sails through the Corinth canal.
  • The American School of Classical Studies excavations at Corinth featured in a new television series 1821.
  • If you’re an undergraduate interested in a field school in Kenchreai this summer, there are a couple of fellowship opportunities available for member institutions of the Center for Hellenic Studies.
  • Phoebe’s feast day was recently celebrated in the Lutheran and Episcopal church calendar.  A nice piece on Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe.
  • So also, in the Orthodox calendar, the 16th century fruitseller and martyr Nicholas of Ichthys of the Corinthia was celebrated on Feb. 14.  An interesting story from the Great Synaxarion of  Christian-Turkish relations in the Ottoman period rediscovered in the early 20th century.  

Three new papers on the Roman Corinthia and Isthmus

A new book on Hellenistic to Roman Corinth called Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality is now in the works.  The volume is edited by Friesen, James, and Schowalter and is based on the conference in Austin in early October which brought together archaeologists, historians, and New Testament scholars to discuss the topic of inequality and contrast in the ancient city.  Two earlier posts about the conference can be found  here and here.

If you’re interested in the Roman Corinthia or Isthmus, three working papers have been posted online.  These are drafts that will undoubtedly change as the papers are reviewed and edited, but they provide a sense of how the Isthmus fits well within a discussion of inequality and contrast.  Agriculture and land use, commerce and transit, and imperial monuments.  That about sums up the common conceptions of the isthmus in antiquity.

Guy Sander’s piece, “Landlords and Tenants: Sharecroppers and Subsistence Farming in Corinthian Historical Context,”  examines documentary evidence for peasant farming, land use, sharecropping, and land and taxes in the Peloponnese in recent centuries (16th-19th) and makes comparisons to the growing Roman colony of the first century.

Bill Caraher’s chapter, “The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City,” examines the theme of resistance to imperial action evident in the landscape of the Corinthia in the 6th century AD, and discusses the early Christian basilicas of territory, settlement patterns (from the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey), the Hexamilion fortification wall, and Corinthian theology.

My piece, “The Diolkos and the Emporium: How a Land Bridge Framed the Commercial Economy of Roman Corinth,” examines ancient conceptions for how the Isthmus shaped the economy of the city.  I argue that the diolkos played almost no role in ancient conception while the emporium in the harbors of Kenchreai and Lechaion were central to the ancient image of the economy of the city.  The piece can be downloaded here, and I’ve embedded it in the document below.