Photo of Sarah James, Corinth Excavations, 2005. Photo by David K. Pettegrew

A New Study of Hellenistic Fine Wares at Corinth

Each of the 45 individual volumes that make up the Corinth Excavation Series published by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens marks a labor of love, sweat, and tears. There are specific studies that focus on an individual building, such as the Temple of Apollo, the Odeion, or a Roman villa, unearthed through over a century of excavation and study by archaeologists. There are more general studies of a particular phase of the site, such as Scranton’s study of Medieval architecture, or general areas of the ancient site such as the volumes on the North Cemetery. Then there are systematic studies of classes of objects like pottery, lamps, and statuary. The volumes are consistently large, heavy, and neat, containing copious detail and categorization that aim to establish archaeological knowledge about a building, district, or artifact group. The labor to produce a Corinth volume can last a lifetime, and even those scholars who write them quickly may wait years in the production process.

For these reasons, there is always cause for celebration when a new volume arrives. While in the Argolid this summer, I ran into Sarah James who seemed relieved that her years and years of study and restudy of Hellenistic fine wares at Corinth had at last made it through the publication pipeline of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.  Titled Hellenistic Pottery: The Fine Wares, the work is 360 full pages of Corinthian ceramic goodness, with numerous illustrations, figures, and plates. I haven’t picked it up yet, but I imagine it’s as heavy as any of the others in the series. James’ work has been groundbreaking both for defining a new chronology for Hellenistic pottery in Corinth and understanding the Hellenistic period in the city more broadly, including the so-called interim period between the sack by the Romans and the foundation as a colony in 44 BC. It’s also important as a presentation of both new material (from the Panayia Field excavations) and older material recontextualized. You can get a sense of the revolutionary argument from pottery in this book description from the publisher’s website (you can find TOC here):

Using deposits recently excavated from the Panayia Field, this volume substantially revises the absolute chronology of Corinthian Hellenistic pottery as established by G. Roger Edwards in Corinth VII.3 (1975). This new research, based on quantitative analysis of over 50 deposits, demonstrates that the date range for most fine-ware shapes should be lowered by 50-100 years. Contrary to previous assumptions, it is now possible to argue that local ceramic production continued in Corinth during the interim period between the destruction of the city in 146 B.C. and when it was refounded as a Roman colony in 44 B.C. This volume includes detailed shape studies and a comprehensive catalogue.

Last month, the ASCSA website posted a short interview with Sarah about the history and significance of the project that is well worth a read.

You can purchase a copy for only $150 — the cost perhaps of a typical archaeological monograph — through the publisher website, or you can pay a little less via Amazon.

Dropping into Ancient Corinth (the CyArk and Google Partnership)

Years ago, a visitor to ancient Corinth (and other sites of Greece) had immediate access to most of the archaeological remains within the site. One could stand directly next to one of the standing columns of the Temple of Apollo, or even climb within the Fountain of Peirene, as I know a group of university students did two decades ago. Open access provided physical contact with remains thousands of years old, and the first-hand experience of exploring the complexities of ancient architecture, but this was not necessarily all good. There were dangers in letting visitors climb in and among the site’s entire remains, and the monuments themselves undoubtedly suffered for the wear. Eventually, the ropes, rails, and fences came, which bounded and directed the visitor’s experience, restricting access and keeping the visitor at a distance. At some sites, such as the fenced Lechaion basilica, fences effectively barred visitors from any access except during those rare times when the site opened its gates.

Digital environments are changing all of this again. While we cannot physically touch an archaeological site remotely, the advent of new tools for exploring sites from a distance mark an exciting development in archaeology today. You may recall that at the end of the excavation season in 2015, the ASCSA Corinth Excavations reported on efforts by members of CyArk — a non-profit that preserves cultural heritage sites through 3D modeling — to recreate the Peirene Fountain and Temple of Apollo. Last week CyArk and Google Arts and Culture announced a new partnership to make 3D models of Corinth and other archaeological sites around the globe available through its free digital archive. A gallery called Open Heritage features online exhibits and 3D models of sites and monuments. As the blog for Google Arts and Culture noted,

As part of this new online exhibition you can explore stories from over 25 iconic locations across 18 countries around the world, including the Al Azem Palace in war-torn Damascus, Syria and the ancient Mayan metropolis of Chichen Itza in Mexico. For many of the sites, we also developed intricate 3D models that allow you to inspect from every angle, using the new Google Poly 3D viewer on Google Arts & Culture.


Greek Reporter provides this brief overview of the work in Greece, with links to a TED Talk with Ben Cacyra, founder of Cyark.

Remote visitors to the Ancient Corinth Exhibition may with this slideshow “Explore Ancient Corinth Expedition” which explains how CyArk created their 3D models of Peirene Fountain and the Temple of Apollo (through LiDAR and photogrammetry) and showcases videos of late antique frescoes within the fountain of Peirene.

The expedition also links to pages that allows anyone to download the data. Here’s the lead page for the expedition:

In collaboration with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, CyArk documented the mythical Peirene Fountain and the Temple of Apollo in the city of Ancient Corinth, Greece. Survey of the extant structures was conducted primarily with LiDAR and both terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry. The surviving frescoes within the Peirene Fountain were surveyed with an Artec scanner, which measures the 3D shape of a surface using pulsating light and a camera system. CyArk’s digital documentation of the temple and fountain provided the ASCS with accurate and precise data on the current state of preservation for both architectural complexes. In particular, it was important to record Peirene which is currently closed to the public due to concerns surrounding its preservation. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Macricostas Family Foundation

Then go on to explore the interactive map that allows any viewer to drop the little yellow street view figure onto any of the photogrammetry points. Voila — anyone can actually move within the Fountain of Peirene for the first time in decades. You can also explore 3D models of the Temple of Apollo and Peirene Fountain.

Recall that Google has already made available interactive imagery of Ancient Corinth through its street view feature: you can drop into almost any street in the village anytime you want. Through its “photo sphere”, you can also drop into the archaeological site and have a look around.

The Open Heritage collection along with Google Maps provides another great opportunity for teaching students and the public outside of Greece about ancient Corinth.

A Coin Hoard at Lechaion is not the Real Story

Some more Corinthian clickbait hit us last week in a series of news articles about a coin hoard from Lechaion. We have heard quite a bit in the past about the Lechaion Harbor Project (LHP), a Danish and Greek operation to document the underwater remains at Lechaion since 2013. Their press releases, which come at the end of each calendar year, find their way into media outlets around the world just in time for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We covered the work of the 2014 and 2015 seasons herehere, and here (2015), and press releases of their work in 2016 and 2017 can be found here and here.

The coin hoard, however, was found by the other Lechaion Project. Yes, that’s right, the other project. There are two separate, ongoing archaeological projects at Lechaion these days. While the Danish-Greek project has been investigating the underwater remains since 2013 and has received global coverage, the American-Greek Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project (LHSLP) has been studying all the remains on land since 2014 and only begun excavation more recently. The results of their work are just beginning to circulate in archaeological conferences. It was this project that discovered the coin hoard.

Now, coins and coin hoards are always exciting to discover in an excavation, but they are not particularly mysterious, even (especially?) when discovered beneath the floors of collapsed buildings. LiveScience and Newsweek headlines suggest otherwise:   “1,500-Year-Old Coin Stash Leaves Archaeologists with Mystery”  and “RARE DISCOVERY OF 1,500-YEAR-OLD BRONZE COINS IN GREEK HARBOR PUZZLES SCIENTISTS”.  Archaeology magazine and Neos Kosmos toned down mystery and exception with more descriptive titles  “1,500-year-old bronze coins found at Greek harbour” (Neos Kosmos) and “Coin Hoard Unearthed Near Corinth’s Harbor” (Archaeology). According to these reports, the hoard includes coins from as early as the reign of Constantine century and as late as the reign of Anastasius, so it is interesting to think about the curation of coins and the longevity of circulation over nearly two centuries–and another reason for a little skepticism about dating excavation contexts from coins alone.

But there should be some bigger and more interesting stories to come out of the work of the LHSP, especially if results are coordinated with those of the LHP. As the LiveScience article reported, based on recent talks at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and interviews with Paul Scotton and Michael Lerardi, the hoards were found in a putative work yard, which includes slag, iron, a basin, and animal bones. The Neos Kosmos  piece reports the discovery of “two large Roman civic basilicas….Believed to have been government buildings, one dates to all the way back to the end of the 1st century, meaning they are likely from the early Roman colony founded by Julius Caesar.” The work of the LHSLP, which includes survey, excavation, remote sensing, and geophysics, could contribute eventually to outstanding debates about Lechaion and, indeed, about Corinth herself, including: the origins of the harbor and the history of the visible works; the growing importance of Lechaion during the century-long interim period following Rome’s devastation of Corinth in 146 BC; the patterns of land division documented by David Romano dating to the third quarter of the first century AD that point to planned neighborhoods; the role of the harbor and its refurbishment during the visit of the emperor Nero and the reign of Vespasian; the relationship between Corinth and Lechaion in the Roman era; the environment of the famous Lechaion basilica church, an early Christian church excavated long ago by Dimitrios Pallas; and the “abandonment” of the harbor in the Byzantine period (there is an ongoing debate, after all, among geomorphologists and geologists about whether Lechaion was destroyed by tsunami or not, but that’s another story). And I will also note that in a region characterized by archaeological fiefdoms–where individuals, institutions, and ambitions lay claim to particular buildings, sites, and classes of material–it would be a great (touching even) human story if these projects found a way to share their data and build a complementary study of the harbor over the period of a millennium.

So, we can celebrate the finds that make clickbait, but hold out for a better story or two. Not any time soon, mind you, as archaeological study takes years, even decades, and the real significance and results of programs of fieldwork are even then not always obvious.

For more information on the work of the Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project:

Federalism in Greek Antiquity (Beck and Funke, eds.)

This new edited collection of essays on federalism and interstate interactions in Greek antiquity caught my eye when it was published late in the fall:

  • Beck, Hans, and Peter Funke, eds.. Federalism in Greek Antiquity. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

As the publisher page notes, this is the first comprehensive study of the subject since the publication of Larsen’s Greek Federal States: their institutions and history (1968) and the work casts a much broader net to capture the various ways that Greeks cooperated for common cause through leagues, federal states, and interstate relations. The comprehensive survey includes some 29 chapters by nearly as many authors and makes use of non-literary sources such as coins, inscriptions, and archaeological evidence. Here’s the book description:

Federalism“The world of ancient Greece witnessed some of the most sophisticated and varied experiments with federalism in the pre-modern era. In the volatile interstate environment of Greece, federalism was a creative response to the challenge of establishing regional unity, while at the same time preserving a degree of local autonomy. To reconcile the forces of integration and independence, Greek federal states introduced, for example, the notion of proportional representation, the stratification of legal practice, and a federal grammar of festivals and cults. Federalism in Greek Antiquity provides the first comprehensive reassessment of the topic. It comprises detailed contributions on all federal states in Aegean Greece and its periphery. With every chapter written by a leading expert in the field, the book also incorporates thematic sections that place the topic in a broader historical and social-scientific context.”

Corinth appears frequently in the work (see some of the relevant passages in Google Books ) given both the important role of the League of Corinth and the Achaian League in the Hellenistic era, as well as interactions between Corinth and its colonies and various federations in the archaic and classical periods. The table of contents is available here as PDF. The first ten pages of the editors’ introductory essay, which outlines why scholars have often ignored federations in favor of polis interactions, can be found here. Hans Beck provides an overview of the project at this page.

Two black skyphoi of late 5th century type

Chemical and Microscopic Analysis of Attic and Corinthian pottery (Chaviara and Aloupi)

This article (in press) by Artemi Chaviara and Eleni Aloupi in The Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, examines the chemical and microscopic properties of black-glaze vessels from the Athenian Acropolis, Boeotia, and the potter’s quarter in Corinth. I tried to access the piece via my institution’s website but ran into problems. For now, I can only copy the metadata and abstract below:

It is hard to know from the abstract what the authors conclude about the Corinthian material specifically but the sophisticated tools employed for study (microscopic analysis, optical microscopy, and Portable X-ray Fluorescence devices) look like they should contribute significantly to the scholarship surrounding the production of Corinthian pottery. Here’s the abstract:

In order to study the provenance of the clays used for the black-glaze (BG) decoration of Athenian pottery, we analysed in situ with the use of a Bruker handheld-PXRF system ~100Geometric, Archaic and Classical decorated sherds from the 19th century excavations at the Acropolis of Athens (Graef and Langlotz, 1933), Boeotian ware from the Kavirion excavations and test pieces from the early excavations at the potter’s quarter in Corinth. The sherds were also examined microscopically and documented by means of optical microscopy/digital photography. The results were compared with laboratory BG specimens produced by following the “iron reduction technique” at the THETIS workshop in Athens. The laboratory BG specimens used clay-colloids from 36 different ferruginous, illitic, low-calcium content, clay-sources in Attica. Trace element comparison between modern and ancient BG samples, with respect to the Zn content, points to the occasional use in antiquity of clay-deposits from Laurium. In addition, two phenomenological features of the ancient BG samples also present in prominent museum exhibits, i.e. the characteristic star-like micro-cracks and distinct brown-black colour shades, appear in the laboratory BG specimens produced from specific clay-deposits in the Panakton plateau and Mount-Parnes region.

The image used for this post is Corinth Image: bw 3544, which comes from the database of the American School Excavations at Corinth.

Journeys through an Ancient Landscape

I spent Thursday and Friday last week visiting St. Mary’s College of Maryland located on the beautiful site of Historic St. Mary’s City, which served as Maryland’s original state capital and ranks among America’s oldest colonial settlements. It was one of the most interesting campus visits I have had in combining my interests in ancient landscapes and digital humanities. On Thursday morning, I visited a class of students in Historical Methods to discuss the subject of digital history and used examples from our Digital Harrisburg Initiative – a series of projects created by faculty and students at Messiah College and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology on 20th century Harrisburg. In the afternoon, I gave a lecture titled “Journeys through an Ancient Landscape” that outlined some of the main contours of my forthcoming book on the Isthmus of Corinth. The abstract for the afternoon lecture went something like this:

From the Panhellenic games of the sixth century BCE, to the Persian invasions of 479 BCE, the Emperor Nero’s disastrous tour of Greece in 66 CE, and Justinian’s fortifications of the sixth century, the Corinthian Isthmus captured the imagination of kings and emperors, philosophers and orators, traders and merchants, and missionaries and preachers as a place of congregation and competition. In this talk, we will journey through the layers of Corinth’s landscape to explain how its Isthmus became the most famous, consequential, and contested land bridge of the ancient world.


Putting the lecture together proved harder than I imagined. Although I was determined not to write out the talk and present simply from the PowerPoint presentation and some notes, I found it challenging to condense the main arguments of the book into a 45-50 minute talk.

I began with the close modern associations of this landscape with congregation, contest, and journey. Whether it is Robbie Maddison’s 200 foot long motorcycle jump over the canal in 2010, Peter Besenyei’s daredevil flight through in 2012, bungee jumping into the abyss, or simply taking selfies on the old national highway bridge, this is a landscape that seems to draw direct engagement.


From there, I laid out the “essential vision” of the Isthmus created by ancient authors and developed in new ways in the modern period. According to the maritime interpretation, Corinth was the quintessential traveler’s town, which gained its unique character from the 4-mile wide Isthmus that linked the Peloponnese with the Greek mainland. This Isthmus was the timeless and essential constant of Corinthian history. An Isthmus could neatly explain the entire trajectory of the city’s historical existence: its foundation and growth as an independent Greek polis from the 8th c BCE; the power and wealth of the Greek polis in the classical period; the importance of the region to the Macedonian monarchs who took possession of it after the conquests of Alexander the Great; and the Roman destruction of Corinth in 146 BCE and then its refoundation as a Roman colony a century later. The Isthmus was the determining force that altered the character of the city’s wanderlust population and determined its historical trajectories until barbarian invasions and earthquakes in late antiquity allegedly decimated the population


The remainder of the presentation took apart the maritime interpretation and offers a view of some of the historical contingencies that altered the landscape over time.

For example, the evidence of archaeological survey (that’s my team from the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey in the picture below) has shown complex and changing patterns of land use, settlement, and trade from the Geometric era to the period of late antiquity that relate in interesting ways to the features in the landscape (the great trans-isthmus walls) or the changing historical context. In general, the discovery of archaeological evidence for habitation and agriculture in the territory disproves the old notion that the Corinthians of the classical or Roman periods had no interest in the agricultural resources of the territory.


Similarly, the ancient road called the diolkos was never the great transit road of the modern imagination. Nor was carting ships over the Isthmus regular ancient practice but reflected unique and extraordinary historical contingencies of the classical and early Hellenistic periods. Conveniently, a reconstructed 17th century ship at Historic St. Mary’s City called the Maryland Dove provided a good reference in point: the ancient triremes that allegedly went over the Isthmus in the fifth century BC were larger even than the Dove.


I also drew attention to the contingencies that framed ancient discussions of the Isthmus. The Greek concept of isthmos was never a static term but changed according to broader conceptions of the place of individual regions within the Mediterranean. Consider three different views of the Corinthian Isthmus as shown in the image below: the narrowest (dark blue) by classical Greek writers; the broader by the geographer Strabo; and the broadest by Pliny the Elder.


And to my delight, I discovered that the college was located on a peninsula that writers like Strabo would have called an isthmus formed by the constriction of land between St. Mary’s River and the Chesapeake Bay.



Once I get settled, I’ll aim to resume the Corinthian religion series this week and push out some more of this new and recent scholarship and news that has come my way. More soon!

Ancient City: Application of Novel Geo-Information Technologies in Ancient Greek Urban Studies

I received an email from Jamie Donati who kindly shared with me more information about the Ancient City project and website, which provides the:

Visit the Ancient City website to learn more. See Politeai for an affiliated project.


AncientCity – Urbanization through Geoinformatics

Updated March 21, 2016 with italicized additions and strikethrough. See also this update.


At the 8th Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society, held in early October in Chania, Crete, a group of authors presented a paper on a new project called AncientCity – A new Frontier in Ancient Greek Urbanization through Geoinformatics. I don’t see that the project has its own web presence yet, and I’m not sure what will become of it, but the scope and aims sound interesting if not a little ambitious. Corinth, of course, is one of the case studies. The project website lives here. Here’s the abstract:

AncientCity is a project consisting in the use of new perspectives in studying the ancient Greek urbanism through modern and advanced technological tools. The understanding, reconstruction and development of ancient Greek cities is approached through an integrated protocol composed of satellite / aerial remote sensing, multicomponent geophysical prospection and spatial analysis within a Geographical Information System platform. This approach involves the use of digital applications to detect patterns in the buried ancient built environment, the identification of surface and subsurface features through non-destructive archaeological fieldwork and the creation of digitized thematic plans of ancient Greek settlements. Five archaeological sites from two different greek geographical regions (central Greece and Peloponnese) were chosen to incorporate new urban models and recalibrate the traditional narratives about the development of the Greek city. The encouraging results of this integrated approach can be used as a prototype model for the employment of Geoinformatics in the historical and archaeological sciences within the subfield of Mediterranean archaeology and Greek Urbanization.

Early Byzantine Pottery from a Building in Kenchreai

Back in August, I noted that the American Excavations at Kenchreai had developed its own website and digital archive for artifacts recovered from investigations of the last half century. I was pleased to see later in the fall the release of this preliminary report about an assemblage of late Roman /early Byzantine pottery found in a sea-side building excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service in 1976, stored for decades at the site of Isthmia, and now restudied over the last few years:

Here’s the abstract for the paper:

This paper presents the results of preliminary study of Early Byzantine pottery from a large building near the waterfront at Kenchreai in southern Greece. Kenchreai served as the eastern port of Corinth throughout antiquity. The building was first excavated in 1976 by the Greek Archaeological Service, and it has been investigated since 2014 by the American Excavations at Kenchreai with permission from the Ministry of Culture under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The pottery is characterized by the presence of many Late Roman Amphora 2 rims as well as stoppers and funnels. This indicates that the building had a role in the distribution of regional agricultural products during its final phase, which is dated to the very late sixth or early seventh centures A.D. by African Red-Slip and Phocaean Red-Slip tablewares. A wide range of lamps, glass vessels, and other small finds has also been recorded. Results to date are preliminary but ongoing work may allow further precision as to the chronology and use of this building.

The article describes the results of excavations located on the property of Mr. Threpsiades, which exposed a building with “multiple large rooms flanking wide halls and an ornate peristyle, all enclosed in a trapezoidal arrangement.” Although the identification of the function of the building is uncertain (a villa of Middle or Late Roman construction is the best guess at this point), the building’s late phase is clear: an enormous quantity of pottery date the building to later 6th to early 7th centuries AD (the investigators believe the latest phase dates between about 580 and 600). The quantity is large even by ceramicist standards: the authors have so far processed 93 crates and 50,000 sherds, and that is not all of it. There are late forms of African Red Slip and Phocaean Red Slip table wares, some glass, and a substantial corpus of amphora fragments, mostly Late Roman 2 sherds, which are, as I have noted before, the most common kind of LR amphora documented on the Isthmus  The team has also documented many amphora stoppers and even a few ceramic funnels that would have been useful for moving liquids (like olive oil) between containers. The authors interpret the LR2 amphoras (which come in two different sizes) and the presence of stoppers and funnels as evidence for the movement of liquids between contains at Kenchreai and export in the late 6th century. As Heath et al. conclude,

“The Threpsiades complex provides rich evidence for local, if fleeting, prosperity and connectivity to an economic network. In this regard, the building’s situation so close to the waterfront is significant: it would have had direct or near direct access to maritime traffic, even if the structure was in partial ruin during its final years. It also must have been close to the main road heading inland toward Corinth. The Early Byzantine pottery kept inside such an advantageously located building illustrates a nexus of two-way trade, and it may capture a moment or trace a sequence in the decline of that trade. We suspect that many of the LRA2s, particularly the large ones, were destined to be shipped out from Kenchreai, perhaps containing Corinthian commodities.”

It’s interesting to consider that LR2 amphoras, which are in production for over two centuries, may differently reflect patterns of import and export within the same region. Bill Caraher and I have recently argued in this forthcoming volume that the abundance of LR2 amphoras in the fifth and sixth centuries point to patterns of supply associated with major state presence in the region: Theodosius II in the early 5th century and Justinian in the 6th. Of course, it’s also possible that amphoras arriving with one product were refilled and exported with another from Kenchreai.

What’s valuable about this preliminary report is its detailed case study of a thriving sea-side building and its ceramics that date to a time usually associated in peoples’ minds with disruption and invasion (the Slavs). It provides yet one more study that suggests the region did not suddenly end in 585 AD. The quantification of ceramics on this level (tens of thousands of sherds) is also valuable because such studies have been uncommon outside of Corinth (Scott Moore’s dissertation chapter quantifying the Roman pottery from the pottery dump at Isthmia is one exception); it will provide an excellent point of comparison with studies at Corinth. For those who have interest in neither late antiquity or ceramics, the article contains lot of interesting figures. Looking forward to seeing more information about this project as it develops.

On the Churches and Saints of Corinth

Kodratos of CorinthTomorrow marks the feast day of Kodratos, Corinth’s most famous ancient country saint martyred during the reign of the Emperor Decius. As I noted a number of years ago when I paraphrased a Latin version of his life, Kodratos was Corinth’s quintessential rural saint: an orphan raised by his Father God in the fields and mountains after his parents’ early death. When he descended into the city of sin and pleasure as an adult, smelling of the country (in a good way — as his biographer notes), he preached with eloquence and attracted a small group of like-minded associates (the famous Leonidas of Lechaion was a friend of his) until he and a few others were martyred by Jason the provincial governor. When confronted with torture, Kodratos responded: “Bring it on!”

The stories and biographies of Corinth’s martyrs and saints such as Kodratos remain largely inaccessible to an anglophone public today because they have rarely been translated, let alone paraphrased, from their Byzantine Greek and Medieval Latin sources (or the modern Greek summaries). In a similar way, most of the late antique churches around Corinth associated with Corinth’s martyrs were excavated by Greek archaeologists (Dimitrios Pallas, especially) who published their findings in Greek (or French and German), rarely in English.

Church of Kodratos in Ancient Corinth

Strangely, then, an English-speaking public is somewhat disconnected from the abundant early Christian remains in the Corinthia and the description of martyrs noted in Byzantine martyrologies and the Acta Sanctorum. This is unfortunate given both the popular interest in religion in Corinth and a healthy tourist industry oriented specifically around St. Paul and Christian pilgrimage.


There is, however, a growing body of scholarship in English discussing the churches around Corinth. These include:

  • William Caraher, “Church, Society, and the Sacred in Early Christian Greece,” PhD Dissertation, Columbus, 2003: Ohio State University. See also his two recent articles on the Lechaion basilica, which he has discussed and posted on his blog.
  • Brown, Amelia R. “Medieval Pilgrimage to Corinth and Southern Greece.” HEROM: Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture 1 (2012): 197–223.
  • Brown, Amelia R. “The City of Corinth and Urbanism in Late Antique Greece,” PhD Dissertation, Berkeley, 2008: University of California- Berkeley. Available as PDF here.
  • Richard Rothaus, Corinth: The First City of Greece, Leiden, 2000: Brill. See especially his chapter on Christianizing the city. Snippet view of part of the book available via Google Books
  • G.D.R. Sanders, “Archaeological Evidence for Early Christianity and the End of Hellenic Religion in Corinth,” in Schowalter and S.J. Friesen (eds.), Urban Religion in Roman Corinth, Cambridge, MA, 2005, 419-42. Freely available via Academia
  • V. Limberis, “Ecclesiastical Ambiguities: Corinth in the Fourth and Fifth Century,” in Schowalter and Friesen (eds.), Urban Religion in Roman Corinth, Cambridge, MA 2005, 443-457.
  • Sweetman, Rebecca J. “Memory, Tradition, and Christianization of the Peloponnese.” American Journal of Archaeology 119, no. 4 (2015): 501–31. Available for free download here.
  • Sweetman, Rebecca. “The Christianization of the Peloponnese: The Topography and Function of Late Antique Churches.” Journal of Late Antiquity 3, no. 2 (2010): 203–61.

I hope to work with a student or two at Messiah College next year to produce DIY English translations of some of these lives and perhaps descriptions of the churches. That would be a fun project.

This marks the fourth in a (mostly) Wednesday Lenten series on resources for the study of religion and Christianity in Corinth. Earlier posts include