- (via Matt Malcolm’s blog) A conference on May 14 at Macquarie University on the theme of “Corinth – Paul, People and Politics,” sponsored by the Society for the Study of Early Christianity. A seminar (May 12) in advance of the conference on the theme of “The Economy of Ancient Corinth.”
- Bill Caraher visits Justinian, Victorinus, and the Isthmus in Verona
- Anyone know the original context of this National Geographic image by Herbert Herget depicting (mostly naked) “Ancient Greeks haul(ing) a merchant ship over the Greek isthmus to Corinth”? This is ca. 1944, a decade before Verdelis’ excavation of the road.
- An article in the Huffington Post on the popular and profound meanings of 1 Corinthians 13 (note the author’s mistranslation of “philos”, note 1 Corinthians 13 and the Wedding Crashers)
- In September, I posted a link to a relatively new documentary on the diolkos of Corinth in Greek. Here is a version in English: Part 1 and Part 2.
Category: Late Antiquity
The American School of Classical Studies’ website has a nice piece on Angela Ziskowski’s recently defended dissertation The Construction of Corinthian Identity in the Early Iron Age and Archaic Period. As Angela describes her work there:
My work on this topic focused on whether or not archaeological remains and literary testimonia from the city and region of Corinth could provide evidence for the construction of civic and cultural identity. My study considered the topography and resources of the region, production practices, ceramic and epigraphic remains, iconography, as well as cultic institutions to allow the question of identity construction to be considered from many angles. Through this synthetic approach, I tried to offer a fuller, more comprehensive understanding of how the early city of Corinth created its own civic identity and successfully differentiated itself from neighboring regions.
Angela joins a number of recently completed PhD dissertations in different fields (Classics, Classical Archaeology, and History) that have brought together archaeological, textual, epigraphical, and environmental evidence to speak to broad cultural issues.
The ASCSA website lists five other dissertations on Corinth completed in the last two years. I was curious about the dissertations on the Corinthia (broadly defined) over the last decade and ran a search in Worldcat on doctoral dissertations with keywords Corinth*, Kenchreai, Nemea, Isthm*, and Lechaion. The search generated 454 hits! Some of these hits are redundant probably because the dissertations are owned by several universities that have classified them differently. A few relate to medical studies (isthm* is responsible here) and the Battles of Corinth (the American civil war, not that of 146 BC). But the great majority of those dissertations–say, 75% or more–center on some aspect of 1 and 2 Corinthians. I’ve said it before: it must be tiring for New Testament scholars to keep up with the scholarship.
So, as I often do, I compiled a list of archaeology and history dissertations completed since 2000. No doubt incomplete and I’m sure I have left off some (your!) important study. But the list gives you a sense of some of the trends in the field. Of the 21 dissertations in process, defended, or completed, some patterns:
1. Archaic-Hellenistic: Studies of the Corinthia / NE Peloponnese of the period of the polis dominate but these studies cover the full range from the Early Iron Age to Hellenistic.
2. Late Antiquity: some 7 dissertations focus on the late Roman Corinthia or deal with it as part of the study of the Roman Corinthia, although that number could in part reflect my own knowledge of the dissertations. Only 3 studies focus on the Earlier Roman period. Most “Roman” studies go into Late Antiquity.
3. Materials: Ceramic studies are most common (n=4) but in general, we find variety: wall paintings, coinage, architecture, fountains, walls, baths
4. Landscape: countryside, territory, and cultural landscapes are the focal points of several studies and frame / complement many of the other studies. Corinth in broader context.
5. Archaeology and history: more archaeological discussions here than historical but many of the studies consider the textual evidence, and most of the archaeological studies frame their studies within broader contexts (social, economic, cultural): “a contextual study,” “the culture of water,” “mortuary practices”, “language of reuse”, “production and distribution”
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.
Pauline and Early Christian Corinth: Recent Publications
Some very interesting scholarship from 2010 related to St. Paul’s Christian community, including the social and political context of Roman Corinth and individuals within the Pauline community. A dissertation on Apollos and some three articles on Erastus. Margaret Mitchell’s Paul, the Corinthians, and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics looks excellent. Her first chapter caught my eye: “The Corinthian diolkos: Passageway to Early Christian biblical interpretation.” Nice image.
I conclude this overview of 2010 with bibliography on 2 Corinthians, Pauline and Early Christian Corinth, and Reading the Corinthians. Thanks again to Tara Anderson for help in creating these lists.
Corinthian History and Archaeology: 2010 Publications
2010 was a big year for publications on Corinthian history and archaeology. I created the list below using various search engines (google scholar, worldcat, etc..) none of which are fully comprehensive. I included academic publications (books, articles, dissertations, and master’s theses) that relate to the archaeology and history of the Corinthia from prehistory to the present. I will post separately on 2010 publications in New Testament studies, which is simply an enormous field.
If you published something in 2010 that can be added to the following list, please send my way along with links if available. The updated list will live permanently here.
Thanks to Tara Anderson for help in putting this list together.
Morgan, Catherine, “Corinthia,” in Archaeological Reports 56 (2010), pp 21 -26.
Petroutsa, Eirini I. and Sotiris K. Manolis “Reconstructing Late Bronze Age diet in mainland Greece using stable isotope analysis,” in Journal of Archaeological Science, 2010
Early Iron Age
Flognfeldt, Yngve Thomassen, “Sanctuaries and votive offerings from The Early Iron Age in Greece-A comparative study of votive offerings from the eastern Peloponnese”
Bonnier, A., “Harbours and Hinterlands: Landscape, Site Patterns and Coast-Hinterland Interconnections by the Corinthian Gulf, c. 600-300 BC” [Doctoral Thesis] 2010
Bookidis, N., The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore: The Terracotta Sculpture (Corinth XVIII.5) [Book] Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
Bukina, A.G., “ILIOUPERSIS ON A CORINTHIAN BLACK-FIGURED PYXIS IN THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM”in Antike Kunst, 2010
Bukina, A.G., “NEOPTOLEMUS IN TROY. A CORINTHIAN RED FIGURE PYXIS FROM THE STATE HERMITAGE” in Vestnik drevnej istorii, 2010
Caraher, W.R., D.K. Pettegrew, and S. James, “Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia,” Hesperia 79.3 2010
Donati, J.C. “Marks of State Ownership and the Greek Agora at Corinth”in American Journal of Archaeology, 2010.
Gabrielli, R., Ceramica etrusco-corinzia del Museo archeologico di Tarquinia. Book 1 vol. (XIII-567 p. -26 p. de fig. -XXX p. de pl.)
Išin, Gül, “PATARA TEPECİK AKROPOLÜ “BEY EVİ” KAZILARI (2003-2007): GEÇ ARKAİK-ERKEN KLASİK DÖNEM TERRACOTTALARI. (Turkish)” (Excavations of “The Ruler’s House” on the Tepecik Acropolis at Patara (2003-2007): The Terracottas of the Late Archaic-Early Classical Period. (English)), in Olba Journal, May2010, Vol. 18, p85-106
Ivanov, R.V., “Pindar’s Isthmians 3 and 4: essays and commentary” [Doctoral Thesis]
McPhee, I. “Red-Figure Pottery of Uncertain Origin from Corinth: Stylistic and Chemical Analyses” in Hesperia, 2010
Papadogiannis; A.S., M.C. Tsakoumaki, T.G. Chondros, ““Deus-Ex-Machina” Mechanism Reconstruction in the Theater of Phlius, Corinthia,” in Journal of Mechanical Design, Jan2010, 132 Issue 1.
Schaffrin, B., and K. Snow, “Total Least-Squares regularization of Tykhonov type and an ancient racetrack in Corinth,” in Linear Algebra and its Applications, 2010
Stickler, T., Korinth und seine Kolonien: Die Stadt am Isthmus im Mächtegefüge des klassischen Griechenland [Book]
Twele, R.M., “The so-called Union of Corinth and Argos and the nature of the polis”[Master’s Thesis] Chapel Hill, N.C. : University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Friesen, S.J., D.N Schowalter, and J.C. Walters, Corinth in context : comparative studies on religion and society, [Book]
Gleason, M., “Making Space for Bicultural Identity: Herodes Atticus Commemorates Regilla” in T. Whitmarsh (ed.), Local Knowledge and Microidentities in the Imperial Greek World
Iversen, P.A. “A Prytany Dedication from Athens Found at Corinth”, in Hesperia, 2010
Strocka, V.M., Die Gefangenenfassade an der Agora von Korinth: ihr Ort in der römischen Kunstgeschichte. [Book]
Late Antique & Early Christian
Brown, A.R., “Islands in a Sea of Change? Continuity and Abandonment in Dark Age Corinth and Thessaloniki” International Journal of Historical Archaeology
Brown, A.R., “JUSTINIAN, PROCOPIUS, AND DECEPTION: LITERARY LIES, IMPERIAL POLITICS, AND THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF SIXTH-CENTURY GREECE”, inA.J. Turner, K. O. Chong-Gossard, J.H. Kim, and F.J. Vervaet (eds.), Private and Public Lies: The Discourse of Despotism
Caraher, W.R., “Abandonment, Authority, and Religious Continuity in Post-Classical Greece” In International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 2010
Garvie-Lok, S., “A Possible Witness to the Sixth Century Slavic Invasion of Greece from the Stadium Tunnel at Ancient Nemea”in International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 2010
Pettegrew, D.K., “Regional Survey and the Boom-and-bust Countryside: Re-reading the Archaeological Evidence for Episodic Abandonment in the Late Roman Corinthia”, inInternational Journal of Historical Archaeology, 2010
Sweetman, R., “The Christianization of the Peloponnese: The Topography and Function of Late Antique Churches,” in Journal of Late Antiquity, 2010
Byzantine to Modern
Athanassopoulos, E. “Landscape Archaeology and the Medieval Countryside: Settlement and Abandonment in the Nemea Region” in International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 2010
Sutton, S.B., “Disconnected Landscapes: Ancient Sites, Travel Guides, and Local Identity in Modem Greece”, in Anthropology of East Europe Review, 2010
Tzortzopoulou-Gregory, L., “Remembering and Forgetting: The Relationship Between Memory and the Abandonment of Graves in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Greek Cemeteries.” In International Journal of Historical Archaeology 14.2 (2010), 285-301.
More Corinth in Contrast
On Monday I posted a general overview of the conference Corinth in Contrast and today I want to comment on a few of the specific papers that focused on material culture. Defining which papers fit into the category of material culture is not straightforward. Most of the papers, including those by New Testament scholars, made some use of archaeology, but not all the archaeologists (e.g., Sanders and myself) focused on archaeological evidence per se. Moreover, some presenters (Ben Millis, Dan Schowalter, and Ron Stroud) focused on inscriptions that belong to overlapping evidence categories of text and material culture. And even the explicitly archaeological papers did not focus on the normal stratigraphic grit of archaeological research. A few highlights:
For the urban center, Sarah James gave an important paper (“The Last Corinthians? Society and Settlement from 146 BCE to the Roman Colony”) synthesizing the evidence for continuing settlement and society in the so-called interim period between the city’s destruction in 146 BC and refoundation as a Roman colony in 44 BC. James discussed an enormous amount of evidence (adding up to half a metric ton of pottery!) suggesting that activities continued in the urban center in the late 2nd to early 1st centuries BC. She presented a number of ceramic deposits showing evidence for imports and trade and production of ceramic crafts that indicates continuity with preexisting populations. This paper, which draws on conclusions reached in her dissertation, will have significant ramifications for understanding the interim period in Corinth. Start discontinuity, the blank slate, and the squatters are all going to have to go away.
Ben Millis was not physically present at the conference but he did make several appearances via Skype and in this capacity presented a paper on “The Local Magistrates and Elite of Roman Corinth.” The paper complemented an earlier paper that he gave in 2007, recently published in Corinth in Context, by discussing the role of freedmen in promoting their commercial interests in the newfound colony. In his talk, Millis discussed the origins and careers of Roman Corinth’s first elites whose names appear in inscriptions in the city. Three distinct elite groups appear frequently: 1) Greek provincial elite, which formed the smallest elite group; 2) Romans, who were also a numerically small group but formed a more significant core of Corinthian elites; and 3) freedmen, who made up the largest group of the colony’s ruling class. Millis suggested that the latter group clearly had the most potential for upward mobility, but that personal connections were important in achieving this mobility. Freedmen who became part of the new local elite formed a very closed system that was nearly impossible to break into. There were, in other words, social and economic impediments and requirements to office holding in the new colony.
Sarah Lepinski discussed the evidence from wall painting in the Roman city and considered the question of whether painting practices reflected Greek or Roman themes, styles, and tastes. Her presentation highlighted the practices, tastes, and decorative programs that point strongly to western connections, especially during most of the first century after Christ. However, her presentation also highlighted the complexities of such connections for in the later 1st century a break with western practices led to more localized decorative programs.
Bill Caraher gave a paper on the final day on the subject of the “The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City.” The paper provided a very useful overview of the “building boom” of the fifth and sixth centuries AD in the Corinthia that included monumental church architecture (e.g., Lechaion basilica), villa culture in the territory, and urban and trans-isthmus fortification walls. Bill suggested that this building activity created a medium for various groups of the population to communicate theological messages and local expression. His discussion of local “resistance” provided some interesting and lively audience feedback.
Ronald Stroud presented an interesting paper called the “Varieties of Inequality in Corinthian Magic and Ritual,” which examined the evidence for “black magic” at Corinth around 50 AD, especially the inscribed lead curse tablets found at the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on the lower slopes of Acrocorinth. Before official cult was reestablished in a Roman manner at the sanctuary, women were practicing nocturnal rites associated with a space connected to Kore, goddess of underworld. Such practices blend the distinction between religion and magic. This paper will be very interesting for those interested in the kinds of cults and religious practices that formed a backdrop to St. Paul’s mission in the city.
All of these papers will appear in expanded form (6,000-8,000 words) in a volume that should be published relatively quickly.