On Phoebe, Honored Courier of St. Paul (Michael Peppard)

We’ve mentioned Phoebe of Kenchreai here at Corinthian Matters as an individual who was not simply a “helper” to St. Paul — one translation of the Greek diakonos) — but also a prostasis, an influential member of some wealth and authority in the earliest Christian community of the region.

Michael Peppard has recently published an article in Commonweal  (Household Names: Junia, Phoebe, & Prisca in Early Christian Rome“) about Phoebe and two other significant women named in the final chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Peppard’s piece discusses the high status of these women and their importance in the mission of Paul. It’s a thoughtful piece of which I include a few snippets below.

But pay closer attention to whom Paul addresses and a surprise emerges: the status of women in the early church in Rome. Specifically, three women: Junia, Phoebe, and Prisca. They are not household names. They are not mentioned from pulpits on Sunday morning. But they were undeniably important to Paul—and to the Christian assemblies in Rome and Corinth, where they were authoritative leaders….

…Back to the first-century Phoebe: a more powerful translation than “benefactor” for prostatis would also be more faithful to the Greek term in its social context. When used in the masculine form prostatês, its semantic range covers “leader,” “ruler,” “presiding officer,” “administrator,” “protector,” “guardian,” or “patron.” Certainly the possession of wealth and the concomitant powers of benefaction could be related to one’s role as a leader, presider, or protector. But generosity alone does not capture the meaning of the term that Paul uses for Phoebe…

…As an honored and trusted courier, Phoebe could have had the sender’s blessing to explain her letter and its author’s intention as well. The social context thus suggests that, in addition to being a diakonos, a prostatis, and the courier of the most important theological text in Christian history, Phoebe may also have been its first authorized interpreter….

Thus when Phoebe arrived in Rome with Paul’s letter, it was into Prisca’s hand she most likely placed the scroll. Prisca had known Paul for years, and she was one of his most trusted partners, just as Phoebe was a trusted courier. So when we envision the very first discussion of the letter to the Romans, both scriptural and historical evidence suggest the same thing: it was women who were doing the talking.



Helicopter Rides along the Corinthian Coasts

A website called tripinview claims to be the world’s first visual travel website, whcih makes available 800,000 photos of 300 hours of video of Mediterranean coastline. You can map and search, build a trip, or take the website’s highlight tours from the air. The site offers extensive coverage of Mediterranean coastal territory including fantastic footage of the Corinthia. Searching via the keyword “Corinthia” turns up 40 different coastal locations that include New Corinth, Kiato, Lechaion, Sikyon, Korphos, Kenchreai, and Loutra Elenis.

If you click on a place, you have the option of scrolling through still shots of the coastline taken from a helicopter perspective, or watching 5-10 minute video sequences of the coast. You can also access information and weather information about each of these places.

tripinview (2)

This is a fantastic tool for seeing Greek coastlines from a whole new perspective. For example, on this six minute flight from Loutra Elenis to the Corinth Canal on the Saronic Gulf, you’ll have a completely unique visual perspective of the winding coastline, Mt. Oneion, topography, and a series of archaeological sites. There are excellent views of the submerged harbor of Kenchreai and the Koutsongila Ridge with its Roman-Late Roman cemetery.



A visual from the cape known as Akra Sophia facing toward Kenchreai and Mt. Oneion. Akra Sophia was the location of Roman to Early Byzantine villa sites published by Timothy Gregory.



And here’s the helicopter perspective from Akra Sophia facing toward the canal. This marks the beginning of the Isthmus, at least as Greek writers of the classical and Hellenistic age imagined the landscape.


On this ten minute flight from the Corinth Canal to Kiato, you’ll see New Corinth and a series of little Corinthian settlements on the Corinthian Gulf. Great images of the external harbor and internal basins at Lechaion, as well as the early Christian basilica there.TripInView_LechaionHarbor


Unfortunately no inland footage, so you won’t get a good view of Ancient Corinth except from a distance. Still, this is a great resource. I could imagine showing both of the videos noted above in history or archaeology classes that introduce Corinth’s situation near a connecting Isthmus.

Thanks to Dimitri Nakassis for the tip about this site.

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.

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.

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (December-February). Part 1

With the end of last semester, holidays, and deadlines, I fell a bit behind on the Corinthian Scholarship Monthly posts. Yesterday I started to dig out, sift through emails, and find the gems in the bunch. This will be the first of two posts on new scholarship that went live in December to February. I’ll try to get the second part of CSM Dec-Feb by the middle of the month.

And kudos to the google bots for doing such a good job. While we’ve been sleeping, playing, teaching, and resting, those bots have been working non-stop to bring all sorts of little nuggets to our network. As always, I’ve included a broader range of articles and essays that mention the Corinthia without focusing on the region — on the assumption that you will be as interested as I am in a broader Mediterranean context. There are also a few entries from past years that the bots have just brought to my attention.

You can find the full collection of articles and books related to Corinthian studies at the Corinthian Studies Zotero Page. The new entries are tagged according to basic categories. Version 2 of the library in RIS format is scheduled to be released by summer.

Finally, I am always looking for reviewers of articles or books listed in the CSM posts. If you can write and are qualified, drop me a line.


Ambraseys, N. N. “Ottoman Archives and the Assessment of the Seismicity of Greece 1456–1833.” Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering 12, no. 1 (February 1, 2014): 5–43. doi:10.1007/s10518-013-9541-5.

Angeli Bernardini, Paola, ed. Corinto: luogo di azione e luogo di racconto : atti del convengo internazionale, Urbino, 23-25 settembre 2009. Pisa [etc.]: F. Serra, 2013.

Baika, Kalliopi. “The Topography of Shipshed Complexes and Naval Dockyards.” In Shipsheds of the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by David Blackman and Boris Rankov, 185–209. Cambridge University Press, 2013. 

Balzat, Jean-Sébastien, and Benjamin W. Millis. “M. Antonius Aristocrates: Provincial Involvement with Roman Power in the Late 1st Century B.C.” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 82, no. 4 (December 2013): 651–672. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.4.0651.

Blackman, David, and Boris Rankov. Shipsheds of the Ancient Mediterranean. Cambridge University Press, 2013. 

Borbonus, Dorian. Columbarium Tombs and Collective Identity in Augustan Rome. Cambridge University Press, 2014. 

Boyle, A. J., ed. Seneca: Medea: Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Collins, John J., ed. The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Docter, Roald, and Babette Bechtold. “Two Forgotten Amphorae from the Hamburg Excavations at Carthage (Cyprus, and the Iberian Peninsula) and Their Contexts.” Carthage Studies 5 (2011) (2013): 91–128.

Forbes, Hamish A. “Off-Site Scatters and the Manuring Hypothesis in Greek Survey Archaeology: An Ethnographic Approach.” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 82, no. 4 (December 2013): 551–594. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.4.0551.

Frangoulidis, Stavros. “Reception of Strangers in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses: The Examples of Hypata and Cenchreae.” In A Companion to the Ancient Novel, edited by Edmund P. Cueva and Shannon N. Byrne, 275–287. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Hall, Jonathan M. Artifact and Artifice: Classical Archaeology and the Ancient Historian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 

Hawthorn, Geoffrey. Thucydides on Politics: Back to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Heil, Andreas, and Gregor Damschen, eds. Brill’s Companion to Seneca: Philosopher and Dramatist. Leiden: Brill, 2013. 

Hollander, William den. Josephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome: From Hostage to Historian. Leiden: Brill, 2014. 

James, Paula. “Apuleius’ Metamorphoses: A Hybrid Text?” In A Companion to the Ancient Novel, edited by Edmund P. Cueva and Shannon N. Byrne, 317–329. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Jeffreys, Elizabeth. “We Need to Talk about Byzantium: Or, Byzantium, Its Reception of the Classical World as Discussed in Current Scholarship, and Should Classicists Pay Attention?Classical Receptions Journal 6, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 158–174. doi:10.1093/crj/clt032.

Kamen, Deborah. “Sale for the Purpose of Freedom: Slave-Prostitutes and Manumission in Ancient Greece.” The Classical Journal 109, no. 3 (March 2014): 281–307. doi:10.5184/classicalj.109.3.0281.

Kampbell, Sarah Marie. “The Economy of Conflict: How East Mediterranean Trade Adapted to Changing Rules, Allegiances and Demographics in the  10th – 12th Centuries AD.” PhD Thesis, Princeton University, 2014. 

Klapaki. “The Journey to Greece in the American and the Greek Modernist Literary Imagination: Henry Miller and George Seferis.” In Travel, Discovery, Transformation: Culture and Civilization, Volume 6, edited by Gabriel R. Ricci, 59–78. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2014.

Kolluoğlu, Biray, and Meltem Toksöz, eds. Cities of the Mediterranean: From the Ottomans to the Present Day. I.B.Tauris, 2010. 

Korner, Ralph J. “Before ‘Church’: Political, Ethno-Religious, and Theological Implications of the Collective Designation of Pauline Christ Followers as Ekklēsiai.” PhD Thesis, McMaster University, 2014. 

Kreitzer, L.J. “Hadrian as Nero Redivivus: Some Supporting Evidence from Corinth.” In Judaea and Rome in Coins 65 BCE-135 CE: Papers Presented at the International Conference Hosted by Spink, 13th-14th September 2010, edited by David M Jacobson and Nikos Kokkinos, 229–242. London: Spink, 2012. 

Legarreta-Castillo, Felipe De Jesus. The Figure of Adam in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15: The New Creation and Its Ethical and Social Reconfigurations. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014.

Matz, Brian J. “Early Christian Philanthropy as a ‘Marketplace’ and the Moral Responsibility of Market Participants.” In Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics, edited by Daniel Finn, 115–145? New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Mitski, Efterpi. “Commodifying Antiquity in Mary Nisbet’s Journey to the Ottoman Empire.” In Travel, Discovery, Transformation: Culture and Civilization, Volume 6, edited by Gabriel R. Ricci, 45–58. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2014. 

Morhange, Christophe, Amos Salamon, Guénaelle Bony, Clément Flaux, Ehud Galili, Jean-Philippe Goiran, and Dov Zviely. “Geoarchaeology of Tsunamis and the Revival of Neo-Catastrophism in the Eastern Mediterranean.” Rome “La Sapienza” Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan 11 (2014): 61–81.

Ong, H. T. “Paul’s Personal Relation with Earliest Christianity: A Critical Survey.” Currents in Biblical Research 12, no. 2 (February 7, 2014): 146–172. doi:10.1177/1476993X12467114.

Pachis, Panayotis. “Data from Dead Minds?  Dream and Healing in the Isis / Sarapis Cult During the Graeco-Roman Age.” Journal of Cognitive Historiography 1, no. 1 (January 23, 2014): 52–71.

Pallis, Georgios. “Inscriptions on Middle Byzantine Marble Templon Screens.” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 106, no. 2 (January 2013): 761–810. doi:10.1515/bz-2013-0026.

Polinskaya, Irene. A Local History of Greek Polytheism: Gods, People and the Land of Aigina, 800-400 BCE. Leiden: Brill, 2013. 

Priestley, Jessica. Herodotus and Hellenistic Culture: Literary Studies in the Reception of the Histories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 

Punt, Jeremy. “Framing Human Dignity through Domination and Submission? Negotiating Borders and Loyalties (of Power) in the New Testament.” Scriptura 112 (2013): 1–17. doi:10.7833/112-0-82.

Rankov, Boris. “Slipping and Launching.” In Shipsheds of the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by David Blackman and Boris Rankov, 102–123. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Reed, David Alan. “Paul on Marriage and Singleness:  Reading 1 Corinthians with the Augustan Marriage Laws.” PhD Thesis. University of St. Michael’s College, 2013. 

Saliari, Konstantina, and Erich Draganits. “Early Bronze Age Bone Tubes from the Aegean: Archaeological Context, Use and Distribution.” Archeometriai Műhely [Archaeometry Workshop] (2013): 179–192.

Shpuza, Ermanl. “Allometry in the Syntax of Street Networks: Evolution of Adriatic and Ionian Coastal Cities 1800–2010.” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (2014). doi:doi:10.1068/b39109.

Siek, Thomas James. “A Study in Paleo-Oncology: On the Identification of Neoplastic Disease in Archaeological Bone.” Master of Arts Thesis, University of Waterloo, 2014. 

Thein, Alexander. “Reflecting on Sulla’s Clemency.” Historia 63, no. 2 (April 1, 2014): 166–186.

Toffolo, Michael B., Alexander Fantalkin, Irene S. Lemos, Rainer C. S. Felsch, Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, Guy D. R. Sanders, Israel Finkelstein, and Elisabetta Boaretto. “Towards an Absolute Chronology for the Aegean Iron Age: New Radiocarbon Dates from Lefkandi, Kalapodi and Corinth.” PLoS ONE 8, no. 12 (December 26, 2013): e83117. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083117.

Waterfield, Robin. Taken at the Flood: The Roman Conquest of Greece. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Williams, Drake, and H. H. “‘Imitate Me’: Interpreting Imitation In 1 Corinthians in Relation to Ignatius of Antioch.” Perichoresis 11, no. 1 (June 1, 2013): 77–95.

Wright, Christopher. The Gattilusio Lordships and the Aegean World 1355-1462. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

The Isthmus of Corinth Project

No end in sight for winter here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but a new semester is under way, and with that, you should see a little more activity here at Corinthian Matters.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been busy bringing to completion a book on Corinth’s eastern landscape titled — at least for the moment — The Isthmus of Corinth: Crossroads of the Mediterranean World. As the book has been a long time in the making, it felt a bit strange when I completed the conclusions last Monday early in the morning, and sent the work back to the publisher for review. 

Generally, the work is a diachronic study of the changes in the conception and material structure of Corinth’s Isthmus from about the sixth century BC to fourth century AD. My temporal focus is the landscape in the broad Roman era, but the Roman landscape is wrapped up in the classical-Hellenistic period. In order to highlight what has changed, I have devoted space to the background. The study also makes extensive use of the data of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, and attempts to understand the distributional patterns in terms of the broader history of the territory known from texts and archaeological investigations. My goal has been to highlight the contingencies in the development, conception, and value of the landscape and its connectivity over a thousand year period.

Once I hear the fate of the manuscript, I will talk a bit more about the individual chapters. For now, here’s an annotated outline of the book as it has shaped up:

1. Introduction  = an intro to modern scholarship about the Isthmus as an “essential” and “timeless” landscape that constantly shaped the region’s history.  The book aims to replace the timeless view of the Isthmus as a connective landscape with an historically contingent view.

2. The Isthmos = the meaning of the concept isthmos in the classical to Hellenistic periods and its associations with connectivity.

3. The Concourse = the material development of the connective structures (settlements, harbors, roads, emporium) of the eastern landscape from the archaic to Hellenistic period, considering especially the picture from the Eastern Korinthia Survey data.

4. The Fetter and the Gate = how the connective Isthmus factored into the Roman destruction of Corinth in 146 BC and the historical interpretation of destruction and its aftermath

5. The Portage = explores the particular significance of the transfers of ships of war over the Isthmus during the interim period, in 102-101 BC (Marcus Antonius), and early colony, in 30 BC (Octavian)

6. The Bridge = picks up where Ch. 2 left off by outlining shifts in the meaning of the concept “isthmus” in the late Hellenistic -early Roman era, and explores the ways that the territory functioned (and did not function) as a bridge of the sea

7. The Territory = surveys the redevelopment of the eastern territory and its connective structure from the time of colonization to the early third century AD, considering data from the Eastern Korinthia Survey

8. The Canal = explores the particular contingencies that led the Emperor Nero to attempt to cut a canal through the Isthmus in 67 AD and its consequences on the landscape’s connectivity

9. The Crossroads = considers shifts in connectivity and settlement at the site of Isthmia between the second and fourth centuries

10. Conclusions

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (November 2013)

Your latest round of new Corinthian scholarship published or posted online in the last month – just in time for the holiday season. Feel free to reply to this post if you have something to add. If you are interested and qualified to review any of the following, contact me at corinthianmatters@gmail.com.

For comprehensive bibliography related to the Corinthia, see this page and visit the Corinthia Library at Zotero.




Late Roman

New Testament



Corinth in Contrast

I was pleased to see via FB that Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality went live this morning at Brill’s website—a month in advance of the annual meeting of the SBL in Baltimore and well in advance of the AIA meeting in Chicago. (So look for the book if you will attend one of these conferences.)

The work is edited by Steve Friesen, Sarah James, and Dan Schowalter, and includes contributions by a gang of scholars working on Corinthian archaeology, history, and/or New Testament studies. It marks the fruition of a conference held three years ago in Austin, Texas. Bill Caraher covered the conference at The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World blog, as we did here at Corinthian Matters:

As the abstract to the book notes: “In Corinth in Contrast, archaeologists, historians, art historians, classicists, and New Testament scholars examine the stratified nature of socio-economic, political, and religious interactions in the city from the Hellenistic period to Late Antiquity. The volume challenges standard social histories of Corinth by focusing on the unequal distribution of material, cultural, and spiritual resources. Specialists investigate specific aspects of cultural and material stratification such as commerce, slavery, religion, marriage and family, gender, and art, analyzing both the ruling elite of Corinth and the non-elite Corinthians who made up the majority of the population. This approach provides insight into the complex networks that characterized every ancient urban center and sets an agenda for future studies of Corinth and other cities rule by Rome.”

The Table of Contents looks like this:

1. Inequality in Corinth (Steven J. Friesen, Sarah A. James, and Daniel N. Schowalter)


2. The Last of the Corinthians? Society and Settlement from 146 to 44 (Sarah A. James)

3. The Local Magistrates and Elite of Roman Corinth (Benjamin W. Millis

4. “You Were Bought with a Price”: Freedpersons and Things in 1 Corinthians (Laura Salah Nasrallah)

5. Painting Practices in Roman Corinth: Greek or Roman? (Sarah Lepinksi)


6. Landlords and Tenants: Sharecroppers and Subsistence Farming in Corinthian Historical Context (Guy D.R. Sanders)

7. The Diolkos and the Emporion: How a Land Bridge Framed the Commercial Economy of Roman Corinth (David K. Pettegrew)

8. The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City (William Caraher)

9. Regilla Standing By: Reconstructed Statuary and Re-inscribed Bases in Fourth-Century Corinth (Daniel N. Schowalter)


10. Religion and Magic in Roman Corinth (Ronald S. Stroud)

11. Junia Theodora of Corinth: Gendered Inequalities in the Early Empire (Steven J. Friesen)

12. ‘Mixed Marriage’ in Early Christianity: Trajectories from Corinth (Caroline Johnson Hodge)


This book adds to a growing number of studies that seek to bring together archaeologists, historians, classicists, and New Testament scholars to shed light on Roman Corinth.

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (September 2013)

Here is the latest gaggle of articles, books, and theses that filtered into my feed last month – all of which have something to do with the Corinthia directly or indirectly (parallels and comparanda).

Bronze Age



  • Waldner, Katharina. “Dimensions of Individuality in Ancient Mystery Cults: Religious Practice and Philosophical Discourse.” In The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by Jörg Rüpke, 215–242. Oxford University Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=XeKdAAAAQBAJ.

Late Antique

New Testament


  • Aylward, William, ed. Excavations at Zeugma, Conducted by Oxford University. Los Altos, California: The Packard Humanities Institute, 2013. http://zeugma.packhum.org/toc

Medieval and Ottoman Portages

Medieval episodes of portaging the Corinthian Isthmus are unsurprisingly scant. The only account cited with any frequency is the remarkable portage of Niketas Ooryphas’ in AD 872. The portage is disputed, but the historical records for the account are certain.

Two other supposed medieval portages turn out to be dead ends. In an article titled “Railways in the Greek and Roman World,” M.J.T. Lewis notes (p. 12) that the 12th century Moroccan geographer Al Idrisi refers to the transfer of small ships over the Corinthian Isthmus (see p. p. 123 of this volume). Indeed, he does, but the account is a derivative summary of Strabo 8.2.1, not first-hand observation. In a similar way, Apostolos Papaphotiou, who notes the Al Idrisi account in his book on the diolkos, also records a text about a man who traveled by boat from Venice to Corinth and from there to Armiro (which Papaphotiou places in Thessaly), where he takes another boat to Constantinople. Papaphotiou reads this as evidence for transfer of ships over the isthmus, but the text doesn’t actually say that, and we should not and cannot rule out a circumnavigation.

So, no unambiguous accounts for the Medieval or Ottoman era. That is, until I stumbled upon one as I was was reading some early travel accounts to the Corinthia.  On page 240-241 of his Travels in Greece (1776), Richard Chandler gives us an interesting reference to ship portaging:

“The root of mount Oneius extending along the lsthmus rendered the Corinthian territory which was not rich in soil browy and uneven with hollows. On the side of the Corinthian gulf the beach receded toward that of Schoenus which was opposite. There the neck was most narrow, the interval between the two seas being only forty stadia or five miles; and there was the Diolcos or drawing-place, at which it was usual to convey light vessels across on machines. The same practice prevailed in the wars of the Turks and Venetians.

Which of the wars were opportunities for ship portaging is unclear from the passage, but Chandler clearly believed for some reason that it occurred. I have not yet found an earlier source that refers to this, although it perhaps is still out there waiting to be discovered. That Chandler mentions it so casually in passing reminds me a bit of how scholars have frequently read Strabo’s casual reference to ship portaging—but here, Chandler clearly places portaging in some murky time frame. Nakas and Koutsoumba have noted better-documented accounts of Venetian portages in their forthcoming piece on the diolkos, so there’s no reason at least to dismiss Chandler’s account out of hand. Of course, it may be that Chandler was thinking about these other accounts as he visited the Isthmus.

When I floated the question about this portage to the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology FB group, Diana Wright remarkably dug up a letter referring to the dragging of cannon between Corinth and Kenchreai in May 1480! So far as I know, that is the only account preserving the dragging of anything between Corinth and its eastern harbor.

So, I’ll add these to the list, and update the diolkos page, and scratch my head about Chandler’s reference, until someone clarifies it all for me or I stumble by accident on another forgotten document.