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

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

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

The publisher page describes the book in the following way:

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

Table of Contents:

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

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

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

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

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.

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.


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.



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.

New Testament


Corinthian Scholarship (monthly): June-August

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



Roman-Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christianity

Medieval and Post-Medieval

Another look at Land of Sikyon

One spring day in 2005, I ran into Yannis Lolos at the Blegen Library in Athens carrying around his recently completed monograph on the history and archaeology of the region of Sikyon, the polis immediately west of Corinth. He told me at the time that the hundreds and hundreds of freshly printed pages in his hands, destined for the publication desk of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, had required a tremendous amount of work. Now that I’ve seen the final product, Land of Sikyon: Archaeology and History of a Greek City-State (Princeton 2011), I can see he wasn’t exaggerating. This is truly a magnum opus representing a massive undertaking that could only have required thousands of hours of work. I spent a couple of days last week working through the volume, but I felt like one only scratching the surface—much like Caraher’s cat attacking a sofa

The most impressive aspect of Land of Sikyon is its comprehensiveness. Lolos has produced the first topographic study of the entire region of Sikyonia (360 km) from prehistory to the Early Modern period. He mines and discusses all relevant ancient and medieval texts and early modern literature, summarizes relevant excavation finds, and presents page after page of original observation and interpretation of the finds from his reconnaissance survey of the territory. While he claims in places that his work is not the final say for the history of the region but only a new beginning, it is most certainly comprehensive in its regional framework, diachronic perspective, and attention to a wide range of evidence. One might compare it to James Wiseman’s The Land of the Ancient Corinthians, but double the word count and twice the number of photos, maps, plans, and tables. At 635 pages, it rivals in size any regional survey volume, but, unlike most survey volumes, Land of Sikyon was authored (almost) entirely by one person.

This outline and structure of the book shows Lolos’ thematic breaks, which, as he notes in the intro, correspond to the stages of his research (For a descriptive summary, see Bill Caraher’s BMCR review):

Introduction (pp. 1-6)

Ch. 1. Physical Environment and Resources (pp. 7-58): topography; boundaries and resources of ancient polis, land use in the premodern era

Ch. 2. Sikyonia from Prehistoric Times to the Ottoman Era (pp. 59-92): a history of the region based mainly on textual evidence

Ch. 3. Land Communications (pp. 93-180): a reconstruction of the road network of the territory based on Lolos’ topographical survey (1996-1998 )

Ch. 4. Defenses (pp. 181-268): discussion of the region’s fortifications based on topographical survey in 1996-1998 (forts, guard houses, patrol houses)

Ch. 5. Settlements: The City and its Countryside (269-376): diachronic reconstruction of settlement system based on extensive survey in 2000-2002

Ch. 6. Sacra Sicyonia (pp. 377-414): sacred landscapes based on survey, excavation, and textual evidence

Ch. 7. Conclusion (pp. 415-418)

There follows seven appendixes. The most detailed and extensive covers the register of sites (pp. 419-548), while there are also chapters by Lolos on aqueducts, public land, and a building inscription, and chapters from his colleagues on the Cave of Lechova, roof tiles, and an inscribed sherd. Six neat maps show political boundaries, topography, rivers and streams, fault lines, geological strata, vegetation patterns, modern settlements and toponyms, archaeological sites, ancient roads of the Sikyonia and the western Korinthia, and the features and sites of the Ancient Sikyon plateau. These are freely available for downloading as PDF files via their DOI names (listed at the end of the book).

The structure of the work reveals Lolos’ principal interests. The introduction and the first two chapters establish the context for understanding Sikyonia’s history, while the subsequent chapters of the monograph (3-6) detail the results of the topographical survey and the extensive pedestrian survey.  For the general reader interested broadly in the history and archaeology of the northeast Peloponnese but with no knowledge of Sikyon per se, chapters 1 and 2 could be the most useful in the volume. The first discusses agriculture and the natural resources of Sikyonia while the second provides a summary of Sikyon’s political and cultural history over four millennia. Both highlight how Sikyon’s and Corinth’s history were entangled in many different ways —by natural resources (e.g., the famous coastal plain between Corinth and Sikyon, the flora and crops of the regions) and parallel political developments (neighboring poleis in the Archaic-Hellenistic periods, complex interactions with external powers in the Hellenistic period). From the Roman period to the early modern era, Sikyon’s history, in fact, was directly overshadowed by the megalopolis Corinth. Indeed, the selection of Carl Rottmann’s oil painting, Sikyon-Corinth (1836-1838), for the cover of the book, draws attention to this theme of Sikyon’s relationship and interaction with neighboring Corinth, its acropolis visible in the distance.


Chapters 3-5 are without question the heart of the monograph, each numbering 80-100+ pages. These do not make for light or easy reading but require attention to Lolos’ topographic arguments (based on the maps at the end of the volume), archaeological arguments (based on references to scattered remains of roads, fortifications, and settlements), and textual arguments about the interpretation of ancient literature and early modern sources. The general reader can gain a quick overview of Lolos’ arguments through the useful summaries at the end of each chapter, but will still benefit from dipping into particular sections of interest and examining the images, figures, and tables (cf., for example, the walking distances and travel times from Corinth in Table 3.1). The scholar of the northeast Peloponnese will want to spend some time wading through Lolos’ arguments. For example, the author reconstructs an extensive road network across the Sikyonia from wheel ruts (most of which, he argues, are deliberately cut), natural corridors, road bed cuttings, historical sources, bridge locations, and graves, and argues that almost all of these roads originated in antiquity, primarily the era of the polis. The connection between these scattered bits is necessarily speculative as most of these features are not especially diagnostic, but the author’s arguments are still compelling. I found convincing his argument (pp. 98-110) for the existence of a Roman road across the coastal plain connecting the regions of Corinth and Sikyon, especially as it corresponds to modern village locations and lines up nicely with David Romano’s observations about an artery that structured the Roman centuriation of the Corinth’s western territory. Lolos’ arguments about the functions of rural towers and fortifications in the territory—mostly for the defense of the polis, mostly guarding interstate roads—are balanced, coherent, and defensible.

I was less convinced by Lolos’ reconstruction of settlement patterns (Ch. 5), based on his extensive survey of the territory.  While the discussion is nuanced and sensible, recognizing (p. 272) the major methodological differences between extensive survey and intensive survey, he nonetheless attempts to reconstruct demographic patterns on the basis of relative changes in the number of sites identified for each period. So, for example, he sees a mostly empty Geometric countryside (9 sites), a surprisingly sparse Archaic period (26 sites), a spike in the Classical era (45 sites), a decline in the Hellenistic (22 sites) to Early-Middle Roman (34 sites), and a spike in the Late Roman period (61 sites), etc..—archaeological patterns that seem out of sync with the picture from textual sources (e.g., the early Hellenistic period is a bright phase in Sikyon’s history under Aratus). Whether or not these could reflect true demographic change or the changing demographic relationship of town and country, as Lolos ponders, I found two main weaknesses in his assessment of the pattern.

First, Lolos’ survey was not intensive, and therefore not likely to detect the smaller farmsteads, tenant residences, and seasonal habitations that must have been common throughout Sikyon’s history. The investigator followed the kapheneion method: his research began at the village cafes and pursued local knowledge of farmers and inhabitants.  This method was a certain path to locating sites but also led him inevitably to examine the most visible sites of the territory. By my count, 94 of the 148 habitation sites listed in the catalogue are associated with structures or architectural fragments like cut stone, rubble, and ashlar blocks; only 1/3 of the sites in the volume were identified from pottery scatters alone. There can only be an enormous corpus of unidentified smaller sites in the Sikyonia that escaped detection from Lolos’ survey. When Lolos completes an intensive survey of a sample of the territory, we will have a much better sense of the range of settlements in the region. But until he does so, his results based on extensive survey cannot be reliably compared with that of intensive survey projects. 

Lolos, of course, recognizes the important methodological difference between extensive and intensive survey (p. 272) in this work as well as in his decision to undertake a high-resolution urban survey of the Sikyon plateau, but maintains that the chronological layers documented in his extensive survey are still meaningful relative to one another.  In recent years, I have come to doubt our ability to reconstruct demographic changes from simple changes in the quantity of “sites” of different periods.  As several of us have argued from the Eastern Korinthia Survey data (here, here, and here), knowledge of ceramic periods is always differential: the Late Roman period, for instance, has much greater visibility than the Hellenistic or Early Roman because of its more identifiable coarse ware body sherds with their characteristic combed and grooved surface treatments. One cannot reliably assess change in rural settlement without also assessing the degree to which successive periods within a region are differently visible during survey. While Lolos acknowledges these issues and also notes some of the artifacts identified at each site, he does not give the reader enough information about the artifacts to determine whether the patterns are really a product of changes in deposition of artifacts over time, or simply a result of the biases of identification. I left this chapter wondering whether the 61 Late Roman sites were really an indication of “the return of the population to the countryside” (p. 367), or just a result of greater visibility in diagnostic tiles and “hundreds of ribbed body sherds” (p. 366). I also wondered whether 22 Hellenistic sites and 34 Early Roman-Middle Roman sites were really much less than 45 Classical sites. In some regions of Greece and the Aegean, after all, changes between these periods have been much more drastic. Could not one put a more positive spin (e.g., settlement continuity) on these patterns? 

These sorts of methodological questions can best be answered in subsequent phases of intensive survey which Lolos plans to undertake eventually in the territory (p.272). They do not detract from this volume’s major accomplishment, which is to move the history and archaeology of Sikyon from political history of the urban center to the broader framework of territory and landscape.


Further Reading:

Bill Caraher on Lolos’ “Land of Sikyon”

In mid-March, Bill posted the working draft of a review of Yannis Lolos’ Land of Sikyon, a Hesperia Supplement volume published in 2011 (see sample PDF here). 

The “official” review went live today on the BMCR list.

Here’s the opening paragraph…read the full review here.

“Land of Sikyon is a handsomely produced and impeccably edited volume that includes a massive amount of new information on Sikyon produced over the course of a diachronic, extensive archaeological survey initiated by Yannis Lolos as part of his dissertation research and expanded in subsequent field seasons. Moreover, Lolos’s book provides valuable and extensive synthesis of past work in the region and a careful study of relevant ancient texts. This work is a groundbreaking study of this city and its countryside.”

Byzantine Corinth: 2011 Publications (and a note on relative frequency of Corinthiaka)

In originally separating the recent scholarship on Byzantine-Modern from the 2011  scholarship on Ancient Corinth, I had forgotten that the pickings were so few.  This is a rather sad list (in terms of quantity), and I will combine these three entries in the permanent page for 2011 archaeology and historical publications.

Byzantine or Early Modern Corinthia, anyone?  Looks like there’s plenty of room for additional research  here.

So, in lieu of a longer list, I’ll take this opportunity to tabulate the relative frequency of books and articles published in 2011 according to specific periods and subjects.  The following counts certain works twice if relevant to different periods / subjects.  Note again that these lists are probably incomplete, but the tabulations below are broadly representative of trends in publication of Corinthiaka:

Bronze Age: 2

Early Iron Age / Geometric: 1

Archaic-Hellenistic: 17

Early Roman: 13 (but see New Testament)

Late Roman: 7

Byzantine: 2

Early Modern: 1

New Testament: 1 Corinthians: 51

New Testament: 2 Corinthians: 23

New Testament: Pauline Corinth: 16

Patristic / Early Christian: 9

Gulf of Corinth: Geology, Environment, Earthquakes, and Miscellany: 24

Corinthian Scholarship (November)

Hard to believe that December is already here – quite a lot of new scholarship delivered electronically in November. 

Bronze Age


New Testament:

Late Antiquity

Early Modern and Modern:


An Account of Travel to the Corinthia: Major Sir Greenville Temple (1836)

While conducting research on the diolkos of Corinth last year, I discovered the enormous corpus of scanned texts in Google Books relating travel accounts to Greece and the Aegean from the late 18th to 20th centuries.  These searchable texts offer the researcher an easy way of measuring historical interest in ancient landscapes.  I was interested at what point in time that the diolkos, defined by Strabo as a toponym for the ‘narrowest part of the Corinthian Isthmus,’ was redefined as a “portage road.”  Using Google Books allowed me to discern that the change had occurred by the mid-19th century.

I recently heard from Fotini Kondyli, who is organizing an exhibition for the First Amsterdam Meeting of Byzantine and Ottoman Archaeology, Digging up Answers to the Medieval Mediterranean.  In going through British travelers’ writings, she found and sent me this account by Sir Greenville Temple of a trip to Corinth in the 1830s (see pp. 58-64).  The account, which I copy out here, is also interesting in that it relates to a drawing from Harrison’s A Pictorial Tour in the Mediterraneanthat will be shown at the exhibition.  See the Google Books version for several notes that accompany this text.

I have posted this as a permanent page on the website.


“At night we again lay-to, by the pilot’s advice, between Salamis and Lavousa island, (Aspis.)

On the 9th, after passing by the islands of Pente Nesia (Dendros,) Havreo, and Plato, we anchored in the beautiful little bay of Kehkrieh (Cenchres) at the head of the bay of Aegina (Saronicus sinus.) Our visit to Corinth we deferred till the following day, as it would have been late before we could have procured horses to convey us there; and employed the remainder of the day in wandering about the neighbourhood.—Passing by some extensive and ancient quarries, from which we had a fine view of the bay of Kalamaki, we went to Cososi (Schoenus.) The country through which we walked abounds with hares and partridges, and our sailors collected a great number of tortoises, some of considerable size. They formed very good soups. One mile in the opposite direction, and near the cape which divides the little bay of Kehkrieh from that of Galataki, we saw what Pausanias calls the baths of Helen, which are nine feet deep, slightly mineral, and though not warm, yet rather tepid.

The site of the ancient Cenchres is at present occupied by a single farm-house, near which is a well of excellent water. Cenchres was the naval station of the Corinthians on the east, as Leches was on the west. It contained temples dedicated to Venus, Isis, and Esculapius, and placed on a rock in the sea stood a statue of Neptune. Close to the sea, and in parts even covered by its waters, are the foundations of a variety of buildings, whose plans can distinctly be traced, as the walls still remain to the height of from two feet to three feet and a-half.

Next morning, having procured horses and mules, we rode to Corinth, nine miles distant. On our left rose a chain of bold rocky hills, on the side of which is the village of Xylo Kerata. Passing by some ancient quarries, we reached the village of Hexomili, or Korio Americano, built on Mr. Owen’s plan by the American missionaries, and consisting of three long rows of houses, parallel, but at a considerable distance from each other. It was almost entirely destroyed by the Greeks during the late commotions. Nearer the mountains are the ruins of a large house built for himself by the principal missionary. Beyond Hexomili are traces of an aqueduct, some tombs, and fragments of brick buildings.* Having crossed the stream of Eupheeli, we soon reached a small collection of houses scattered through a large extent of others in ruins; and this, to my surprise, I found to be Corinth!

The town is known indifferently by the names of Korinto, Korto, and Ghiurdos—and in different parts are seen the ruins of mosques, and minars, and those of an extensive serai, formerly the residence of the Turkish pashas. Adjoining the serai, or rather at the base of the rock on which it stands, is the fountain of Peirene, now called Aphroditi: it consists of a small stream gushing out of a fissure in the rock, whilst water drops from its overhanging ledge. This deliciously cool spot was formerly enclosed within the boundaries of the harem garden, and here doubtless many idle moments were spent by the powerful pasha—seated on the carpets of Persia, and surrounded by groups of lovely women, whilst he smoked his chibook, and perhaps indulged in the forbidden draught of wine. How changed is the scene !—no vestiges of the garden and its tulip-beds, the kioshks no longer exist, and a few dirty and squalid Greek women washing their rags, or carrying away jugs of water, have taken the place of the lovely inmates of the harem.

The town was entirely destroyed during the last revolutionary war, but a few houses are rising out of the ashes; the bazaar is tolerably supplied, and there is a good inn kept by a Cephaleniote. Opposite the governor’s house are the remains of a Doric temple, of which seven fluted monolithic columns remain, which at present measure fifteen feet seven inches in circumference, but before the edges of the fluting were chipped off, their circumference was sixteen feet; they were covered with a coating of stucco or cement, and perhaps painted. Antiquarians suppose the temple to have been dedicated to Minerva Chalinitis. Close to it, is an isolated mass of rock cut in a square form, and having a chamber excavated in it. This may be the tomb of Lais, but the lioness holding a ram between her fore-feet, which Pausanias states to have been sculptured on it, exists no longer.

Observing no other remains of antiquity in the town, we rode up to

…. “Yon tower-capt Acropolis,

Which seems the very clouds to kiss.”

The road was good and partly paved. The citadel is a large and straggling Venetian fortification with crenelated walls, which in parts rest upon portions of the old ones, composed of large, square, regular stones. It mounts about twentyfive pieces of cannon, many of which are Turkish brass pieces of forty-eight pounds, bearing the tooghra of Selim III. The garrison amounts to one hundred men.

On the highest point of Aero Korinto, elevated five hundred and seventy-five metres above the sea, are seen traces, round a small ruined Moslem chapel, of an ancient edifice constructed of large square stones, which may probably be part of the temple of Venus, which Strabo states occupied the summit. From this the view is really magnificent, embracing the gulfs of Ainabahkt (or Lepanto) and Aegina, divided from each other by the isthmus.* Half way across the Isthmus rise the Paleo Vouni mountains (Gerania) on the east, and Makriplai (Oneion) on the west; beyond whose western extremity, which forms Cape Malangara, (Olmice vel Acrceum prom.) is seen the Bay of Livadostro (Alcyonium mare.)  On the opposite shore are the heights of Galata; Ximeno (Cirphis,) and Lyokoora, (Parnassus,) in Phocis; —Zagora ( Helicon,) Koromilia,(Tipha) and Elatea (Cithceron,) in Boeotia;— the high land in Megaris; and Kerala, partly in that and partly in Attica ; —Salamis and other islands in the Saronic sea —the flat sea-board of Achaia, with Balaga (Lechaeum) the now filled up port of Corinth. In the rear are the two roads, which, winding through beautiful valleys and mountain passes, lead to Argos, Nauplia, &c; and the whole is bounded by the ranges of the Cellenus, Artemisium, and Taygetus.

In the different parts of the citadel are scattered a considerable number of columns, among which are some of very fine verd’ antico. There is also a very large reservoir of water, and, according to the on dit of the soldiers, no less than three hundred and sixty-five wells— one of these with a spring, which is situated in the parade-ground in front of the barracks, is said to be the source of Peirene, which again comes to light, as before-mentioned, under the ruins of the pasha’s serai.—During the Turkish rule, Aero Korinto contained a considerable village, only the ruins of which at present remain.

On an adjoining peak of the mountain is another, but smaller, fort, called Pendeh Scoofia, occupied by the Greeks for the purpose of bombarding the citadel from it. It mounts at present six guns and a bomb, and is garrisoned by twenty men. It was from this spot that Muhammed II., in 864, H., thundered against the Acropolis, which soon fell.

Returning to the yacht, we arrived in fifteen minutes west of Corinth, at the remains of an amphitheatre excavated out of the surface of the rocky soil. A small portion only of the seats remain, and as the lower seats have fallen in, the dimensions of the arena could not be accurately taken; it, however, seems to have been about two hundred and eighty-four feet in length, running nearly north-east and southwest, by one hundred and seventy-seven feet in breadth. At the north-east extremity, the entrance is cut through the rock, the roof being flat. At present it forms a large cave in which many Greek families took refuge from the Turkish forces during the late commotions.”