This page contains two quotations from Greek geographers describing the city of Corinth as it was in the early centuries AD. The first is by Pausanias (c.110-c.180) from his 'Description of Greece'. The second is by Strabo (c.64 BC - c.AD 24) from his 'Geography'. They give helpful information about the city, its history and its centres of worship shortly after the time Paul visited the city and established the church there.
Pausanias. Description of Greece: Book II. Corinth
I. The Corinthian land is a portion of the Argive, and is named after Corinthus. That Corinthus
was a son of Zeus I have never known anybody say seriously except the majority of the
Corinthians. Eumelus, the son of Amphilytus, of the family called Bacchidae, who is said to have composed the epic poem, says in his Corinthian History (if indeed the history be his) that Ephyra, the daughter of Oceanus, dwelt first in this land; that afterwards Marathon, the son of Epopeus, the son of Aloeus, the son of Helius (Sun), fleeing from the lawless violence of his father migrated to the sea coast of Attica; that on the death of Epopeus he came to Peloponnesus, divided his kingdom among his sons, and returned to Attica; and that Asopia was renamed after Sicyon, and Ephyraea after Corinthus.
2. Corinth is no longer inhabited by any of the old Corinthians, but by colonists sent out by the
Romans. This change is due to the Achaean League. The Corinthians, being members of it, joined in the war against the Romans, which Critolaus, when appointed general of the Achaeans, brought about by persuading to revolt both the Achaeans and the majority of the Greeks outside the Peloponnesus. When the Romans won the war, they carried out a general disarmament of the Greeks and dismantled the walls of such cities as were fortified. Corinth was laid waste by Mummius, who at that time commanded the Romans in the field, and it is said that it was afterwards refounded by Caesar, who was the author of the present constitution of Rome. Carthage, too, they say, was refounded in his reign.
3. In the Corinthian territory is also the place called Cromyon from Cromus the son of Poseidon.
Here they say that Phaea was bred; overcoming this sow was one of the traditional achievements
of Theseus. Farther on the pine still grew by the shore at the time of my visit, and
there was an altar of Melicertes. At this place, they say, the boy was brought ashore by a dolphin;
Sisyphus found him lying and gave him burial on the Isthmus, establishing the Isthmian games
in his honor.
4. At the beginning of the Isthmus is the place where the brigand Sinis used to take hold of pine
trees and draw them down. All those whom he overcame in fight he used to tie to the trees, and
then allow them to swing up again. Thereupon each of the pines used to drag to itself the bound
man, and as the bond gave way in neither direction but was stretched equally in both, he was torn
in two. This was the way in which Sinis himself was slain by Theseus. For Theseus rid of
evildoers the road from Troezen to Athens, killing those whom I have enumerated and, in sacred
Epidaurus, Periphetes, thought to be the son of Hephaestus, who used to fight with a bronze club.
5. The Corinthian Isthmus stretches on the one hand to the sea at Cenchreae, and on the other
to the sea at Lechaeum. For this is what makes the region to the south mainland. He who tried
to make the Peloponnesus an island gave up before digging through the Isthmus. Where they
began to dig is still to be seen, but into the rock they did not advance at all. So it still is mainland as its nature is to be. Alexander the son of Philip wished to dig through Mimas, and his attempt to do this was his only unsuccessful project. The Cnidians began to dig through their isthmus,
but the Pythian priestess stopped them. So difficult it is for man to alter by violence what Heaven
6. A legend of the Corinthians about their land is not peculiar to them, for I believe that the
Athenians were the first to relate a similar story to glorify Attica. The Corinthians say that
Poseidon had a dispute with Helius (Sun) about the land, and that Briareos arbitrated between
them, assigning to Poseidon the Isthmus and the parts adjoining, and giving to Helius the height
above the city. Ever since, they say, the Isthmus has belonged to Poseidon.
7. Worth seeing here are a theater and a white-marble race-course. Within the sanctuary of the
god stand on the one side portrait statues of athletes who have won victories at the Isthmian
games, on the other side pine trees growing in a row, the greater number of them rising up
straight. On the temple, which is not very large, stand bronze Tritons. In the fore-temple are
images, two of Poseidon, a third of Amphitrite, and a Sea, which also is of bronze. The offerings
inside were dedicated in our time by Herodes the Athenian, four horses, gilded except for the
hoofs, which are of ivory,
8. and two gold Tritons beside the horses, with the parts below the waist of ivory. On the car
stand Amphitrite and Poseidon, and there is the boy Palaemon upright upon a dolphin. These too
are made of ivory and gold. On the middle of the base on which the car is has been wrought a
Sea holding up the young Aphrodite, and on either side are the nymphs called Nereids. I know
that there are altars to these in other parts of Greece, and that some Greeks have even dedicated
to them precincts by shores, where honors are also paid to Achilles. In Gabala is a holy sanctuary
of Doto, where there was still remaining the robe by which the Greeks say that Eriphyle was
bribed to wrong her son Alcmaeon.
9. Among the reliefs on the base of the statue of Poseidon are the sons of Tyndareus, because
these too are saviours of ships and of sea-faring men. The other offerings are images of Calm
and of Sea, a horse like a whale from the breast onward, Ino and Bellerophontes, and the horse
II. Within the enclosure is on the left a temple of Palaemon, with images in it of Poseidon,
Leucothea and Palaemon himself. There is also what is called his Holy of Holies, and an
underground descent to it, where they say that Palaemon is concealed. Whosoever, whether
Corinthian or stranger, swears falsely here, can by no means escape from his oath. There is also
an ancient sanctuary called the altar of the Cyclopes, and they sacrifice to the Cyclopes upon it.
2. The graves of Sisyphus and of Neleus--for they say that Neleus came to Corinth, died of
disease, and was buried near the Isthmus--I do not think that anyone would look for after reading
Eumelus. For he says that not even to Nestor did Sisyphus show the tomb of Neleus, because it
must be kept unknown to everybody alike, and that Sisyphus is indeed buried on the Isthmus,
but that few Corinthians, even those of his own day, knew where the grave was. The Isthmian
games were not interrupted even when Corinth had been laid waste by Mummius, but so long
as it lay deserted the celebration of the games was entrusted to the Sicyonians, and when it was
rebuilt the honor was restored to the present inhabitants.
3. The names of the Corinthian harbors were given them by Leches and Cenchrias, said to be the
children of Poseidon and Peirene the daughter of Achelous, though in the poem called The Great
Eoeae Peirene is said to be a daughter of Oebalus. In Lechaeum are a sanctuary and a bronze
image of Poseidon, and on the road leading from the Isthmus to Cenchreae a temple and ancient
wooden image of Artemis. In Cenchreae are a temple and a stone statue of Aphrodite, after it
on the mole running into the sea a bronze image of Poseidon, and at the other end of the harbor
sanctuaries of Asclepius and of Isis. Right opposite Cenchreae is Helen's Bath. It is a large
stream of salt, tepid water, flowing from a rock into the sea.
4. As one goes up to Corinth are tombs, and by the gate is buried Diogenes of Sinope, whom
the Greeks surname the Dog. Before the city is a grove of cypresses called Craneum. Here are
a precinct of Bellerophontes, a temple of Aphrodite Melaenis and the grave of Lais, upon which
is set a lioness holding a ram in her fore-paws.
5. There is in Thessaly another tomb which claims to be that of Lais, for she went to that
country also when she fell in love with Hippostratus. The story is that originally she was of
Hycara in Sicily. Taken captive while yet a girl by Nicias and the Athenians, she was sold and
brought to Corinth, where she surpassed in beauty the courtesans of her time, and so won the
admiration of the Corinthians that even now they claim Lais as their own.
6. The things worthy of mention in the city include the extant remains of antiquity, but the
greater number of them belong to the period of its second ascendancy. On the market-place,
where most of the sanctuaries are, stand Artemis surnamed Ephesian and wooden images of
Dionysus, which are covered with gold with the exception of their faces; these are ornamented
with red paint. They are called Lysius and Baccheus,
7. and I too give the story told about them. They say that Pentheus treated Dionysus
despitefully, his crowning outrage being that he went to Cithaeron, to spy upon the women, and
climbing up a tree beheld what was done. When the women detected Pentheus, they immediately
dragged him down, and joined in tearing him, living as he was, limb from limb. Afterwards, as
the Corinthians say, the Pythian priestess commanded them by an oracle to discover that tree and
to worship it equally with the god. For this reason they have made these images from the tree.
8. There is also a temple of Fortune, with a standing image of Parian marble. Beside it is a
sanctuary for all the gods. Hard by is built a fountain, on which is a bronze Poseidon; under the
feet of Poseidon is a dolphin spouting water. There is also a bronze Apollo surnamed Clarius and
a statue of Aphrodite made by Hermogenes of Cythera. There are two bronze, standing images
of Hermes, for one of which a temple has been made. The images of Zeus also are in the open;
one had not a surname, another they call Chthonius (of the Lower World) and the third Most
III. In the middle of the market-place is a bronze Athena, on the pedestal of which are wrought in
relief figures of the Muses. Above the market-place is a temple of Octavia the sister of Augustus,
who was emperor of the Romans after Caesar, the founder of the modern Corinth.
2. On leaving the market-place along the road to Lechaeum you come to a gateway, on which
are two gilded chariots, one carrying Phaethon the son of Helius (Sun), the other Helius himself.
A little farther away from the gateway, on the right as you go in, is a bronze Heracles. After this
is the entrance to the water of Peirene. The legend about Peirene is that she was a woman who
became a spring because of her tears shed in lamentation for her son Cenchrias, who was
unintentionally killed by Artemis.
3. The spring is ornamented with white marble, and there have been made chambers like caves,
out of which the water flows into an open-air well. It Is pleasant to drink, and they say that the
Corinthian bronze, when red-hot, is tempered by this water, since bronze . . . the Corinthians
have not. Moreover near Peirene are an image and a sacred enclosure of Apollo; in the latter is
a painting of the exploit of Odysseus against the suitors.
4. Proceeding on the direct road to Lechaeum we see a bronze image of a seated Hermes. By
him stands a ram, for Hermes is the god who is thought most to care for and to increase flocks,
as Homer puts it in the Iliad:
"Son was he of Phorbas, the dearest of Trojans to Hermes,
Rich in flocks, for the god vouchsafed him wealth in abundance". (Homer Iliad 14.490)
The story told at the mysteries of the Mother about Hermes and the ram I know but do not relate.
After the image of Hermes come Poseidon, Leucothea, and Palaemon on a dolphin.
5. The Corinthians have baths in many parts of the city, some put up at the public charge and
one by the emperor Hadrian. The most famous of them is near the Poseidon. It was made by the
Spartan Eurycles, who beautified it with various kinds of stone, especially the one quarried at
Croceae in Laconia. On the left of the entrance stands a Poseidon, and after him Artemis
hunting. Throughout the city are many wells, for the Corinthians have a copious supply of
flowing water, besides the water which the emperor Hadrian brought from Lake Stymphalus, but
the most noteworthy is the one by the side of the image of Artemis. Over it is a Bellerophontes,
and the water flows through the hoof of the horse Pegasus.
6. As you go along another road from the market-place, which leads to Sicyon, you can see on
the right of the road a temple and bronze image of Apollo, and a little farther on a well called
the Well of Glauce. Into this they say she threw herself in the belief that the water would be a
cure for the drugs of Medea. Above this well has been built what is called the Odeum (Music
Hall), beside which is the tomb of Medea's children. Their names were Mermerus and Pheres,
and they are said to have been stoned to death by the Corinthians owing to the gifts which legend
says they brought to Glauce.
7. But as their death was violent and illegal, the young babies of the Corinthians were destroyed
by them until, at the command of the oracle, yearly sacrifices were established in their honor and
a figure of Terror was set up. This figure still exists, being the likeness of a woman frightful to
look upon but after Corinth was laid waste by the Romans and the old Corinthians were wiped
out, the new settlers broke the custom of offering those sacrifices to the sons of Medea, nor do
their children cut their hair for them or wear black clothes.
8. On the occasion referred to Medea went to Athens and married Aegeus, but subsequently she
was detected plotting against Theseus and fled from Athens also; coming to the land then called
Aria she caused its inhabitants to be named after her Medes. The son, whom she brought with
her in her flight to the Arii, they say she had by Aegeus, and that his name was Medus.
Hellanicus, however, calls him Polyxenus and says that his father was Jason.
9. The Greeks have an epic poem called Naupactia. In this Jason is represented as having
removed his home after the death of Pelias from Iolcus to Corcyra, and Mermerus, the elder of
his children, to have been killed by a lioness while hunting on the mainland opposite. Of Pheres
is recorded nothing. But Cinaethon of Lacedaemon, another writer of pedigrees in verse, said
that Jason's children by Medea were a son Medeus and a daughter Eriopis; he too, however,
gives no further information about these children.
10. Eumelus said that Helius (Sun) gave the Asopian land to Aloeus and Epliyraea to Aeetes.
When Aeetes was departing for Colchis he entrusted his land to Bunus, the son of Hermes and
Alcidamea, and when Bunus died Epopeus the son of Aloeus extended his kingdom to include
the Ephyraeans. Afterwards, when Corinthus, the son of Marathon, died childless, the
Corinthians sent for Medea from Iolcus and bestowed upon her the kingdom.
11. Through her Jason was king in Corinth, and Medea, as her children were born, carried each
to the sanctuary of Hera and concealed them, doing so in the belief that so they would be
immortal. At last she learned that her hopes were vain, and at the same time she was detected
by Jason. When she begged for pardon he refused it, and sailed away to Iolcus. For these reasons
Medea too departed, and handed over the kingdom to Sisyphus.
IV. This is the account that I read, and not far from the tomb is the temple of Athena Chalinitis
(Bridler). For Athena, they say, was the divinity who gave most help to Bellerophontes, and she
delivered to him Pegasus, having herself broken in and bridled him. The image of her is of wood,
but face, hands and feet are of white marble.
2. That Bellerophontes was not an absolute king, but was subject to Proetus and the Argives is
the belief of myself and of all who have read carefully the Homeric poems. When
Bellerophontes migrated to Lycia it is clear that the Corinthians none the less were subject to the
despots at Argos or Mycenae. By themselves they provided no leader for the campaign against
Troy, but shared in the expedition as part of the forces, Mycenaean and other, led by
3. Sisyphus had other sons besides Glaucus, the father of Bellerophontes a second was
Ornytion, and besides him there were Thersander and Almus. Ornytion had a son Phocus,
reputed to have been begotten by Poseidon. He migrated to Tithorea in what is now called
Phocis, but Thoas, the younger son of Ornytion, remained behind at Corinth. Thoas begat
Damophon, Damophon begat Propodas, and Propodas begat Doridas and Hyanthidas. While
these were kings the Dorians took the field against Corinth, their leader being Aletes, the son of
Hippotas, the son of Phylas, the son of Antiochus, the son of Heracles. So Doridas and
Hyanthidas gave up the kingship to Aletes and remained at Corinth, but the Corinthian people
were conquered in battle and expelled by the Dorians.
4. Aletes himself and his descendants reigned for five generations to Bacchis, the son of
Prumnis, and, named after him, the Bacchidae reigned for five more generations to Telestes, the
son of Aristodemus. Telestes was killed in hate by Arieus and Perantas, and there were no more
kings, but Prytanes (Presidents) taken from the Bacchidae and ruling for one year, until
Cypselus, the son of Eetion, became tyrant and expelled the Bacchidae. Cypselus was a
descendant of Melas, the son of Antasus. Melas from Gonussa above Sicyon joined the Dorians
in the expedition against Corinth. When the god expressed disapproval Aletes at first ordered
Melas to withdraw to other Greeks, but afterwards, mistaking the oracle, he received him as a
settler. Such I found to be the history of the Corinthian kings.
5. Now the sanctuary of Athena Chalinitis is by their theater, and near is a naked wooden image
of Heracles, said to be a work of Daedalus. All the works of this artist, although rather uncouth
to look at, are nevertheless distinguished by a kind of inspiration. Above the theater is a
sanctuary of Zeus surnamed in the Latin tongue Capitolinus, which might be rendered into Greek
'Coryphaeos'. Not far from this theater is the ancient gymnasium, and a spring called Lerna.
Pillars stand around it, and seats have been made to refresh in summer time those who have
entered it. By this gymnasium are temples of Zeus and Asclepius. The images of Asclepius and
of Health are of white marble, that of Zeus is of bronze.
6. The Acrocorinthus is a mountain peak above the city, assigned to Helius by Briareos when
he acted as adjudicator, and handed over, the Corinthians say, by Helius to Aphrodite. As you
go up this Acrocorinthus you see two precincts of Isis, one if Isis surnamed Pelagian (Marine)
and the other of Egyptian Isis, and two of Serapis, one of them being of Serapis called 'in
Canopus'. After these are altars to Helius, and a sanctuary of Necessity and Force, into which
it is not customary to enter.
7. Above it are a temple of the Mother of the gods and a throne; the image and the throne are
made of stone. The temple of the Fates and that of Demeter and the Maid have images that are
not exposed to view. Here, too, is the temple of Hera Bunaea set up by Bunus the son of Hermes.
It is for this reason that the goddess is called Bunaea.
V. On the summit of the Acrocorinthus is a temple of Aphrodite. The images are Aphrodite armed,
Helius, and Eros with a bow. The spring, which is behind the temple, they say was the gift of
Asopus to Sisyphus. The latter knew, so runs the legend, that Zeus had ravished Aegina, the
daughter of Asopus, but refused to give information to the seeker before he had a spring given
him on the Acrocorinthus. When Asopus granted this request Sisyphus turned informer, and on
this account he receives--if anyone believes the story--punishment in Hades. I have heard people
say that this spring and Peirene are the same, the water in the city flowing hence under-ground.
2. This Asopus rises in the Phliasian territory, flows through the Sicyonian, and empties itself
into the sea here. His daughters, say the Phliasians, were Corcyra, Aegina, and Thebe. Corcyra
and Aegina gave new names to the islands called Scheria and Oenone, while from Thebe is
named the city below the Cadmea. The Thebans do not agree, but say that Thebe was the
daughter of the Boeotian, and not of the Phliasian, Asopus.
3. The other stories about the river are current among both the Phliasians and the Sicyonians,
for instance that its water is foreign and not native, in that the Maeander, descending from
Celaenae through Phrygia and Caria, and emptying itself into the sea at Miletus, goes to the
Peloponnesus and forms the Asopus. I remember hearing a similar story from the Delians, that
the stream which they call Inopus comes to them from the Nile. Further, there is a story that the
Nile itself is the Euphrates, which disappears into a marsh, rises again beyond Aethiopia and
becomes the Nile.
4. Such is the account I heard of the Asopus. When you have turned from the Acrocorinthus
into the mountain road you see the Teneatic gate and a sanctuary of Eilethyia. The town called
Tenea is just about sixty stades distant. The inhabitants say that they are Trojans who were taken
prisoners in Tenedos by the Greeks, and were permitted by Agamemnon to dwell in their present
home. For this reason they honor Apollo more than any other god.
20. Corinth is said to be opulent from its mart. It is situated upon the isthmus. It commands two
harbours, one near Asia, the other near Italy, and facilitates, by reason of so short a distance
between them, an exchange of commodities on each side.
As the Sicilian strait, so formerly these seas were of difficult navigation, and particularly the
sea above Malea, on account of the prevalence of contrary winds; whence the common proverb,
“When you double Malea forget your home.”
It was a desirable thing for the merchants coming from Asia, and from Italy, to discharge their
lading at Corinth without being obliged to double Cape Malea. For goods exported from
Peloponnesus, or imported by land, a toll was paid to those who had the keys of the country. This
continued afterwards for ever. In after-times they enjoyed even additional advantages, for the
Isthmian games, which were celebrated there, brought thither great multitudes of people. The
Bacchiadææ, a rich and numerous family, and of illustrious descent, were their rulers, governed
the state for nearly two hundred years, and peaceably enjoyed the profits of the mart. Their power
was destroyed by Cypselus, who became king himself, and his descendants continued to exist for
three generations. A proof of the wealth of this family is the offering which Cypselus dedicated
at Olympia, a statue of Jupiter of beaten gold.
Demaratus, one of those who had been tyrant at Corinth, flying from the seditions which
prevailed there, carried with him from his home to Tyrrhenia so much wealth, that he became
sovereign of the city which had received him, and his son became even king of the Romans.
The temple of Venus at Corinth was so rich, that it had more than a thousand women consecrated
to the service of the goddess, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated as offerings
to the goddess. The city was frequented and enriched by the multitudes who resorted thither on
account of these women. Masters of ships freely squandered all their money, and hence the
proverb, “It is not in every man's power to go to Corinth.”
The answer is related of a courtesan to a woman who was reproaching her with disliking work,
and not employing herself in spinning; `Although I am what you see, yet, in this short time, I have
already finished three distaffs.'
21. The position of the city as it is described by Hieronymus, and Eudoxus, and others, and from
our own observation, since its restoration by the Romans, is as follows.
That which is called the Acrocorinthus is a lofty mountain, perpendicular, and about three stadia
and a half in height. There is an ascent of 30 stadia, and it terminates in a sharp point. The
steepest part is towards the north. Below it lies the city in a plain of the form of a trapezium, at
the very foot of the Acrocorinthus. The compass of the city itself was 40 stadia, and all that part
which was not protected by the mountain was fortified by a wall. Even the mountain itself, the
Acrocorinthus, was comprehended within this wall, wherever it would admit of fortification. As
I ascended it, the ruins of the circuit of the foundation were apparent, which gave a circumference
of about 85 stadia. The other sides of the mountain are less steep; hence, however, it stretches
onwards, and is visible everywhere. The summit has upon it a small temple of Venus, and below
it is the fountain Peirene, which has no efflux, but is continually full of water, which is transparent, and fit for drinking. They say, that from the compression of this, and
of some other small under-ground veins, originates that spring at the foot of the mountain, which
runs into the city, and furnishes the inhabitants with a sufficient supply of water. There is a large
number of wells in the city, and it is said in the Acrocorinthus also, but this I did not see. When
Euripides says, `I come from the Acrocorinthus, well-watered on all sides, the sacred hill and
habitation of Venus,' the epithet `well-watered on all sides,' must be understood to refer to depth;
pure springs and underground rills are dispersed through the mountain; or we must suppose, that,
anciently, the Peirene overflowed, and irrigated the mountain. There, it is said, Pegasus was
taken by Bellerophon, while drinking; this was a winged horse, which sprung from the neck of
Medusa when the head of the Gorgon was severed from the body. This was the horse, it is said,
which caused the Hippocrene, or Horse's Fountain, to spring up in Helicon by striking the rock
with its hoof.
Below Peirene is the Sisypheium, which preserves a large portion of the ruins of a temple, or
palace, built of white marble. From the summit towards the north are seen Parnassus and
Helicon, lofty mountains covered with snow; then the Crissææan Gulf, lying below both, and
surrounded by Phocis, Boetia, Megaris, by the Corinthian district opposite to Phocis, and by
Sicyonia on the west.
22. Lechææum is the commencement of the coast on one side; and on the other, Cenchreææ,
a village with a harbour, distant from the city about 70 stadia. The latter serves for the trade with
Asia, and Lechææum for that with Italy.
Lechææum is situated below the city, and is not well inhabited. There are long walls of about
12 stadia in length, stretching on each side of the road towards Lechææum. The sea-shore,
extending hence to Pagææ in Megaris, is washed by the Corinthian Gulf. It is curved, and forms
the Diolcus, or the passage along which vessels are drawn over the Isthmus to the opposite coast
at Schnus near Cenchreææ.
Between Lechææum and Pagææ, anciently, there was the oracle of the Acrææan Juno, and
Olmiææ, the promontory that forms the gulf, on which are situated Enoe and Page; the former
is a fortress of the Megarians; and Enoe is a fortress of the Corinthians.
Next to Cenchreææ is Schoenus, where is the narrow part of the Diolcus, then Crommyonia. In
front of this coast lies the Saronic Gulf, and the Eleusiniac, which is almost the same, and
continuous with the Hermionic. Upon the Isthmus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune, shaded
above with a grove of pine trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games.
Crommyon is a village of the Corinthian district, and formerly belonging to that of Megaris,
where is laid the scene of the fable of the Crommyonian sow, which, it is said, was the dam of
the Calydonian boar, and, according to tradition, the: destruction of this sow was one of the
labours of Theseus.
Tenea is a village of the Corinthian territory, where there was a temple of Apollo Teneates. It
is said that Archias, who equipped a colony for Syracuse, was accompanied by a great number
of settlers from this place; and that this settlement afterwards flourished more than any others,
and at length had an independent form of government of its own. When they revolted from the
Corinthians, they attached themselves to the Romans, and continued to subsist when Corinth was
An answer of an oracle is circulated, which was returned to an Asiatic, who inquired whether
it was better to migrate to Corinth; “Corinth is prosperous, but I would belong to Tenea;” which
last word was perverted by some through ignorance, and altered to Tegea. Here, it is said,
Polybus brought up Oedipus.
There seems to be some affinity between the Tenedii and these people, through Tennus, the son
of Cycnus, according to Aristotle; the similarity, too, of the divine honours paid by both to
Apollo affords no slight proof of this relationship.
23. The Corinthians, when subject to Philip, espoused his party very zealously, and individually
conducted themselves so contemptuously towards the Romans, that persons ventured to throw
down filth upon their ambassadors, when passing by their houses. They were immediately
punished for these and other offences and insults. A large army was sent out under the commaud
of Lucius Mummius, who razed the city. The rest of the country, as far as Macedonia, was
subjected to the Romans under different generals. The Sicyonii, however, had the largest part
of the Corinthian territory.
Polybius relates with regret what occurred at the capture of the city, and speaks of the
indifference the soldiers showed for works of art, and the sacred offerings of the temples. He
says, that he was present, and saw pictures thrown upon the ground, and soldiers playing at dice
upon them. Among others, he specifies by name the picture of Bacchus by Aristeides, (to which
it is said the proverb was applied, `Nothing to the Bacchus,') and Hercules tortured in the robe,
the gift of Deïïaneira. This I have not myself seen, but I have seen the picture of the Bacchus
suspended in the Demetreium at Rome, a very beautiful piece of art, which, together with the
temple, was lately consumed by fire. The greatest number and the finest of the other offerings
in Rome were brought from Corinth. Some of them were in the possession of the cities in the
neighbourhood of Rome. For Mummius being more brave and generous than an admirer of the
arts, presented them without hesitation to those who asked for them. Lucullus, having built the
temple of Good Fortune, and a portico, requested of Mummius the use of some statues, under
the pretext of ornamenting the temple with them at the time of its dedication, and promised to
restore them. He did not, however, restore, but presented them as sacred offerings, and told
Mummius to take them away if he pleased.
Mummius did not resent this conduct, not caring about the statues, but obtained more honour
than Lucullus, who presented them as sacred offerings.
Corinth remained a long time deserted, till at length it was restored on account of its natural
advantages by divus Cææsar, who sent colonists thither, who consisted, for the most part, of the
descendants of free-men.
On moving the ruins, and digging open the sepulchres, an abundance of works in pottery with
figures on them, and many in brass, were found. The workmanship was admired, and all the
sepulchres were examined with the greatest care. Thus was obtained a large quantity of things,
which were disposed of at a great price, and Rome filled with Necro-Corinthia, by which name
were distinguished the articles taken out of the sepulchres, and particularly the pottery. At first
these latter were held in as much esteem as the works of the Corinthian artists in brass, but this
desire to have them did not continue, not only because the supply failed, but because the greatest
part of them were not well executed.
The city of Corinth was large and opulent at all periods, and produced a great number of
statesmen and artists. For here in particular, and at Sicyon, flourished painting, and modelling,
and every art of this kind.
The soil was not very fertile; its surface was uneven and rugged, whence all writers describe
Corinth as full of brows of hills, and apply the proverb, “Corinth rises with brows of hills, and
sinks into hollows.”