Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.20 Str. 8.6.23 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.7.1


Lechæum is the commencement of the coast on one side; and on the other, Cenchreæ, a village with a harbour, distant from the city about 70 stadia. The latter serves for the trade with Asia, and Lechæum for that with Italy.

Lechæum is situated below the city, and is not well in-

-- 63 --

habited. There are long walls of about 12 stadia in length, stretching on each side of the road towards Lechæum. The sea-shore, extending hence to Pagæ 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 Schœnus near Cenchreæ.

Between Lechæum and Pagæ, anciently, there was the oracle of the Acræan Juno, and Olmiæ, the promontory that forms the gulf, on which are situated Œnoe, and Page; the former is a fortress of the Megarians; and Œnoe is a fortress of the Corinthians.

Next to Cenchreæ [Note] 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 [Note] 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 destroyed.

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;

-- 64 --

which last word was perverted by some through ignorance, and altered to Tegea. Here, it is said, Polybus brought up Œdipus.

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. [Note] 8.6.23

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. [Note] 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 [Note] by Aristeides, (to which it is said the proverb was applied, Nothing to the Bacchus,) and Hercules tortured in the robe, the gift of Deïaneira. [Note] 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

-- 65 --

brave and generous than an admirer of the arts, presented them without hesitation to those who asked for them. [Note] 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 Cæsar, 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. [Note]

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

-- 66 --

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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.20 Str. 8.6.23 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.7.1

Powered by PhiloLogic