Kalamaki Hill

I had always wanted to climb the ridge above Kalamaki Bay on the mainland (eastern) side of the Corinth Canal. Ridges often reward archaeologically-minded hikers with unexpected rewards,and this one was already associated with ancient remains.

The Kalamaki Ridge is that prominent height that one passes beneath when entering the Peloponnese via the old national road, new highway, or the high-speed train. In the olden days, say the 16th-early 19th century, travelers misidentified the peak as “Mount Oneion,” following a confusing note of the geographer Strabo about the location of that mountain. The good work of topographers and surveyors in the 19th and 20th century set the record straight: Oneion was the spine on the southern side of the Isthmus, not the little hill at Kalamaki Bay.

The Kalamaki ridge is the top peak in the image below.

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Unlike the Monastery of St. Patopios, the ridge above Kalamaki is much less accessible. Although it’s not a rugged path to get there, there is no signage to direct the visitor along the path to the peak. Kaylee, Tim, and I were forced to resort to trial and error (with some in-built GPS in our smart phones) to navigate our way along the correct roads linking the road to Loutraki with the series of spurs trending north-south above the narrow coastal plain.

Our first go was a miss. The ridge we hiked up to was not the right one. But we did stumble upon an impressive rural Classical-era site — a farmstead perhaps? — with amphora fragments, stone vessel rims, and painted Laconian rooftiles that had been turned up by some (presumably clandestine) excavation. Without access to my notes, I’m not sure whether this site was one of the two sites identified as “Kalamaki A and B” by James Wiseman in his important book on Corinthian territory.

Our second hit was more successful. We found the road that followed the spur to the very tip. As we walked down a long gravel road leading us deeper into a remote location and heard voices in the distances, we each imagined that we were going to stumble upon some illicit activity. We were not disappointed to find only a woman and two men gathering firewood for next winter.

The reward for our efforts was a commanding view of the two capes that defined the Isthmus: Akra Sophia (center) and Akra Sousaki (visible in the second picture below).

photo 1

Also splendid shots of the narrow strip of coastal plain.

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The Ayios Dimitrios Ridge (left-center foreground), the real Mt. Oneion range (left-center background), and Acrocorinth (right) in the distance. That’s Kaylee Schofield and Tim Hampton in the abandoned remains. I warned them not to stand along the edge which is sheer cliff. The woman told us that the ruined building on the peak marked the remains of a German guard tower from World War II. Given the numerous German remains on the Isthmus, that is certainly possible.

photo 3

What is indisputable is the geodetic marker on top. Another photo to prove I was there.

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Another day, another good hike that has helped to visualize how ancient writers defined the landscape known as the Isthmus.

 

 

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From the Monastery of St. Patapios

The sisters of the monastery of St. Patapios may have the best perspective on the entire Corinthia. Perched high on the steep slopes of Mt. Geraneia, they peer down at the Isthmus, ancient Corinth, the Corinthian Gulf, and the broader world they’ve left behind.

I had driven beneath that monastery so many times on trips to and from Perachora that I had long convinced myself that I had visited it. I had to remedy my oversight, and convinced two students to drive up yesterday morning to have a look.

I’ll admit that my motives for visiting were flat and mundane. I wanted some good photographs of the northern side of the Isthmus. I’ve been cooking up some new ideas about how ancient writers defined and perceived this landscape and needed some high-resolution photos of the coastline for support. In that respect, I was not disappointed. With the morning light behind us and the winds clearing the air, the views were just breathtaking.  This photo, taken just inside the entrance to the monastery, shows New Corinth on the left with Acrocorinth behind. I love how this perspective seems to cancel out the significant spatial distance between  the two as though Acro sits immediately above New Corinth.

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The photo below shows the Saronic Gulf on the eastern side of the Isthmus with the Oneion backbone on the right side. Like the vantage point from Acrocorinth, Mt. Oneion, or the mountains of the southern Corinthia, the monastery offers glimpses of Corinth the twin-sea’d.

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This one — to prove that I was there — shows the main road in Loutraki (to the left of my right shoulder) and the entrance to the canal (to the right of my left shoulder) and a great image of the Isthmus.

photo 5

Despite these uninspiring reasons for a visit, I was impressed by St. Patapios and the religious community formed in his honor here. The church itself had panel scenes of the life of Christ and a sort of icon hall of fame of famous Corinthian saints (or those connected in some way with Corinth), with New Testament notables like Paul, Apollos, Priscila, Aquila, Phoebe, Lydia, Crispus, and Gaius (and the list goes on), and more recent ascetics like Nektarios. The cavernous shrine to the left of the church — with its web of lanterns dangling from the cave ceiling –housed the relics of Patapios.photo 3

It was a pleasure to talk to the nuns who were clearly proud of their place and graciously welcomed us to visit the church, treated us to coffee, and discussed the iconography. One told us about her conversion at a young age to the ascetic life, her decision to leave Corinth for the monastery, and her younger brother’s decision to go to Mt. Athos. Having lived in the convent for 58 years, she had a unique perspective of the region.

We ended our visit there with a stop in the bookstore, where I purchased an icon and a life of St. Patapios, the late antique ascetic from Egypt who moved to Constantinople, and whose relics were translated to the  mount some 700 meters above Loutraki around the year 1453. I was delighted to open the life and see that his memory is honored on December 8, the feast of the immaculate conception in the Catholic church — and my birthday.

 

 

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On the road

It’s been a few years since I last visited Ancient Corinth and I’m glad to see things in the village are still recognizable from when I was here last. The trees in the plateia have grown taller and fuller in the last several years — it’s hard to believe that not so long ago this redesigned plateia was the main route that the big buses would take on their way into and out of the villages.

Wireless interent is now everywhere, or at least can find it at many of the tavernas and coffee shops. I was hopeful that I could do a series of posts but the connection is just spotty enough — at least at my hotel — to make it challenging to upload images of the village. My trip here, in any case, is a quick strategic strike to answer a handful of remaining research questions related to my study of the Isthmus, and I’ll write with more detail and images when I return home next week. For now, a few lovely images I managed to upload while writing this post and answering some emails.

IMG_27212014-06-01 20.57.34_m2014-06-01 20.57.20_m

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A Flight Through the Corinth Canal

I’ve said before that Corinth’s Isthmus seems to draw out the crazy in people. Think of Herodes Atticus, the wealthy aristocrat of the second century AD, beholding the landscape and consumed with a desire to cut a canal through it. Or Marcus Antonius, the grandfather of the triumvir, seeing the brilliant opportunity to portage his ships across and achieve instant fame in 101 BC.

In the modern era, cutting the canal was a Herculean effort. In more recent times, we’ve seen bungee jumping, glider flights, dramatic dog rescues, SUPing (look it up), and Robbie Maddison’s mad motorcycle jump.

The latest stunt came last week. The Hungarian Red Bull pilot, Peter Besenyei, flew his plane through the canal. He flew under bridges. He twirled. He ascended and plunged downward into the canal and did loops around the bridges. How could anyone think this is a good idea? You can read about it here and here and see the video here.

 

 

 

 

 

Besenyei commented:

“A dream has come true. The Corinth Canal, a historical place in Greece, had been a challenge for me for a long time. It feels great to be in this beautiful country, full of rich history and I especially enjoyed this unique experience.”

My take away: beware of consuming energy drinks on the Isthmus.

What’s next?

[H/t to Phyllis Graham for alerting me to the news piece.]

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Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (December-February). Part 2

Here is the second part to last week’s post about new scholarship in the last three months.

You can find the full collection of articles and books related to Corinthian studies at the Corinthian Studies Zotero Page. If you don’t see URLs for articles and books below (they sometimes don’t transfer in the copy), visit the Zotero group page. The new entries are tagged according to master categories .ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY or .NEW TESTAMENT AND EARLY CHRISTIAN.

As I noted previously, Version 2 of the library in RIS format is scheduled to be released by summer. 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.

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Adams, Edward. The Earliest Christian Meeting Places: Almost Exclusively Houses? A&C Black, 2014. http://books.google.com/books?id=FNBBAgAAQBAJ.

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. http://www.libraweb.net/result1.php?dettagliononpdf=1&chiave=2848&valore=sku&name=Luogo.jpg&h=870&w=600.

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): 651–72. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.4.0651.

Batchvarov, Kroum N. “Clay Pipes and Smoking Paraphernalia from the Kitten Shipwreck, an Early Nineteenth-Century Black Sea Merchantman.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 18, no. 1 (March 1, 2014): 1–19. doi:10.1007/s10761-013-0244-z.

Bradshaw, Paul F. Rites of Ordination: Their History and Theology. Liturgical Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=shQpnQEACAAJ.

Çakırlar, C., S. Ikram, and M-H. Gates. “New Evidence for Fish Processing in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean: Formalised Epinephelus Butchery in Fifth Century Bc Kinet Höyük, Turkey.” International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, January 1, 2014, n/a–n/a. doi:10.1002/oa.2388.

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): 551–94. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.4.0551.

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

Heil, Andreas, and Gregor Damschen, eds. Brill’s Companion to Seneca: Philosopher and Dramatist. Leiden: Brill, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=9jqOAgAAQBAJ.

Jones, Catherine M. “Theatre of Shame: The Impact of Paul’s Manual Labour on His Apostleship in Corinth.” PhD Thesis, University of St. Michael’s College, 2013. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/43420.

Laios, K., G. Tsoucalas, M. Karamanou, and G. Androutsos. “The Medical–Religious Practice of Votive Offerings and the Representation of a Unique Pathognomonic One Inside the Asclepieion of Corinth.” Journal of Religion and Health, 2013, 1–6. doi:10.1007/s10943-013-9811-1.

Lambert, Craig. “Norman Naval Operations in the Mediterranean.” Journal for Maritime Research 15, no. 2 (2013): 241–43. doi:10.1080/21533369.2013.852314.

Last, Richard. “Money, Meals and Honour: The Economic and Honorific Organization of the Corinthian Ekklesia.” PhD Thesis, University of Toronto, 2013.

Nichols, Aidan. Figuring out the Church: Her Marks, and Her Masters. Ignatius Press, 2013.

Polinskaya, Irene. A Local History of Greek Polytheism: Gods, People and the Land of Aigina, 800-400 BCE. Leiden: Brill, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=8FqNAgAAQBAJ.

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.

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. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/43426/1/Reed_David_A_201311_PhD_thesis.pdf.

Rowan, Clare. “Coinage as Commodity and Bullion in the Western Mediterranean, Ca. 550–100 BCE.” Mediterranean Historical Review 28, no. 2 (2013): 105–27. doi:10.1080/09518967.2013.837638.

Saliari, Konstantina, and Erich Draganits. “Early Bronze Age Bone Tubes from the Aegean: Archaeological Context, Use and Distribution.” Archeometriai Műhely [Archaeometry Workshop], 2013, 179–92.

Schoenborn, Christoph Cardinal. The Source of Life: Exploring the Mystery of the Eucharist. Ignatius Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=oydLAgAAQBAJ.

Spinks, Bryan D. Do This in Remembrance of Me: The Eucharist from the Early Church to the Present Day. SCM Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=-309AgAAQBAJ.

Stoneman, Richard. Pindar. I.B.Tauris, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=jwlgAgAAQBAJ.

Thiessen, Matthew. “‘The Rock Was Christ’: The Fluidity of Christ’s Body in 1 Corinthians 10.4.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 36, no. 2 (December 1, 2013): 103–26. doi:10.1177/0142064X13506171.

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.

Wallace, Christopher. “Ager Publicus in the Greek East: I. Priene 111 and Other Examples of Resistance to the Publicani.” Historia 63, no. 1 (2014): 38–73.

———. “Ager Publicus in the Greek East: I. Priene 111 and Other Examples of Resistance to the Publicani.” Historia 63, no. 1 (2014): 38–73.

Walsh, Justin St P. Consumerism in the Ancient World: Imports and Identity Construction. Routledge, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=XU83AgAAQBAJ.

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A New Bibliography for 1 and 2 Corinthians

It’s easy these days to locate books and articles related to St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Bibliographies have proliferated online and lists of select commentaries and introductions are a dime a dozen. See, for a few examples, the bibliographic lists compiled on Bible.org, BiblicalStudies.org (with some PDF documents), Baker publishing group, the United Methodist Church (see Part IV), and Leaven (2 Corinthians).

Here at Corinthian Matters, we’ve been slowly building our New Testament collection in the Zotero Library. During the fall, Megan Piette, a history major at my school, invested hours and hours into adding hundreds of relevant New Testament entries. She keyed all articles published in three recent works related to archaeology, history, and the New Testament: Urban Religion in Roman Corinth (2005), Corinth in Context (2010), and Corinth in Contrast (2013). More impressively, she entered all relevant Corinthiaka listed in the bibliography sections of Urban Religion in Roman Corinth and Corinth in Context. Finally, she mined the references sections of a couple of commentaries and New Testament introductions. The collection is by no means exhaustive but it is a good one that includes 526 items representing major commentaries, books, and articles. Kudos to Megan for making this happen.

Thanks to batch tagging in Zotero (see my post from Thursday), I was able to categorize all of these under the master tag .NEW TESTAMENT and create a subcollection called “New Testament”. In addition, I tagged items with keywords such as “commentary”, “1 Corinthians” and “2 Corinthians”. So, if you want to find recent commentaries on 1 and 2 Corinthians, just select the two tags “.NEW TESTAMENT” and “commentary”. The search pulls up 33 items.

Zotero_Corinthians_1

I also tagged articles and books that deal with specific chapters in 1 and 2 Corinthians. So if you’re interested in relevant material on 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 (the famous love chapter), simply select the tag “_1 Cor. 13”. This is a critical component of the library because the search feature of Zotero does not work as well — since articles and abstracts use different ways of referencing the texts, e.g., “I Corinthans XIII”, “1 Cor. 13”, “First Corinthians Chapter Thirteen” etc…

Note that this tag does not pull in entire commentaries on 1 Corinthians, which obviously have something to say on that chapter.

Zotero_Corinthians_2

There are lots of holes in this bibliography, and we need another round of thorough tagging, but this is a start to providing a useful bibliographic collection related to the Corinthian correspondence and St. Paul’s Corinth. We’ll keep building the Zotero Library until some better online tool takes its place.

I invite readers with a background in New Testament studies to comment below on other accessible online bibliographic resources that can guide an interested person in locating relevant books and articles. If you have articles and books that you believe should be included, you may send them to me here.

Posted in Bibliography, Christian - 1 Corinthians, Christian - 2 Corinthians, Christian - Churches, Christian - Patristic Interpretation, Christian - Post-Pauline, Christian - Saints, Christian - St. Paul, Commentaries, Digital Corinthia | Leave a comment

The Corinthia Zotero Library: New Organization

Yesterday I discovered batch tagging in Zotero. Instead of manually changing tags one at a time (an incredibly time-consuming process), one can batch tag by dragging a selection of multiple items onto any tag in the tag selector box in the Standalone version of Zotero.

This feature effectively allowed me to tackle the tags in the library. I recategorize all 1,927 items in the Corinthia (Zotero) Bibliography Library in a couple of hours. Manually tagging those items would take days.

The tag categories I’ve created are neither perfect nor complete, but there is now a little more order to the collection than it previously had. Every item has been assigned to one of two major tag categories: .ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY or .NEW TESTAMENT. These show up as the first two tags in the Tags area to the lower left of the Zotero Library (see below). The following image shows the items that appear when one selects on the master tag category .ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY

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An item may belong to both categories in the case of – for example — archaeological and historical scholarship that is directed to or clearly relevant to New Testament studies, or New Testament scholarship that informs the history and archaeology of Corinth. In the following example, I’ve selected both master tag categories and another subcategory “Periods, Hellenistic.”

Zotero_2

I’ve also slid created subfolders for browsing called “New Testament” and “Archaeology and History” for two principal audiences of Corinthian studies. Whether one browses by main tag category or by folder, the results should be the same. Note that all 1,927 individual bibliographic items can be found in the master Library folder. An item in the sub-folder collections also exists in the master folder.

Zotero_3

NB: At the time of this update, the items are still in need of a more thorough tagging, and this will require some manual input. Where I have added tags are for main places in the Corinthia: “Corinth”, “Corinthia” (for territory), “Kenchreai”, “Lechaion”, “Isthmus of Corinth” and “Isthmia”. I’ve also added periods for many (but not all) items, e.g., “Period, Roman.” These period tags parallel the chronological designations used on this website.

For now, the visitor using the server version of the library (and not the stand-alone) should experiment with a combination of direct searches in the search box, tagging, and browsing by subfolder.

One area other that I spent cleaning up this morning was the section on New Testament studies. I’ll write more about this tomorrow.

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