The annual meeting of the AIA in San Antonio is now only 3-1/2 weeks away. As usual, there will be a range of papers related to the archaeology of Corinth and the Corinthia. A summary below, and I include abstracts when available.
SESSION 1D: Colloquium: Travel to Greece between Antiquity and the Grand Tour (Friday, Jan 7, 8:30 AM-11:30 AM)
“Niketas Ooryphas Drags his Fleet: Portaging the Corinthian Isthmus in 883 A.D.” (David K. Pettegrew, Messiah College)
In 883 AD, the Byzantine admiral Niketas Ooryphas dragged a fleet of ships over the Isthmus of Corinth in a naval engagement with Arab pirates. The episode, preserved in the chronicles of Theophanes Continuatus and the Chronicon Maius of George Sphrantzes, has always created problems for scholars interpreting the use of the Archaic-period diolkos road between the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs. Did Niketas actually portage 100 ships in the ninth century AD on the road built by Periander? Or is the account a literary invention by clever Byzantine writers aware of their ancient history? If the former, the portage road remained in semi-use for a period of 1,600 years since its construction; if the latter, the texts suggest nothing about the actual operation of the trans-isthmus road.
In this paper, I explore the meanings of this portage episode in terms of literary contexts, the historical tradition of ship transfers, and the physical remnants of the diolkos road. On the one hand, the accounts state that Niketas constructed a way across the isthmus that suggests he did not use Periander’s road; we will consider his remarkable feat in light of the texts and physical landscape. On the other, the chronicles highlight the heroic accomplishment of Niketas dragging his fleet and the strategic role of the isthmus for deciding naval engagements. The episode fits within an ancient literary tradition of using ship portaging as a device for highlighting brilliant tactical maneuvers at key points in historical narration.
“Medieval Pilgrimage to Corinth and Southern Greece” (Amelia R. Brown, University of Queensland)
Today Christian pilgrims often travel to Corinth and southern Greece in the footsteps of Saint Paul. This modern pilgrimage developed only in the last century, alongside archaeological excavation and mass-market tourism to Greece. The Medieval pilgrims who preceded these modern ones, however, are barely studied at all, though sources for them do exist. In this paper, I explore the textual, epigraphic and archaeological evidence for Christian pilgrimage to Corinth and southern Greece from Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages. Though southern Greece generated few saints or monks, the cults of Corinthian martyrs Leonidas and Quadratus each drew pilgrims from outside of Greece to their basilicas. Awareness of Paul’s ministry is also apparent in Corinthian epigraphy, letters of Byzantine bishops, and the placement of churches at Corinth and Athens. Though southern Greece did not compete with the Holy Land or Constantinople as a pilgrimage destination, Corinthians and Athenians did successfully construct both churches and local stories over several centuries to attract Christian travellers. The tangible results of their efforts deserve study, shed new light on the Byzantine cities of Corinth and Athens, and illustrate the phenomenon of Christian pilgrimage to Medieval Greece.
SESSION 1G: Corinth (Friday, Jan 7, 8:30 AM-11:30 AM)
“Showing Off for the Neighbors: Wealth and Display in Archaic Corinth” (Angela Ziskowski, Bryn Mawr College)
“The Archaic Temple in Roman Corinth: Civic Identity in the Capital of Achaia” (Ann Morgan, University of Texas at Austin)
“Pre-Roman Remains at the East End of the Forum of Corinth: Recent Findings” (Paul Scotton, California State University Long Beach)
“Urbanization and Roman Residential Architecture Southeast of the Forum at Corinth” (James Herbst, ASCSA Corinth Excavations)
“Further Notes on the South Stoa at Corinth: The Roman Interior Colonnade and the Monumental Entrance to the South Basilica” (David Scahill, University of Bath)
“The Captives Facade at Ancient Corinth” (Aileen Ajootian, University of Mississippi)
SESSION 2F: Greek Pottery (Friday, Jan. 7, 12:30-2:30 PM)
“Kraters and Drinking Practices in Hellenistic Corinth” (Sarah James, University of Texas at Austin)
SESSION 6H: Water Systems and Baths (Saturday, Jan. 8, 2:45-5:15 PM)
“Old Excavations and New Interpretations: Recent Investigations in the Sanctuary of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth” (Jon Frey, Michigan State University, and Timothy Gregory, Ohio State University)