Thursday, 29 April 2010


Source: Wikipedia
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta.

During the years 481–480 BC, the Conference at Isthmus of Corinth (previous conference had been at Sparta) established the Hellenic League, which allied under the Spartans in the Greco-Persian Wars against Persia. The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, sending 400 soldiers to try to defend the Thermopylae and offering forty war ships in the sea Battle of Salamis under the admiral Adeimantos and 5,000 hoplites (wearing their characteristic Corinthian helmets) in the following Battle of Plataea but afterwards was frequently an enemy of Athens and an ally of Sparta in the Peloponnesian League. The Greeks demanded the surrender of Thebans who had aided the Persians. Pausanias took them to Corinth where they were put to death.

Herodotus, who was believed to dislike the Corinthians, mentions that Corinthians were considered the second best fighters to the Athenians. In 458 BC, Corinth was defeated by Athens at Megara.

The Peloponnesian War
In 435 BC, Corinth and Corcyra went to war over Epidamnus. In 433 BC, Athens allied with Corcyra against Corinth. The Corinthian war against the Corcycraeans was the first naval war in history. In 431 BC, one of the factors leading to the Peloponnesian War was the dispute between Corinth and Athens over the Corinthian colony of Corcyra (Corfu), which probably stemmed from the traditional trade rivalry between the two cities.

Three Syracusan generals went to Corinth and Lacedaemon to acquire allies for the Sicilian War.

With the Syracusan troops in Athens, Ariston, a Corinithinan helmsman had the idea to move the market down to the sea which would allow the commanders to have a full meal, and then attack the Athenians while they were least expecting it. A messenger was sent to the market and the plan was carried through. The Athenians, expecting the Syracusan troops to be busy at the market, went upon their daily tasks, unprepared for battle. Suddenly the Athenians realized the Syracrusan troops were waging battle upon them so they scrambled to meet the Syracusans at the sea for battle. In the end, the Syracusan troops claimed victory and the Athenians retreated.

In 404 BC, Sparta refused to destroy Athens. This refusal caused bad relations with Corinth. Corinth joined Argos, Boetia, and Athens against Sparta in the Corinthian War.

To convince his countrymen to behave objectively, Demosthenes noted that the Athenians of yesteryear had had good reason to bear malice against the Corinthians and the Thebans for their conduct during the last part of the Peloponnesian War; but they bore no malice whatever.

The Corinthian War
After the end of the Peloponnesian War, Corinth and Thebes, which were former allies with Sparta in the Peloponnesian League, had grown dissatisfied with the hegemony of Sparta and started the Corinthian War against it, which further weakened the city-states of the Peloponnese. This weakness allowed for the subsequent invasion of the Macedonians of the north and the forging of the Corinthian League by Philip II of Macedon against the Persian Empire.

The Corinthians "voted at once to aid them [the Syracusans] heart and soul themselves". They also sent a group to Lacedaemon where they found Alcibiades. From there the Syracusans, Corinthians and Alcibiades convinced the Lacedaemonians to join their forces. After a convincing speech from Alcibiades, the Lacedaemonians agreed to send troops to aid the Sicilians.

Isocrates wrote of the formation of the anti-Spartan alliance made in 395 BC in Corinth.

Xenophon chronicled a detailed description of the events of the Corinthian war which started in 395 BC.

As an example of facing danger with knowledge, Aristotle used the example of the Argives who were forced to confront the Spartans in the battle at the Long Walls of Corinth in 392 BC.

In 379 BC, Corinth and as part of the Peloponnesian League joins Sparta in an attempt to defeat Thebes and eventually take over Athens.

In 366 BC, the Athenian Assembly ordered Chares to occupy the Athenian ally and install a democratic government. This failed when Corinth, Phlius and Epidaurus allied with Boeotia backing Corinth up in the swar.

Regarding Corinthian exiles, Demosthenes recounted information he heard from elders who we can assume had been alive during the event in question. Athens had fought the Lacedaemonians in a great battle near Corinth. The city decided not to harbor the defeated Athenian troops, but instead sent heralds to the Lacedaemonians.

The Corinthian heralds opened their gates to the defeated Athenian army and refused to betray them to the victorious Lacedaemonian army. Demosthenes notes that they “chose along with you, who had been engaged in battle, to suffer whatever might betide, rather than without you to enjoy a safety that involved no danger.” These actions saved the Athenian troops and their allies.

Demosthenes acknowledged that Philip’s military force exceeded that of Athens and thus they must develop a tactical advantage. He notes the importance of a citizen army as opposed to one made up of mercenary soldiers, citing a previous mercenary force in Corinth. In this particular force, citizens fought alongside mercenaries and beat the Lacedaemonians.

In 338 BC, after having defeated Athens and its allies, Philip II created the League of Corinth to unite the Greeks, including Corinth, in a war with Persia. Philip was named hegemon of the League.

In 337 BC, in the spring, the Second congress of Corinth established Common Peace.

Hellenistic period
By 332 BC, Alexander the Great was in control of Greece, as hegemon.

During the Hellenistic period, Corinth, like many other Greece cities, never quite had autonomy. Under the successors of Alexander the Great, Greece was contested ground, and Corinth was occasionally the battleground for contests between the Antigonids, based in Macedonia, and other Hellenistic powers. In 308BC, the city was captured from the Antigonids by Ptolemy I, which he claimed was part of his plan to free Greece from the Antigonids. The city was recaptured by Demetrius in 304BC, however. Corinth remained in Antigonid control for half a century, before the Achaean League attacked and successfully took the city in 249BC. However, Corinth did not remain in Achaean control for long, as it was retaken by Antigonus II Gonatas in about 244BC, before being permanently brought into the Achaean League in 243BC.

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