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History and Myth

History

The settlement dating to 5000 B.C that was discovered in the Feneos, Stymfalia, Nemea, Vouliagmani lake and Korakos region is testament to Korinthos’ habitation since the Neolithic Age. In antiquity Korinthos was one of the largest and most important cities in Greece.
Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Corinth grew from the eight century BC under the Ancient Greeks, developing into a centre of trade and a city of great riches. Much of this wealth was accumulated from the seventh century BC under the rule of Periander, who exploited Corinth’s location in the Isthmus of Corinth. By travelling through Corinth, ships could cross quickly between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf, avoiding the need to sail around the coast. Corinth had the diolkos, a ship hauling device which allowed them to do just that. Ship owners were charged for using this device, providing Corinth with an ongoing flow of income.

Corinth became such a powerful city-state that it even established various colonies such as Syracuse and Epidamnus. In 338 BC, following the Peloponnesian War and the subsequent Corinthian War, Corinth was conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Throughout the classical era, Corinth had held regular sporting tournaments known as the Isthmian Games.
In 146 BC, Corinth suffered partial destruction from the invasion of Roman general Mummius, although it was later rebuilt under Julius Caesar, eventually growing into an even more prosperous Roman city.
During the middle Ages it was associated with its impressive fortifications at Akrokorinthos and would fall into the hands of the Turks, the Knights of Malta, the Venetians and Turks again.
(Acrocorinth). A powerful earthquake destroyed the city in 1858, which was rebuilt with good earthquake resistant specifications on a good town plan, 9 km to the north of the ancient city.

Mythology

The prehistoric mythological period of the city of Corinth and the wider region of the present-day Corinthia prefecture is connected to many Pan-Hellenic myths and heroes.

The original name of the city of Corinth was Ephyra, named after the daughter of Oceanus, who was the first mythical queen of Corinth. According to myth, the city of Corinth owes its name to the eponymous hero Corinthos, son of Marathona. The gods Helios (Apollo) and Poseidon competed for the sovereignty of Corinth. With the intervention of the gods, they reached a compromise, with Apollo taking Acrocorinth and Poseidon taking the Isthmus.
Among the kings of the city, Sisyphus stands out, who is considered the first founder of Ephyra, Aeëtes, son of Helios and later king of Colchis and father of Medea, and the famous mythical hero Bellerophon, who, with the help of the goddess Athena, tamed the winged horse Pegasus.

Alitis a descendant of Heracles, is considered the first king of historical times in Corinth. Who as the king of the Dorians occupied the city around 1110-1075 BCE when it was inhabited by the Aeolians, descendants of Sisyphus. The dynasty of Alitis descendants was succeeded by the dynasty of Bacchiads in 850 BCE, with Bacchis as the first king. The Bacchiads were overthrown by Cypselus.

According to mythology, the royal couple Jason and Medea arrived in Corinth as fugitives, and there, according to one version of the myth, the heinous crime of infanticide was committed by the princess of Colchis. In Corinth, the tragic figure Oedipus also arrived as a baby, hunted in a sense by his own fate. He was adopted by the royal family of the city and raised as a prince in Tegea.

Sicyon, the second major ancient city in the region, is first mentioned in Greek mythology under the name Mycenae. In this region, it is said that the gods and humans gathered after the Titanomachy to divide the world’s goods. The judge was the Titan Prometheus, who, as a philanthropist, managed to deceive the gods and steal the heavenly fire for the benefit of humans. As punishment for this act, he was chained forever to Mount Caucasus by the Olympians.

Subsequently, the people named their region Aigialeia, meaning “the coastal area,” and finally, the city was named Sicyon, after the eponymous hero, son of Marathona and brother of Corinth.

A little south of Sicyon, on the banks of the Asopus River, lies the acropolis of Titanes, which, according to mythology, was the first dwelling place of the Titans, particularly the god Helios. In this area, the son of Apollo, Asclepius, the god of Medicine, arrived and founded the Asclepion.

The unique beauties of Kyllene are connected to many myths and gods as well. On the western side of the Flampouritsa Valley, there is a cave where, according to mythology, the messenger of the gods, Hermes, was born. His mother was Maia, one of the seven Pleiades, who were also born in Kyllene, children of Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione. The myth states that on the first day of his birth, Hermes wandered around Kyllene to discover the world, where he made the first lyre from the shell of a tortoise.