Underwater settlement and ancient pottery workshop discovered near Delos, birthplace of Sun God Apollo

Underwater settlement and ancient pottery workshop discovered near Delos, birthplace of Sun God Apollo

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The ruins of an ancient town, including a pottery workshop and kiln, have been discovered by archaeologists off the coast of the island of Delos, Greece. Until now experts believed the colonnades and walls were simply the remains of a port facility, but new investigations have found buildings, terracotta pots, and a kiln embedded in the floor of the Aegean Sea, indicating a busy manufacturing hub.

The National Hellenic Research Foundation , and the Ephorate of Undersea Archaeology have identified walls and several structures, and media outlets have been reporting the new find as “a small underwater Pompeii,” according to Discovery News , as Pompeii and Herculaneum excavations have revealed similar workshops. The artifacts were discovered a mere 6 feet (1.8 meters) below the water’s surface.

According to Archaeology News Network , structural elements such fallen colonnades and walls were found along the coastline, and large boulders were identified as part of the original breakwater, at one time used for stopping the power of the sea from battering the workshop and settlement.

Delos is one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites. During its height from the 8th until the 1st centuries B.C., it was a busy commercial port and a main center for slave trade.

Stone structures and monuments by the sea at Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Credit: Harry Meyer / flickr

According to Greek mythology Hera, wife of Zeus, had banned a pregnant Leto from giving birth on ‘terra firma’ after discovering that Zeus was the father. Delos was a floating island, tethered neither to the land nor sea, which suited Leto’s needs. She gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, and Zeus secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean. The people of Delos accepted Leto, and in return her son Apollo favored the island.

Apollo (left) and Artemis featured on Attic red-figure cup, circa 470 BC.

In legend and practice, the birthplace of the god Apollo and sister goddess Artemis was a sacred island where deaths and births were not allowed. This restriction unfortunately did not prevent Mithridates VI of Pontus from attacking the island with troops in 88 B.C., killing 20,000 people. Eventually Delos was abandoned in 5 A.D., and many of the remaining ancient marbles were repurposed as building materials.

It is hoped that the newly-discovered underwater findings will shed new light on the commercial role of the island during the Roman period.

The Island of Delos, by Rottmann, 1847.

Featured Image: Clay pots embedded in the sea floor off Delos. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

By Liz Leafloor

    'Underwater Pompeii' found off Greek island

    Delos is one of Greece's most important archaeological sites. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Bernard Gagnon

    The ancient ruins, which are located just 6ft underwater off the northeastern coast of the island, were previously believed to be port facilities until a recent investigation identified them as the remnants of an ancient settlement.

    Among the finds at the site were 16 terracotta pots and a kiln suggesting that one of the buildings was a pottery workshop. The remains of several other structures and a series of large stones that made up the seafront were also uncovered.

    The island of Delos itself is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. Believed by the ancient Greeks to be the birthplace of the sun god Apollo, Delos flourished for hundreds of years.

    It was eventually thought to have been abandoned at some point during the 5th century A.D.

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    Embarkation at Marina Zeas between 14:00-15:00. Welcome on board the Elysium with warm smiles from our crew and savor our signature cocktail during a smooth check-in. We set sail for the nearby Cape Sounion, home to the “Temple of Poseidon”, for your first refreshing dip in the Aegean waters. Perched at the edge of the cliff, the ancient sanctuary it is one of the most important monuments of the golden age of Athens. Dinner alfresco on board, to experience the mesmerizing sunset. After dinner, lounge at the upper deck with music and drinks, while you watch the flickering lights of the mainland and feel the soothing salty breeze on your face. Overnight at anchor.

    DAY 2

    Morning arrival in the dreamy island of Sifnos, with its traditional white-washed architecture, its famous hiking trails and a sizzling food scene. Hike one of the many “Sifnos trails” or choose an optional excursion to the medieval ancient castle and the most photographed spot of Sifnos, the church of Seven Martyrs.

    Explore Apollonia, the picturesque capital, named after the God of light Apollo. Opt for a special Greek cooking lesson experience with lunch at a local home or enjoy your lunch at one of the many local tavernas. Afternoon sailing to the volcanic island of Milos for a swim stop at the iconic Sarakiniko beach with its milky blue waters and spectacular lunar landscape. Sail on to Kimolos, a true hidden gem, and discover its port Psathi and the surrounding authentic fishing villages. At nearby Goupa, you can see the so called “syrmata”, colorful boat garages carved in the rocks, and if we are lucky, we will encounter the local children playing in the water. Dinner on board the Elysium.

    Highlights of Sculpture Art

    The Stargazer (Statuette of a Woman)

    This 5,000-year-old marble sculpture of a female figure is called the “Stargazer.” The name derives from the way her eyes are looking up to the stars above.

    Created in translucent marble, this is an unusual sculpture because her head is sculptured entirely in the round. Her body is reduced to a simple yet elegant profile.

    The nose is depicted as a slight ridge on a straight-line edge. The head tilted backward the eyes are tiny dots raised in relief.

    The Parthenon Marbles

    The Parthenon was built on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, between 447 and 432 B.C. as a testament to the glory and pride of the Athenian state.

    The Parthenon stands on the Acropolis of Athens, which in ancient times, as it does today, dominates the city of Athens. The Acropolis is an extremely rocky outcrop above the city of Athens.

    The word acropolis comes from the Greek, Akron, meaning “highest point” and polis meaning “city.”

    The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock that rises high over Athens, with a large flat area that has been used as a fortress and a religious center from time immemorial.

    Venus de Milo

    “Aphrodite of Milos,” better known as the “Venus de Milo,” is an ancient Greek statue over 2,000 years old, named after the Greek island of Milos, where it was discovered.

    It is one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture and depicts Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

    The Roman name for Aphrodite is Venus, and this was the description used during the early publicity of this Greek masterpiece, and the name stuck.

    Venus de’ Medici

    The Venus de’ Medici or Medici Venus is a marble sculpture depicting the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

    It is a 1st-century BCE marble copy, made in Athens, of a bronze original Greek sculpture. The Roman name for Aphrodite is Venus, and this was the description used during the early publicity of this Greek masterpiece.

    This masterpiece is in the classical depiction of the female form and a beautiful representation of the human body.

    Mythological tradition claims that Aphrodite was born naked in the seafoam off the coast of a Greek island, and Hellenistic sculptors leaped at this tradition to experiment with the nude female form.

    Laocoön and His Sons

    “Laocoön and His Sons” is one of the most famous ancient sculptures and a highlight of the Vatican Museums, ever since it was placed there on public display.

    The statue depicts Laocoön, the priest of Apollo from the city of Troy, and his two sons. They are locked in the death coils of two serpents on the steps of an altar.

    Troy in Asia Minor, now modern Turkey, was the site of the Trojan war, which was fought between the Greeks and Trojans for ten years (1194 to 1184 BC.).

    “David” by Michelangelo

    “David” by Michelangelo was completed in 1504 and depicts the Biblical hero David, who killed the giant Goliath with a rock from his sling.

    David is represented just before his battle with Goliath, tense and ready for combat, Michelangelo has captured the moment between decision and action, during the war between Israel and the Philistines.

    David’s brow is focused, his neck tense, his veins are bulging out, he holds a sling draped over his shoulder in his left hand, and he holds a rock in his right hand.

    The twist of his body conveys motion and is achieved with the contrapposto technique developed by the Greeks for their standing heroic male nude.

    The figure stands with one leg holding its full weight and the other leg forward. Michelangelo has emphasized the contrapposto technique by the turn of the head to the left, and by the contrasting positions of the arms.

    Pieta by Michelangelo

    Pietà by Michelangelo depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. This theme was of Northern European origin, and Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Pietà was unprecedented in Italian sculpture.

    It balanced the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty together with extraordinary naturalism. Christ’s face does not reveal signs of his suffering.

    Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pietà to represent death, but rather to show the serene faces and relationship of Son and Mother. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

    The Winged Victory of Samothrace

    This colossal monument is a statue of the winged figure of Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory. This sculpture is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of antiquity, and replicas of this winged figure were famous in the ancient world.

    The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as the Nike of Samothrace, was created at about 190 BC and discovered 1863 in Samothrace, a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea.

    The sculpture stood on the prow of a ship. It was erected to commemorate a naval victory by a Macedonian general.

    Nefertiti Bust

    The “Nefertiti Bust” is the Neues Museum’s best-known masterpiece. Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and Egypt’s Queen during 1370 B.C.-1330 B.C.

    The statue is renowned for the skill of the sculptor Thutmose, the well-preserved coloring, and the beauty of Nefertiti herself.

    The bust is a painted stucco-coated limestone work, believed to have been crafted in 1345 B.C. by the sculptor Thutmose, because it was found in his workshop in Amarna, Egypt.

    It is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. As a result, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty.

    Caryatids of Erechtheion

    A Caryatid is a name given to a column that is in the form of a standing female figure. The most famous Caryatids are from the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.

    The Erechtheion is a marble temple building in the Ionic order and was considered the most sacred part of the Acropolis.

    At the south porch of the Erechtheion, the roof was supported by six statues of maidens known as the Caryatids.

    An ancient inscription of the Erechtheion refers to the Caryatids simply as Korai (maidens). The Greek term karyatides means “maidens of Karyai,” an ancient town of Peloponnese.

    Walking Buddha

    This “Walking Buddha” is a three-dimensional sculpture representing the transcendent qualities innovated in the Sukhothai period.

    The Kingdom of Sukhothai was an early kingdom in north-central Thailand from 1238 to 1438. Sukhothai is derived from Sanskrit, and means “dawn of happiness.”

    This simply clad Buddha figure steps forward in smooth fluid motion with the right hand in the gesture of fearlessness.

    The Dying Gaul

    The “Dying Gaul” is an Ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture, which was initially created in bronze.

    It portrays a Gallic warrior in his last moments, as he struggles from a fatal wound, his face contorted in pain.

    The marble sculpture depicts a naked man with a Celtic torc around his neck, on the ground atop his shield, wounded and supporting himself with one arm, the other resting weakly on his bent leg.

    The hand on the ground is next to a broken sword his head is bent down to the point where we can’t see his face. He is bleeding from a chest wound on the left side of the rib cage, and he is slowly dying.

    The Kiss

    “The Kiss” by Auguste Rodin is a marble sculpture of an embracing couple. Initially, it was created to depict the 13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalized in Dante’s Inferno.

    The woman had fallen in love with her husband’s younger brother. Having fallen in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, the couple is discovered and killed by the husband.

    In the sculpture, the book can be seen in the man’s left hand.

    The lovers’ lips do not touch in the sculpture, suggesting that they were interrupted and met their demise without their lips ever having touched.

    When critics first saw the statue in 1887, they suggested the less specific title “The Kiss,” and this is now the title of this masterpiece.

    Cycladic Figures

    Cycladic Figures originated from the ancient Cycladic culture, which flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from c. 3300 to 1100 BCE.

    The best-known cultural objects of this period and culture are the marble figures, usually called Cycladic “idols” or “figurines.”

    The Cyclades is a group of Greek islands, southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea. It centers on the island of Delos, considered the birthplace of Apollo and home to some of Greece’s most important archaeological ruins.

    Seated Buddha from Gandhara

    “The Seated Buddha from Gandhara” is a statue of the Buddha discovered at the site of ancient Gandhara in modern-day Pakistan.

    Like other Gandharan or Greco-Buddhist art, the sculpture shows the influence of Ancient Greek sculptural art.

    Gandhara had been part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom established by Alexander the Great. Gandhāra was an ancient Indic kingdom situated in the northwestern region of Pakistan, around Peshawar.

    The Gates of Hell

    The Gates of Hell is a sculptural group created by Auguste Rodin that depicts a scene from “The Inferno” from Dante Alighieri’s book the Divine Comedy.

    The sculpture was commissioned in 1880. This project became Rodin’s life work as he continued to work on and off on it for 37 years, until his death in 1917.

    Many of the characters from the “The Gates of Hell” was modeled and cast separately as stand-alone art sculptures.

    This is one of the reasons Rodin took so long with this masterpiece. Many of the original small-scale sculptures used on the Gate were enlarged and reworked and became stand-alone works of art of their own.

    The Thinker

    “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin was initially conceived for his monumental bronze portal entitled “The Gates of Hell” (1880-1917).

    The figure was intended to represent Italian poet Dante pondering “The Divine Comedy,” his epic classic of Paradise and Inferno. Initially, this masterpiece had several other names, including “The Poet.”

    In 1889, Rodin exhibited the sculpture independently of “The Gates of Hell,” giving it the title “The Thinker,” and in 1902, he embarked on this larger version. It has since become one of his most recognized masterpieces.

    The Burghers of Calais

    “The Burghers of Calais” by Auguste Rodin is one of his most famous sculptures.

    It commemorates a historical incident during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, a prominent French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year and was forced to surrender.

    The victors offered to spare the city if six of its leaders would surrender themselves and walk out wearing nooses around their necks, carrying the keys to the town and castle.

    One of the wealthiest of the town leaders volunteered, and five other burghers volunteered to join him.

    It is this moment when the volunteers leave the city gates that this sculpture depicts. Rodin captured the poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death.

    Akhenaten and Nefertiti with their Children

    “Akhenaten and Nefertiti with their Children” is a small house shrine stele made of limestone. Akhenaton and Nefertiti are shown with the three of their daughters.

    Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. The body forms are depicted in relief, the overlong proportions, wide hips, thin legs, and the forwardly curved necks, are typical of the early Amarna artistic style.

    Probably used as a home altar, this historic depiction provides a rare opportunity to view a scene from the private life of the king and queen.

    The daughters are being held and caressed by their parents in the presence of their god Aten. Aten is in the center of the scene represented as a sun disc with sunrays ending in hands proffering ‘ank’-signs (life-signs) to the royal couple.

    Gudea, Prince of Lagash

    Gudea, Prince of Lagash was the political and religious governor of Lagash, in Southern Mesopotamia, one of the oldest Sumerian cities.

    This statue was discovered as two pieces, twenty-six years apart. Archaeologists found the head in 1877, then the body was found in 1903.

    Many figures of Gudea, both standing and seated, have been discovered however, none of them was complete. Bodies without heads have been found, and the heads with missing bodies.

    Archaeologists succeeded in assembling the two fragments of this statue, resulting in the first and only complete representation of Gudea. The engraved inscription on the rob identified the subject as Gudea of Lagash.

    Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal

    “The Lion Hunt” is a low relief sculpture showing the Royal Lion Hunt of King Ashurbanipal with his royal entourage, together with horses, dogs on leashes, and chariots.

    The sculpture shows captured lions and lionesses being released from cages to do battle with the King. The Lion Hunt is one of the most captivating works of art from antiquity.

    The suffering lions are depicted as brave and defiant, but they are eventually defeated with arrows, spears, and swords and are shown in individual suffering and dying in agony.

    The ancient artist expertly captured the lions in motion depicting each animal as a unique individual. This intricate artistry was created over 2,500 years ago with primitive tools, and it is a masterpiece of Assyrian art.

    Seated Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara – Guanyin

    This gilt bronze statue of Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas.

    Sitting in the posture of “royal ease” with the right hand resting on a bent right knee and the left leg hanging over the seat.

    The image is dressed as an Indian prince in long and fluid garments with sashes, scarves, and jewels.

    Bodhisattvas are a favorite subject in Buddhist art and are variably depicted, described, and portrayed in different cultures as either female or male. In Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has become a somewhat different female figure Guanyin.

    Charioteer of Delphi

    The Charioteer of Delphi is a rare surviving 2,500-year-old bronze sculpture from Ancient Greek culture. It is a life-size statue of a chariot driver found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi.

    The statue was commissioned to commemorate the victory of the tyrant Polyzalusa of Gela, a Greek colony in Sicily, and his chariot in the Pythian Games of 470 BC.

    The Pythian Games (also known as the Delphic Games) were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Apollo every four years at his sanctuary at Delphi.

    They were held two years after each Olympic Games. An inscription on the limestone base of the statue shows that Polyzalus dedicated it as a tribute to Apollo for helping him win the chariot race.

    Artemision Bronze

    The Artemision Bronze represents either Zeus, the ancient Greek king of the gods of Mount Olympus, or possibly Poseidon, the God of the Sea.

    This sculpture is a rare, ancient Greek bronze sculpture that was recovered from the sea off Cape Artemision, Greece.

    Created in the early Geek Classical Period of 460 BC, this masterpiece is the embodiment of beauty, control, and strength.

    Antikythera Youth

    The Antikythera Youth is a 330 BC bronze statue of a young man discovered in 1900 by sponge-divers in the area of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck off the island of Antikythera, Greece.

    It was the first of the series of Greek bronze sculptures discovered in the Aegean, which fundamentally altered the view of Ancient Greek sculpture. The statue was retrieved as multiple fragments and had to be restored in stages.

    The Antikythera Youth held a spherical object in his right hand, and thus it is suggested that the statue represented Paris presenting the Apple of Discord to Aphrodite.

    Boy with Thorn

    The “Boy with Thorn” is a Greco-Roman bronze sculpture with various Roman marble copies and later smaller sized bronze copies in multiple museums around the world.

    The “Boy with Thorn,” at the Capitoline Museums, is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a naked boy sitting on a rock pulling a thorn from the bottom of his foot.

    The boy has been identified as a young shepherd. The image of the extraction of a thorn from the foot was invented in the Hellenistic period.

    Jockey of Artemision

    The Jockey of Artemision is a bronze statue of a boy riding a horse, dated to around 150 BC. It is a rare original bronze statue from Ancient Greece.

    It is also unique because most ancient Greek bronzes were melted down for their raw materials during periods of warfare and strife.

    This Greek masterpiece was saved from destruction because it was lost in a shipwreck sometime in antiquity, before being discovered in the modern era.

    Colossus of Constantine

    Large broken portions of the Colossus are now on display at the Capitoline Museums.

    Constantine was the first Christian emperor of Rome, and he had a profound effect on the development of the Roman and Byzantine worlds.

    After reunifying the Empire, he established a new dynasty and founded a new capital, named Constantinople after himself.

    Christianity played an essential role in Constantine’s rule and his initiatives for reform and renewal in the Roman Empire.

    Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss

    “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova shows the mythological lovers at a moment of high emotion.

    It represents the God Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening Psyche with a kiss.

    Having been awakened, Psyche reaches up toward her lover, Cupid, as he gently holds her by supporting her head and breast.

    This sculpture exemplifies Antonio Canova’s craftsmanship and skills in carving marble that provides a superb contrast between the smooth skin of Psyche and Cupid as compared to the surrounding elements.

    The detached draping around Psyche’s lower body, emphasizes the difference between the texture of skin and drapery.

    Beautiful curls and lines define the hair, and the feathery details create the realistic wings of Cupid. The rough stone texture provides the basis of the rock upon which the composition is placed.

    Statue of Saint Helena

    The Statue of Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi depicts Saint Helena holding the True Cross and the Holy Nails.

    The sculptor Bolgi labored for a decade on this statue that epitomized his career. Saint Helena (250 AD – 330 AD) was an Empress of the Roman Empire, and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great (272 –337), the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.

    The Statue of Saint Helena was created for one of the four niches at the crossing of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

    In St. Peter’s Basilica four piers support the dome of the Basilica. Each of the piers has a niche in which is set one of the four statues associated with the basilica’s most important holy relics. A piece of the True Cross Relic is kept near the colossal statue of St. Empress Helena.

    Statuette of a Horse in Geometric Style

    This Statuette of a Horse in Geometric Style is a cast bronze stallion on a pierced base that comes from the Peloponnese, Greece, most probably from the Zeus Sanctuary in Olympia.

    Horse figures are among the most common dedications of geometric time. This stallion is one of the largest surviving examples of its type and probably created as a votive offering.

    At Olympia, many small figurines, mostly of animals, were thrown onto the massive pile of ashes from the animal sacrifices at the altar at the Temple of Zeus.

    Much of our knowledge of ancient Greek art in base metal comes from these and other excavated deposits of offerings. Arms and armor, especially helmets, were also given after a victory.

    Lion Hunt Relief from Nimrud

    This Lion Hunt Relief came from a wing of Northwest Palace of the Royal Residence of King Ashurbanipal in Nimrud, present-day Iraq.

    The relief shows the king, standing on a light hunting chariot, which is guided by a charioteer and pulled three horses.

    Three arrows have hit the lion. The King once again aims an arrow at the lion. The lion has turned its head back and seems to roar its attacker in pain.

    The royal lion hunt is a symbol of the King overcoming the dangers and challenges to the Assyrian state by its ruler.

    The Pergamon Altar

    The Pergamon Altar was built about 150 BC on the acropolis or the high point of the ancient Greek city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.

    This colossal Altar of Zeus at Pergamon, near modern-day Izmir, Turkey, is a monumental work of Greek Hellenistic art. Built during the reign of Greek King Eumenes II, the structure is over 35 meters wide and 33 meters deep.

    The front stairway is almost 20 meters wide. Like the Parthenon in Athens, this Zeus Altar constructed on a terrace of the acropolis overlooking the ancient city of Pergamon.

    Unlike the Parthenon, it was not a temple but merely an altar, and designed according to the Ionic order of Greek Architecture.

    Lamentation over the Dead Christ

    “Lamentation over Dead Christ” by Niccolò dell’Arca is a 1463 sculptural group of seven terracotta figures is housed in the “Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita” a Baroque church in Bologna, Italy.

    The work is composed of life-size figures in terracotta displaying dramatic pathos. The expressions of grief and torment on the faces is intensified by the realism of their dramatic facial details.

    Christ is at the center lying with his head reclining on a pillow. Around him are the other figures, Mary of Cleophas and at the feet of Christ, Mary Magdalene, torn by pain with clothes swelled by the wind.

    The other figures are more composed, even as their faces show their pain and grief.

    Tutankhamun’s Mask

    Tutankhamun’s mask is the funerary mask of Tutankhamun, the 18th-dynasty Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who reigned 1332–1323 BC.

    It was discovered by Howard Carter in 1925 and is now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This mask is one of the most well-known works of art in the world.

    Tutankhamun’s burial chamber was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 and opened three years later.

    It would be another two years before the excavation team, led by the English archaeologist Howard Carter, was able to open the massive sarcophagus containing Tutankhamun’s mummy.

    A house altar showing Akhenaten and Nefertiti with their Children

    “Akhenaten and Nefertiti with their Children” is a small house shrine stele made of limestone. Akhenaton and Nefertiti are shown with the three of their daughters.

    Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. The body forms are depicted in relief, the overlong proportions, wide hips, thin legs, and the forwardly curved necks, are typical of the early Amarna artistic style.

    Probably used as a home altar, this historic depiction provides a rare opportunity to view a scene from the private life of the king and queen.

    The daughters are being held and caressed by their parents in the presence of their god Aten. Aten is in the center of the scene represented as a sun disc with sunrays ending in hands proffering ‘ank’-signs (life-signs) to the royal couple.

    The Rosetta Stone

    The Rosetta Stone is inscribed with three languages for the same decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC by King Ptolemy V.

    The top text is in Ancient Egyptian using the hieroglyphic script, the middle passage is Ancient Egyptian Demotic script, and the bottom is in Ancient Greek.

    As the decree is the same in all three versions, the Rosetta Stone provided the key to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.

    The reason for the Ancient Greek language is that the Rosetta Stone was carved during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

    Ptolemy was a Macedonian Greek who was one of Alexander the Great’s generals and was appointed the leader of Egypt after Alexander’s death in 323 BC.

    He established a royal family, which ruled the Kingdom of Egypt during its Hellenistic period, which lasted nearly 300 years.

    The Ptolemaic rulers introduced Greek to the Egyptian government bureaucracy. The last of the Ptolemaic dynasty was Queen Cleopatra.

    Quartzite Head of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III

    This Quartzite head of Amenhotep III has been carved with expert care. The eyeballs noticeably angled back from the top to the bottom lid so that they appear to look down at the viewer.

    The finishing polish was deliberately varied, from a glittering smoothness on the facial surfaces to less finish on the mouth and eyes, to quite rough surfaces on the brows.

    Amenhotep is shown with youthful-looking cheeks, broad, long, and somewhat narrow eyes and the lower lip, which curves up to the open corners of the mouth to produce the effect of a slight smile.

    Colossal Granite Statue of Amenhotep III

    This enormous red granite statue of Amenhotep III depicts the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

    This massive large fragment was created in 1370 BC, was found in the temple enclosure of Mut at Karnak in Egypt. The statue is made of red granite, and only the head and an arm are known to survive.

    Erected by King Amenhotep III, it is one of the many statues that he had ordered to be built in ancient Thebes (Luxor).

    The left arm is 3.30m long and terminates in a clenched fist, and the head is 2.90m high. The king’s statue would have stood with both arms straight down, holding containers for papyrus documents in his hand.

    The Sphinx of Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut means “Foremost of Noble Ladies.” She was one of only two female pharaohs in Ancient Egyptian history, who ruled as full Pharaoh not just as a regent for a younger male relative.

    She is the first significant female ruler in documented history. Born in 1507 BC, Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BC.

    Officially, she ruled jointly with Thutmose III, who had ascended to the throne the previous year as a child of about two years old.

    Hatshepsut declared herself king sometime between the ages 2 and 7 of the reign of her stepson and nephew, Thutmose III.

    Younger Memnon (Ramesses II)

    Younger Memnon is an Ancient Egyptian statue, one of two colossal granite heads from the Ramesseum mortuary temple in Thebes.

    It depicts Pharaoh Ramesses II wearing the Nemes head-dress with a cobra diadem on top. The damaged statue is one of a pair that initially flanked the Ramesseum’s doorway.

    The head of the other figure can be seen at the Ramesseum temple near Luxor.

    Mycenaean Terracotta Female Figures

    These Mycenaean figurines date back to about 1400 BC from Mycenaean Greece. Made of terracotta, they were found in tombs, children’s graves, shrines and across settlement areas.

    These terracotta female figures of ‘Phi’ and ‘Psi’ type derive the names from their shape and a resemblance to the Greek letters of psi (ψ) and phi (Φ). The Psi (ψ) figures hold their arms up high in some form of supplication.

    The phi (Φ) figures hold their hands in front of their body as representative figures to be honored. These Mycenaean terracotta female figures are modeled with breasts, facial features, and they wear painted enveloping garments.

    Capitoline Wolf

    The Capitoline Wolf represents the ancient legend of the founding of Rome. It is a bronze sculpture of the she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus.

    The wolf is depicted in a watchful pose with alert ears and glaring eyes watching. The human twins sculpted in a completely different style, are absorbed in their suckling.

    The She-wolf is the symbol of the city of Rome. It is one of the ancient symbols of Rome associated with its mythology and founding story. It is a symbol that can be seen throughout Italy and Rome.

    The Capitoline Wolf takes its name from where it is housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

    Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

    The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius depicts the famous Roman Emperor on horseback. The emperor is over life-size and extends his hand in a gesture used by emperors when addressing their army and legions.

    It is an image designed to portray the Emperor as victorious and all-conquering. It is believed that a conquered enemy had initially been part of the sculpture, based on accounts from medieval times.

    The reports suggest a figure of a bound barbarian chieftain once cowered underneath the horse’s front right leg. However, Marcus Aurelius is depicted without weapons or armor he is portrayed as a bringer of peace rather than a military hero.

    That is how Marcus Aurelius saw himself and his reign. The statue was erected ca. 175 AD, during the Marcus Aurelius’s reign, but its original location is unknown and debated.

    Boxer at Rest

    The “Boxer at Rest” is a Hellenistic Greek bronze sculpture of a sitting nude boxer at rest, still wearing his leather hand-wraps.

    The Boxer at Rest is one of the finest examples of bronze sculptures to have survived from the ancient world. Survival of bronze sculptures from 2,000 years ago is rare, as they were often melted down during times of strife and turbulence.

    This artwork comes from a period in Greek art when there is a movement away from idealized heroic depictions of the body and youth, and an exploration of emotional themes and greater realism.

    “Young Slave” by Michelangelo

    “Young Slave” by Michelangelo is a marble sculpture that started about 1525–1530. It is part of the “unfinished” series of prisoners called “Prigioni” in Italian “intended for the Tomb of Julius II.

    In the first version of the tomb of Julius II had a series of prisoners planned for the lowest level of the mausoleum.

    It was to be a series of more-than-life-size statues of chained figures in various poses, leaning on the pilasters which framed a set of niches, each of which would contain a “Winged Victory.”

    “Bearded Slave” by Michelangelo

    “Bearded Slave” by Michelangelo is a marble sculpture from about 1525–1530 and forms part of the series of “unfinished” Prigioni intended for the Tomb of Pope Julius II.

    In the first version of the tomb of Julius II had a series of prisoners or Prigioni” in Italian, planned for the lowest level of the mausoleum.

    It was to be a series of more-than-life-size statues of chained figures in various poses, leaning on the pilasters, which framed a set of niches.


    The origin of the name is unclear. Roman tradition maintained that it was related to Latin words connected to lightning (fulgur, fulgere, fulmen), which in turn was thought of as related to flames. [7] This interpretation is supported by Walter William Skeat in his etymological dictionary as meaning lustre. [8]

    It has been supposed that his name was not Latin but related to that of the Cretan god Velchanos, a god of nature and the nether world. [9] Wolfgang Meid has disputed this identification as phantastic. [10] Meid and Vasily Abaev have proposed on their side a matching theonym in the Ossetic legendary smith of the Nart saga Kurd-Alä-Wärgon ("the Alan smith Wärgon"), and postulated an original PIE smith god named *wl̩kānos. [11] But since the name in its normal form is stable and has a clear meaning—kurd ("smith") + on ("of the family") + Alaeg (the name of one of the Nartic families)—this hypothesis has been considered unacceptable by Dumezil. [12]

    Christian-Joseph Guyonvarc'h has proposed the identification with the Irish name Olcan (Ogamic Ulccagni, in the genitive). [ citation needed ] Gérard Capdeville finds a continuity between Cretan Minoan god Velchanos and Etruscan Velchans. The Minoan god's identity would be that of a young deity, master of fire and companion of the Great Goddess. [13]

    According to Martin L. West, Volcanus may represent a god of the fire named *Volca and attached to the suffix -no-, the typical appendage indicating the god's domain in Indo-European languages. *Volca could therefore be a cognate of the Sanskrit words ulkā ("darting flame") and/or várcas- ("brilliance, glare"). [11]

    Vulcan's oldest shrine in Rome, called the Vulcanal, was situated at the foot of the Capitoline in the Forum Romanum, and was reputed to date to the archaic period of the kings of Rome, [14] [15] and to have been established on the site by Titus Tatius, [16] the Sabine co-king, with a traditional date in the 8th century BC. It was the view of the Etruscan haruspices that a temple of Vulcan should be located outside the city, [17] and the Vulcanal may originally have been on or outside the city limits before they expanded to include the Capitoline Hill. [4] The Volcanalia sacrifice was offered here to Vulcan, on August 23. [14] Vulcan also had a temple on the Campus Martius, which was in existence by 214 BC. [4] [18]

    The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus. [19] Vulcan became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking. A fragment of a Greek pot showing Hephaestus found at the Volcanal has been dated to the 6th century BC, suggesting that the two gods were already associated at this date. [15] However, Vulcan had a stronger association than Hephaestus with fire's destructive capacity, and a major concern of his worshippers was to encourage the god to avert harmful fires.

    Observed byAncient Rome
    TypeRoman, Historical
    CelebrationsBonfires in honour of Vulcan
    ObservancesSacrifice of fish
    DateAugust 23rd

    The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia, was celebrated on August 23 each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries most at risk of burning. [4] [20] During the festival, bonfires were created in honour of the god, into which live fish or small animals were thrown as a sacrifice, to be consumed in the place of humans. [21]

    The Vulcanalia was part of the cycle of the four festivities of the second half of August (Consualia on August 21, Vulcanalia on 23, Opiconsivia on 25 and Vulturnalia on 27) related to the agrarian activities of that month and in symmetric correlation with those of the second half of July (Lucaria on July 19 and 21, Neptunalia on 23 and Furrinalia on 25). While the festivals of July dealt with untamed nature (woods) and waters (superficial waters the Neptunalia and underground waters the Furrinalia) at a time of danger caused by their relative deficiency, those of August were devoted to the results of human endeavour on nature with the storing of harvested grain (Consualia) and their relationship to human society and regality (Opiconsivia) which at that time were at risk and required protection from the dangers of the excessive strength of the two elements of fire (Vulcanalia) and wind (Vulturnalia) reinforced by dryness. [22]

    It is recorded that during the Vulcanalia people used to hang their clothes and fabrics under the sun. [23] This habit might reflect a theological connection between Vulcan and the divinized Sun. [24]

    Another custom observed on this day required that one should start working by the light of a candle, probably to propitiate a beneficial use of fire by the god. [25] In addition to the Vulcanalia of August 23, the date of May 23, which was the second of the two annual Tubilustria or ceremonies for the purification of trumpets, was sacred to Vulcan. [20] [26]

    The Ludi Vulcanalici, were held just once on August 23, 20 BC, within the temple precinct of Vulcan, and used by Augustus to mark the treaty with Parthia and the return of the legionary standards that had been lost at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC.

    A flamen, one of the flamines minors, named flamen Vulcanalis was in charge of the cult of the god. The flamen Vulcanalis officiated at a sacrifice to the goddess Maia, held every year at the Kalendae of May. [27]

    Vulcan was among the gods placated after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. [28] In response to the same fire, Domitian (emperor 81–96) established a new altar to Vulcan on the Quirinal Hill. At the same time a red bull-calf and red boar were added to the sacrifices made on the Vulcanalia, at least in that region of the city. [29]

    The nature of the god is connected with religious ideas concerning fire.

    The Roman concept of the god seems to associate him to both the destructive and the fertilizing powers of fire.

    In the first aspect he is worshipped in the Volcanalia to avert its potential danger to harvested wheat. His cult is located outside the boundaries of the original city to avoid the risk of fires caused by the god in the city itself. [30]

    This power is, however, considered useful if directed against enemies and such a choice for the location of the god's cult could be interpreted in this way too. The same idea underlies the dedication of the arms of the defeated enemies, [31] as well as those of the surviving general in a devotion ritual to the god. [32]

    Through comparative interpretation this aspect has been connected by Dumézil to the third or defensive fire in the theory of the three Vedic sacrificial fires. [33] In such theory three fires are necessary to the discharge of a religious ceremony: the hearth of the landlord, which has the function of establishing a referential on Earth in that precise location connecting it with Heaven the sacrificial fire, which conveys the offer to Heaven and the defensive fire, which is usually located on the southern boundary of the sacred space and has a protective function against evil influences. Since the territory of the city of Rome was seen as a magnified temple in itself, the three fires should be identified as the hearth of the landlord in the temple of Vesta (aedes Vestae) the sacrificial fires of each temple, shrine or altar and the defensive fire in the temple of Vulcan.

    Another meaning of Vulcan is related to male fertilizing power. In various Latin and Roman legends he is the father of famous characters, such as the founder of Praeneste Caeculus, [34] Cacus, [35] a primordial being or king, later transformed into a monster that inhabited the site of the Aventine in Rome, and Roman king Servius Tullius. In a variant of the story of the birth of Romulus the details are identical even though Vulcan is not explicitly mentioned. [36]

    Some scholars think that he might be the unknown god who impregnated goddesses Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste and Feronia at Anxur. In this case he would be the father of Jupiter. [37] This view is though in conflict with that which links the goddess to Jupiter, as his daughter (puer Jovis) and his mother too, as primigenia, meaning "primordial".

    In all of the above-mentioned stories the god's fertilizing power is related to that of the fire of the house hearth.

    In the case of Caeculus, his mother was impregnated by a spark that dropped on her womb from the hearth while she was sitting nearby. [38] Servius Tullius's mother Ocresia was impregnated by a male sex organ that miraculously appeared in the ashes of the sacrificial ara, at the order of Tanaquil, Tarquinius Priscus's wife. [39] Pliny the Elder tells the same story, but states that the father was the Lar familiaris. [40] The divinity of the child was recognized when his head was surrounded by flames and he remained unharmed. [41]

    Through the comparative analysis of these myths archaeologist Andrea Carandini opines that Cacus and Caca were the sons of Vulcan and of a local divine being or a virgin as in the case of Caeculus. Cacus and Caca would represent the metallurgic and the domestic fire, projections of Vulcan and of Vesta.

    These legends date back to the time of preurban Latium. Their meaning is quite clear: at the divine level Vulcan impregnates a virgin goddess and generates Jupiter, the king of the gods at the human level he impregnates a local virgin (perhaps of royal descent) and generates a king. [42]

    The first mention of a ritual connection between Vulcan and Vesta is the lectisternium of 217 BC. Other facts that seem to hint at this connection are the relative proximity of the two sanctuaries and Dionysius of Halicarnassus's testimony that both cults had been introduced to Rome by Titus Tatius to comply with a vow he had made in battle. [43] Varro confirms the fact. [44]

    Vulcan is related to two equally ancient female goddesses Stata Mater, [45] perhaps the goddess who stops fires and Maia. [46]

    Herbert Jennings Rose interprets Maia as a goddess related to growth by connecting her name with IE root *MAG. [47] Macrobius relates Cincius's opinion that Vulcan's female companion is Maia. Cincius justifies his view on the grounds that the flamen Volcanalis sacrificed to her at the Kalendae of May. In Piso's view the companion of the god is Maiestas. [48]

    According to Gellius as well, Maia was associated with Vulcan and he backs up his view by quoting the ritual prayers in use by Roman priests. [49] [50]

    The god is the patron of trades related to ovens (cooks, bakers, confectioners) as attested in the works of Plautus, [51] Apuleius (the god is the cook at the wedding of Amor and Psyche) [52] and in Vespa's short poem in the Anthologia Latina about the litigation between a cook and a baker. [53]

    According to Hyginus' Fabulae, the sons of Vulcan are Philammon, Cecrops, Erichthonius, Corynetes, Cercyon, Philottus, and Spinther. [54]

    The origin of the Roman god of fire Vulcan has been traced back to the Cretan god Velchanos by Gérard Capdeville, primarily under the suggestion of the close similarity of their names. [55] Cretan Velchanos is a young god of Mediterranean or Near Eastern origin who has mastership of fire and is the companion of the Great Goddess. These traits are preserved in Latium only in his sons Cacus, Caeculus, Romulus and Servius Tullius. At Praeneste the uncles of Caeculus are known as Digiti, [56] a noun that connects them to the Cretan Dactyli.

    His theology would be reflected in the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur and in those concerning the childhood of Zeus on Mount Ida. The Mediterranean Pregreek conception is apparent in the depiction of Velchanos as a young man sitting upon a fork of a tree on coins from Phaistos dating from 322 to 300 BC, showing him as a god of vegetation and springtime: the tree is the symbol of the union of Heaven and Earth and their generative power, i. e. the site of the union of the god and the goddess. Otherwise Earth would be symbolised in the tree and Heaven in the double axe of the god. Later Velchanos was depicted as a bull as testified in the myths of Pasiphae and Europa. The Greeks misunderstood the meaning of the bull as for them the symbol of Zeus was a bird: the cock, the cuckoo or the eagle. Theseus brought to Delos the dance named géranos (literally the dance of the crane) which Capdeville connects with Garanos, a variant of the Recaranus of Italic myths. B. Sergent remarks that such an inquiry needs to include the Tarvos Trigaranos (the bull of the three horns) of Gaul.

    In Crete, Velchanos was the god of initiatory practices of youngsters. [57]

    Another reflection of the tradition of the Cretan Velchanos-Zeus would be found in Argolid in the mysteries of Zeus Lykaios, which contemplated anthropophagy and may have inspired the Italic Lupercalia.

    The theological profile of Velchanos looks identical to that of Jupiter Dolichenus, a god of primarily Hittite ascendence in his identification with the bull, who has Sumero-Accadic, Aramaic and Hittito-Hurrite features as a god of tempest, according for example to the researches conducted in Syria by French scholar Paul Merlat. His cult enjoyed a period of popularity in the Roman Empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries and the god had a temple in Rome on the Aventine. [58]

    Velchanos was the supreme god of early Cretan religion, where the festival of the βελχάνια (Velchania) as well as a month Ϝελχάνιοσ (Welchanios) are attested: a gloss by Hesychius states that "Velchanos is Zeus among the Cretan". [59] He was the first god of the cavern of Mount Ida, where he had an oracle, and was honoured also in Cyprus.

    His name is very similar to that of Latin god Volcanus, who himself was considered to be the father of Caeculus and Servius Tullius, not to mention Romulus in the version transmitted by Promathion, which is very similar to the legend of Servius.

    The founder of Rome has a close relationship with this god as he founded the Volcanal and there he dedicated a quadriga with his own statue after his first victory. It is there too that a part of the tradition locates the place of his death: the site was marked by the Lapis Niger: Festus writes "Niger lapis in Comitio locum funestum significat, ut ali, Romuli morti destinatum. ". On the day of the Volcanalia (August 23) a sacrifice was offered to Hora Quirini, paredra of Quirinus with whom the deified Romulus was identified. As the Consualia were mentioned first in connection with the founding of Rome in the episode of the abduction of the Sabine women, as the Volcanalia are celebrated two days later and two days before the Opiconsivia, and as the name Volcanus resembles that of the ancient Cretan god honoured in the Βελχ?νια who presided over initiation rites, the Consualia must have a meaning of integration into the citizenship. This provides an explanation for the choice of the festival of the Parilia as the date of the foundation of Rome, since these are first of all the festival of the iuniores. Festus writes: "Parilibus Romulus Vrbem condidit, quem diem festum praecipue habebant iuniores." The date of April 21 marked the starting point of the process of initiation of the future new citizens which concluded four months later on the ceremony of the Consualia, which involves athletic games and marriages. [60]

    Through his identification with the Hephaestus of Greek mythology, Vulcan came to be considered as the manufacturer of art, arms, iron, jewelry, and armor for various gods and heroes, including the lightning bolts of Jupiter. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the husband of Maia and Aphrodite (Venus). His smithy was believed to be situated underneath Mount Etna in Sicily.

    As the son of Jupiter, the king of the gods, and Juno, the queen of the gods, Vulcan should have been quite handsome, but baby Vulcan was small and ugly with a red, bawling face. Juno was so horrified that she hurled the tiny baby off the top of Mount Olympus.

    Vulcan fell down for a day and a night, landing in the sea. Unfortunately, one of his legs broke as he hit the water, and never developed properly. Vulcan sank to the depths of the ocean, where the sea-nymph Thetis found him and took him to her underwater grotto, wanting to raise him as her own son.

    Vulcan had a happy childhood with dolphins as his playmates and pearls as his toys. Late in his childhood, he found the remains of a fisherman's fire on the beach and became fascinated with an unextinguished coal, still red-hot and glowing.

    Vulcan carefully shut this precious coal in a clamshell, took it back to his underwater grotto, and made a fire with it. On the first day after that, Vulcan stared at this fire for hours on end. On the second day, he discovered that when he made the fire hotter with bellows, certain stones sweated iron, silver or gold. On the third day he beat the cooled metal into shapes: bracelets, chains, swords and shields. Vulcan made pearl-handled knives and spoons for his foster mother, and for himself he made a silver chariot with bridles so that seahorses could transport him quickly. He even made slave-girls of gold to wait on him and do his bidding.

    Later, Thetis left her underwater grotto to attend a dinner party on Mount Olympus wearing a beautiful necklace of silver and sapphires that Vulcan had made for her. Juno admired the necklace and asked where she could get one. Thetis became flustered, causing Juno to become suspicious and, at last, the queen god discovered the truth: the baby she had once rejected had grown into a talented blacksmith.

    Juno was furious and demanded that Vulcan return home, a demand that he refused. However, he did send Juno a beautifully constructed chair made of silver and gold, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Juno was delighted with this gift but, as soon as she sat in it her weight triggered hidden springs and metal bands sprung forth to hold her fast. The chair was a cleverly designed trap. It was Jupiter who finally saved the day: he promised that if Vulcan released Juno he would give him a wife, Venus the goddess of love and beauty. Vulcan agreed and married Venus. [61]

    Vulcan later built a smithy under Mount Etna on the island of Sicily. It was said that whenever Venus was unfaithful, Vulcan grew angry and beat the red-hot metal with such a force that sparks and smoke rose up from the top of the mountain, creating a volcanic eruption. [62]

    According to Virgil, Vulcan was the father of Caeculus. [63]

    To punish mankind for stealing the secrets of fire, Jupiter ordered the other gods to make a poisoned gift for man. Vulcan's contribution to the beautiful and foolish Pandora was to mould her from clay and to give her form. He also made the thrones for the other gods on Mount Olympus.

    The main and most ancient sanctuary of Vulcan in Rome was the Volcanal, located in the area Volcani, an open-air space at the foot of the Capitolium, in the northwestern corner of the Roman Forum, with an area dedicated to the god and a perennial fire. It was one of the most ancient Roman shrines. [64] According to Roman tradititon the sanctuary had been dedicated by Romulus. He had placed on the site a bronze quadriga dedicated to the god, a war trophy from the Fidenates. According to Plutarch, though, the war in question was that against Cameria, that occurred sixteen years after the foundation of Rome. [65] There Romulus would have also dedicated to Vulcan a statue of himself and an inscription in Greek characters listing his successes. [66] Plutarch states that Romulus was represented crowned by Victory. [65] Moreover, he would have planted a sacred lotus tree [67] in the sanctuary that was still living at the time of Pliny the Elder and was said to be as old as the city. [68] The hypothesis has been presented that the Volcanal was founded when the Forum was still outside the town walls. [69]

    The Volcanal was perhaps used as a cremation site, as suggested by the early use of the Forum as a burial site. [70] Livy mentions it twice, in 189 and 181 BC, for the prodigies of a rain of blood. [71]

    The area Volcani was probably a locus substructus. It was five meters higher than the Comitium [72] and from it the kings and the magistrates of the beginnings of the republic addressed the people, before the building of the rostra. [73]

    On the Volcanal there was also a statue of Horatius Cocles [74] that had been moved here from the Comitium, locus inferior, after it had been struck by lightning. Aulus Gellius writes that some haruspices were summoned to expiate the prodigy and they had it moved to a lower site, where sunlight never reached, out of their hatred for the Romans. The fraud was revealed, however, and the haruspices were executed. Later it was found that the statue should be placed on a higher site, thus it was placed in the area Volcani. [75]

    In 304 BC a sacellum to Concordia was built in the area Volcani: it was dedicated by aedilis curulis Cnaeus Flavius. [76]

    According to Samuel Ball Platner, in the course of time the Volcanal would have been more and more encroached upon by the surrounding buildings until it was totally covered over. Nonetheless the cult was still alive in the first half of the imperial era, as is testified by the finding of a dedica of Augustus's dating from 9 BC. [77]

    At the beginning of the 20th century, behind the Arch of Septimius Severus were found some ancient tufaceous foundations that probably belonged to the Volcanal and traces of a rocky platform, 3.95 meters long and 2.80 meters wide, that had been covered with concrete and painted in red. Into its upper surface are dug several narrow channels and in front of it are the remains of a draining channel made of tufaceous slabs. The hypothesis has been suggested that this was Vulcan's area itself. The rock shows signs of damages and repairs. On the surface there are some hollows, either round or square, that bear resemblance to graves and were interpreted as such in the past, [78] particularly by Von Duhn. After the discovery of cremation tombs in the Forum the latter scholar maintained that the Volcanal was originally the site where corpses were cremated. [79]

    Another temple was erected to the god before 215 BC in the Campus Martius, near the Circus Flaminius, where games in his honour were held during the festival of the Volcanalia. [69]

    At Ostia the cult of the god, as well as his sacerdos, was the most important of the town. The sacerdos was named pontifex Vulcani et aedium sacrarum: he had under his jurisdiction all the sacred buildings in town and could give or withhold the authorisation to erect new statues to Eastern divinities. He was chosen for life, perhaps by the council of the decuriones, and his position was the equivalent of the pontifex maximus in Rome. It was the highest administrative position in the town of Ostia.

    He was selected from among people who had already held public office in Ostia or in the imperial administration. The pontifex was the sole authority who had a number of subordinate officials to help discharge his duties, namely three praetores and two or three aediles. These were religious offices, different from civil offices of similar name. [80]

    On the grounds of a fragmentary inscription found at Annaba (ancient Hippo Regius), it is considered possible that the writer Suetonius had held this office. [81]

    From Strabon [82] we know that at Pozzuoli there was an area called in Greek agora' of Hephaistos (Lat. Forum Vulcani). The place is a plain where many sulphurous vapour outlets are located (currently Solfatara).

    Pliny the Elder records that near Modena fire came out from soil statis Vulcano diebus, on fixed days devoted to Vulcan. [83]

    Vulcan is the patron god of the English steel-making city of Sheffield. His statue stands on top of Sheffield Town Hall. [ citation needed ]

    The Vulcan statue located in Birmingham, Alabama is the largest cast iron statue in the world. [84]

    The word volcano is derived from the name of Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn originates from Vulcan. [ citation needed ]

    A 12-foot-tall and 1200-pound Vulcan statue at California University of Pennsylvania serves as the school's mascot. [85]

    In 2013, Reuters reported that the name "Vulcan" was being promoted as a name for "newly discovered" moons of Pluto. [86] The moons had been discovered in 2011 and 2012, bringing the count of known moons of Pluto to five. Though the name Vulcan won a popular vote, the International Astronomical Union decided in June 2013 to finalize the names as Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. [87]

    The name "Vulcan" has been used for various other fictional planets, in and out of the Solar System, that do not correspond to the hypothetical planet Vulcan, theorized by Urbain Le Verrier shortly after his discovery of Neptune to orbit the Sun closer in than Mercury. The planet Vulcan in the Star Trek franchise, for instance, is specified as orbiting 40 Eridani A.

    Vulcan is a playable character in Smite, an online MOBA where Gods fight each other.

    Vulcan is a main character in the novel The Automation by B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler. His role is often a "deus ex machina" one, but he and his wife (called Venus) are still essential to the overall plot. [88] [89]

    Vulcan is the main character Tatsuya Suou's starting Persona in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. [ citation needed ]

    The Avro Vulcan (later Hawker Siddeley Vulcan) was a high-altitude strategic bomber operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. [ citation needed ]

    Vulcan is a character in the Starz TV series American Gods, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. He is not a character in the novel and is now the "god of guns" in this version, using the forge at his ammunition factory as a symbolic representation of a volcano. [90]

    Vulcan is a character in the John Prine song, "The Lonesome Gods of Science" from his last album, The Tree of Forgiveness released in 2018. [91]

    One of Warhammer 40.000's most recurring characters, Vulkan, is inspired by him. He is also related to volcanoes and fire.


    Prehistory and founding myths Edit

    Neolithic pottery suggests that the site of Corinth was occupied from at least as early as 6500 BC, and continually occupied into the Early Bronze Age, [2] when, it has been suggested, the settlement acted as a centre of trade. [3] However, there is a dramatic drop in ceramic remains during the Early Helladic II phase and only sparse ceramic remains in the EHIII and MH phases thus, it appears that the area was very sparsely inhabited in the period immediately before the Mycenaean period. There was a settlement on the coast near Lechaion which traded across the Corinthian Gulf the site of Corinth itself was likely not heavily occupied again until around 900 BC, when it is believed that the Dorians settled there. [4]

    According to Corinthian myth as reported by Pausanias, the city was founded by Corinthos, a descendant of the god Zeus. [5] However, other myths suggest that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, a daughter of the Titan Oceanus, thus the ancient name of the city (also Ephyra).

    Some ancient names for the place are derived from a pre-Greek "Pelasgian" language, such as Korinthos. It seems likely that Corinth was also the site of a Bronze Age Mycenaean palace-city, like Mycenae, Tiryns, or Pylos. According to myth, Sisyphus was the founder of a race of ancient kings at Corinth. It was also in Corinth that Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, abandoned Medea. [6] During the Trojan War, as portrayed in the Iliad, the Corinthians participated under the leadership of Agamemnon.

    In a Corinthian myth recounted to Pausanias in the 2nd century AD, [7] Briareus, one of the Hecatonchires, was the arbitrator in a dispute between Poseidon and Helios, between the sea and the sun. His verdict was that the Isthmus of Corinth belonged to Poseidon and the acropolis of Corinth (Acrocorinth) belonged to Helios. Thus, Greeks of the Classical age accounted for the archaic cult of the sun-titan in the highest part of the site. [ citation needed ]

    The Upper Peirene spring is located within the walls of the acropolis. "The spring, which is behind the temple, they say was the gift of Asopus to Sisyphus. The latter knew, so runs the legend, that Zeus had ravished Aegina, the daughter of Asopus, but refused to give information to the seeker before he had a spring given him on the Acrocorinthus." (Pausanias, 2.5.1). [8] According to legend, the winged horse Pegasus drank at the spring, [9] and was captured and tamed by the Corinthian hero Bellerophon.

    Corinth under the Bacchiadae Edit

    Corinth had been a backwater in 8th-century Greece. [10] The Bacchiadae (Ancient Greek: Βακχιάδαι Bakkhiadai) were a tightly-knit Doric clan and the ruling kinship group of archaic Corinth in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, a period of expanding Corinthian cultural power. In 747 BC (a traditional date), an aristocratic ousted the Bacchiadai Prytaneis and reinstituted the kingship, about the time the Kingdom of Lydia (the endonymic Basileia Sfard) was at its greatest, coinciding with the ascent of Basileus Meles, King of Lydia. The Bacchiadae, numbering perhaps a couple of hundred adult males, took power from the last king Telestes (from the House of Sisyphos) in Corinth). [11] The Bacchiads dispensed with kingship and ruled as a group, governing the city by annually electing a prytanis (who held the kingly position [12] for his brief term), [13] probably a council (though none is specifically documented in the scant literary materials), and a polemarchos to head the army.

    During Bacchiad rule from 747 to 650 BC, Corinth became a unified state. Large scale public buildings and monuments were constructed at this time. In 733 BC, Corinth established colonies at Corcyra and Syracuse. By 730 BC, Corinth emerged as a highly advanced Greek city with at least 5,000 people. [14]

    Aristotle tells the story of Philolaus of Corinth, a Bacchiad who was a lawgiver at Thebes. He became the lover of Diocles, the winner of the Olympic games. They both lived for the rest of their lives in Thebes. Their tombs were built near one another and Philolaus' tomb points toward the Corinthian country, while Diocles' faces away. [15]

    In 657 BC, polemarch Cypselus obtained an oracle from Delphi which he interpreted to mean that he should rule the city. [16] He seized power and exiled the Bacchiadae. [17]

    Corinth under the tyrants Edit

    Cypselus or Kypselos (Greek: Κύψελος ) was the first tyrant of Corinth in the 7th century BC. From 658–628 BC, he removed the Bacchiad aristocracy from power and ruled for three decades. He built temples to Apollo and Poseidon in 650 BC.

    Aristotle reports that "Cypselus of Corinth had made a vow that if he became master of the city, he would offer to Zeus the entire property of the Corinthians. Accordingly, he commanded them to make a return of their possessions." [18]

    The city sent forth colonists to found new settlements in the 7th century BC, under the rule of Cypselus (r. 657–627 BC) and his son Periander (r. 627–587 BC). Those settlements were Epidamnus (modern day Durrës, Albania), Syracuse, Ambracia, Corcyra (modern day town of Corfu), and Anactorium. Periander also founded Apollonia in Illyria (modern day Fier, Albania) and Potidaea (in Chalcidice). Corinth was also one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities to found the colony of Naukratis in Ancient Egypt, founded to accommodate the increasing trade volume between the Greek world and pharaonic Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Psammetichus I of the 26th Dynasty.

    Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings, with increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures. Corinth led the way as the richest archaic polis. [19] The tyrants usually seized power at the head of some popular support, like the signori of late medieval and Renaissance Italy. Often the tyrants calmed the populace by upholding existing laws and customs and strict conservatism in cult practices. A cult of personality naturally substituted for the divine right of the former legitimate royal house, as it did in Renaissance Italy.

    Cypselus was the son of Eëtion and a disfigured woman named Labda. He was a member of the Bacchiad kin and usurped the power in archaic matriarchal right of his mother.

    According to Herodotus, the Bacchiadae heard two prophecies from the Delphic oracle that the son of Eëtion would overthrow their dynasty, and they planned to kill the baby once he was born. However, the newborn smiled at each of the men sent to kill him, and none of them could bear to strike the blow.

    Labda then hid the baby in a chest, [20] and the men could not find him once they had composed themselves and returned to kill him. (Compare the infancy of Perseus.) The ivory chest of Cypselus was richly worked and adorned with gold. It was a votive offering at Olympia, where Pausanias gave it a minute description in his 2nd century AD travel guide. [21]

    Cypselus grew up and fulfilled the prophecy. Corinth had been involved in wars with Argos and Corcyra, and the Corinthians were unhappy with their rulers. Cypselus was polemarch at the time (around 657 BC), the archon in charge of the military, and he used his influence with the soldiers to expel the king. He also expelled his other enemies, but allowed them to set up colonies in northwestern Greece. He also increased trade with the colonies in Italy and Sicily. He was a popular ruler and, unlike many later tyrants, he did not need a bodyguard and died a natural death.

    He ruled for thirty years and was succeeded as tyrant by his son Periander in 627 BC. [22] The treasury that Cypselus built at Delphi was apparently still standing in the time of Herodotus, and the chest of Cypselus was seen by Pausanias at Olympia in the 2nd century AD. Periander brought Corcyra to order in 600 BC.

    Periander was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. [23] During his reign, the first Corinthian coins were struck. He was the first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs. He abandoned the venture due to the extreme technical difficulties that he met, but he created the Diolkos instead (a stone-built overland ramp). The era of the Cypselids was Corinth's golden age, and ended with Periander's nephew Psammetichus, named after the hellenophile Egyptian Pharaoh Psammetichus I (see above).

    Periander killed his wife Melissa. His son Lycophron found out and shunned him, and Periander exiled the son to Corcyra. [24] Periander later wanted Lycophron to replace him as ruler of Corinth, and convinced him to come home to Corinth on the condition that Periander go to Corcyra. The Corcyreans heard about this and killed Lycophron to keep away Periander. [25] [26]

    Archaic Corinth after the tyrants Edit

    581 BC: Periander's nephew and successor was assassinated, ending the tyranny.

    581 BC: the Isthmian Games were established by leading families.

    570 BC: the inhabitants started to use silver coins called 'colts' or 'foals'.

    550 BC: Construction of the Temple of Apollo at Corinth (early third quarter of the 6th century BC). [27]

    550 BC: Corinth allied with Sparta.

    525 BC: Corinth formed a conciliatory alliance with Sparta against Argos.

    519 BC: Corinth mediated between Athens and Thebes.

    Around 500 BC: Athenians and Corinthians entreated Spartans not to harm Athens by restoring the tyrant. [28]

    Just before the classical period, according to Thucydides, the Corinthians developed the trireme which became the standard warship of the Mediterranean until the late Roman period. Corinth fought the first naval battle on record against the Hellenic city of Corcyra. [29] The Corinthians were also known for their wealth due to their strategic location on the isthmus, through which all land traffic had to pass en route to the Peloponnese, including messengers and traders. [30]

    Classical Corinth Edit

    In classical times, Corinth rivaled Athens and Thebes in wealth, based on the Isthmian traffic and trade. Until the mid-6th century, Corinth was a major exporter of black-figure pottery to city-states around the Greek world, later losing their market to Athenian artisans.

    In classical times and earlier, Corinth had a temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, employing some thousand hetairas (temple prostitutes) (see also Temple prostitution in Corinth). The city was renowned for these temple prostitutes, who served the wealthy merchants and the powerful officials who frequented the city. Lais, the most famous hetaira, was said to charge tremendous fees for her extraordinary favours. Referring to the city's exorbitant luxuries, Horace is quoted as saying: "non licet omnibus adire Corinthum" ("Not everyone is able to go to Corinth"). [31]

    Corinth was also the host of the Isthmian Games. During this era, Corinthians developed the Corinthian order, the third main style of classical architecture after the Doric and the Ionic. The Corinthian order was the most complicated of the three, showing the city's wealth and the luxurious lifestyle, while the Doric order evoked the rigorous simplicity of the Spartans, and the Ionic was a harmonious balance between these two following the cosmopolitan philosophy of Ionians like the Athenians.

    The city had two main ports: to the west on the Corinthian Gulf lay Lechaion, which connected the city to its western colonies (Greek: apoikiai) and Magna Graecia, while to the east on the Saronic Gulf the port of Kenchreai served the ships coming from Athens, Ionia, Cyprus and the Levant. Both ports had docks for the city's large navy.

    In 491 BC, Corinth mediated between Syracuse and Gela in Sicily.

    During the years 481–480 BC, the Conference at the Isthmus of Corinth (following conferences at Sparta) established the Hellenic League, which allied under the Spartans to fight the war against Persia. The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, sending 400 soldiers to defend Thermopylae [32] and supplying forty warships for the Battle of Salamis under Adeimantos and 5,000 hoplites with their characteristic Corinthian helmets [ citation needed ] ) in the following Battle of Plataea. The Greeks obtained the surrender of Theban collaborators with the Persians. Pausanias took them to Corinth where they were put to death. [33]

    Following the Battle of Thermopylae and the subsequent Battle of Artemisium, which resulted in the captures of Euboea, Boeotia, and Attica, [34] the Greco-Persian Wars were at a point where now most of mainland Greece to the north of the Isthmus of Corinth had been overrun. [35]

    Herodotus, who was believed to dislike the Corinthians, mentions that they were considered the second best fighters after the Athenians. [36]

    In 458 BC, Corinth was defeated by Athens at Megara.

    Peloponnesian War Edit

    In 435 BC, Corinth and its colony Corcyra went to war over Epidamnus. [37] In 433 BC, Athens allied with Corcyra against Corinth. [38] The Corinthian war against the Corcyrans was the largest naval battle between Greek city states until that time. [39] In 431 BC, one of the factors leading to the Peloponnesian War was the dispute between Corinth and Athens over Corcyra, which probably stemmed from the traditional trade rivalry between the two cities.

    Three Syracusan generals went to Corinth seeking allies against Athenian invasion. [40] The Corinthians "voted at once to aid [the Syracusans] heart and soul". They also sent a group to Lacedaemon to rouse Spartan assistance. After a convincing speech from the Athenian renegade Alcibiades, the Spartans agreed to send troops to aid the Sicilians. [41]

    In 404 BC, Sparta refused to destroy Athens, angering the Corinthians. Corinth joined Argos, Boeotia, and Athens against Sparta in the Corinthian War. [ citation needed ] [ clarification needed ]

    Demosthenes later used this history in a plea for magnanimous statecraft, noting that the Athenians of yesteryear had had good reason to hate the Corinthians and Thebans for their conduct during the Peloponnesian War, [42] yet they bore no malice whatever. [43]

    Corinthian War Edit

    In 395 BC, after the end of the Peloponnesian War, Corinth and Thebes, dissatisfied with the hegemony of their Spartan allies, moved to support Athens against Sparta in the Corinthian War. [44] [45]

    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. [46]

    379–323 BC Edit

    In 379 BC, Corinth, switching back to the Peloponnesian League, joined Sparta in an attempt to defeat Thebes and eventually take over Athens. [ citation needed ] [ clarification needed ]

    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.

    Demosthenes recounts how Athens had fought the Spartans in a great battle near Corinth. The city decided not to harbor the defeated Athenian troops, but instead sent heralds to the Spartans. But the Corinthian heralds opened their gates to the defeated Athenians and saved them. 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.” [47]

    These conflicts further weakened the city-states of the Peloponnese and set the stage for the conquests of Philip II of Macedon.

    Demosthenes warned that Philip's military force exceeded that of Athens and thus they must develop a tactical advantage. He noted the importance of a citizen army as opposed to a mercenary force, citing the mercenaries of Corinth who fought alongside citizens and defeated the Spartans. [48]

    In 338 BC, after having defeated Athens and its allies, Philip II created the League of Corinth to unite Greece (included Corinth and Macedonia) in the war against Persia. Philip was named hegemon of the League.

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

    Hellenistic period Edit

    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 308 BC, the city was captured from the Antigonids by Ptolemy I, who claimed to come as a liberator of Greece from the Antigonids. However, the city was recaptured by Demetrius in 304 BC. [49]

    Corinth remained under Antigonid control for half a century. After 280 BC, it was ruled by the faithful governor Craterus but, in 253/2 BC, his son Alexander of Corinth, moved by Ptolemaic subsidies, resolved to challenge the Macedonian supremacy and seek independence as a tyrant. He was probably poisoned in 247 BC after his death, the Macedonian king Antigonus II Gonatas retook the city in the winter of 245/44 BC.

    The Macedonian rule was short-lived. In 243 BC, Aratus of Sicyon, using a surprise attack, captured the fortress of Acrocorinth and convinced the citizenship to join the Achaean League.

    Thanks to an alliance agreement with Aratus, the Macedonians recovered Corinth once again in 224 BC but, after the Roman intervention in 197 BC, the city was permanently brought into the Achaean League. Under the leadership of Philopoemen, the Achaeans went on to take control of the entire Peloponnesus and made Corinth the capital of their confederation. [50]

    Roman era Edit

    Under the Romans, Corinth was rebuilt as a major city in Southern Greece or Achaia. It had a large [52] mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews. The city was an important locus for activities of the imperial cult, and both Temple E [53] and the Julian Basilica [54] have been suggested as locations of imperial cult activity.

    Biblical Corinth Edit

    Corinth is mentioned many times in the New Testament, largely in connection with Paul the Apostle's mission there, testifying to the success of Caesar's refounding of the city. Traditionally, the Church of Corinth is believed to have been founded by Paul, making it an Apostolic See.

    The apostle Paul first visited the city in AD 49 or 50, when Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Achaia. [55] Paul resided here for eighteen months (see Acts 18:11). Here he first became acquainted with Priscilla and Aquila with whom he later traveled. They worked here together as tentmakers (from which is derived the modern Christian concept of tentmaking), and regularly attended the synagogue. In AD 51/52, Gallio presided over the trial of the Apostle Paul in Corinth. This event provides a secure date for the book of the Acts of the Apostles within the Bible. Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul here, having last seen him in Berea (Acts 18:5). Acts 18:6 suggests that Jewish refusal to accept his preaching here led Paul to resolve no longer to speak in the synagogues where he travelled: 'From now on I will go to the Gentiles'. [56] However, on his arrival in Ephesus (Acts 18:19), the narrative records that Paul went to the synagogue to preach.

    Paul wrote at least two epistles to the Christian church, the First Epistle to the Corinthians (written from Ephesus) and the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (written from Macedonia). The first Epistle occasionally reflects the conflict between the thriving Christian church and the surrounding community.

    Some scholars believe that Paul visited Corinth for an intermediate "painful visit" (see 2 Corinthians 2:1) between the first and second epistles. After writing the second epistle, he stayed in Corinth for about three months [Acts 20:3] in the late winter, and there wrote his Epistle to the Romans. [57]

    Based on clues within the Corinthian epistles themselves, some scholars have concluded that Paul wrote possibly as many as four epistles to the church at Corinth. [58] Only two are contained within the Christian canon (First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians) the other two letters are lost. (The lost letters would probably represent the very first letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians and the third one, and so the First and Second Letters of the canon would be the second and the fourth if four were written.) Many scholars think that the third one (known as the "letter of the tears" see 2 Cor 2:4) is included inside the canonical Second Epistle to the Corinthians (it would be chapters 10–13). This letter is not to be confused with the so-called "Third Epistle to the Corinthians", which is a pseudepigraphical letter written many years after the death of Paul.

    There are speculations from Bruce Winter that the Jewish access to their own food in Corinth was disallowed after Paul's departure. By this theory, Paul had instructed Christian Gentiles to maintain Jewish access to food according to their dietary laws. This speculation is contested by Rudolph who argues that there is no evidence to support this theory. He instead argues that Paul had desired the Gentile Christians to remain assimilated within their Gentile communities and not adopt Jewish dietary procedures. [59]

    Byzantine era Edit

    The city was largely destroyed in the earthquakes of AD 365 and AD 375, followed by Alaric's invasion in 396. The city was rebuilt after these disasters on a monumental scale, but covered a much smaller area than previously. Four churches were located in the city proper, another on the citadel of the Acrocorinth, and a monumental basilica at the port of Lechaion. [60]

    During the reign of Emperor Justinian I (527–565), a large stone wall was erected from the Saronic to the Corinthian gulfs, protecting the city and the Peloponnese peninsula from the barbarian invasions from the north. The stone wall was about six miles (10 km) long and was named Hexamilion ("six-miles").

    Corinth declined from the 6th century on, and may even have fallen to barbarian invaders in the early 7th century. The main settlement moved from the lower city to the Acrocorinth. Despite its becoming the capital of the theme of Hellas and, after c. 800, of the theme of the Peloponnese, it was not until the 9th century that the city began to recover, reaching its apogee in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was the site of a flourishing silk industry. [60]

    In November 856, an earthquake in Corinth killed an estimated 45,000. [61]

    The wealth of the city attracted the attention of the Italo-Normans under Roger of Sicily, who plundered it in 1147, carrying off many captives, most notably silk weavers. The city never fully recovered from the Norman sack. [60]

    Principality of Achaea Edit

    Following the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, a group of Crusaders under the French knights William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin carried out the conquest of the Peloponnese. The Corinthians resisted the Frankish conquest from their stronghold in Acrocorinth, under the command of Leo Sgouros, from 1205 until 1210. In 1208 Leo Sgouros killed himself by riding off the top of Acrocorinth, but resistance continued for two more years. Finally, in 1210 the fortress fell to the Crusaders, and Corinth became a full part of the Principality of Achaea, governed by the Villehardouins from their capital in Andravida in Elis. Corinth was the last significant town of Achaea on its northern borders with another crusader state, the Duchy of Athens. The Ottomans captured the city in 1395. The Byzantines of the Despotate of the Morea recaptured it in 1403, and the Despot Theodore II Palaiologos, restored the Hexamilion wall across the Isthmus of Corinth in 1415.

    Ottoman rule Edit

    In 1458, five years after the final Fall of Constantinople, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire conquered the city and its mighty castle. The Ottomans renamed it Gördes and made it a sanjak (district) centre within the Rumelia Eyalet. The Venetians captured the city in 1687 during the Morean War, and it remained under Venetian control until the Ottomans retook the city in 1715. Corinth was the capital of the Mora Eyalet in 1715–1731 and then again a sanjak capital until 1821.

    Independence Edit

    During the Greek War of Independence, 1821–1830 the city was contested by the Ottoman forces. The city was officially liberated in 1832 after the Treaty of London. In 1833, the site was considered among the candidates for the new capital city of the recently founded Kingdom of Greece, due to its historical significance and strategic position. Nafplio was chosen initially, then Athens.

    In 1858, the village surrounding the ruins of Ancient Corinth was destroyed by an earthquake, leading to the establishment of New Corinth 3 km (1.9 mi) NE of the ancient city.

    Acrocorinth, the acropolis Edit

    Acrocorinthis, the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock that was continuously occupied from archaic times to the early 19th century. The city's archaic acropolis, already an easily defensible position due to its geomorphology, was further heavily fortified during the Byzantine Empire as it became the seat of the strategos of the Thema of Hellas. Later it was a fortress of the Franks after the Fourth Crusade, the Venetians and the Ottoman Turks. With its secure water supply, Acrocorinth's fortress was used as the last line of defense in southern Greece because it commanded the isthmus of Corinth, repelling foes from entry into the Peloponnesian peninsula. Three circuit walls formed the man-made defense of the hill. The highest peak on the site was home to a temple to Aphrodite which was Christianized as a church, and then became a mosque. The American School began excavations on it in 1929. Currently, Acrocorinth is one of the most important medieval castle sites of Greece.

    Two ports: Lechaeum and Cenchreae Edit

    Corinth had two harbours: Lechaeum on the Corinthian Gulf and Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf. Lechaeum was the principal port, connected to the city with a set of long walls of about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) length, and was the main trading station for Italy and Sicily, where there were many Corinthian colonies, while Cenchreae served the commerce with the Eastern Mediterranean. Ships could be transported between the two harbours by means of the diolkos constructed by the tyrant Periander.

    Ruins Thought to Be Port Actually Buried Greek City (Video)

    The ancient Roman city of Pompeii is a tragic story – destroyed in 79 AD by an eruption from Mount Vesuvius killing an estimated 16,000 people.

    Now, scientists are saying they’ve found an “underwater Pompeii,” although no one is sure what caused this city’s demise. The ruins are located off the coast of Delos, a Greek island.

    The settlement sank to the bottom of the Aegean Sea, and archaeologists have now found pottery remains and collapsed buildings in the water. The pottery remains are where the Pompeii comparisons come in because researchers found similar workshops in the ancient ruins off the Italians coast.

    This Greek island itself has an interesting history. In Greek mythology, the God of the sun, music and various other things, Apollo, was born on Delos. He was the son of Zeus. And according to the “Rough Guide to Greece,” to add to Delos’ quirkiness, no one was allowed to die or give birth on the island.

    Given the island’s history, it has long been an important historic site. Before the “underwater Pompeii” findings, the ruins were just thought to be a port. Archaeologists are planning further research.

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