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At the time of Paul’s visits to Corinth it was a thriving commercial city of over 200,000 people.
Corinth was situated in the northeastern corner of the Peloponnese — very near the narrow land bridge (isthmus) that connected the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece. Its strategic location was enhanced due to its proximity to the diolkos — the stone-paved roadway that connected the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. By using this overland passageway, passengers and cargo avoided the difficult and time-consuming trip around the southern end of the Peloponnese.
The Isthmus of Corinth from the air. For comments on this image, see above. To Enlarge and/or Download Click on Image.
The Greek city of Corinth had been (partly) destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C., but the rebuilding process, as a Roman city, had begun by 44 B.C. For a long time it had been famous for its immorality (think prostitutes associated with the Temple of Aphrodite) and its commercial character. Its two harbors were Lechaion (Gulf of Corinth) and Cenchreae (Saronic Gulf). Every two years important games were held at nearby Isthmia.
Paul spent 18 months here on his second journey and maybe three months on his third. The letters of first and second Corinthians were written to the church here, and Paul probably wrote first and second Thessalonians and Romans while in Corinth.
To view important artifacts from Corinth, including the Erastus inscription, a menorah, and others, Click Here.
Excavations have been conducted at Corinth for over 100 years. Major finds have helped us understand the history and culture of the city that Paul spent so long ministering in. See the images included in this section and John McRay’s Archaeology and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991. To view for purchase Click Here.
Suggestion: You may also be interested in the images of the Corinth Canal, the diolkos, the port of Cenchreae, and the Acrocorinth.
One of my favorite sites in the Peloponnese area of Greece is the site of Nemea. Nemea is located only 11.6 mi. southwest of Corinth. There, one of the four PanHellenic festivals was held every two years in the stadium of Nemea. The other locations of these festivals were Delphi, Isthmia, and Olympia.
The Temple of Zeus at Nemea
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Nemea has been well-excavated and presented to the public. Its museum is outstanding for the extraordinary finds, and their presentation, contain therein. It is a shame that this place is slated for closing (!#$%@!) as the Greek government tries to balance its budget.
However (personal confession), on my typical trip to the Peloponnese, within the context of a 17 or 21 day trip, we typically do a day excursion from Athens where we visit the Diolkos, Corinth, Mycenae, and Cenchrea. Because of time (the Greeks close their archaeological sites at 3:00 PM —Ugh [more !#$@!]) and traffic constraints we have not visited Nemea in several years (sigh!!).
[Aside—how in the world can a tourist/academic group get to Corinth or Mycenae by the 8:00 AM opening time — what in the world are the guards/ticket takers doing at that time??? At sites like Corinth, Mycenae, and Nemea, why in the world don’t they open later and close later—hello??]
Heracles and the Nemean Lion — From Perga (Turkey)
Note on his left side the “skin” of the lion — its head and claws
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Nemea is also well known in Greek mythology as the site of the first of the twelve labors of Heracles (Herakles). Heracles was the son of the god Zeus and a mortal Alcmene. Although originally a mortal, he eventually attained divine status and was widely worshiped throughout Greece. As punishment for killing six of his children he had to perform 12 “labors” (= very difficult tasks). The first of which was to kill the Nemean Lion. He wrestled with the lion, strangled it, and subsequently used its pelt as a cloak.