2.4.6 – The Road to Acrocorinth

[6]ἀνιοῦσι δὲ ἐς τὸν Ἀκροκόρινθον—ἡ δέ ἐστιν ὄρους ὑπὲρ τὴν πόλιν κορυφή, Βριάρεω μὲν Ἡλίῳ δόντος αὐτήν ὅτε ἐδίκαζεν, Ἡλίου δὲ ὡς οἱ Κορίνθιοί φασιν Ἀφροδίτῃ παρέντος—ἐς δὴ τὸν Ἀκροκόρινθον τοῦτον ἀνιοῦσίν ἐστιν Ἴσιδος τεμένη, ὧν τὴν μὲν Πελαγίαν, τὴν δὲ Αἰγυπτίαν αὐτῶν ἐπονομάζουσιν, καὶ δύο Σαράπιδος, ἐν Κανώβῳ καλουμένου τὸ ἕτερον. μετὰ δὲ αὐτὰ Ἡλίῳ πεποίηνται βωμοί, καὶ Ἀνάγκης καὶ Βίας ἐστὶν ἱερόν: ἐσιέναι δὲ ἐς αὐτὸ οὐ νομίζουσιν.

  • Map
  • Pre Reading
  • Post Reading
  • Culture Essay

Acrocorinth, the acropolis of ancient Corinth, sits at a height of 575 m (1886 ft), much higher than the acropolis at Athens.  It remains high above the plain because it is composed of a limestone cap that protects a layer of softer red shale beneath it; the rest of the valley was composed of shale that eroded away. The only approach is from the west, which was heavily fortified from at least the 4th c. BCE on. The view from the summit was described by Strabo (8.6.21) encompassing Mounts Parnassus in Phocis, Helicon and Cithaeron in Boeotia, and the Scironian rocks near Attica, not to mention the Corinthian Gulf and the territory of Sicyon and Corinth.

The citadel continued to be an important stronghold after Pausanias’ time, its fortifications rebuilt by the Byzantines (6th-11th c. CE), Franks (1210-1458), Venetians (1687-1715), and Ottomans (1458-1687, 1715-.  Within the fortification walls can still be seen the ruins of the temple of Aphrodite, the spring (and cisterns) of Upper Peirene, post-Venetian garrison headquarters, and a Turkish village with mosques and minarets.