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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1837, by
ALBERT BARNES, in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the Eastern District
STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON,
§ 1. The Situation of Corinth, and the Character of its Inhabitants. Corinth was properly a small dynasty, or territory in Greece, bounded on the east by the gulf of Saron ; on the south by the kingdom of Argos; on the west by Sicyon; and on the north by the kingdom of Megaris, and upper part of the isthmus and bay of Corinth, the latter of which is now called the Golfo de Lepanto, or the gulf of Lepanto. This tract, or region, not large in size, pos sessed a few rich plains, but was in general uneven, and the soil of an indif ferent quality. The city of Corinth was the capital of this region. It stood near the middle of the isthmus, which in the narrowest part was about six miles wide, though somewhat wider where Corinth stood. Here was the natural carrying place, or portage from the Ionian sea on the west, to the Ægean on the east. Many efforts were made by the Greeks, and afterwards by the Romans, to effect a communication between the Ægean and Adriatic seas by cutting across this isthmus; and traces still remain of these attempts. Means were even contrived for transporting vessels across. This isthmus was also particularly important as it was the key of the Peloponnesus, and attempts were often made to fortify it. The city had two harbours,-Lechæum on the gulf of Corinth, or sea of Crissa on the west, to which it was joined by a double wall, twelve stadia, or about a mile and a half in length; and Cenchrea on the sea of Saron on the east, distant about seventy stadia, or nearly nine miles. It was á situation therefore peculiarly favourable for commerce, and highly important in the defence of Greece.
The city is said to have been founded by Sisyphus, long before the siege of Troy, and was then called Ephyra. The time when it was founded is, however, unknown. The name Corinth, was supposed to have been given to it from Corinthus, who, by different authors, is said to have been the son of Jupiter, or of Marathon, or of Pelops, who is said to have rebuilt and adorned the city.
The city of Corinth was built at the foot of a high hill, on the top of which .stood a citadel. This hill, which stood on the south of the city, was its defence in that quarter, as its sides were extremely steep. On the three other sides it was protected by strong and lofty ramparts. The circumference of the city proper was about forty stadia, or five miles. Its situation gave it great commercial advantages. As the whole of that region was mountainous and rather barren, and as the situation gave the city extraordinary commercial advantages, the inhabitants early turned their attention to commerce, and amassed great wealth. This fact was, to no inconsiderable extent, the foundation of the luxury, effeminacy, and vices for which the city afterwards became so much distinguished.
The merchandise of Italy, Sicily, and the western nations, was landed at Lechæum on the west ; and that of the islands of the Ægean sea, of Asia Minor, and of the Phænicians, and other oriental nations, at Cenchrea on the east. The city of Corinth thus became the mart of Asia and Europe ; covered the sea with its ships, and formed a navy to protect its commerce. It was distinguished by build