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Greek Acropolis to Finally Improve Disabled Access

Greek Acropolis to Finally Improve Disabled Access

The ancient Greeks built vast public temple complexes, but it has taken up to the 21st century for the nation to begin meeting modern disabled accessibility standards. For the first time in its long history the ancient Greek buildings that represent Athens’s Acropolis will be made completely accessible to disabled locals and tourists.

Comprising uneven cobblestone streets and broken curbs, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced today that they will “improve the visiting conditions of the monuments at the Acropolis.” While other nations have viewed access to historic and public sites for the disabled as a civil right for decades, as evidenced by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 in the United States of America or EU accessibility standards implemented throughout Europe, for the first time in history the ancient site will be “completely accessible not only to the disabled, but also to citizens with mobility or other health problems.”

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Disabled Weight Is Not “Freight”

Up to now disabled folk visiting the Acropolis had to dangerously traverse uneven pathways. Now this new project proposes paving the main paths. However, according to Greek Reporter some leading archaeologists have “blasted” the Ministry’s decision to reassess the paving of the pathways at the Acropolis.

Disabled visitors until now faced the embarrassing ordeal of having to use a freight elevator to get to the top. But now, a state-of-the-art slope lift will offer disabled people the same view over the monuments as was enjoyed by the ancient Greeks. If everything goes as planned, the new accessibility options will be ready on December 3rd 2020.

Now the beauty of Greece’s most iconic ancient site can be enjoyed by all. Credit: 9parusnikov / Adobe Stock

The Disabled Had Best Bring a Big Friend

The Parthenon temple on top of the Athenian Acropolis is one of the most recognizable buildings remaining from the ancient Greek world. A special elevator was installed back in 2004 ahead of the Athens Olympics to assist disabled visitors wanting to ascend to the site. However, even with this disabled access, the often steep pathways made this a hazard-loaded location for disabled people. So much so that Trip Advisor advises any disabled visitors to bring with them “a strong person to push them.”

An article on Greece.Com openly states that “ Greece was not designed for people in wheelchairs.” Furthermore, visitors suffering from “invisible disabilities” are advised to “carry documents attesting their disability status.” However, this situation extends far beyond any ideas you might have about ancient Greek builders lacking in compassion for the disabled. Long before the uneven streets and steps were created at the Acropolis, the natural topography of Greece was exceptionally mountainous and rocky.

The Acropolis stands high on a hill overlooking Athens, making it very hard for people with mobility issues to reach it. Credit: milosk50 / Adobe Stock

Never Build a House, or City, on Sand

We’ve all heard the proverb about “never building a house on sand.” This advice holds true specifically because sand can’t be compacted and, as such, will never become a solid platform upon which to build a stable foundation. But the same also goes for the crumbling mountainous terrain of Greece. Over the centuries, miles of crooked sidewalks have been covered with more buckled paths, then attacked by the weight of hotels and “too many” cars, no matter what that number is. With no wheelchair access ramps and elevators that are too narrow for wheelchair access, even Greece.Com admits that Greece makes for “a miserable holiday for anyone who is dependent upon a wheelchair.”

Disabled Nightmares in Greece

Greece was the traditional home of the Olympics, geometry, medicine, philosophy and even the alarm clock, but nevertheless it seems to take an age for change to occur in modern Greece. Step by step, and thanks to new construction and restoration technologies that have become available, Athens is finally addressing the needs of the handicapped and the importance of disabled accessibility to its historic sites.

Cynics might say the Greek government was perhaps motivated to take these new measures after a constant stream of activism from the handicapped community in Greece in the wake of a brutal BBC report published in 2014 that claimed that “disabled children in Greece are being locked up in cages at a state-run care home.” At that time, Efi Bekou, the General Secretary in charge of welfare at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, blamed this situation on the rest of the world saying “the economic crisis caused the Greek state to become bound to rules set by its lenders in the EU and IMF.”

Notwithstanding this shameful neglect of public responsibility and brazen show of ignoring advice not to bite the hand that feeds you, Greek ministers seem to have changed their tune towards the disabled. Well, at least towards those disabled people who can afford the entry fees to the tourist sites of ancient Greece and the importance of disabled accessibility to historic tourist destinations.

Greek Acropolis to Finally Improve Disabled Access - History

What to see on and around the Acropolis

The Areios Pagos

When visiting the Acropolis you most probably will come up the hill from Monastiraki. Theorias is the name of the street that goes around the Acropolis, north to south-west.

At the beginning of Theorias you will find an little spot on your right that gives you a nice view over Athens. A little further on your left is the Metamorphosis Church. Keep going up hill and soon you will come to the rock of Areios Pagos (Supreme Court) on your right.

Be very careful when climbing the stone-cut steps leading up the rock because they are extremely slippery. So is most of the top of the rock. Wear shoes with rubber soles as leather ones might very well get you to the hospital rather then to the top of the Areios Pagos. You can avoid this by taking the safe metal stairs. Do not go up the rock during the warmest part of the day as you will not be able to stay up there for long.

This Hill of the Supreme Court was the seat of the supreme court of ancient Athens. Kings of Mycenaean rule are buried in long tombs along its flank. The apostle Paul came here in the year 50 AD and the tablet imbedded in the stone on the right side of the bottom of the rock contains his words. Nearby is the little basilica dedicated to St. Dionysus the Areios Pagite, one of Paul's first converts.

Once you are on top of the rock of Areios Pagos, you have an excellent view over the ancient agora, Plaka, Monastiraki, Omonia, Syntagma and most of the rest of Athens. Lots of people will be on the rock at dusk as you have a great view on the Athens sunset there. At night couples go up to enjoy the lights of the city. but mostly, to enjoy each other of course.

The Holy Rock

Athens wouldn't be Athens without the holy rock, the Acropolis. Turn a corner in a modern, car free, shopping street and you will see the Acropolis. Sit on a cosy outside terrace on a warm summer evening and the Acropolis will be there, all lit. You just must see the Acropolis but visit it in the morning when it is not too warm yet as it is a pretty healthy climb to the entrance.

The Propylaean, the Temple of Athene Nike, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Arrephorio and much more will take you back in time to the Greek Gods, to Perikles, Iktinos and Pheidias. Visiting the Acropolis museum right behind the Parthenon isn't possible any longer. It closed in July 2007 and the ancient works of art were moved to the new Acropolis museum.

You will see the most bizarre translations for the word Acropolis, some are even funny. Acropolis actually means "edge of the city".

The lift of the Acropolis

At last! The sacred rock is finally also accessible to physically disabled people. In fulfilment of the commitment made to the European Union and the International Olympic Committee and with the approval of the Central Archaeological Council, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, following a Ministerial decision, has assured access to the Acropolis via a lift on the north slope of the Sacred Rock (above the Kanellopoulos museum).

The lift is vehicle and wheelchair accessible via an entrance just north of the main entrance to the Acropolis. A moving platform takes you from the level of the promenade to the lift cabin. On top of the Acropolis, a platform and inclined ramp lead from the lift to the flat area northwest of the Erechteion.

For the tour of the monuments, specially surfaced paths have been laid out from the northwest of the Erechteion to the northwest corner of the Parthenon from where there is a clear view of the eastern facade of de Propylaea. At the northeast corner of the Parthenon, the path curves towards the Acropolis museum. From there you have a good view on the eastern side of the Parthenon and on the ruins of the Temple of Augustus and Rome. A small vertical lift takes you into the courtyard of the Acropolis museum that is closed now due to the move of hundreds of invaluable works of arts to the new Acropolis Museum.

In order to avoid heavy crowds, wheelchair visitors are advised to visit the Acropolis during off-peak hours (08:00-10:00 & 13:00-17:00).

No doubt Athena is smiling down upon this new access to the Acropolis as will be all physically disabled people who can now also visit the sacred rock. Thank you Hellenic Ministry of Culture!

The Flag of the Acropolis

On the very east side of the Acropolis there is a high pole, the Greek flag in top. When, during World War II, the Germans occupied Athens, they ordered Konstantinos Koukidis, the Evzone who guarded the flag, to take it down. The Evzone obeyed, calmly took the flag down, wrapped himself in it and jumped from the Acropolis to his dead.

Apostolis Santas and Manolis Glezos were two eighteen year-old Greeks know by Greeks as well as Europeans. On the night of 30 May 1941 they tore down the Nazi Flag flying from the Acropolis. It inspired the Greeks and resistance to Nazi oppression rose in all of Greece. The plaque on the foot of the flagpole, commemorates the courageous act of Santas and Glezos. The latter became a member of the resistance. He was sentenced to death for treason in 1948 and imprisoned for being a communist. Later, Glenzos became a member of PASOK, the Socialist Party.

Every day at 06:30, a detachment of the Greek infantry raises the Greek flag at the Acropolis. At sunset, you will find another detachment of the same infantry in front of the Acropolis entrance to go up and take the flag down again for the night. On Sunday, this tradition is carried out by the Evzones.

Founded in 1985, the Technological Educational Institution of Athens (TEI) is Greece's only educational institution in tertiary education offering a degree in the conservation of antiquities and works of art.

Approximately 90 students enrol annually completing a four-year program. Besides their multi-disciplinary education - which includes courses in history of art, conservation theory, documentation methods, chemistry, biology and physics - these students must possess precision and patience, two skills rarely associated with today's fast-paced world.

Greek monuments that have undergone the TEI's special treatment include the prehistoric trunks of Lesvos' unique petrified forest, statues at Athens First Cemetery, religious paintings and icons from Aghios Nikolaos Ragavas, Aghia Erene, the Monastery of Aghia Ekaterina Sina, archaeological finds and works that belong to the National Gallery.


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.

Learn the History of the Acropolis Before You Go

This is an obvious one, isn’t it? Well, Greek history is something that I don’t know that much about, to be honest. I studied five years of Latin growing up and my forte was always Roman history.

While I learned Greek history in school, I never really remembered much of it since I had a huge affinity for a more tangible history (ie. Soviet history… which comes as no surprise to readers of this blog).

My lack of Greek history knowledge was extremely apparent when visiting the Acropolis. Aside from the Parthenon, I really didn’t know what the buildings and structures were.

There are a couple of ways to combat going there dumbfounded as I did. One is to watch a documentary called ‘Secrets of the Parthenon’ which can be found here. This was recommended to me to watch by my taxi driver in Greece that took me from Piraeus port to Athens city center.

I didn’t get a chance to watch prior to my visit to the Acropolis, but it is really great and offers extremely valuable insight into the historical site.

Another reason I think it is imperative to read a bit before going is that I found the information to be sparse once inside. There were a few signs here and there but really, there wasn’t much of anything giving definitive details into what I was staring at.

And I can imagine that any information that is there is hard to access during the higher tourism seasons as the place swarms with visitors. There are Acropolis audio guides available at the entrance for a surcharge.

You can also download an app to your phone that offers Acropolis details, interactive maps, and information to the buildings and structures. Click here to download an Acropolis app to your Android.

Click here to download an Acropolis app to your iPhone. There are several other apps that offer Acropolis walking tours and audio tours if you search on Google.

If you’re looking for something on your computer that will show you what to expect before visiting the Acropolis, click here.

There are Many Buildings and Hotels with Acropolis Views

In the center of Athens, you will find that most buildings are built to a certain height. This height is not huge and the reason is that after an overthrow of a dictatorship, the city decided that every building built after that date must have a view of the Acropolis to remind the Greek citizens of democracy.

This, in turn, has allowed some incredible rooftop bars and hotels to have views of the Acropolis. I stayed at Attalos Hotel and I had a killer rooftop view from my hotel. The price was affordable in the offseason (about $50 a night) and remains affordable during the high-season at around $100 a night.

→ For current rates and availability click here | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

The Peloponnesian War and the Death of Pericles

As Athens grew in power under Pericles, Sparta felt more and more threatened and began to demand concessions from the Athenians. Pericles refused, and in 431 B.C. conflict between Athens and Sparta’s ally Corinth pushed the Spartan king Archidamus II to invade Attica near Athens. Pericles adopted a strategy that played to the Athenians’ advantage as a naval force by evacuating the Attic countryside to deny the superior Spartan armies anyone to fight. 

When the Spartans arrived at Attica, they found it empty. With all his people collected within the walls of Athens, Pericles was free to make opportunistic seaborne attacks on Sparta’s allies. This financially costly strategy worked well during the war’s early years, but a plague hit the concentrated Athenian population, taking many lives and stirring discontent. Pericles was briefly deposed in 430, but after the Athenians’ efforts to negotiate with Sparta failed, he was quickly reinstated.

In 429 Pericles’ two legitimate sons died of the plague. A few months later, Pericles himself succumbed. His death was, according to Thucydides, disastrous for Athens. His strategies were quickly abandoned and the leaders who followed lacked Pericles’ foresight and forbearance, instead 𠇌ommitting even the conduct of state affairs to the whims of the multitude.” The glory of ancient Greece was far from over—Plato was born a year after Pericles’ death𠅋ut the golden age slid away.

Greek Acropolis to Finally Improve Disabled Access - History

Tourists stand in front of the Ancient temple of Parthenon on the Acropolis hill in Athens on June 4, 2021. Greece's culture ministry on June 2 said it would improve disability access to the Acropolis, the country's top archaeological monument, as a row over a recent makeover rages on. Aris MESSINIS / AFP.

ATHENS (AFP) .- Controversy has engulfed an ambitious restoration project on the Acropolis, with critics accusing the Greek government of spoiling the country's priceless heritage.

Most of the fire has been directed at a new concrete walkway unveiled in December, which main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras said constitutes "abuse" of Greece's most vaunted archaeological site.

A former member of the Acropolis restoration team, veteran architect Tasos Tanoulas, has called the new paths "foreign" and "stifling" to the 5th-century BCE monument.

The wider restoration project -- delivered in little more than a year -- was done without the care needed to safeguard a monument that is for many emblematic of Greece, critics charge.

The government says it has taken all necessary precautions and that the attacks are politically motivated.

Over 3.5 million people visited the Acropolis in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down travel.

The culture ministry this week announced further improvements to the Acropolis for disabled visitors, which it said were carried out after consulting with leading associations for people with disabilities.

The ministry said signs in Braille and easier-to-read bold fonts would be installed, in addition to scaled models of the monuments, handrails and slope warnings.

When AFP toured the Acropolis this week, a woman tripped into a hollow in the middle of the new walkway, one of many designed to give a glimpse of the ancient rock beneath.

Further up the path, a staffer swiftly swept soil into another hollow after a visitor group has walked past.

"It’s a plateau with potholes. Potholes are the opposite of safe," noted tourist guide Smaragda Touloupa, who recently took her elderly parents on a visit to the site.

The Acropolis makeover, which cost around 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) and includes award-winning night lighting, a disabled elevator upgrade and better drainage, was funded by the Onassis Foundation.

The culture ministry has rejected suggestions it was carried out without proper consultation and mainly aims at boosting visitor capacity.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said last month the Acropolis restorers are "experts of global renown" with over four decades of award-winning work on the site.

"Nobody has questioned their work," Mendoni said.

"We have entrusted them with the restoration of the Acropolis monuments. How can we doubt them over a (concrete) laying project?" she said.

But Touloupa, who has written books on heritage management and has been guiding visitors to the Acropolis since 1998, said the project was decided within an inner circle of ministry experts, mainly archaeologists.

"It’s a completely technocratic approach," she said.

Even UNESCO found out about the Acropolis "interventions" from "third parties," Mechtild Rossler, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, told AFP.

As a signatory to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, Greece should give notice "before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse", Rossler said.

Mendoni has insisted that the changes are "minor" and "fully reversible" and there was no obligation to inform UNESCO, whose experts are due to attend a conference in Athens in the autumn.

Officials have said the makeover was needed as the old paths around the Acropolis monuments, designed five decades ago and last retopped in 2012, caused hundreds of accidents every year.

Project supervisor Manolis Korres, a respected architect involved with the restoration project since 1975, has said the concrete rests on a protective membrane that can be removed quickly if necessary.

The ministry also stressed that sturdy paving was needed to allow heavy machinery to move slabs of masonry in ongoing restoration work.

Criticism has also been levelled at plans to remove a Byzantine-era highway found during construction of a new metro in Greece's second city Thessaloniki.

Last month, dozens of experts said the move "jeopardises the preservation of important remains" of the city's Late Antique and Byzantine past.

In an open letter, they said the 6th-century BCE road "is one of the most spectacular finds from these periods anywhere in the world."

According to reports, Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, in April narrowly approved the temporary removal of the antiquities. Its ruling has yet to be published.

The 1.5-billion-euro Thessaloniki subway project, which was scheduled to be completed by 2012, is now slated to be operational in 2023.

Comments 7

I liked the Acropolis very much, but it`s best to combine sightseening with the Acropolis Museum. This way you can get to know this place better.

I’m glad I stumbled on this post! I’m headed to Athens tomorrow and trying to figure out the least time-consuming way to see the Acropolis. Loved all your handy tips on maximizing my visit, thank you!

This helped me greatly in knowing a few things I was looking for and at. Going early to the side entrance was a HUGE tip!
Thank you!

Acropolis upgrades to improve the visitor experience

The historical Acropolis in the Greek capital, is currently undergoing several safety improvements (with just a few delays), to enhance the visitor experience when the country’s archaeological site reopens within the coming weeks.

The interventions include:

  • The installation of a new lift, access ramps and paths.
  • Improvements to the lighting on the hill – making it safer for pedestrians, more cost-efficient, but also to illuminate the Parthenon in a more flattering light.
  • Removing unnecessary parts of the scaffolding hiding the Parthenon from public view and replacing some of the cumbersome metallic supports with more discreet structures.
  • Making the ticket sales system more efficient and the gift shops stocked with more attractive souvenirs.
  • Upgrading the site’s electrical network and improving its protection against lightning – after four people were injured last summer during a thunderstorm.

“It is our priority for all projects planned for the Acropolis to proceed without hindrance so that we may upgrade the archaeological site’s image and the services it officers and, once completed, it can live up to visitors’ expectations,” said Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni during an interview on Skai TV.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the new disabled-friendly lift will be installed at the Acropolis by June 19, 2020. Given the global pandemic and a few small delays, Mendoni noted that it should be operational by the end of July.

Since March 13, as a precautionary measure to help control the spread of the deadly virus, museums and archaeological sites in Greece have been closed.

Mendoni did not give an exact date for when archaeological sites would reopen to the public, concluding that the decision will be announced in due time according to the recommendations of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY).

Fall of Mycenae

Mycenae and the Mycenaean civilization began to decline around 1200 B.C. Mycenae’s people abandoned the citadel around 100 years later after a series of fires.

It’s unclear what caused the destruction of Mycenae, though theories abound.

One of the leading theories holds that Mycenae underwent years of civil strife and social upheaval. Dorians and Heraclids then invaded, sacking all of the Mycenaean strongholds except Athens.

Mycenae may have further suffered at the hands of raiders from the sea.

Alternatively, Mycenae may have fallen to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, drought or famine.

Whatever the case, though the citadel was abandoned, the outer city was not completely deserted and the remaining town was sparsely inhabited until the Greek Classical Period (5th and 4th centuries B.C.).

Ancient Greeks Installed Ramps on Temples to Improve Access for Disabled People, New Research Suggests

Temples of healing are more likely to have ramps, suggesting they were built to accommodate disabled Greeks.

Reconstruction of the fourth-century BC tholos at the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidauros. Rendering ©2019 J. Goodinson scientific advisor J. Svolos.

Ancient Greeks were ahead of the curve in a lot of ways—including, it seems, issues of accessibility. A new archaeological study has found that stone ramps on some ancient buildings were likely built with the disabled in mind.

Studying a variety of temples, primarily from the 4th century AD, Debby Sneed, a classics professor at California State University in Long Beach, found that the buildings that had the most ramps were typically temples of healing—places that the elderly and mobility impaired would have difficulty climbing the steep stairs for entry.

“Archaeologists have long known about ramps on ancient Greek temples, but have routinely ignored them in their discussions of Greek architecture,” said Sneed in a statement. “The likeliest reason why ancient Greek architects constructed ramps was to make sites accessible to mobility-impaired visitors.”

Earlier theories posited that ramps were used to lead animal sacrifices into the temple, or for carting heavy building materials during construction. Sneed allows that ramps could have had multiple uses, but points to the prevalence of ramps at temples dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, as evidence to support her hypothesis.

Reconstruction of the Temple of Asclepius and the Thymele at Epidauros. Rendering ©2019 J. Goodinson scientific advisor J. Svolos.

“There’s this assumption that there is no room in Greek society for people who weren’t able-bodied,” Sneed told Science.

But she argues that many ancient Greek skeletons show signs of arthritis, and painted figures on vases and sculptures often lean on canes or crutches. Even Hephaestus, one of the 12 Olympian gods, walked with a limp. And supplicants visiting ancient temples to Asclepius often left behind sculptures of legs and feet as an offering, in search of a cure for physical ailments on those parts of the body.

Attributed to the Matsch Painter, Terracotta neck-amphora (jar) with twisted handles depicting an old man leaning on a cane and a warrior (circa 480 BC). Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At the Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidauros, built in the 6th century BC, Sneed found that there were 11 stone ramps on nine structures. In comparison, the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, another major temple complex of the period, had just two ramps.

“Healing sanctuaries specifically attracted people with permanent and temporary disabilities, prolonged illnesses, and other conditions of the body or mind,” Sneed told Gizmodo. “As such, they built these spaces so that they were accessible to and usable by the people they were specifically built to serve.”

Sneed’s findings, published in the journal Antiquity on Tuesday, are the earliest evidence of a society adapting its architecture to assist disabled people, dating back as far as 2,300 years ago. The paper compares the ancient Greeks’ apparent willingness to accommodate physical disability to the American Disabilities Act of 1990.

“Even without a framework of civil rights as we understand them today,” Sneed said in a statement, “the builders of these sites made architectural choices that enabled individuals with impaired mobility to access these spaces.”


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Callicrates, also spelled Kallikrates, (flourished 5th century bc ), Athenian architect who designed the Temple of Athena Nike on the Athenian Acropolis and, with Ictinus, the Parthenon.

It is known from an inscription of 449 bc (the year of the signing of peace with Persia) that the Senate commissioned Callicrates to construct a temple to Athena Nike (also known as the Wingless Victory) on the Athenian Acropolis. Callicrates designed the temple to be of pentelic marble, small in size, and Ionic in order it was to be built on the bastion of the southwestern corner of the Acropolis. Construction finally began in 427 bc , and the temple was completed in 424 bc .

Callicrates and Ictinus were the architects of the Parthenon, the largest Doric temple on the Greek mainland. According to the inscription on the building, the construction was begun in 447 bc . The building was completed and dedicated in 438 bc at the Panathenaea (a festival held in honour of Athena every four years on the Athenian Acropolis).

On the basis of stylistic similarities a small Ionic temple (destroyed 1778) on the bank of the Ilissos River, in Athens, was attributed to Callicrates, and a Doric temple to Apollo, built by the Athenians on the island of Delos, may be his work. The Architects of the Parthenon, by Rhys Carpenter, suggests that Callicrates was also responsible for the Hephaesteum, the temple of Poseidon at Sunion, the temple of Ares at Acharnae, and the temple at Rhamnous.

Watch the video: Greece: Restoration of the Acropolis causes an uproar (January 2022).