Monday, March 11, 2013

Corinth, Mycenae and Nafplion

Nafplion is a small port on the Peloponnesus, the peninsula that makes up the southernmost portion of Greece. From Nafplion one can get to the ruins of the ancient cities of Corinth and Mycenae.

The ancient city of Corinth was burned by the Romans in 146 BC and re-founded by Julius Caesar in 44 BC. It became one of the leading cities of the Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul spent at least 18 months in Corinth and wrote two epistles to the Corinthian Christians. It was destroyed by earthquakes in 375 and 551 AD. In 856 AD another earthquake is reputed to have killed 45, 000 people. Much of what was left was destroyed by another earthquake in 1858. Following that event a new city of Corinth was begun near the ancient city.

Below are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.

Some of the Jews in Corinth were angry with Paul and his teachings and had him brought before the Proconsul, Gallio. They accused Paul of various crimes against Jewish law and tradition. Gallio said that Paul had not broken any Roman laws and let him go. The people watching this trial were incensed at the Jews for wasting their time and proceeded to beat Paul's accusers. The place where this trial took place is shown below. As you can tell there is ongoing archaeological work at this site.

Mycenae is the site of a Bronze Age culture. Howard Schliemann, the 19th century archaeologist, found and excavated Mycenae by following descriptions of Homer and other Greek texts. He believed that this was the city from whence Agamenon set out for Troy in about 1250 BC.. He also found what may well be Troy but that is another story. As you can see in the photo below, Mycenae sits on a hill. The palace was at the top of the hill.

Entrance to Mycenae is by walking on a broad roadway and passing through the Lion's Gate in the wall, shown below.

The photo above is taken from the roadway on the city side of the Lion's Gate looking up to the top of the hill. The two photos below are of grave circles just west of the roadway below the city. Many grave goods were found in these graves including many golden objects. A golden death mask was found in a grave at Mycenae and labeled by Schliemann as Agamennon's death mask. It now resides in a museum in Athens; there is no proof one way or another that it is Agamennon's.

There is another type of tomb here called beehive tombs. As you can see below they are large structures, underground, in the shape of a beehive. When you consider that they were built 3000 plus years ago their construction is quite remarkable.

The photo above shows the entrance to a beehive tomb. As you can see the stones at the bottom of the entrance walls are huge. They are called cyclops stones because some of the people after the Mycenaens thought that the mythical race of giants with one eye, the cyclops, must have put them there. The next photo is of the interior of the dome and a little bit of the top of the door.

The port of Nafplion was controlled by the Venetians for a considerable period of time during the Middle Ages-Renaissance. The Palmidi fortress shown below was built by the Venetians and finished in 1714. It was captured by the Turks in 1715 and then by the Greeks in 1822.

Below is the harbor at Nafplion. The fortress is called Bourtzi and was built by the Venetians in 1473.

1 comment:

  1. I especially like the interior dome picture