Review of Pettegrew, The Isthmus of Corinth
journal contributionposted on 23.03.2017, 15:13 by Daniel R. Stewart
[First paragraph] For more than 2,000 years, the city of Corinth has been defined in literature by its isthmus. That thin spit of land, barely 5.7 km wide at its narrowest, has served to characterize the city and its landscape. From the heights of Acrocorinth, the acropolis peak overlooking the Isthmus and surrounding territory, the topographic contrasts of the city and its territory are stark: a lowland corridor of plains framed by gulfs, hills, and vistas that seem to encompass all the varied landscapes of Greece. For ancient authors such as Thucydides (1.13.5), Cicero (Agr. 2.87), Strabo (8.6.20–3), John Chrysostom (Hom. In 1 Cor., pref. 1–2), and the cartographer of the Peutinger Table, Corinth was its land bridge: a landscape and a city rooted in connectivity. Modern travelers to the region also followed that essentialist definition, and from the relaxation of travel restrictions under the Ottomans in the 17th century until the early 2000s, Corinth was a byword for connectivity. The Isthmus was Corinth and Corinth was the Isthmus.