Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's not for everyone to go to Corinth




The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece.  The idea for a shortcut to save boats sailing all round the Peloponnese was long considered by the Ancient Greeks. 
In the modern era, the attempt to build a canal there was carried out in 1893. 
Corinth, in ancient times was one of the wealthiest cities of the Greek world.  In that era lived there Lais Corinthia, the famous courtesan. She was so beautiful  that painters had as standard.
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My American relatives visited Corinth one time,
and told me that the view was magnificent, sublime...

In the city, however, there was something that made them mull,
locals were talking a lot about some ancient trull.

but they count not comprehend how a slut
was in the history of a city, instead of being cut.

When they asked my opinion about it
I told them that she was the courtesan Lais and I know only a bit.

She was not just a slut, I would say something like an escort,
a private dancer, like a geisha, a leeward port.

What I do know well is that her company had cost
                                          [some four thousand bucks,

and soon made a fortune as the money was in incessant
                                                              [process of flux..

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I never understood my ancient ancestors and their practices,
also the role of ancient prostitutes and actresses.

But also nor my newer fellows,
and my sorrow is permanent, never mellows.

They always have a reason to be divided,
as from an evil fate, they are guided.

Note that during the war of independence, (which lasted eight years),
we had two civil wars inside what was the rebellious region's frontiers.

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Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS// 

Νο: 46
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*Corinth, in ancient times was one of the wealthiest cities of the Greek world. The trade provide great riches and life there was very accurate to the point of the whole stay is accessible only to very rich. 

* The title,  Then came the saying "it's not for everyone to go to Corinth", (''Ού παντός πλείν είς Κόρινθον'').  As was next with leftades gathered at Corinth and prosferan love women with fee, from ordinary prostitutes, who frequented in groves, buying or chamaitypeia, as the eminent courtesans that interaction with them cost a fortune.

Lais of Corinth, 
Limewood, 34.6 × 26.8 cm, 
Kunstmuseum Basel
   

*Lais Corinthia,  the famous courtesan
She was so beautiful that painters had as standard. 

The Aristainetos writes that "the breasts were like clams.

She had relationships with the most prominent and ploysiwteroys Greeks who flocked in Corinth to meet (with the biblical meaning of the verb). 

Among the "clients" was  the student of Socrates Aristippos






* Lais of Corinth, by Hans Holbein the Younger portrays the famous Lais of Corinth, a courtesan of ancient Greece who charged a high price for her favours. 


It has been suggested that Holbein is also referring to the Lais who was the lover of Apelles, the great painter of antiquity (Holbein was called "Apelles" in humanist circles). 

The model, the same used for Holbein's Darmstadt Madonna and for his Venus and Amor (right), has been identified as Magdalena Offenburg,[1] who may have been Holbein's mistress.






Venus and Amor, 1524.  Holbein's Lais was painted a year or two after Venus and Amor and, in effect, acts as its companion piece, though Holbein does not appear to have originally planned the second painting. 

According to some commentators, the portrayal of the sitter as a hetaera or courtesan may contain a coded message by Holbein about his relationship with her.


Art historian Peter Claussen, however, dismisses this interpretation as "pure nonsense". 

Both paintings employ the same colours and depict the same costume and drapery. Holbein adopts the style of Leonardo and the Lombard muralists, whose work he may have studied during a visit to Italy. 

He uses Leonardo's sfumato (smoky) technique to blend the skin tones, as well as the device of the parapet to set the subject back from the viewer.
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* The Isthmus of Corinth, Α narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land.
The Isthmus was known in the ancient world as the landmark separating Peloponnese from mainland of Greece. In the first century CE the geographer Strabo noted a pillar on the Isthmus of Corinth, which bore two inscriptions.

One towards the East, i.e. towards Megara in Attica reading: "Here is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia" (τάδ᾽ οὐχὶ Πελοπόννησος, ἀλλ᾽ Ἰωνία) and the one towards the West, i.e. towards the Peloponnese: "Here is Peloponnesus, not Ionia" (τάδ᾽ ἐστὶ Πελοπόννησος, οὐκ Ἰωνία); Plutarch ascribed the erection of the stele to the Attic hero Theseus, on his way to Athens.

To the west of the Isthmus is the Gulf of Corinth, to the east the Saronic Gulf. Since 1893 the Corinth Canal has run through the 6.3 km wide isthmus, effectively making the Peloponnese an island. Today, two road bridges, two railway bridges and two submersible bridges at both ends of the canal connect the mainland side of the isthmus with the Peloponnese side. Also a military emergency bridge is located at the west end of the canal.

The idea for a shortcut to save boats sailing all round the Peloponnese was long considered by the Ancient Greeks. The first attempt to build a canal there was carried out by the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC.

He abandoned the project owing to technical difficulties, and instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland stone ramp, named Diolkos, as a portage road. Remnants of Diolkos still exist today next to the modern canal.

When the Romans took control of Greece, a number of different solutions were tried. Julius Caesar foresaw the advantages of a link for his newly built Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis. By the reign of Tiberius, engineers tried to dig a canal, but were defeated by lack of modern equipment.

Instead they built an Ancient Egyptian device: boats were rolled across the isthmus on logs, as the Egyptians had rolled blocks of granite to make their pyramids. This was in use by AD 32. In AD 67, the philhellene Roman emperor Nero ordered 6,000 slaves to dig a canal with spades. According to Pliny the Elder, the work advanced four stadia (about 5/8 kilometers). The following year Nero died, and his successor Galba abandoned the project as being too expensive.

In the modern era, the idea was first seriously proposed in 1830, soon after Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, and was brought to completion in 1893 after eleven years' work.


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