A. The City of Corinth: its History
The history of ancient Corinth is the story of two cities. We first take note of Corinth in 146 b.c. when it was invaded by a Roman army under the leadership of L. Mummius who destroyed the city and killed or enslaved virtually the entire population. Corinth lay in ruins for more than a century until 44 b.c. when Julius Caesar saw its great potential. He gave orders that Corinth be rebuilt as a Roman colony and its repopulation began. Because of its strategic location, the city soon became prosperous. As Barnett notes,
"whatever the accidents of history, the wealth of Corinth was guaranteed by the city's unique position. Corinth was located on the narrow isthmus that joined the Peloponnese to the mainland and separated the Aegean Sea from the Ionian Sea by a mere 6,000 meters at the narrowest, a remarkable geographical feature upon which contemporary writers often remarked" (2).
Not only was Corinth prosperous because of its position as a port city, it soon became one of Rome's most notable centers for banking and finance. Its political significance should also be noted. In 27 b.c. it became the seat of the region's proconsul and the capital of the senatorial province of Achaia until a.d. 15, when it became an imperial province. Corinth was also widely known for its hosting of the Isthmian games, a biennial athletic competition second only to the Olympic games in importance. Corinth soon was regarded as the third most important city of the empire after Rome and Alexandria.
B. The City of Cori