(Κόρινθος, occurs Ac 18:1; Ac 19:1; 1Co 1:2; 2Co 1:1,23; 2Ti 4:20; "Corinthus," subscr. to Ep. to Rom.), a Grecian city, placed on the isthmus which joins Peloponnesus (now called the Morea) to the continent of Greece. A lofty rock rises above it, on which was the citadel, or the Acrocorinthus (Livy 45:28). It had two harbors: Cenchreme, on the eastern side, about seventy stadia distant; and Lechaeum, on the modern Gulf of Lepanto, only twelve stadia from the city (Strabo, 8:6). Its earliest name, as given by Homer, is Ephyre (Ε᾿φύρη, II. 6:152); and mysterious legends connect it with Lycia, by means of the hero Bellerophon, to whom a plot of ground was consecrated in front of the city, close to a cypress grove (Pausan. 2:2). Owing to the great difficulty of weathering Malea, the southern promontory of Greece, merchandise passed through Corinth from sea to sea, the city becoming an entrepot for the goods of Asia and Italy (Strabo, 8:6). At the same time, it commanded the traffic by land from north to south. An attempt made to dig through the isthmus was frustrated by the rocky nature of the soil; at one period, however, they had an invention for drawing galleys across from sea to sea on trucks. With such advantages of position, Corinth was very early renowned for riches, and seems to have been made by nature for the capital of Greece. The numerous colonies which she sent forth, chiefly to the west and to Sicily, gave her points of attachment in many parts; and the good will, which, as a mercantile state, she carefully maintained, made her a valuable link between the various Greek tribes. The public and foreign policy of Corinth appears to have been generally remarkable for honor and justice (Herod. and Thucyd. passim); and the Isthmian games, which were celebrated there every other year, might have been converted into a national congress, if the Corinthians had been less peaceful and more ambitious. When the Achaean league was rallying the chief powers of Southern Greece, Corinth became its military center; and, as the spirit of freedom was active in that confederacy, they were certain, sooner or later, to give the Romans a pretense for attacking them. The fatal blow fell on Corinth (B.C 146), when L. Mummius, by order of the Roman senate, barbarously destroyed that beautiful town (Cicero, Verr. 1:21), eminent even in Greece for painting, sculpture, and all working in metal and pottery; and, as the territory was given over to the Sicyonians (Strabo, 1. c.), we must infer that the whole population was sold into slavery.
The Corinth of which we read in the New Testament was quite a new city, having been rebuilt and established as a Roman colony, and peopled with freed-men from Rome (Pausanias and Strabo, u. s.) by the dictator Caesar a little before his assassination. Although the soil was too rocky to be fertile, and the territory very limited, Corinth again became a great and wealthy city in a short time, especially as the Roman proconsuls made it the seat of government (Acts 18) for Southern Greece, which was now called the province of Achaia. In earlier times Corinth had been celebrated for the great wealth of its temple of Venus, which had a gainful traffic of a most dishonorable kind with the numerous merchants resident there — supplying them with harlots under the forms of religion (hence κορινθιάζεσθαι = scortari, see Schotti Adagia Gr. p. 568). The same phenomena, no doubt, reappeared in the later and Christian age. The little which is said in the New Test. seems to indicate a wealthy and luxurious community, prone to impurity of morals; nevertheless, all Greece was so contaminated that we may easily overcharge the accusation against Corinth. We find Gallio, brother of the philosopher Seneca, exercising the functions of proconsul here during the apostle Paul's first residence at Corinth, in the reign of Claudius. This residence continued for a year and six months, and the circumstances which occurred during the course of it are related at some length (Ac 18:1-18). The apostle had recently passed through Macedonia. He came to Corinth from Athens; shortly after his arrival Silas and Timotheus came from Macedonia and rejoined him; and about this time the two epistles to the Thessalonians were written (probably A.D. 49 and 50). It was at Corinth that the apostle first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, and shortly after his departure Apollos came to this city from Ephesus (Ac 18:27). Corinth was a place of great mental activity, as well as of commercial and manufacturing enterprise. Its wealth was so celebrated as to be proverbial; so were the vice and profligacy of its inhabitants. The worship of Venus here was attended with shameful licentiousness. All these points are indirectly illustrated by passages in the two epistles to the Corinthians, which were written (probably A.D. 54), the first during Paul's stay at Ephesus, the second from Macedonia, shortly before the second visit to Corinth, which is briefly stated (Ac 20:3) to have lasted three months. SEE CORINTHIANS (EPISTLES TO). During this visit (probably A.D. 55) the epistle to the Romans was written. From the three epistles last mentioned, compared with Ac 24:17, we gather that Paul was much occupied at this time with a collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem. It has been well observed that the great number of Latin names of persons mentioned in the epistle to the Romans is in harmony with what we know of the colonial origin of a large part of the population of Corinth. According to Philo (Opp. 2:587), it was extensively colonized by Jews. From Acts 18 we may conclude that there were many Jewish converts in the Corinthian church, though it would appear (1Co 12:2) that the Gentiles predominated. On the other hand, it is evident from the whole tenor of both epistles that the Judaizing element was very strong at Corinth. Party spirit also was extremely prevalent, the names of Paul, Peter, and Apollos being used as the watchwords of restless factions. Among the eminent Christians who lived at Corinth were Stephanas (1Co 1:16; 1Co 16:15,17), Crispus (Ac 18:8; 1Co 1:14), Caius (Ro 16:23; 1Co 1:14), and Erastus (Ro 16:23; 2Ti 4:20). The epistle of Clement to the Corinthians is among the most interesting of the post-apostolic writings. The Corinthian church is remarkable in the epistles of Paul by the variety of its spiritual gifts, that seem for the time to have eclipsed or superseded the office of the elder or bishop, which in most churches became from the beginning so prominent. Very soon, however, this peculiarity was lost, and the bishops of Corinth take a place co-ordinate to those of other capital cities. One of them, Dionysius, appears to have exercised great influence over many and distant churches in the latter part of the second century (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 4, 23). In the year 268 of the Christian era the city was burned by the Goths, and in 525 it was destroyed by an earthquake. During the Middle Ages Corinth shared the fate of many of the cities of Greece. in being wrested from the emperors of Constantinople and possessed by a succession of adventurers, and at length formed a part of the duchy of Athens, ruled first by the French, then by the Arragonese kings of Sicily, and finally by the Accaioli, a family of Florence, from whom it was taken by Mohammed II in 1460. During a war between the Venetians and the Turks, it was captured by the former in 1687, but was recovered by the Turks in 1715, and held by them until the period of the Greek revolution, when it became the seat of the new government, although taken and retaken more than once during the war. Corinth is still an episcopal see. The cathedral church of St. Nicholas, "a very mean place for such an ecclesiastical dignity," used in Turkish times to be in the Acrocorinthus. The city has now shrunk to a wretched village, on the old site, and bearing the old name, which, however, is often corrupted into Gortho (see Hassel, Handbuch der neuest Erdbeschreib. III, 1:673 sq.).
Pausanias, in describing the antiquities of Corinth as they existed in his day, distinguishes clearly between those which belonged to the old Greek city and those which were of Roman origin. Two relics of Roman work are still to be seen, one a heap of brick. work which may have been part of the baths erected by Hadrian, the other the remains of an amphitheater with subterranean arrangements for gladiators. Far more interesting are the ruins of the ancient Greek temple — the "old columns which have looked down on the rise, the prosperity, and the desolation of two [in fact, three] successive Corinths." At the time of Wheler's visit in 1676 twelve columns were standing; before 1795 they were reduced to five; and further injury has very recently been inflicted by an earthquake. It is believed that this temple is the oldest of which any remains are left in Greece. There are also distinct traces of the Posidonium, or sanctuary of Neptune, the scene of the Isthmian games, from which Paul borrows some of his most striking imagery in 1 Corinthians and other epistles. SEE GAMES. The fountain of Peirene, "full of sweet and clear water," as it is described by Strabo, is still to be seen in the Acrocorinthus, as well as the fountains in the lower city, of which it was supposed by him and Pausanias to be the source. The walls on the Acrocorinthus were in part erected by the Venetians, who held Corinth for twenty-five years in the 17th century. This city and its neighborhood have been described by many travelers, but we must especially refer to Leake's Morea, 3, 229-304 (London, 1830), and his Peloponnesiaca, p. 392 (London, 1846); Curtius, Peloponnesos, 2:514 (Gotha, 1851-1852); Clark, Peloponnesus, p. 42-61 (London, 1858). See also Pauly, Real-Encykl. 2:643 sq.; Pott, Prolegg. in 1 ad Cor.; Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, ch. 12. There are four German monographs on the subject — Wilckens, Rerum Corinthiacarum specimen ad illustrationem utriusque Epistolae Paulinae (Bremen, 1747; also in Oelrich's Collect. Opusc. 1:427 sq.); Walch, Antiquitates Corinthiacae (Jena, 1761); Wagner, Rerum Corinthiacarum specimen (Darmst. 1824); Barth, Corinthiorum commercii et Mercaturae Historiae pariicula ,Berlin, 1844). For a full elucidation of the history and topography of the city, see Smith's Dict. of Classical Geography, s.v. Corinthus. See ACHAIA.