1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Corinth, Isthmus of

22471451911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 7 — Corinth, Isthmus ofErnest Arthur Gardner

CORINTH, ISTHMUS OF, an isthmus of Greece, dividing the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. Ships were sometimes dragged across it in ancient times at a place called the Diolcus (διέλκειν, to pull or cut through). Nero, in A.D. 67, began cutting a canal through it; but the project was abandoned. In 1893 a ship canal was opened, with its western entrance about 11/4 m. N.E. of the little town of New Corinth. It was begun in 1881 by a French company, which ceased operations in 1889, a Greek company completing the undertaking. The canal is about 70 ft. broad, nearly 4 m. long, and 26 ft. deep. It shortens the journey from the Adriatic to the Peiraeus by 202 m., but foreign steamships seldom use it, as the narrowness of the canal and the strength of the current at times render the passage dangerous. About 1 m. from its western end it is crossed by the iron bridge of the Athens and Corinth railway. Traces of the Isthmian wall may still be seen parallel to the canal; it was constructed, at an unknown date, for the fortification of the Isthmus. Just to the S. of it, and about 1/2 m. from the sea are the remains of the Isthmian precinct of Poseidon and its stadium, where the Isthmian games were celebrated. This precinct served also as a fortress. Within it have been found traces of the temple of Poseidon and other buildings. (E. Gr.)