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Diolkos was the specially constructed paved road linking the two corners of the Isthmus of Corinth and on which the ships from the Corinthian to the Saronic Gulf were dragged in antiquity and vice versa.

History and feasibility

It is easy to understand the feasibility and importance of this construction for the trade of ancient Greeks, since it has relieved the ships from the many days of the Peloponnese tour and the corresponding dangers, mainly from the passage of the turbulent Cape Malea and Tainarou.

Diolkos must have been constructed either at the end of the 7th century BC, or, most probably, at the beginning of the 6th century BC, when the tyrant in Corinth was Periadros. Periadros was distinguished for his intense activity in terms of cultural and economic importance, and is reported to have thought of opening a canal at the Isthmus of Corinth. However, he did not do this because the technical means at his disposal could not complete such a task, but also because the religious superstitions of those times were opposed to any intervention and conversion of the works of the gods. However, since Korinthos’s commerce was in high growth, he thought he would build a special road on which the ships would be transported from the Corinthian to the Saronic Gulf and vice versa. Financial interests were immense, so every instrument would be used to facilitate them. Moreover, the colonies of Italy and Sicily, with whom Corinthian trade had close relations, were already in great prosperity. At the same time, the opening of the diolos by Periandros and the union of the Corinthian with the Saronic was a guarantee for the rapid and safe transport of Athenian products to the Greek colonies of the West. Of course, the profit of the Corinthians from the role of the transit agent was not insignificant.


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