Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Monday, May 9, 2016

News from the sunken harbor of ancient Corinth

In recent years, underwater archaeology is definitely on the rise shedding light on so many unexpected remains from antiquity about which we could only guess till now. Corinth is no exception and as a booming trading hub in the eastern Mediterranean, it must have a lot to tell. For more than one thousand years, roughly from the 6th century BC till the 6th century AD, the city was at the center of trade carried out by its mixed population of Greeks, Romans, and Jews, later by early Christians as well.

For two years, expert divers from Greece and Denmark have been exploring the ancient harbor of Lechaion to expose the infrastructure of this important port-city. Recent discoveries have exposed two monumental piers built of ashlar blocks next to a smaller dock. They also have located a canal entrance leading into Lechaion’s three inner harbors, as well was a breakwater.

Lechaion is not the only harbor for we all know the strategic location of Corinth right on the isthmus between mainland Greece and the Peloponnesus (less than 4 miles wide), which meant that the city needed both an eastern and a western harbor. Lechaion, on the Gulf of Corinth, served the western sea routes to Italy, Sicily and beyond to Spain. The harbor of Kenchreai is situated on the Saronic Gulf from where the ships sailed to and from the Aegean, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Goods could be transported overland from one port to the other and even lightweight ships were hauled using a platform along the road connecting Lechaion to Kenchreai. This, evidently, was before Nero’s idea to dig a canal to link both sides, a plan that eventually materialized nearly two millennia later.

The remains of the pier at Lechaion date from early Byzantine days and are constructed of six well-preserved wooden caissons over a total length of 57 meters. These caissons were, in fact, rectangular wooden boxes which could be floated into their assigned place where they were sunk by filling them with debris or concrete. This way a breakwater or pier could easily be constructed in order to protect the ships and their precious cargo. The principle was known but the wooden caissons in Lechaion are the first ever to be discovered. As the caissons and their fill slowly set in the seabed, the wood has been preserved, enabling today’s archaeologists to recreate their construction.

While they were at it, the underwater archaeologists have been carrying out geophysical surveys. The search is still on for Corinths naval base and hopefully some remains of the famous trireme ships that were built here (see: The trireme, a ship to remember).

[Pictures from the Haaretz]

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