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 Corinth is said to be opulent from its mart. It is situated upon the isthmus. It commands two harbours, one near Asia, the other near Italy, and facilitates, by reason of so short a distance between them, an exchange of commodities on each side. As the Sicilian strait, so formerly these seas were of difficult navigation, and particularly the sea above Maleæ, on account of the prevalence of contrary winds; whence the common proverb, “ When you double Maleæ forget your home.
” It was a desirable thing for the merchants coming from Asia, and from Italy, to discharge their lading at Corinth without being obliged to double Cape Maleæ. For goods exported from Peloponnesus, or imported by land, a toll was paid to those who had the keys of the country. This continued after- terwards for ever. In after-times they enjoyed even additional advantages, for the Isthmian games, which were celebrated there, brought thither great multitudes of people. The Bacchiadæ, a rich and numerous family, and of illustrious descent, were their rulers, governed the state for nearly two hundred years, and peaceably enjoyed the profits of the mart. Their power was destroyed by Cypselus, who became king himself, and his descendants continued to exist for three generations. A proof of the wealth of this family is the offering which Cypselus dedicated at Olympia, a statue of Jupiter of beaten gold. Demaratus, one of those who had been tyrant at Corinth, flying from the seditions which prevailed there, carried with him from his home to Tyrrhenia so much wealth, that he became sovereign of the city which had received him, and his son became even king of the Romans. The temple of Venus at Corinth was so rich, that it had more than a thousand women consecrated to the service of the goddess, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedi- cated as offerings to the goddess. The city was frequented and enriched by the multitudes who resorted thither on ac- count of these women. Masters of ships freely squandered all their money, and hence the proverb, “ It is not in every man's power to go to Corinth.1
” The answer is related of a courtesan to a woman who was reproaching her with disliking work, and not employing herself in spinning; “‘Although I am what you see, yet, in this short time, I have already finished three distaffs.’2”
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