Corinth is the name of both a modern and ancient city in Peloponnese, Greece; the modern city of Corinth was built a few miles from the ancient remains of the old city, which was eventually destroyed by an earthquake in 1858. Ancient Corinth was an important city in ancient times, once strategically and navally important. They also created the Corinthian order (the third main style of Greek classical architecture, after the Doric and Ionic orders), an ornate type of Classical Greek architecture characterized by a slender fluted column and elaborated flared capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. It was complicated and ornate, likely to show off the city’s wealth and luxurious lifestyle. Corinth was actually considered a decadent city and that only the wealthy could afford to go there; Corinthian (both as an adjective and noun) was once used to refer to someone who was licentious or extravagant, the name derived from Corinth, obviously. Purportedly, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite (who was the protector deity of Corinth) which was famous for its courtesans, apparently numbering a thousand courtesans (women and men) and temple slaves; it was so famous that people came from all over to visit the temple, spending outrageous sums of money and contributing to the wealth of Corinth. It’s not clear how much of this is fact or exaggeration. It did however raise a saying, non lice omnibus adire Corinthum- not everyone is able to go to Corinth, quoted by Roman poet Horace.
Like many city-states in Ancient Greece, Corinth has its fair share of Greek mythology. The city was supposedly founded by King Sisyphus of Ephyra, which was supposedly the original name of Corinth; he was not a very nice person and eventually got on Zeus‘s bad side; his punishment in Hades was being made to roll a large boulder over a hill; however every time it neared the top it would roll down again and he would have to start all over. Bellerophon was his grandson, a hero in Greek mythology who captured the winged horse Pegasus.
Corinth was also important in the early days of Christianity and is mentioned in the New Testament written by Paul the Apostle, known as the Corinthians, which he addressed to a community in Corinth.
The meaning behind the name is uncertain. It seems very likely that the name is pre-Greek in origin, from Pelasgian *kar (point, peak); the Pelasgians was the name given to the indigenous people of pre-Hellenic Greece of which very little is known.
Meaning: comes from a root word meaning “point, peak”
Usage: Greek, English
- Korinth (Danish, German, Swedish, Turkish form of Corinth; English spelling of Corinth)
- Corinthian (English)
- Korinthian (English)
- Corinthus (Latin)
- Korinthos (Ancient Greek)
- Corinthos (Latin, English)
- Corinto (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
- Corinthia (English)
- Korinthia (Greek)