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Diolkos

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Please sign the Diolkos Petition


Please Sign the Petition


A monument is calling out for help

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The diolkos, the ancient paved way that enabled ships to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth from sea to sea, is progressively crumbling into the water at its western end.

This monument of first-class importance for the history of technology and for the Greek achievement in general, has had a "modern history" that verges on the unbelievable.

After the excavations (~1960), the initial part of the monument has been left at the mercy of the wake of the vessels passing though the Corinth Canal. Today, the front of the erosion has overpassed great part of the monument completely, leaving this registered archaeological site in serious distress - up to downright demolition.

The deterioration is all the more dramatic since the monument has never been properly published, hence information is being literally "erased".

Actions to save and restore the monument are imperative. We are uniting our voices to help reverse a 45-year-long injustice to a unique monument.

 

Getting to know Diolkos

The Diolkos was first built probably around 600 B.C. by Periander. It is mentioned by Thucydides in connection with transport of fleets during the Peloponnesian War as something granted, thus already ancient. Its use is mentioned in various sources, almost exclusively for warships. After Actium in 31 B.C. Octavian shipped his warships across the diolkos to pursue Antony and Cleopatra to Asia and then Egypt.

Later, the Diolkos fell into disuse and now has been superseded by the modern Corinth Canal.

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Excavations conducted between 1956 and 1962 by the Greek archaeologist and Ephor of Argolid and Corinthia, Nikos Verdelis, enable us to trace the course of Diolkos for about one kilometer on both sides of the Corinth Canal; its course seems to develop in majestic turns, bringing the estimation of its length to about 8-km. The eastern end of Diolkos, reported by Strabo to be at Schoenus (modern Kalamaki), has not been found.

The surface of Diolkos, varying in width from about 3.5 to 5.5 meters, bears the grooves made by the wheels of the trolleys onto which the ships were loaded, mainly at a gauge of 1.52m. The Diolkos is a forerunner of the modern railway.

For a tour of the monument, let us take you to the Diolkos gallery...

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 April 2010 02:27  
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