Corinth Monument: Peirene
Collection:   Corinth
Type:   Monument
Name:   Peirene
Description:   Peirene is an important center of symbolism and tradition in the urban landscape of both Greek and Roman Corinth.
Human activity is attested in the area from the Neolithic period, and the first efforts in water management date to the Geometric period. The facility was gradually embellished from the Archaic period onward, so that by the 2nd century B.C. it consisted of six chambers providing access to three deep draw basins. These were supplied with water from four huge reservoirs through conduits excavated hundreds of meters back under the forum.
Peirene probably suffered little in the attack on Corinth by the Roman general Mummius, and was one of the first structures rebuilt in Corinth. From the early Roman period, the facade had Doric half-columns between the arches which frame the old antechambers. The second story here was probably a solid wall with engaged Ionic half-columns. The sunken rectangle at the center is a draw basin accessed by a short broad stair. Waterspouts in the sides were served by large conduits running under the courtyard floor.
Following the partial destruction of the earlier phase, perhaps by earthquake, the east and west apses were added in Late Antiquity and the reused marble columns and their decorative “outlookers” in front of the facade are Byzantine additions. In later centuries, the ground level rose and the court was occupied by a small chapel and cemetery. Even after the fountain and courtyard were completely buried, the spring continued to provide water for the village fountains and numerous wells.
Myth records two origins for the spring. In one Poseidon’s lover Peirene literally dissolved into tears when Artemis accidentally killed her son Cenchrias. The other attributes its creation to the hoof print of the winged horse Pegasus when he stamped in irritation after being bridled by Bellerophon.
Site:   Corinth
City:   Ancient Corinth
Country:   Greece
References:   Publications (6)
Plans and Drawings (82)
Images (247)
Notebook: 9
Notebook: 60
Notebook: 84a