Images of Antiquity: Corinth & Cenchrea, Pt. 13

Here is the last slideshow in my series dubbed "Images of Antiquity". This set of photos covers the sites of Cenchrea and Corinth, both of which are mentioned in the New Testament and both of which were frequented by the Apostle Paul.

The first picture of is the shore in Cenchrea. This is one of the locations where Paul, when he was sailing / boating, would have docked. Acts 18.18 reports that oen time, at this location, Paul cut off his hair because of a vow that he made to God. This is also where Phoebe ministered (Rom. 16.1).

The second photo is a picture of a typical small temple; this one is of the Apollo Temple in Corinth. Following this, we see a bust of the Emperor Augustus. After that, there is a picture a colored plaque with a lion's head. I post that here to remind us that in antiquity, things like statues, columns, busts, arches, etc. were all colored. They did not have the plain, marble look that they do today.

After the lion picture, we see another photo with Apollo's Temple in the background. In the foreground, however, there is a large, square rock. I included this in the slideshow because, interestingly enough, this rock has a spring flowing under and out of it. It is quite possible that this rock conjured up images of the "Moses striking the rock" story in Exodus, which Paul mentions in 1 Cor. 10. If you remember that story, you will remember that when Moses hit the rock with his staff, a spring of water flowed from it.

Subsequent to that photo, we see the infamous "Erastus" Inscription. Erastus was one of Paul's friends and co-ministers. He is mentioned three times in the NT (Acts 19.22, Rom. 16.23, 2 Tim. 4.20). It is clear that he was an important figure in Corinth as he was the "director of public works". Most probably, given his position, he oversaw things like Olympic games, public functions, etc. It is highly likely that he would have let Paul make / sell tents during the games, so that Paul could make both money and in-roads for the Gospel. This is a very telling and important historical artefact.

In the next two photos, we see both Corinthian mirrors and pottery. As we know, Corinth was known for being a mirror-making town. As you can see, these mirrors are quite dark and they are very hard to pick up reflections in. No wonder, in 1 Cor. 13, Paul says, "Now, we see in a mirror darkly..." In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul also uses pottery imagery, which, of course, would have been an image readily available to him (2 Cor. 4.7, "But we have this treasure in clay jars...").

In picture #9, we take note of a Corinthian shop, probably much like one Paul would have worked in while making leather, etc. In the last photograph, we see a statue of a man named Valerus. Valerus is depicted as armed with a sword, probably a common site around Corinth. This could have been yet another image for Paul to draw on (1 Cor. 16.13). I hope this series has enabled you to "image" antiquity as you read about it. Hopefully, some day, you will be able to visit and tour these sites for yourself. There's something about walking in Paul's footsteps that stirs up a passion in you and makes you want to share the Gospel with the world. May it be!


  1. i like this post very much. getting background information such as archeological artifacts is reaally cool. it helps me to get a real picture of the Scriptures. it's so much more helpful and helps me escape the conundrum of glossing over "mere words."
    thanks, Michael!

  2. Chris,
    Glad I could help. You're quite welcome, friend.