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Corfu


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Northernmost of the western Greek islands, located in the Ionian Sea just off the western coast of Epirus. Verdant and remote, Corcyra was identified with Homer's Scheria. During the 8th cent. (traditionally in 734 bc), Corinth established a colony on the island's east side, and expelled a group of Eretrians in the process. Their city, named Corcyra, commanded three harbours, and prospered as a staging‐point for voyages from Greece to the northern Adriatic, Italy, and the western Mediterranean. Although Corcyra contributed to the general settlement of colonies in the region by Corinth (at Epidamnus and Apollonia, it was a co‐founder), relations between colony and mother city were not always cordial. Corcyra fought the Corinthians in a sea battle c.660 and may have contributed to the fall of the Bacchiad clan. A generation later, Periander temporarily reasserted Corinthian control over the colony, but after his death, Corcyra regained its independence. Thereafter, the colony offended Corinth in various ways—by not participating in the Persian War, by opposing the spread of Corinthian influence in the lonian Sea, and by staying aloof from Greek politics in general. Circumstances surrounding a civil war at Epidamnus eventually drew it into a war with Corinth and forced it to ally with Athens for protection. An Athenian fleet was sent to Corcyra in 433, and again in 427 and 425 when Corinthian fleets attempted to co‐operate with disaffected elements on the island. These years saw Corcyra convulsed by a savage civil war, during which the democrats massacred hundreds of their oligarchic opponents. In 410, Corcyra's democrats shook off their Athenian connection for a generation.

Subjects: Classical Studies — Architecture.


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