Corinth Canal Greece Research Papers Examples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Canal, Athens, Greece, Vehicles, Construction, Internet, World, History

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/01/11


This research paper examined the information that related to the Corinth Canal in Athens Greece. It presented an in-depth discussion of the history the canal along with several persons who became involved in the venture of constructing this canal. The study considered the mode of construction that the builders used as well as the limited resources, and also a description of the canal itself. The research paper even incorporated photographs that could prove beneficial as individuals endeavor to identify related scenarios that involved the Corinth Canal. Indeed, the article also contained additional information as it discussed the construction of the Corinth Canal. It showed that the canal separated Peloponnese from Greece's mainland and connected the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf. Additionally, the paper related the idea about the construction the Canal, dated back for over 2000 years before the actual construction began in 1881 and reached its completion in 1893. Although the Canal faced so many issues, today it serves mainly as a tourist attraction to which visitors worldwide go. Finally, In regards to the masterminds behind the construction of the canal, the paper spoke about the first King Periander, who envisioned the project in 602 B.C. However, because he could not dig the canal, he developed the Diolkos that moved the ships and their cargoes from coast to coast. Finally, for centuries individuals avoided dangerous undertaking for fear the make Poseidon, the God of the Sea, angry.
This research paper will examine and discuss information that pertains to the Corinth Canal in Athens Greece. The paper will present an in-depth discussion of the history of this canal along with several of the related personalities who became involved at one time or the other, in this construction. In addition as the discussion proceeds, it will consider the mode of development that the builders used and also a description of the canal itself. Where possible, the research paper will incorporate photographs that may prove beneficial in identifying some of the scenarios that involve the Corinth Canal.
In Athens, the American School of Classical Studies, stated that individuals can locate Corinth eighty kilometers on the southern side of the Isthmus, to the west of Athens - a narrow piece of land that connects Greece and Peloponnese. It also separates the Corinthian Gulf from the and Saronic Gulf as well as the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Traffic that travelled south or north by land got channelled into a narrow corridor of which one end of the corridor consisted of routes that led the way to Thebes, Athens and further. The other end contained the courses that led to the west coast west towards Patras, and east to Epidauros. The pathway also passes on either side of Acrocorinth through to the Arcadia and Argolis.
The World Encyclopedia further reinforces the description of the isthmus as the Corinth Canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth and the Aegean Saronic Gulf and separates the Peloponnese from the Grecian mainland. It is a famous canal that had its origin in classical times - Ancient Greece and received its name in honour of the Corinthian city located in the western section of the canal. It existed from 602 B.C. to 44 BC. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the Corinth Canal has a length of 6.4 kilometres, its bottom, 21.4 metres, and a single channel with a depth of 8 metres through which only one ship can pass at any one time. Along both sides of the canal, crags formed from dirt and gravel reach their highest point of 63 meters. At a height of about 45 metres, a motorway, a road and a railway line cut across the canal. In addition, Encyclopedia said that The canal has brought significant economic benefits to the ports of Isthmía at its southeast and Posithonía at its northwest ends.
Accordingly, Rite Book stated that before they constructed the canal, ships had to journey around the Peloponnese and so travellers had to cover a distance of 400 kilometres, which was about 342.62 kilometres longer. It also took them several more days than the usual time to travel the journey. It has become enlightening to perceive the location of Corinth and the canal related environmental features on the map below which shows the various areas.

Map showing location of Corinth Canal (Earth Observatory)

Amazingly, on May 9, 2005, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite took this photograph of the Corinth Canal and the surrounding areas. The canal appears as a thin razor-like blue strip that runs diagonally through the isthmus. On each side of the canal, sharp and straight lines indicate a developed environment that the occasional meandering highway divides. The port city Loutraki is north while Corinth is south of the canal. Farther away from the canal, the terrain turns more rugged and mountainous in the southern and northern regions. The dark green areas in the picture indicate the bulkier vegetation when compared to the comparatively sparse vegetation of the densely populated areas. A pale blue strip cuddles the coastline, which possibly results from perhaps some overflow of sediments and very shallow water. In the picture, some sections of the seawater appear relatively pale. That paleness may have result from where the Sun’s light bounces off the surface of the ocean and then directly back into the field view of the satellite's sensor.
For more than 2000 years, although they did not build the canal until the late 19th century, individuals petitioned the leaders in the region about the idea of building the Corinth Canal. However, persons said that the fear of opposing the wishes of the Greek sea god, Poseidon as well as, insufficient technology, played a role in averting the construction of the canal. Interestingly, the ancient Greeks built a path, paved with limestone, on which a wheeled vehicle ran -- the Diolkos. The Greeks hauled the ships that they lifted onto the vehicle, across the pathway and the merchants or navies that had ships that were too big, used the Diolkos. They unloaded the cargo and transported it across the land bridge instead, and then a different ship that waited on the other side picked up the load (Earth Observatory).
Unquestioningly, if some contemporary visitors could visualize the Isthmus of Corinth in its natural and original state, before human intentions and modern technology carved a canal through it, those individuals would surely feel overpowered. This kind of feeling would give the people the opportunity to meditate on the unnecessary irritations which an ancient seafarer had to endure in order keep his valuable cargo intact as he transported his ship across land from one section to the other (Athens Tours Greece).
Yes, anxiety and anguish undoubtedly became prominent features of the Diolkos experience. Nevertheless, man’s creative mind invented a method to bypass a natural notion of that time with technology in its infant stage. Certainly, the narrow strip of land which connected the mainland to the north and Peloponnisos became the unmatched gift that Nature conferred on mankind. At the same time, the Isthmus of Corinth served as a curse and delight for the gods. Since early times, despite the insurmountable technical problems that individuals encountered, several spirited souls came up with the ideas about constructing a canal via the Isthmus. The record of repeated attempts called for more pluck as human as humans sought to demonstrate their bravery and resourcefulness (Athens Tours Greece).
On the sides of the Corinth Canal, a lack of evenness in the rock formations became evident. There are several cracks in the rock which run in a west to east direction, making a vertical angle with the axis of the canal. These geologic features were responsible for a number of major landslides into the Canal at several instances.
On account of these landfills, the Canal often had to become the slated repair measure. From its beginning until 1940 and for a total of four years, they had to close the Canal to traffic. In 1923, the most serious incident occurred when 41000 cubic meters of dirt that fell into it and the Canal had to remain closed to traffic for two years.
In 1944, another significant interruption of operation occurred, when the German Army retreated and set explosives to the sides of the Canal, which caused a collapse of 60000 cubic meters of earth. In their efforts to make repairs even more difficult, the Germans also sank railroad cars into the canal. It took five years to clean out the Canal in order to accommodate the traffic at that time. The flow of waters in the Canal changes direction around every six hours. The usual speed of the current equalled 2.5 knots, and it hardly ever exceeded 3 knots. Without any distinctive pattern, shifts in the tide level gradually happened.

Building of Corinth Canal

According to Marine Insight, the construction of the Corinthian Canal was fraught with many complications. The route of the canal to begin with consisted of dangerous rocks along with being in a high seismic zone. These difficulties made the route highly volatile and prone to unprecedented earthquakes. In the 1800s when the builders started the canal's construction, they overhauled and removed a significant piece of the rock formations before the architects and engineers could do it.

History of Canal Construction (Around Greece)

Several ancient rulers had envisioned digging a channel through the Isthmus, an undertaking that the tyrannical Periander first proposed to embark on in the 7th century BC. They abandoned the project, and Periander instead constructed a less costly and simpler overland portage road, named the Diolkos or stone carriageway. They could draw ships through this route from one side of the isthmus to the other. However, in 307 B.C., Demetrios Poliorketes made up his mind to cut a naval passage through the Isthmus, approximately three centuries after Periander. In fact, he began the excavations before individuals talked him out of using Egyptian engineers to continue with the project. These engineers had already predicted that the different sea levels between the Saronic and the Corinthian and Gulfs would submerge Aegina and nearby islands (Athens Tours Greece)
With the inception of the Roman period, about two and a half centuries after Poliorketes, in 44 and 37 BC Julius Caesar and Caligula, respectively, again encouraged the idea. In 66 A.D., Nero re-evaluated earlier plans and, within one year later, he assigned six thousand Jewish slaves and teams of war prisoners, who came from the Aegean islands, to do work on the canal. Before Nero hurriedly went back to Rome to suppress the Galva rebellion, these individuals had dug out a ditch 40 metre wide and 33300 meters long. Sadly, when Nero arrived home, he got arrested on treason charges and in 68 A.D. he received a death sentence. As a result, the incomplete canal fell into a state of oblivion, and superstitious tales and supernatural teachings overtook it.
. Then came Herod of Atticus, another historical personality, which became connected to Corinth Canal. According to Athens Tours Greece, he tried, like the Byzantines but to no avail. The Venetians came next and started to dig from the shore on the Corinthian Gulf; however, overnight, the enormity of the task caused them to throw in the towel, per se. Consequently, one after another attempt became futile in reversing the unfathomable will of the gods to retain the Isthmus that they sealed forever.
In 1830, however, a revival of the idea of a Corinth Canal happened after Greece gained official autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. Ioannis Kapodistrias, the Greek statesman, asked a French engineer to consider the possibility of the project. As a consequence, they abandoned the project when the engineer assessed the cost at approximately 40 million gold francs. This assessment became far too costly for a country that newly became independent. In 1869, Prime Minister Thrasyvoulos Zaimis enabled a new momentum when opened the Suez Canal. The next year the Prime Minister passed a law, which authorised the construction of a Corinth Canal. They placed French entrepreneurs in charge of the project but, the French banks refused to lend any money on account of the bankruptcy of the French company that dug Panama Canal.
Subsequently, In 1881, the government granted a new concession, which commissioned the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe, to construct the canal and operate it for the next 99 years. In 1882, in the presence of King George I, of Greece, the construction became formally established. The company had an initial capital of about 30,000,000 francs, but after eight years of work it ran out of money. Hence, in 1890 when they transferred the project to a Greek company a bank that made an agreement to raise additional funds for the project resumed construction. On 25 July 1893, following eleven years of work, they finally completed the project (Athens Tours Greece)..
After completion, the canal experienced operational and financial difficulties. The slenderness of the canal makes navigation difficult; the high stone walls channel high winds quite extensively, down its length. Also, they anticipated an annual traffic of just about lesser than 4 million net tons; by 1906, traffic annually reached only half a million net tons. By 1913, the total rose to a quantity of 1.5 million net tons, but the major decline in traffic that the First World War created, disrupted the situation (Athens Tours Greece).
. Another relentless problem was due to the heavily faulted nature of the sedimentary rock, in an active unstable sector, through which they cut the canal. Without a doubt, the canal's high limestone walls have been persistently unstable from the start. So, although it became formally opened in July 1893, it was not opened to navigation until the following November, due to landslides. They soon found that the water that bounced from the wall as the ship passed through the canal undermined the walls and caused added landslides. This damage required further expense to build retaining walls where they would use some 165,000 cubic metres of masonry for a bit more than half of the length of the canal, along the water's edge. Between 1893 and 1940, they closed the canal for a total of four years to carry out maintenance in order to stabilise the walls. In 1923 alone, 41,000 cubic metres of material fell into the canal, which took two years to clean out.
Indeed, World War 11 caused severe damage to the canal during, while, on account of its strategic significance, it became the scene for engaging fights. On 26 April 1941, during the Battle of Greece between defending British troops and the invading forces of Nazi Germany, German gliders parachutists and Military glider troops attempted to capture the main bridge over the canal. The British came in defence of the bridge and so wired it for demolition. On the other hand, the Germans used a glider-borne assault in the early morning to surprise the defenders, and, as a result, captured the bridge, The British were able to set off the charges and destroy the structure.
The canal saves the 700-kilometre in the journey in the Peloponnese region and ends up being too narrow for modern ocean cargo ships. One reason is it can hold ships that have width 16.5 metres and hulls that measure 7.3 metres. The ships can only go through the canal individually in a one-way manner. They have to use tugboats to the larger ships like in the photograph below.
The canal that has about 11,000 ships per year travelling through the waterway as seen in the following photograph among which nowadays, tourist ships make up the number.
(Corinth Canal)

So, even though, the construction of the Canal encountered several issues, today it reaps much

economic benefits as it serves mainly as a tourist attraction to which visitors worldwide go.
Instead of the vicious destruction and scarring of the landscape, I would have forgone building a canal and instead improved on the design of the Diolkos. So let us fill up that canal and restore the land to what it was: a whole peninsula.
The Diolkos transferred cargo and ships across the isthmus between gulfs. The idea is to improve on this method by introducing magnetic levitation mechanics. In addition to faster, quieter, smoother and safer transfers, directions can also be changed to have cargo travel to the city or elsewhere on the peninsula. The energy is readily available to power this beltway: the tidal surges of the ocean, the power of the sun, the hustle and bustle of the city and the cargo and ships and transit could provide kinetic energy.
There are numerous benefits of such a transport system are numerous. Most obvious are the environmental effects; additional services, like ship construction and dismantling; ease of integration with other modes of transport. Zeus, the god of Greek gods, Lightning and Thunder, would be proud!

Work Cited

Athens Tours Greece, 'Corinth Canal'. N.p., 2015. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Corinth Canal, 'Corinth Canal Photographic Print At Art.Com'. N.p., 2015. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.
Earth Observatory, 'Corinth Canal, Greece: Image Of The Day'. N.p., 2006. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Encyclopedia Britannica -- Bibliography: Encyclopedia Britannica, 'Corinth | Greece'. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Rite Book, 'Corinth Canal In Greece | The Narrow Shipping Channel In The World'. N.p., 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 'History & Timeline / Excavations In Ancient Corinth / The American School Of Classical Studies At Athens'. N.p., 2015. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.
World Encyclopedia. 'World Heritage Encyclopedia'. N.p., 2015. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.

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