Excavating the Ancient City of Tenea

Dr. Eleni Korka

Ministry of Culture and Sports, Athens

The fall of Troy, according to myth, lead Aeneas to found the city of Rome. It also inspired Agamemnon to found the city of Tenea in the Corinthia by installing Trojan war-prisoners strategically on the passage near Tenea leading from Corinth to Argos and Mycenae.

Tenea flourished by founding with Corinth the colony of Syracuse. Commerce brought great wealth to the city. Later on, during the Roman invasion in Corinthia, only Tenea was spared due to the mythic common descent of the inhabitants of Rome and Tenea.

A systematic excavation carried out by Dr. Eleni Korka, Director General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, has brought to light findings from the Prehistoric to the Roman era. This presentation will provide the existing evidence for the remains of the on-going excavation, among which are an archaic cemetery with unique monuments and exquisite findings which offer insight into aspects of life and death by furnishing valuable information with regard to funeral customs; an ancient road, a Roman mausoleum and other buildings. Among the findings is a unique plastic clay lantern in the form of a reclining Seilinos, found for the very first time in its context, and clearly associated–as is the case with all Dionysian figures, which were intended to induce specific associations with certain places—with Roman religious beliefs and conceptions about death and the afterlife (Emphasis will be given to this find).

The city of Tenea presents a tantalizing fragment from the long history of ancient Corinth and testifies to the supreme artistic achievements of the Greco-Roman civilization. Its remains and findings served many purposes, one of which was to create spaces that could be read simultaneously according to Greek and Roman cultural codes, spaces where seeing both would eventually make sense. 

Dr Eleni Korka,

Director General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.

Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp

Admission to lecture closes 10 minutes after scheduled start time.

Reception to follow.

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