Colonization, Identities - Traditions

In this introductory unit of the exhibition, the foundation of the city of Corcyra and the formation of its civic identity during the colonization period are presented.

Through myths, traditions, historic evidence, ancient sources, epigraphic and archaeological finds the visitor has the opportunity to get to know the factors that formed the political scene of the 8th century BC, when the Greek city-states, striving for economic expansion, organized colonization campaigns in Asia Minor, the Black Sea, Italy and the Western Mediterranean.

Corcyra was founded in the framework of this colonization policy, which also influenced its evolution to a great extent. The events concerning the colonization of Corfu are rather vague and confusing in the ancient sources. According to Plutarch, the first settlers of the island were Euboeans from the city of Eretria. Evidence of this first colony, which probably was founded in the mid-8th century BC, is sought today in myths and local place names. 

A few years later, in ca 734 BC, a new group of colonists from Corinth reached the island. According to Strabo, they first expelled the Euboeans and founded a new colony, Chersoupolis. That city extended on the present-day peninsula of Kanoni, between two natural ports and was named after Chersicrates, a Corinthian aristocrat originating from the family of Bacchiadae that led the colonial expedition. 

This tradition is preserved on an inscription of a votive monument of ca 200 BC from the sanctuary of Artemis, exhibited in the museum. On the stone pediment, which ornated the monument, the inscription «Χερσικρατιδᾶν πατρωϊστᾶν» informs us that it was dedicated by a group of citizens descending from Chersikrates, the Corinthian colonist of the city.

Corcyra soon evolved into an important maritime and economic power and founded its own colonies on the mainland shores opposite the island (Epidamnos and Apollonia). Its supremacy in the Adriatic sea region and its tendency for autonomy led Corcyra to clash with its metropolis, Corinth, a conflict that caused the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC.

The ties of Corcyra with Corinth, its commercial and economic contacts as well as its artistic influence from other powerful cities of the Greek world, such as Athens, are presented in the exhibition through the display of vessels of Corinthian and Attic origin or tradition.

Pediment crowning a votive monument bearing the inscription “To Chersikrates the forefather” It was dedicated to the goddess Artemis by members of a genus (clan) originating from the settler of Corfu, Chersikrates. 200 BC
Sherd depicting the stern of a ship. Late Geometric period
Protocorinthian trifle-shaped wine jug (oinochoe). 650-630 BC
Olpe dated to the transitional Protocorinthian period. 630-615 BC
Attic black-figured louterion depicting lions and horsemen. Attributed to a student of Sophilos painter. 590-580 BC
Vraila 1, Τ.Κ. 49100, Corfu, Greece
τ +30 26610 30680 f +30 26610 47951
Opening hours:
From November 1st, 2019 until March 31st, 2020:
Everyday, except Tuesday, 08.30-16.00

General admission: 6€, Reduced: 3€
From November 1st, until March, 31st the reduced price of the single ticket applies independently to all visitors.

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