Diolkos

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The Diolkos (Δίολκος, from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 διά, dia "across" and ὁλκός, holkos "portage") was a paved trackway near Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

. The shortcut allowed ancient
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 vessels to avoid the dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

 peninsula. The phrase "as fast as one from Corinth", penned by the popular comic playwright Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

, indicates that the trackway was regarded as common knowledge and had acquired a certain reputation for swiftness.

The main function of the Diolkos was the transfer of goods, although in times of war it also became a preferred means of speeding up naval campaigns. The 6 km (3.7 mi) to 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long roadway was a rudimentary form of railway, and operated from c. 600 BC until the middle of the 1st century AD. The scale on which the Diolkos combined the two principles of the railway and the overland transport of ships remained unique in antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

.

Function


The Diolkos saved ships sailing from the Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea
The Ionian Sea , is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and...

 to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 a dangerous sea journey round the Peloponnese, whose three headlands had a reputation for gales, especially Cape Matapan
Cape Matapan
Cape Tainaron , also known as Cape Matapan , is situated at the end of the Mani, Laconia, Greece. Cape Matapan is the southernmost point of mainland Greece. It separates the Messenian Gulf in the west from the Laconian Gulf in the east.-History:...

 and Cape Malea
Cape Malea
Cape Maleas is a peninsula and cape in the southeast of the Peloponnese in Greece. To distinguish it from the cape, the peninsula is sometimes referred to as "Epidavros Limira" peninsula, after the most prominent ancient city located on it. It separates the Laconian Gulf in the west from the...

. By contrast, both the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

 and the Saronic Gulf
Saronic Gulf
The Saronic Gulf or Gulf of Aegina in Greece forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus.-Geography:The gulf includes the islands of; Aegina, Salamis, and Poros along with...

 were relatively sheltered waters. In addition, the overland passage of the Isthmus, a neck of land 6.4 km (4 mi) wide at its narrowest, offered a much shorter route to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 for ships sailing to and from the Ionian coast of Greece.

History


Ancient literature is silent on the date of the construction of the Diolkos. For Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

 (460 BC–395 BC) the Diolkos already seemed to be something ancient. Excavated letters and associated pottery found at the site indicate a construction date at the end of the 7th or beginning of the 6th century BC, that is around the time when Periander
Periander
Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. He was the son of the first tyrant, Cypselus. Periander succeeded his father in 627 BC. He died in 585 BC....

 was tyrant of Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

. The Diolkos remained reportedly in regular service until at least the middle of the 1st century AD, after which no more written references appear. Possibly the trackway was put out of use by Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

's abortive canal works in AD 67. Much later transports of warships across the Isthmus in the late 9th century and around 1150 are assumed to have used a route other than the Diolkos due to the extensive time lag.

Role in warfare


The Diolkos played an important role in ancient naval warfare. Greek historians note several occasions from the 5th to the 1st century BC when warships were hauled across the Isthmus in order to speed up naval campaigning. In 428 BC, the Spartans
History of Sparta
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its forced incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, its conquerors, in 146 BCE, a period of roughly 1000 years...

 planned to transport their warships over the Diolkos to the Saronic Gulf to threaten Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, while later in the Peloponnesian War, in 411 BC, they carted over a squadron heading quickly for operations at Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

. In 220 BC, Demetrius of Pharos
Demetrius of Pharos
Demetrius of Pharos was a ruler of Pharos involved in the First Illyrian War, after which he ruled a portion of the Illyrian Adriatic coast on behalf of the Romans, as a Client king....

 had a fleet of about fifty vessels dragged across the Isthmus to the Bay of Corinth by his men. Three years later, a Macedonian
Ancient Macedonians
The Macedonians originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios...

 fleet of 38 vessels was sent across by Philip V
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

, while the larger warships sailed around Cape Malea. After his victory at Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

 in 31 BC, Octavian advanced as fast as possible against Marc Antony by ordering part of his 260 Liburnians to be carried over the Isthmus. In AD 868, the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 admiral Niketas Oryphas
Niketas Oryphas
Niketas Oryphas or Oöryphas was a distinguished Byzantine official, patrician and admiral under the emperors Michael III and Basil I the Macedonian , who achieved several naval victories against the Saracen raiders....

 had his whole fleet of one hundred dromon
Dromon
The dromon was a type of galley and the most important warship of the Byzantine navy from the 6th to 12th centuries AD...

s dragged across the Isthmus in a quickly executed operation, but this took place most likely on a different route.

Role in commerce


Despite the frequent mentioning of the Diolkos in connection with military operations, modern scholarship assumes that the prime purpose of the trackway must have been the transport of cargo, considering that warships cannot have needed transporting very often, and ancient historiography was always more interested in war than commerce. Comments by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 and Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, which described the Diolkos as being in regular service during times of peace, also imply a commercial use of the trackway. Coinciding with the rise of monumental architecture in Greece
Architecture of Ancient Greece
The architecture of Ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland and Peloponnesus, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Asia Minor and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest...

, the construction of the Diolkos may have initially served particularly for transporting heavy goods like marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, monolith
Monolith
A monolith is a geological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock, or a single piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument...

s and timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 to points west and east. It is not known what tolls Corinth could extract from the Diolkos on its territory, but the fact that the trackway was used and maintained long after its construction indicates that it remained for merchant ships an attractive alternative to the trip around Cape Malea for much of antiquity.

Course


The Diolkos ran across the narrowest part of the Isthmus, where the trackway followed the local topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 in a curved course in order to avoid steeper gradients. The roadway passed the Isthmus ridge at c. 79 m (259 ft) height with an average gradient of 1:70, while the steepest sections rose up to 6%. Its total length is estimated at 6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi), 8 km (5 mi) or 8.5 km (5.3 mi) depending on the number of supposed bends taken into account. A total of 1100 m (3,609 ft) has been archaeologically traced, mainly at its western end close to the Bay of Corinth. There the known trackway began at a mooring place south of the canal and ran parallel to the waterway for a few hundred meters, after which it switched to the north side, running in a slight bend a similar distance along the canal. From there on, the Diolkos either followed in a straight line the course of the modern canal, or swung south in a wide arc. The roadway ended at the Saronic Gulf at the village Schoinos, modern-day Kalamaki
Kalamaki
Kalamaki is an alternative name for souvlaki, with the name derived from "κάλαμος" meaning reed. It is also the name of several Greek towns:* Kalamaki, Crete, a small town in the south of Crete...

, described by Strabo as the trackway's eastern terminal. Sections of the Diolkos have been destroyed by the 19th-century Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through...

 and other modern installations.

Track and transport


The Diolkos was a trackway paved with hard limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 with parallel grooves running about 1.6 metres (63 in) apart. The roadway was 3.4 to 6 m (11.2 to 19.7 ft) wide. Since ancient sources tell little about how the ships were hauled across, the mode of ship transport has largely to be reconstructed from the archaeological evidence. The tracks indicate that transport on the Diolkos was done with some sort of wheeled vehicle. Either vessel and cargo were hauled across on separate vehicles, or only the cargo was taken across and reloaded on a different ship at the other side of the Isthmus. Although a technical analysis has shown that the transport of trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

s (25 t
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

, 35 metres (114.8 ft) long, 5 metres (16.4 ft) beam), albeit difficult, was technically feasible, it is assumed that the vessels were usually boats rather than ships. To prevent the danger of damaging the keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

 during transport, hypozomata, thick ropes running from bow
Bow (ship)
The bow is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow...

 to stern
Stern
The stern is the rear or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section...

 meant to reduce sagging and hogging of the hull
Hull (watercraft)
A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...

, must have been used. Ship and cargo were presumably pulled by men and animals with the help of ropes, tackles
Block and tackle
A block and tackle is a system of two or more pulleys with a rope or cable threaded between them, usually used to lift or pull heavy loads.The pulleys are assembled together to form blocks so that one is fixed and one moves with the load...

 and possibly also capstan
Capstan (nautical)
A capstan is a vertical-axled rotating machine developed for use on sailing ships to apply force to ropes, cables, and hawsers. The principle is similar to that of the windlass, which has a horizontal axle.- History :...

s.

The scientist Tolley aimed at establishing the manpower which was necessary for hauling the vessels over the isthmus ridge. Assuming that a trireme soaked with water weighed 38 t including its trolley, and that a man can exert a force of 300 N over an extended period of time, the pulling teams—depending on the slope and the surface of the cat track—must have numbered between 112 and 142 people, with a combined exertion of force of 33.5 to 42.5 kN. Bringing the trolley up to speed may have required as many as 180 men. With a 2-kilometre-per-hour speed over an estimated length of 6 kilometres, the transfer process from sea-to-sea would have thus taken three hours to complete.

Assuming less load and rolling friction
Rolling resistance
Rolling resistance, sometimes called rolling friction or rolling drag, is the resistance that occurs when a round object such as a ball or tire rolls on a flat surface, in steady velocity straight line motion. It is caused mainly by the deformation of the object, the deformation of the surface, or...

, Raepsaet, in contrast, calculates a maximum pulling force of 27 kN, which would have resulted in a significantly smaller towing crew. Under these circumstances, the use of harnessed oxen—which has been refuted by Tolley on the basis of their relatively diminished pulling capabilities— would have become feasible. However, the necessary expenditure of energy at the Diolkos must be regarded in both scenarios as considerable.

Ancient railway


According to the British historian of science M.J.T. Lewis, the Diolkos represented a railway, in the basic sense of a prepared track which so guides the vehicles running on it that they cannot leave the track. Measuring between 6 km (4 mi) and 8.5 km (5.3 mi), remaining in regular and frequent service for at least 650 years, and being open to all on payment, it constituted even a public railway, a concept which according to Lewis did not recur until c. 1800. Also, its average gauge
Rail gauge
Track gauge or rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of . Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers...

 of around 160 cm (63 in) is similar to modern standards.

However, a close examination of the excavated tracks may give a more differentiated picture. While there is agreement that the grooves in the eastern part were cut deliberately into the stone slabs to guide cart wheels, those in the western section are interpreted by some authors as a result of wear or do not appear at all. On the other hand, the marked cambers of this road section may point at deliberate tracks as well. Generally, varying forms of the grooves can also be explained by the long period of operation of the Diolkos, during which modifications and repairs must have significantly changed the appearance of the trackway.

Modern exploration


The chief engineer of the Corinth Canal, Béla Gerster
Béla Gerster
Béla Gerster was a Hungarian engineer and canal architect. He took part in an early expedition to determine the route of the Panama Canal, and was the chief engineer of the Corinth Canal....

, conducted extensive research on the topography of the Isthmus, but did not discover the Diolkos. Remains of the ship trackway were probably first identified by the German archaeologist Habbo Gerhard Lolling in the 1883 Baedeker
Baedeker
Verlag Karl Baedeker is a Germany-based publisher and pioneer in the business of worldwide travel guides. The guides, often referred as simply "Baedekers" , contain important introductions, descriptions of buildings, of museum collections, etc., written by the best specialists, and...

 edition. In 1913, J.G. Frazer reported in his commentary of Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 on traces of an ancient trackway across the Isthmus, while parts of the western quay were discovered by Harold North Fowler in 1932.

Systematic excavations were finally undertaken by the Greek archaeologist Nikolaos Verdelis between 1956 and 1962, which uncovered a nearly continuous stretch of 800 m (2,624.7 ft) and traced about 1100 m (3,608.9 ft) in all. Even though Verdelis’ excavation reports continue to provide the basis for modern interpretations, his premature death prevented full publication, leaving many questions open concerning the exact nature of the structure. Additional investigations in situ, meant to complement Verdelis’ work, were later published by Georges Raepsaet and Walter Werner.

Today, erosion caused by ship movements on the nearby Canal has left considerable portions of the Diolkos in demolition, particularly at its excavated western end. Critics who blame the Greek Ministry of Culture
Minister for Culture (Greece)
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a government department of Greece entrusted with the preservation of the country's cultural heritage, the arts, as well as sports, through the subordinate General Secretariat for Sport...

 for continued inactivity have launched a petition for saving and restoring the registered archaeological site.

Ancient sources


The following ancient writers mention the transfer of ships across the Isthmus (in chronological order):
  • Thucydides
    Thucydides
    Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

     3.15.1, 8.7, 8.8.3–4
  • Aristophanes
    Aristophanes
    Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

    , Thesmophoriazusae
    Thesmophoriazusae
    Thesmophoriazusae is one of eleven surviving plays by the master of Old Comedy, the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was first produced in 411 BC, probably at the City Dionysia...

    647–648
  • Polybius
    Polybius
    Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

     4.19.7–9 [318], 5.101.4 [484], frag. 162 (ed. M. Buettner-Wolst)
  • Livy
    Livy
    Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

     42.16.6
  • Strabo
    Strabo
    Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

     8.2.1 [C.335], 8.6.22 [C.380], 8.6.4 [C.369]
  • Pliny the Elder
    Pliny the Elder
    Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

    , Natural History, 4.9–11, 18.18
  • Cassius Dio 51.5
  • Hesychius
    Hesychius
    Hesychius , may refer to:*Hesychius of Alexandria, lexicographer*St. Hesychius of Cazorla, saint, martyr, and bishop*Hesychius of Jerusalem, presbyter and exegete*Hesychius of Sinai, hieromonk and Byzantine author*Hesychius of Antioch...

     (ed. Schmidt, I, p. 516.80)
  • Suidas 2.92
  • George Sphrantzes
    George Sphrantzes
    George Sphrantzes, also Phrantzes or Phrantza was a late Byzantine Greek historian. He was born in Constantinople. At an early age he became secretary to Manuel II Palaiologos; in 1432 protovestiarites; in 1446 prefect of Mistras, and subsequently great logothete...

     1.33
  • al-Idrisi
    Muhammad al-Idrisi
    Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani al-Sabti or simply Al Idrisi was a Moroccan Muslim geographer, cartographer, Egyptologist and traveller who lived in Sicily, at the court of King Roger II. Muhammed al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta then belonging to the Almoravid Empire and died in...

     (Joubert, P.A.: Géographie d'Édrisi 2, Paris 1840, p. 123)

Other ship trackways


Apart from the Diolkos at Corinth, there is scant literary evidence for two more ship trackways by that name in antiquity, both in Roman Egypt: The physician Oribasius
Oribasius
Oribasius or Oreibasius was a Greek medical writer and the personal physician of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate. He studied at Alexandria under physician Zeno of Cyprus before joining Julian's retinue. He was involved in Julian's coronation in 361, and remained with the emperor until...

 (c. 320–400 AD) records two passages from his 1st century AD colleague Xenocrates
Xenocrates of Aphrodisias
Xenocrates a Greek physician of Aphrodisias in Cilicia, who must have lived about the middle of the 1st century, as he was probably a contemporary of Andromachus the Younger. Galen says that he lived in the second generation before himself...

, in which the latter casually refers to a diolkos close to the harbor of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 which may have been located at the southern tip of the island of Pharos. Another diolkos is mentioned by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 (90–168 AD) in his book on geography (IV, 5, 10) as connecting a false mouth of a partly silted up Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 branch with the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. Neither Xenocrates nor Ptolemy offers any details on his trackway.

See also

  • Ancient Greek technology
    Ancient Greek technology
    Ancient Greek technology developed at an unprecedented speed during the 5th century BC, continuing up to and including the Roman period, and beyond...

  • Architecture of ancient Greece
    Architecture of Ancient Greece
    The architecture of Ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland and Peloponnesus, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Asia Minor and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest...

  • History of rail transport
    History of rail transport
    The history of rail transport dates back nearly 500 years and includes systems with man or horse power and rails of wood or stone. Modern rail transport systems first appeared in England in the 1820s...

  • Timeline of railway history
    Timeline of railway history
    -Ancient times:* ca. 600 BC - A basic form of the railway, the rutway, - existed in ancient Greek and Roman times, the most important being the ship trackway Diolkos across the Isthmus of Corinth...


External links