Definitions

Isthmus of

Isthmus of

Tehuantepec, Isthmus of, c.125 mi (200 km) wide at its narrowest, S Mexico, between the Gulf of Campeche and the Gulf of Tehuantepec. It is mostly a rolling, tropical lowland with the lowest pass elevation at 754 ft (230 m) above sea level. Building of an interoceanic canal there was long considered, but estimated costs proved prohibitive. A transisthmian railroad between Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz was opened in 1907.
Corinth, Isthmus of, c.20 mi (32 km) long and 4-8 mi (6.4-12.9 km) wide, connecting central Greece (Attica and Boeotia) with the Peloponnesus, between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf. It is crossed by the Corinth Canal, built between 1881 and 1893, which connects the Aegean and the Adriatic seas. Parallel to the canal are ruins of the ancient Isthmian Wall, which was restored (3d-6th cent. A.D.) by Byzantine emperors to defend the Peloponnesus. Near the eastern end of the wall are ruins of the sanctuary of Poseidon where the Isthmian games were played.
Perekop, Isthmus of, c.19 mi (30 km) long and from 5 to 14 mi (8-23 km) wide, S Ukraine, connecting the Crimea with the Ukrainian mainland. It separates the Gulf of Perekop (an arm of the Black Sea) in the west from the Sivash Sea (an inlet of the Sea of Azov) in the east. Because of its strategic position and economic importance (salt extraction from the lakes in the southern part), the Greeks and Tatars fortified the isthmus with moats and ramparts and the Tatars built a fortress on the site of the village of Perekop and called it Or-Kapi; there are ruins of the Greek and Tatar fortifications. The Greeks and Byzantines called the isthmus Taphros. Before the 15th cent. there was a Genoese colony there. The isthmus passed to Russia in 1783. There the Red Army decisively defeated (1920) Wrangel in the Russian civil war. In 1944 the Germans were routed out of the Crimea north of the isthmus. The isthmus was transferred with the Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine) in 1954.
Kra, Isthmus of, narrow neck of the Malay Peninsula, c.40 mi (60 km) wide, SW Thailand, between the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Thailand. It has long been the proposed site of a ship canal that would bypass the congested Straits of Malacca.

The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow landbridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with 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. To the west of the Isthmus is the Gulf of Corinth, to the east the Saronic Gulf. Since 1893 the Corinth Canal has run through the 6.3 km Isthmus, effectively making the Peloponnese an island.

The idea for a way for boats around the Peloponnese was long considered by the Ancient Greeks. The first attempt to build a canal at the place was carried out by the tyrant Periander or Periandros in 7th century BC. He abandoned the project due to its technical difficulties, and instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland stone ramp, named Diolkos, as a portage road. Remnants of Diolkos still exist today next to the modern canal. When the Roman republic, later The Roman Empire took control of Greece a number of different solutions were tried. Julius Caesar foresaw the advantages of such a venture for his newly built Colonia laus Iulia Corinthiensis. By the reign of Tiberius engineers had tried to dig a canal, but because of a lack of modern equipment were reduced to using an Ancient Egyptian invention of rolling the boats on logs as the Egyptians rolled blocks of granite to make their pyramids, which was in use by AD 32. In AD 67, the philhellene Roman emperor Nero ordered 6,000 slaves to dig a canal with spades. The following year Nero died, and his successor Galba abandoned the project, since it appeared too expensive to him.

Modern preservation

There are major concerns about preservation of this path. Many Greek citizens are calling for greater effort by the Greek government to protect this archaeological site.

See also

Ancient Greece

External links

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