Dorian Greeks

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Mainstream Falsehoods

The Dorians were a tribe said to have invaded Greece, by all ancient accounts, a short time after the Trojan wars. The Greeks who inhabited all of the Peloponnese before the Dorian invasion, as well as areas of the mainland, were called everywhere “Danaans” (Danai) and “Achaians” by Homer. Modern historians assert that the Dorians came “from the north”, and point to the Dorian Tetrapolis, four cities (Erineus, Boeum, Pindus and Cytinium, for which see Strabo 9.4.10) which lie west of Phocis and north of Delphi on the Greek mainland, as evidence of this. These historians also claim that all Aryans came “from the north” into the ancient world at one time or another, yet they are consistently in error. Homer is given much credit by Strabo for his knowledge and accuracy in describing the peoples of the οἰκουμένη and the regions where they lived, and the poet is constantly cited by the geographer. Homer described all of the people of Greece, and the peoples and places known to the Greeks in the period which he wrote about. Yet Homer makes no mention of the cities of the Tetrapolis, of Dorians in Greece, or anywhere in the north. The Dorians, who invaded Greece by sea (hardly necessary if they came from the north) and pushed the Danaans out of the Peloponnese, and who also later founded their mainland cities, are only mentioned by Homer as being on Crete (in his Odyssey, Book 19).


There is a significant contention that the Dorians actually came from Dor in Palestine, a city on the coast of the land of Manasseh, and where many ancient “Greek” artifacts have been found by archaeologists, for which see Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 2001, p. 17, and November-December, 2002, “Gorgon Excavated At Dor”, p. 50. These artifacts show a “Greek” presence at Dor as early as the seventh century B.C., and are certainly much earlier than the Hellenistic period. The seventh century B.C. is the time of the last recorded Assyrian activity in Israel (see Ezra 4:2, Esar-Haddon reigned from 681 B.C.), and the last deportations of Israelites which happened about 676 B.C. (see The Assyrian Invasions And Deportations of Israel by J. Llewellyn Thomas). For evidence that Israelite priests were indeed present at Dor see Biblical Archaeology Review, May-June 2001, p. 21 and the article there. If the Dorians migrated from Palestine, rather than from the north, Crete is a logical place to begin settling, enroute to the west. Further evidence that the Dorians were Israelites is found in Josephus, in his record of a letter written by a Spartan (or Lacedemonian, and they were also Dorian Greeks) king to Jerusalem about 160 B.C., which is found in Antiquities 12.4.10 (12:226-227)


The Corinthians were Dorian Greeks. Paul at 1 Corinthians 10:1 tells the Corinthians “Now I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all had passed through the sea”, therefore telling the Corinthians that their ancestors had been in the Israelite Exodus out of Egypt.

Destruction of Corinth

Now many may object to identifying the later Corinthians of Paul’s time as Dorians, because the city was destroyed and later rebuilt by the Romans. And this is true, for in 146 B.C. the Roman consul Leucius Mummius captured Corinth and razed it by fire, selling the surviving populace into slavery, as was customary for the Romans to do. Giving the account, Strabo tells us that afterwards “the Sicyonians obtained most of the Corinthian country” (8.6.23). That the Sicyonians, those of the neighboring district, were also Dorians is evident in many places besides Diodorus Siculus at 7.9.1 (“Fragments of Book VII” in the Loeb Library edition) where he states: “it remains for us to speak of Corinth and of Sicyon, and of the manner in which the territories of these cities were settled by the Dorians.” Sicyon, a sort of sister city of Corinth, was its equal in the arts, where Strabo says of Corinth: “for both here and in Sicyon the arts of painting and modelling and all such arts of the craftsman flourished most” (8.6.23). So in this manner did the territory of Corinth retain a Dorian composition of its population, but that is not the entire story.

Strabo speaks of the rebuilding of Corinth as such was ordered by Caesar, which began about 44 B.C., and states that “it was restored again, because of its favorable position, by the deified Caesar, who colonised it with people that belonged for the most part to the freedmen class” (8.6.23). Yet Diodorus Siculus (in “Fragments of Book XXXII” in the Loeb Library edition) is recorded as telling us further:

Gaius Iulius Caesar (who for his great deeds was entitled divus), when he inspected the site of Corinth, was so moved by compassion and the thirst for fame that he set about restoring it with great energy. It is therefore just that this man and his high standard of conduct should receive our full approval and that we should by our history accord him enduring praise for his generosity. For whereas his forefathers had harshly used the city, he by his clemency made amends for their unrelenting severity, preferring to forgive rather than to punish” (32.27.3).

Now the only way that Caesar’s deeds could justly be called a restoring, clemency, or forgiveness, as they are here, would be that the “freedmen” which he let repopulate the rebuilt Corinth were descendants of those Corinthians enslaved in its destruction 102 years earlier. This is in keeping with Roman custom, as is evident at Acts 6:9, where we see Judaean “freedmen” living in the homeland of their ancestors, whom must have been taken captive in the Roman conquest of Judaea by Pompey some generations earlier. The settling of anyone but Dorians in a rebuilt Corinth could not have been termed clemency or forgiveness, but rather would have been seen as an insult to the Sicyonians, the Lacedemonians, and the rest of the Dorians of the Peloponnese. Yet an examination of the Roman custom along with Diodorus’ words surely implies that when Strabo attests that the restored Corinthians were “for the most part” of the “freedmen class”, he surely meant those freedmen descended from the original Corinthian stock taken captive.