The Diolkos was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece. It enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula. In times of war it also became a preferred means of speeding up naval campaigns.
About Diolkos in brief
The Diolkos was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece. It enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula. The trackway was a rudimentary form of railway, and operated from c. 600 BC until the middle of the 1st century AD. In times of war it also became a preferred means of speeding up naval campaigns. It is not known what tolls Corinth could extract from its territory, but the fact that the track was used and maintained after its construction indicates that it remained an attractive alternative to the trip around Cape Malea for much of antiquity. The Diol Kos played an important role in ancient naval warfare. It may have initially served particularly for transporting heavy goods like marble, timber and marble monoliths to points west and east. It was also used to transport ships sailing from the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea. In 428 BC, the Spartans planned to transport their warships to the Saronic Gulf to threaten Athens.
After his victory at Actium in 31 BC, Octavian advanced as fast as possible against Marc Antony by ordering part of his 260 Liburnians to be carried over the Istmus. In 868 AD, the Byzantine admiral Niketas Oryphas had his whole fleet of one hundred dromons dragged across theIsthmus in a quickly executed operation, but this took place on a different route. Despite the frequent mentioning of the Diolos 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 historians were always more interested in war than commerce. In the late 9th century, and around 1150, are assumed to have used a route other than the Diolakos, due to the extensive time lag. The road was built at the end of the 7th or beginning of the 6th century BC. Excavated letters and associated pottery found at the site indicate a construction date at the time when Periander was tyrant of Corinth, that is around the time of his reign.