One of the most important and powerful cities of ancient Greece, Corinth became the center of commercial traffic between Europe and Asia reaching its height circa the 5th century BC.
Ancient Corinth both benefited and was victimized by its strategic geographic location astride the isthmus.
On the plus side its location enabled it to impose tolls on transit goods and even ships themselves as they were winched over the isthmus using The Doilkos, a 4 mile long paved road constructed specifically for the purpose. Mercantile Captains preferred the paid portage and calmer Gulf of Corinth to the rough and dangerous waters of Cape Tenaron and the open Aegean. The Doilkos lopped off over 300 nautical miles of the voyage to Sicillia. Ancient Corinth had two major harbors. Lechaion on the Gulf of Corinth and Kenchreai on the Saronic Gulf.
On the down side, as the only land route into the Peloponnese it was also open to incursions from migrating invaders such as the Dorians and others with designs on the peninsula. Corinth, possibly due to over population founded many colonies and further enriched herself. One of the most successfully of these: Kerkyra, or Corfu, however, soon grew so wealthy that it sought independence from Corinth and this conflict, due to complex treaties and alliances with neighboring states, was the cause of the 1st Peloponnesian war and also of the first ever recorded sea battle.