[Trimalchio’s dinner: The cook has just theatrically gutted a stuffed hog.] The whole household burst into unanimous applause at this; “Hurrah for Gaius,” they shouted. As for the cook, he was given a drink and a silver crown and a cup on a salver of Corinthian bronze. Seeing that Agamemnon was eyeing the platter closely, Trimalchio remarked, “I’m the only one that can show the real Corinthian!” I thought that, in his usual purse-proud manner, he was going to boast that his bronzes were all imported from Corinth, but he did even better by saying, “Wouldn’t you like to know how it is that I’m the only one that can show the real Corinthian? Well, it’s because the bronze worker I patronize is named Corinthus, and what’s Corinthian unless it’s what a Corinthus makes? And, so you won’t think I’m a blockhead, I’m going to show you that I’m well acquainted with how Corinthian first came into the world. When Troy was taken, Hannibal, who was a very foxy fellow and a great rascal into the bargain, piled all the gold and silver and bronze statues in one pile and set ’em afire, melting these different metals into one: then the metal workers took their pick and made bowls and dessert dishes and statuettes as well. That’s how Corinthian was born; neither one nor the other, but an amalgam of all. (emphasis added)
In this extract from Satyricon, written in the 50s or 60s CE, we learn that Corinthian bronze was an alloy. As it was famously a precious metal, the term “Corinthian” could have been a metonym for mixtures in general.
I note that I Clement (to the church at Corinth) and I Corinthians are pastoral letters on the management of factions, i.e. ‘mixtures’ of doctrines within a congregation. Is the address of these letters to the church at Corinth just a coincidence? Or were the (original) letters written to other congregations, then editorially ‘redirected’ to Corinth to indicate to the reader/listener the chief concern of the letters? And if an editor did intervene, what evidence do we have that a church at Corinth even existed in the first and early second centuries, prior to Paul’s journey in Acts 18? Does a church at Corinth at that time make geographic sense, given that most of the activity we know of was happening on the coasts of Asia and Syria?