View Full Version : Ancient Nemea and the Nemean Games

Thursday, August 12th, 2004, 02:29 AM
from http://www.nemea.org/

The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games

"It is our belief that the modern Olympic Games, despite their obvious success in many respects, have become increasingly removed from the average person. Our goal is the participation, on the sacred ancient soil of Greece, of anyone and everyone, in games that will revive the spirit of the Olympics. We will achieve this by reliving authentic ancient athletic customs in the ancient stadium of Nemea."

Statement of the Purpose of the Society, December 30, 1994

The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games is a movement born from more than 20 years of excavation by the University of California at Berkeley in the panhellenic Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, Greece, and from the enthusiasm and dedication of local residents of Nemea who feel that they could make an important contribution to today's world because of their personal ties to Nemea.

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/%7Eclscs275/Games%20folder/Game96-1.jpg Members of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games in the Ancient Stadium at Olympia for the lighting ceremony of the Atlanta Olympic Games Flame, March 30, 1996

It was at Nemea that the ancient Greeks celebrated athletic and religious festivals that were part of the cycle of games at Delphi, Isthmia, and (best known today) Olympia. It was at one of these four sites that, for a brief period each year, wars and hostilities were suspended by a sacred truce, and all Greeks gathered in recognition of their common humanity. This impulse toward peace - albeit limited to a few days each year - was the first in the history of mankind on an organized, regular, and international scale. Thus, the festivals at Nemea, Olympia, Delphi, and Isthmia are the direct ancestors of today's United Nations and Olympic movement. The ancient stadium discovered at Nemea is, therefore, an important monument in the history of such institutions.

The Olympic movement has become an ever more important and complex international event, and a symbol of the nobler aspirations of our human race. But it has also become increasingly removed from those who are not extraordinarily athletically gifted. The average person, inspired by the ancient lessons of peace and hopeful of participation in the movement finds even the role of spectator difficult to fulfill at the modern Olympics.

The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games believes that there is scope for the average person to participate in such an international athletic festival where no records will be kept and no medals awarded. Races will be organized by gender and age, and all participants will be rewarded only by feet sore from contact with the same stones and the same soil where ancient feet ran more than 2,000 years ago.

The Third Nemead will take place on July 31, 2004, and you must register by June 1, 2004. At the bottom of this page are links for those who wish to become a member of the society, to register for the games, or to learn more about the games.

Members of the Honorary Committee



Become a Member (http://socrates.berkeley.edu/%7Eclscs275/Games%20folder/games_home_page.htm)

Participate in Games 2004 (http://www.nemeagames.gr/nemead/en/frm.htm)

Ancient Basis for Modern Games (http://socrates.berkeley.edu/%7Eclscs275/Games%20folder/basis.htm)

Movie: "Step into History: Nemea 2004" (http://teles.berkeley.edu:8080/ramgen/2002/special_events/classics/nemea.rm)

(Link to free Real Player for Movie) (http://www.real.com/)

UCB Web Feature (http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/03/30_nemea.shtml)

Thursday, August 12th, 2004, 02:36 AM
The reconstruction of the Nemean Games is refreshingly different from our modern day Olympics and a whole lot more like how the original Olympics were supposed to be. It was founded by the local people based on archaelogical digs and research around their area. The participants are real amateur athletes -not million dollar sponsored celebrities- and the setting is very authentic, or I should say, as authentic as it can be in 21st century. Do watch the video here:


and see for yourself. I enjoyed it immensely.

Thursday, August 12th, 2004, 02:19 PM
Pindar is never very satisfactory in translation; nevertheless, I give you

The third Nemean Ode
For Aristokleides of Aegina (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/vor?type=phrase&alts=0&group=typecat&lookup=Aegina&collection=Perseus:collection:Greco-Roman), Pankration (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/vor?type=phrase&alts=0&group=typecat&lookup=Pancratium&collection=Perseus:collection:Greco-Roman)*, ?475 B. C.

Queenly Muse, our mother! I entreat you, come in the sacred month of Nemea to the much-visited Dorian island of Aegina. For beside the waters of the Asopus young men are waiting, craftsmen of honey-voiced victory-songs, seeking your voice. Various deeds thirst for various things; but victory in the games loves song most of all, the most auspicious attendant of garlands and of excellence.

Send an abundance of it, from my wisdom; begin, divine daughter, an acceptable hymn to the ruler of the cloud-filled sky, and I will communicate it by the voices of those singers and by the lyre. The hymn will have a pleasant toil, to be the glory of the land where the ancient Myrmidons lived, whose marketplace, famous long ago, Aristocleides, through your ordinance, did not stain with dishonor by proving himself too weak in the strenuous

course of the pankration. But in the deep plain of Nemea, his triumph-song brings a healing cure for wearying blows. Still, if the son of Aristophanes, who is beautiful, and whose deeds match his looks, embarked on the highest achievements of manliness, it is not easy to cross the trackless sea beyond the pillars of Heracles,

which that hero and god set up as famous witnesses to the furthest limits of seafaring. He subdued the monstrous beasts in the sea, and tracked to the very end the streams of the shallows, where he reached the goal that sent him back home again, and he made the land known. My spirit, towards what foreign headland are you turning my voyage? I bid you to summon the Muse in honor of Aeacus and his race; consummate justice attends the precept, “praise the noble.”

And no man should prefer to desire what is alien. Search at home; you have won a suitable adornment for singing something sweet. Among old examples of excellence is king Peleus, who rejoiced when he cut a matchless spear, and who alone, without an army, captured Iolcus, and caught the sea-nymph Thetis after many struggles. And powerful Telamon, the comrade of Iolaus, sacked the city of Laomedon;

and once he followed him to meet the bronze-bowed strength of the Amazons. And fear, the subduer of men, never dulled the edge of his mind. A man with inborn glory has great weight; but he who has only learned is a man in darkness, breathing changeful purposes, never taking an unwavering step, but trying his hand at countless forms of excellence with his ineffectual thought.

But golden-haired Achilles, staying in the home of Philyra as a child, played at great deeds, often brandishing in his hands a javelin with a short blade; swift as the wind, he dealt death to wild lions in battle, and he slew wild boars and carried their panting bodies to the Centaur, son of Cronus, first when he was six years old, and afterwards for all the time he spent there. Artemis and bold Athena gazed at him with wonder,

as he slew deer without the help of dogs and crafty nets; for he excelled with his feet. I have this story as it was told by earlier generations. Deep-thinking Cheiron reared Jason under his stone roof, and later Asclepius, whom he taught the gentle-handed laws of remedies. And he arranged a marriage for Peleus with the lovely-bosomed1 daughter of Nereus, and brought up for her their incomparable child, nurturing his spirit with all fitting things,

so that when the blasts of the sea-winds sent him to Troy, he might withstand the spear-clashing war-shout of the Lycians and Phrygians and Dardanians; and when he came into close conflict with the spear-bearing Ethiopians, he might fix it in his mind that their leader, powerful Memnon the kinsman of Helenus, should not return to his home.

From that point the light of the Aeacids has been fixed to shine far. Zeus, it is your blood and your contest at which my song aimed its shot, shouting the joy of this land with the voices of young men. Their cry is well-suited to victorious Aristocleides, who linked this island with glorious praise and the sacred Theoric temple of the Pythian god with splendid ambitions. By trial the accomplishment is made manifest, of that in which a man proves himself preeminent,

as a boy among young boys, a man among men, or, thirdly, among elders, according to each stage which we,the race of men, possess. And mortal life sets in motion four excellences, and bids us to think of what is at hand. You are not without these excellences. Farewell, my friend! I am sending this to you, honey mixed with white milk, crested with foam from mixing, a draught of song accompanied by the Aeolian breathings of flutes,

although it is late. The eagle is swift among birds: he swoops down from afar, and suddenly seizes with his talons his blood-stained quarry; but chattering daws stay closer to the ground. By the grace of Clio on her lovely throne and because of your victorious spirit, the light has shone on you from Nemea and Epidaurus and Megara.

From http://www.perseus.tufts.edu (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/)

*Aristokleides won the pankration, a fight without rules entirely, which often ended in the death of either of the combattants.

* Edited to get rid of the bold formatting as per Symmakhos' request. /rusalka

Thursday, August 12th, 2004, 02:23 PM
Can't seem to get rid of the bold formatting...

Thursday, August 12th, 2004, 08:13 PM
Can't seem to get rid of the bold formatting...
I did it for you but if there's anything else you'd like to change in the formatting let me know.